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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

‘Hundreds of Beavers’ coming to Milwaukee

The film follows the character of a beaver played by Ryland Tews, who recently lost his applejack distillery and is forced to learn the new trade of becoming a fur trapper.  
Photo by via Hundreds of Beavers
“Hundreds of Beavers” is coming to Milwaukee.

A feel-good action-comedy film is making its way to Milwaukee’s Oriental Theatre Jan. 31 for the Great Lakes Roadshow, a tour that will allow “Hundreds of Beavers” to play at various theatres in the Midwest until Feb. 26.

The silent movie was shot over two winters in the woods of northern Wisconsin back in January 2019. Most days were filmed in subzero temperatures. The film follows the character of a beaver played by Ryland Tews, who recently lost his applejack distillery and is forced to learn the new trade of becoming a fur trapper.  

Ryland Tews, producer, writer and star, said “Hundreds of Beavers” is a comedic film unique from others in the industry, as it does not contain any dialogue.

Mike Cheslik, director, writer, editor and special effects person, and Tews strived to convey basic human ideas that tie back to not only the Wisconsin population but from anywhere in the world without any dialogue and subtitles.

The film is about an hour long and contains various stunts — alongside over 1,500 effects shots.

Both creators said their inspiration was nothing more than the hope to create a film that is not only comical for the audience and will make them laugh in 30 seconds, but something enjoyable to create alongside an eclectic group of actors.

After collaborating on their first feature, “Lake Michigan Monster,” both Tews and Cheslik hope to bring back the era of silent film by showing nonverbal acting universally relating to a wide audience.

“We thought our best chance to really make an impact on the Indie world of film is, just to make something completely different that everyone can kind of relate to,” Tews said.  

The inspiration for the film began after the Milwaukee Film Festival in 2018. Tews and Cheslik said they wanted to continue the creative momentum and make a trapper movie including hundreds of mascot animals.  

By using natural resources in the Michigan and Wisconsin weather, Tews and Cheslik said they cast natives from Wisconsin, such as Doug Mancheski, a comedic actor of 25 years, and Wes Tank, a Door County native who is known for his Dr. Seuss raps on YouTube.  

Cheslik said they started the film in 2019 when they began writing. By the time they wrapped filming in 2022, it premiered in August 2022. Since then, it has been playing at film festivals across the country for over a year.  

“It’s been at sixty-plus film festivals and now we are starting the roadshow tour,” Tews said.  

Cheslik said editing in post-production took the entirety of the length of time it took to shoot. 

Cheslik also said post-production editing was constant with the amount of cut-up shots that needed to be edited together to create one fluid scene.

“You might have Ryland walking into the frame. But the thing in the right-hand corner was shot on another day, and then these trees in the background were shot on another day. And the beaver has to interact with the shot on another day,” Cheslik said.

Tews and Cheslik hope to convince people to get up and go out to see this movie in a theater by touring on the Great Lakes Roadshow.  

“You make it more of a fun thing than just sitting in a quiet theater and watching an Indie film. It’s an event, you make it a whole thing and there’s going to be beavers there and other animals and stuff,” Cheslik said.

Tews said he continues to edit and polish scenes as not every element is on screen. Both creators hope to make Wisconsin proud of something that was made in its backyard.  

“It just seems to keep going, we’re doing this tour and then there is a bunch more. Thirty something theaters have booked so far for a normal theatrical release and there’s a New York and LA screening. So, if things continue the way they’re going, it seems like nine years from now we will still be promoting this film and going to screenings, but it’s a dream come true,” Tews said.

Tews and Cheslik will both attend the Oriental Theatre on premiere day and say they hope to leave the audience feeling joyful.  

“If you can just turn your brain off for an hour and 45 minutes, just go there, and have a good time, just let loose,” Tews said.  

This story was written by Mimi Sinotte. She can be reached at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributor
Mimi Sinotte, Arts & Entertainment Reporter
Mimi Sinotte is a sophomore from Milwaukee, Wisconsin studying Journalism and is an Arts & Entertainment Reporter on the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Aside from this position, you can find her rock climbing with MUFA, reading a good book, creating social media posts for her Marketing Internship with Marquette Dining, or occasionally modeling in Chicago. She is most excited to start writing frequently about topics regarding Arts and Entertainment on campus alongside an amazing and talented female-run desk.

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