Friday September 13th at 7:30 pm - Mr. Canoe
On Friday September 13th at 7:30pm the Tryon Farm Institute’s Art In Nature series presents Mr Canoe, a documentary film about the life of Ralph Frese, master canoe builder, historian and expedition paddler and his 1976 expedition recreating Lasalle's trip from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and their snow storm portage through NW Indiana. Director James Forni will be onsite to share his story and the making of this film. Plus musician Tom Kastle will share his maritime songs and stories as it relates to Ralph Frese. Come with a picnic and share an evening under the stars at Tryon Farm.
In fall 2012, Chicago filmmaker James Forni was introduced to Ralph Frese, a world-renowned canoe-builder and conservationist whose iconic Portage Park shop Chicagoland Canoe Base was known as the city’s last working blacksmith shop.
Forni was able to dig into Frese’s past through research and interviews with more than 30 friends and peers. Forni and colleagues from his production company, Octane Rich Media, combed through archive materials, films, and radio and television interviews spanning half a century to create a 45-minute film that paints the “complex portrait of one of Chicago’s most interesting and influential citizens,” according to Octane's synopsis of the film.
James Forni is an award-winning director, photographer and the founder of Chicago-based studio: Octane Rich Media. A dynamic creative director, executive producer and storyteller, James has directed over 1,000 television spots, webisode series, websites, short films and tutorials. He is an expert in transforming complex material into inspirational narrative experiences.
For more than 25 years James Forni has created internationally recognized work for admired brands and Fortune 500 companies like Abercrombie & Kent, Dove, Hyatt, Jarden, Jim Beam, Levi’s, MasterCard, Mercedes Benz, the National Basketball Association and Rolex. In addition, James has worked directly with prominent personalities from Justin Timberlake to Lenny Kravitz and Michael Jordan.
James has a Master in Film 1 Studies from EICAR, the International School of Film and Media in Paris, France, as well as professional certificate programs from Maine Media and the Santa Fe Photography Workshops. He is a former member of the University of Chicago’s Writer’s Studio, Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences and the Interactive Agency Bureau. He studied undergraduate programs at Wesleyan University and received his B.F.A in Theater and English from the University of Vermont.
Tom Kastle traveled the world, collecting and performing maritime songs and stories and captaining sailing ships on the Great Lakes. These days, his passions are even more diverse and include theatrical projects, from Man of La Mancha to Henry IV; film projects, like Francisco Torres’ Delight In the Mountain; and television, where he hosted a short documentary that was nominated for an Emmy Award. He is a musical director and composer, writing and performing concert opera narrations, hosting and interpreting nautical events, and being a musical and “concertina consultant” for Lookingglass Theater.