Chloride filmmaker gains festival acclaim

Courtesy Photo
Miguel (Doug Kondziolka) and villagers distract the guards in a scene from ³The Lost Princess.²

Courtesy Photo Miguel (Doug Kondziolka) and villagers distract the guards in a scene from ³The Lost Princess.²

KINGMAN ­ "A blend of Three Stooges and The Three Musketeers on espresso" is how one critic characterizes a Chloride filmmaker's second film, "The Lost Princess," a product of an artist who's dedicated his life to recreating the Renaissance experience.

The film is the second project of Blind Dog Entertainment, a fledgling film production company started four years ago by Doug Kondziolka of Chloride and Jose Granados of Wickenburg. The movie recently was reviewed at the Santa Fe Film Festival and is gaining exposure at film festivals around the country and England.

Kondziolka and Granados, both 50, have performed as the comedy duo Don Juan and Miguel at Renaissance festivals around the country for more than 25 years, incorporating the characters into original story lines that have materialized into Kondziolka's film projects.

Kondziolka said inspiration sparked when a major production company was filming the movie "The Black Knight" not far from where the two were performing at a festival in North Carolina.

"I was thinking, 'we're kind of the vestiges of vaudeville, why don't we do that,'" Kondziolka said.

"The Lost Princess" and the duo's first film, "The Tale of El Gustano," were both filmed entirely with the crew and sets of festival locations, with the cast of about 200 actors and musicians mostly long time friends, Kondziolka said.

"In the real world, it would have been outrageously expensive," he said.

Kondziolka, who writes the story lines with Granados, said the films provide a vehicle to document the unique talent that he has encountered through his work with Renaissance festivals without actually making a documentary.

Living at festival locations around the country, usually two-month stints including his annual summer residence as assistant director for the Sterling Renaissance Festival in upstate New York, Kondziolka said he probably gets home to Chloride about three months a year.

His life with the festivals started after college, working for a production north of Chicago where he met Granados, who was looking for a sidekick in a comedy routine, Kondziolka said. The two have since performed as headliners at The Arizona Renaissance for the last 12 years.

The films provide a new artistic medium for the performers, with Kondziolka and Granados financing the films by DVD sales online and at festivals.

"The Lost Princess" is a more ambitious project than the previous 25-minute film, clocking in at 75 minutes and starring Granados' 19-year-old-daughter, Dakota, a festival performer since the age of 8, and whom Kondziolka says is a "master whip master."

Kondziolka sums up The Lost Princess as a musical romp "that goes with every goofy cliché."

The film has currently been accepted at seven of the 17 film festivals where it has been submitted, Kondziolka said.

Working with festivals is the ideal career for a filmmaker, he said, making a living working three days a week and spending the rest of the time on films.

Kondiolka says he edits mostly with his MacIntosh laptop.

"With today's technology, you can pretty much edit anywhere you go," he said.

Kondiolka said the future of his films would be what he and his fellow performers know most.

"We want to live in our world. Our silly tongue-in-cheek Renaissance world," he said.

In addition to favorable festival reviews, The Lost Princess was recently endorsed by The Coalition For Quality In Children's Media. Information is available online at www.donandmiguel.com and www.blinddogentertainment.com.