Move over, Michael Moore. The next great documentary will be filmed in Chautauqua County.
SUNY Fredonia Professor Mark Kiyak will be directing a documentary about the Great Blue Heron Festival this weekend.
The process for making the documentary was started thanks to Kiyak's wife, Stephanie. Stephanie wanted to go cross-country skiing. An acquaintance introduced her to Julie Rockcastle, who invited Stephanie to go cross-country skiing on her property, Kiyak said.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Professor Mark Kiyak, along with a crew of six, will be filming this weekend at the Great Blue Heron Musical Festival in Sherman. Kiyak is making a documentary about the festival.
Rockcastle is a co-organizer of the festival and allows the festival to be on her property. Stephanie brought the idea to her husband for a documentary commemorating the 20th anniversary.
David Tidquist, co-organizer of the festival, is enthusiastic about the documentary. Tidquist also said that the festival is excited an enthusiastic to gain attention.
"(Kiyak) seems the man to do the job," Tidquist said.
Kiyak attended the University of Miami and graduated with a bachelor's degree in film production. He worked for the Dade County School System as well as working for ABC during the summers after graduation. He eventually switched to working for NBC during the summer. Kiyak earned a full-time job at NBC and worked there for 22 years, but he had other dreams for himself.
"I always had these dreams for teaching," he said.
At the age of 42, Kiyak went back to graduate school and earned a master's degree in film production from the University of Miami. Kiyak previously worked at Valdosta State University in Georgia before moving to the area two years ago.
This is Kiyak's first full-length documentary, but he has worked on other projects throughout his career. He has made music videos, online commercials and an experimental movie he shot for a colleague's dance company.
He hopes to make the documentary an hour in length. This will be Kiyak's first big project since starting his job at Fredonia.
"The project is going to revolve around the people who go (to the festival) and the people who put it on," Kiyak said.
Kiyak is directing the documentary with Jane Jackson producing. A team of four SUNY Fredonia students will be filming. The team will be at the festival Thursday morning through the conclusion of the festival on Sunday.
"We started (filming) earlier in the month," Kiyak said. Kiyak and his crew will continue to film into the fall with hopes the documentary will be completed by early Spring. He hopes for the documentary to air on local television once completed.
The Great Blue Heron Festival is held annually in Sherman. This year, the festival will be held July 1-3 on Wait Corners Road, Sherman. The weekend will feature three stages of entertainment, swimming, a teen and children's tents, hiking trails and more.
The festival was started in 1992 with the intentions of being a small barbecue and gathering with the band, Donna the Buffalo. The planned one-day event soon turned into a three-day music festival.
The first year saw 38 volunteers. This year the festival is expected to have over 700 volunteers. According to their website, over 4,000 crew members have been with the festival for 20 years.
Over the years, many bands, including 10,000 Maniacs, have performed at the festival including Donna the Buffalo, which has performed at every festival.
Kiyak is looking for festival footage as well. He is looking for footage from the past 20 years of the festival. Anyone who has footage from past festivals is asked to email Kiyak at firstname.lastname@example.org. All footage will be returned.
For more festival information, including band lineup and schedule, visit www.greatblueheron.com.