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Winnebago Man

It’s no news flash that post-screening Q&A panels can be hit-and-miss. For every taciturn “artiste” (we’re glaring at you, Redland’s Asiel Norton), there’s a colorful, 13-member posse in varying degrees of formality ranging from director, producer and stars down to the woman who spoke but a single line when she brought her turtle into the vet’s office (Etienne!).

Following Friday’s 11 p.m. showing of winning documentary Winnebago Man, director Ben Steinbauer was lobbed a few softballs before being asked what the film’s reluctant star, profane former Winnebago pitchman Jack Rebney, thought of the finished product. As Rebney’s close friend and Vegas resident Keith Gordon checked his watch, Steinbauer shrugged, “I don’t know. We could call him…?” and promptly did just that. Through a microphone up to the iPod’s speakerphone, Rebney spoke eloquently—and, true to form, long-windedly—about the film’s success, his disposition, the government, education and the necessity to learn from history. He also took in wave upon wave of laughter and applause before firing a few salty parting shots and calling it a night.

Pity some filmmakers don’t take similar full advantage of the opportunity to provide what could be an otherwise forgettable product with a little extra sticking power, or to cement a winner more permanently in the audience’s mind.

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Julie Seabaugh

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