Long on ambition

Published 3:13 pm Monday, February 7, 2005

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - A Niles filmmaker had his short, "Pokagon," premier Saturday.
The Muskegon FIlm Festival may not have drawn celebrities to fabulous parties, but it was still exciting to Adam Payne.
payne came to Niles a few years ago with his wife Amy, a graphic artist. he is originally from Rockford, Ill., while she is from Jackson.
His planned studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign turned from engineering to cinema on his orientation day, he said.
As a humanities major, he didn't actually touch a super 8 camera until 1994. Moving to Chicago, he graduated from Columbia Film School in 1998, meeting Amy two years later.
His contacts in Chicago have remained, with those in the film industry helping each other out, Payne explained.
His film Pokagon was shot in the summer of 2003, at the DIamond D Ranch off White Street in Cass County.
He had planned on five characters, but one landed on the cutting room floor.
The theme was a make believe story of feudal clans in Michigan, set in present day. "The people were 'hay seeds' not living a modern life," he said.
In an era when films cost millions, Payne made trades for work, the location and materials. Other than purchasing tapes and gas money, he was able to compete the production for $250.
Though he is pleased with the final work, Payne said he is "anxious to do another. I am not satisfied."
He can relate to Woody Allen, who was never completely happy with his work.
Presently Payne works at AM General in Mishawaka, Ind. for Xerox. he is also a cameraman for Fox 28, the 5:30 afternoon show, and he freelances for the Niles Daily Star, where Amy works in the composing department.
Pokagon is not his first film to be in a festival. In 2002 another made the film circuit which was about an imaginary folk singer hero.
Payne's short films are under 20 minutes. Cost or length shouldn't be the deciding factor as to the quality, he believes.
He continues to use less crews and money and yet his films are improving.
His eventual goal is to have a short film win an award and create interest with an investor. He has ideas he would love to sell to a producer. Right now though, they are "just paper and ink."
A break would come if somehow a popular actor got involved, Payne explained. "A huge star could get it made." Unfortunately he added, "their phone numbers aren't in the phone book."
His favorite director was Stanley Kubrich of "Dr. Strangelove" and "The Shining." "He was the only director, at the time, to have complete creative control."
Another independent director he admires is independent John Sayles, of "Lone Star" and "Men with Guns."
Payne has his start with his Supah Productions Company in Berrien County.
He is hopeful either he, or one of those other professionals who helped him with his film, will "make it big," and take the others along for the ride.