Soo Film Festival 2023

Block 13-Earlybird

Feature, 101 min, Not rated


About This Program

 The feature film: Earlybird.


Director: Martin Kaszubowski

Narrative Feature, United States, 2022, 101 min, Color

A desperate theater owner resuscitates his struggling business with off-the-wall productions, all the while losing sight of why he chose this life at all.

Great Lakes Connection

The film was shot in Milwaukee. Most of cast and crew live and work in Milwaukee or Chicago. The writer/director is from northern Wisconsin.

Cast & Crew:

Director: Martin Kaszubowski
Writer: Martin Kaszubowski
Producer: Kristin Peterson
Key Cast: Joshua Koopman, Julie Pope, Amanda Platt, Chloe Skoczen

Director Martin Kaszubowski
Director Biography

Martin Kaszubowski (he/him) is a film director and video editor. His directed work has screened in film festivals across the U.S. and he has produced many short films, music videos, commercials, and feature films (including Ringolevio which premiered at Dances with Films in 2020 and Pet Names which premiered at SXSW in 2018.) Earlybird is his solo feature debut.

Director Statement

After years of creative frustration and burnout, Earlybird flew out of my fingers, through my keyboard, and onto a screenplay. I seasoned it with my guilt, my feelings on collaboration (and “the auteur”), a series of run-on sentences, and I tried to make it funny. I hope people enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.

As is so often true about the independent filmmaker, Earlybird explores how those who work in theater define themselves by their output and the reception of their work. Each character shows they have lost their patience and now, threadbare from too many long nights and too little material success, they are at odds with each other. In this film, we explore how our culture of constant grinding (not limited to the arts) pushes people to lose their humanity. It isn’t just our protagonist Michael who forgets to consider the feelings and needs of the people around him. In this film, our goal is to show how difficult it is to live well when you’re living for the attention and approval of the ever-elusive kudo.

As an artist, I have struggled at times with the balance of commerce and art. Not just for financial gain, but within the art I make. As the term “content” becomes more prevalent in relation to art, I feel Earlybird’s focus on the balance between work, art, and life becomes more and more pertinent. The film’s theme of workplace culture within the arts is also more relevant than ever, given the seemingly daily reveal of toxic work environments in collaborative art-making.

Poster: Earlybird

More Info:


Sunday, Sep 17, 3:30pm

Soo Theatre

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