Local producers shoot HD doc footage for Phish’s Aug. 2 concert airing on PBS

By having been in the right place at the right time, Wiggle Puppy Productions’ director Mark Krieglstein and producer Sara Yule were hired to provide the documentary footage that was incorporated into “IT: A Phish Concert Special” airing over national PBS Aug. 2.

The 90-minute special follows the band, along with 60,000 loyal Phish fans from all over the world who trekked to “IT,” a two-day concert/festival in remote Limestone, Maine marking the end of their summer 2003 tour. (The 21-year old band will break up at the end of their summer 2004 tour.)

Just three weeks before the Maine event, the band’s co-managers, John Paluska and Jason Colton, hired Wiggle Puppy “to generally document the concert and the event, including the many art installations, the backstage antics and production and fan interviews,” said Krieglstein.

Wiggle Puppy assembled a 10-person crew to shoot in HD and miniDV, working with Fletcher Chicago to supply HD packages. Phish’s stage crew of 50 shot the concert.

“The highlight of the shoot was definitely the tower set,” said Krieglstein, referring to filming the band playing a surprise set atop the Air Force Base control tower; five cameras were used at the top of the tower and six at the base to capture it.

“There is nothing more exhilarating then being a hundred feet in the air trapped between the energy of 60,000 fans and Phish. It’s without a doubt some of our best work,” Krieglstein remarked.

Krieglstein and Yule first connected with Phish at a Phish festival in Oswego, N.Y. where “we were doing a fun video shoot,” said Yule, “and afterwards co-producers of the Phish festivals asked to see our footage.” An assignment followed to shoot documentary footage of the band’s 2000 Millennium Festival at the Florida Seminole Indian Reservation.

Krieglstein and Yule formed Wiggle Puppy Productions in 1998 when they produced their first 35mm feature, “Urban Ground Squirrels.” In 2000 they collaborated with MTV on its award-winning “True Life” series. With a handful of independent films under their belt, they branched into music videos for bands like The Mink Lungs, The Flaming Lips, and Addison Groove Project, and others.

“IT: A Phish Concert Special” was produced and directed by Grammy-winner Mary Wharton; Emmy winners Thom Zany and Alex Hall edited; Grammy winner Elliot Steiner was sound engineer. The show was co-produced by Sugar Camps Films and WGBH Educational Foundation.

Wiggle Puppy’s phone number is 630-263-8891; Email info@wigglepuppy.com.