Garry Denny is Director of Programming for Wisconsin Public Television. He is responsible for the acquisition, scheduling and delivery of programming services on WPT, and each month, he gives you the inside scoop on the best new programs in his post “A Look Ahead.“
“Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”
I can say without even a hint of doubt that Wisconsin Public Television is THE broadcast home for independent film. Sure, there’s a cable channel called Independent Film Channel, but trust me when I say that the vast majority of their schedule consists of films produced by the major Hollywood studios. The fact is we air more hours per month of true independent media work than any other broadcast or cable channel available on the dial. One of our hallmark series, Independent Lens, presents a very special film this month starring everyone’s favorite character Elmo. In “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” we are treated to a rare behind-the-scenes look into the world of artist Kevin Clash, the brilliant creator, voice and hand of Elmo. The film takes us along Kevin’s journey from his early days in Baltimore, dreaming of becoming a part of Jim Henson’s legendary team of puppeteers, to ultimately realizing his goal of establishing himself as a children’s entertainer using his many talents. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Kevin at Sesame Workshop in New York and he is just as engaging and genuine in the film as he is in person. To look at him and realize that Elmo’s voice comes out of his mouth is worth the price of admission alone – which is free to you, by the way. This film is a sheer joy to watch for adults and kids, so gather the family and settle in for a wonderful shared viewing experience. Independent Lens “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” premieres on Friday, April 6 at 9:30 p.m. with an encore on Monday, April 9 at 8 p.m.
Preview Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey
Director’s Cut: Wisconsin Film Festival 2012
Speaking of independent film, April is the month for the Wisconsin Film Festival. This year the fest runs from April 18-22 in several venues throughout Madison. WPT’s ongoing commitment to independent voices and stories, particularly by Wisconsin filmmakers, is highlighted in this annual special of our series Director’s Cut. In this episode we take a sweeping look at the films and directors coming to the festival. Along with great clips from featured films, several directors join host Charles Monroe-Kane in studio for a discussion of their work and a look ahead to their film’s debut at the festival. If you’re a fan of new ideas, new techniques, unique stories and great film, don’t miss this primer for the Wisconsin Film Festival. Director’s Cut: Wisconsin Film Festival 2012 premieres at 8 p.m. Friday, April 13, with encores at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, and 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 18. With three chances to watch you really have no excuse to miss this special.
Visit the Wisconsin Film Festival website.
A four-part series, premiering April 11
It’s not often … in fact, never have I been able to say that a public television series is hosted by a previous winner of the reality blockbuster “Survivor.” But, now I can because we have a wonderful new series starring Yul Kwon, winner of “Survivor: Cook Islands.” In America Revealed Yul takes us on a whirlwind tour of all of the great, vast, complex and fascinating networks that make America run – food, energy, transportation, and manufacturing. I gotta say that Yul makes for an amazing host because he has great screen presence, a natural curiosity, and he is quite easy on the eyes – he was named one of People magazine’s 100 Sexiest. (Need more Yul? His best qualities are on display in this YouTube tribute). In the four-part series Yul takes us on an amazing adventure as he explores close up the complex systems that are required for America to supply food, generate energy, provide safe transportation and make the goods that consumers need and demand. In episode one, “Food Machine,” we’re taken from one end of the country to the other on a journey to reveal just how expansive and intricate our food supply is in this country. From how Domino’s Pizza sources and distributes its ingredients to thousands of stores, to the farm that grows onions to exact specifications for the wildly popular Bloomin’ Onion served at Outback Steakhouse. Spoiler alert: each onion costs approximately 30 cents to produce and transport, and Outback sells the Bloomin’ Onion for $6.99. But, it is mightly tasty and worth every penny.
Catch America Revealed on Wednesdays April 11, 18, 25, and May 2 at 9 p.m.
Visit America Revealed on the WPT Schedule to watch a preview.
Frontline “Money, Power and Wall Street”
“An environment of greed and envy.” That’s a quote from Frontline’s new landmark mini-series covering the history and aftermath of the global financial crisis, circa 2008. In “Money, Power and Wall Street” Frontline’s award-winning financial and political teams seek to answer a fundamental, but complex and critical question: are the world’s financial systems any safer. Because the series is still in production I have not seen the entire program, but from the few minutes I’ve seen I highly recommend that viewers tune in for this extremely important two-part, four-hour documentary. Whether you care about Wall Street or Main Street this mini-series covers a subject that affects us all. Frontline “Money, Power and Wall Street” premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 and concludes the following Tuesday, May 1 at 8 p.m. Each episode encores the following Thursday at 10 p.m.