Quercophiles Abroad: Way, Way Better

[Dan Keiser's documentary covering his 20 years of traveling with the International Oak Society, "Quercophiles Abroad", premiered at the 8th International Oak Conference workshops (you can read about it in the latest issue of the IOS Journal, International Oaks No.27, p. 293.) A second, improved version was shown on Feb 21, 2016, at Barley John's Brewing Company in New Richmond, Wisconsin. Here Dan reports on the event and shares what's next for the film. Ed.]


Still frame from the film: a handful of Quercus look acorns, in France, 2012.

I didn't expect a crowd for the show since the brewery it was at was a good hour drive from Minneapolis here. But a surprising 45 people showed up (6 of them were regular customers), got a short brewery tour, ordered food & beer, & then sat down in front of a 63" flat screen on the wall behind the bar & watched the Sunday matinee movie. 67 minutes long (broken up half way through w/ a potty break), & people were laughing & applauding (& some admitted crying at parts, like when the chain-sawers in a bucket truck were removing the tree-sitter from an oak) & everyone was totally wowed & loving it beginning to end. Afterwards, a lot them said they learned a lot & that they have a new appreciation & fascination for oaks. It was a real rush for me & made it worth every amount of effort, time, & money put into it.

This "final edition" is way, way better than the first, the first being the one I showed at The Morton Arboretum last year. Now it has more narrative explaining things, added sound effects (like when a leaf-cutter ant is chomping through a leaf, I dubbed me chewing on a stalk of celery, too funny), plugs for the IOS, & the best

The subtitle "thick peduncle" & an arrow pointing to a Q. crassipes acorn peduncle, in Mexico, 2009. 

thing imaginable... I added 290 subtitles! Now, besides the 10 that I had (of title, places, years, & credits), there are emboldened species names & botanical terms!

It was shown using a flash drive, I want it available on DVD for home viewing, so the past couple months or so my techie guy has been working on "hard encoding" all the subtitles into DVD, which for some reason is difficult to do.

Another showing? Yes, a lot of my friends, & people who heard about it, haven't seen it & want to. There are several venues in town here that it could be done at. One's a theater that seats 50 & has a 20' screen. Another is a small stage in an appendage room off a bowling alley right uptown. Probably the previous choice, since I want seeing it to be a special experience for people. Another is the Mendota Dakota's Native American meeting house. Will keep you informed. I hope every IOS member gets a chance to see this final edition, including members who saw the first one.

Quercus insignis acorn (on left) being eaten by Guy Sternberg, in Mexico, 2009.  My techie guy (Ryan), me, & Bonnie Jean, at the film showing in Wisconsin, 2016. 

All photos © Dan Keiser.