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Minneapolis man filming documentary on WE Fest

As WE Fest wrapped up yet another celebration this Saturday south of Detroit Lakes, one Minneapolis filmmaker was just getting started on his project to document the experience.

Though he completed most of the filming for the project on Saturday, the process of compiling all that footage into a documentary format will take several months of work for creator Mike Plant before it's ready to be shown to the public.

"I wouldn't think it will be done until late fall or winter," Plant said in a telephone interview. "There's a number of potential, realistic uses for it."

One possibility is that a shortened, 23-minute version of the film could run on the GAC (Great American Country) cable television channel.

"That's the pie-in-the-sky option," he joked. "For sure, we'll enter it in some film festivals ... both of those things would take a while to get done."

There's also a possibility that WE Fest owner Rand Levy might choose to show some clips from the documentary on the WE Fest website to advertise the festival's 30th anniversary in 2012.

One of the unique things about Plant's documentary, he feels, is that it takes a look at the festival from a variety of perspectives.

"I started by interviewing a number of Detroit Lakes townspeople, who talked about the history of the town and WE Fest, and how it's been mutually beneficial," Plant said.

Then, he talked to WE Fest owner Rand Levy and some of the festival staff; but the third element is what Plant believes will truly make the documentary stand out.

"What I thought would intrigue a lot of people is to look at it (WE Fest) from a band's point of view," he said.

He has known the members of Minneapolis band Rocket Club for many years, so when they started talking about how excited they were to be making their WE Fest debut, "it was a perfect confluence of timing," Plant said.

So he filmed the band members from their arrival at the festival to getting their hand prints put into cement for the WE Fest Walk of Fame, to making their debut on the main stage and later, being the final band to perform on the Barn Stage in the early hours of the morning.

"I wanted to make a film that reflects the synergy between Detroit Lakes and WE Fest, and that also shows the joy that the concert goers, the campers, the staff, the volunteers and the bands all get from being involved in this," he said.

"I hope it captures the joy that the musicians have for being at the event -- it's not just a regular gig for them, or one more tour date on the schedule."

Plant said he got a great "sound byte" from GAC television personality Storme Warren while he was at the festival this weekend.

"He's been all around to the different festivals, and he says that WE Fest is a notch above the others -- they do it right," Plant said.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454