Director’s Cut: Shorts

This week on Director’s Cutwe switch things up a bit by focusing on short films. Tune in as I welcome six directors to discuss their work ranging in genre from comedy to drama to the slightly sci-fi – even a touch of the supernatural! It’ll be a fast-paced show, as I only have a few minutes with each director. Short films = short interviews. 

Read on for more!

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Director’s Cut: Keri Pickett and Roy Blakey, The Fabulous Ice Age

It’s all about about the golden age of figure skating on this week’s Director’s Cut! I was delighted to welcome director/producer/cinematographer Keri Pickett and one of her subjects, Roy Blakey, discussing their documentary The Fabulous Ice Age.

The Fabulous Ice Age trailer from Keri Pickett on Vimeo.

The journey begins in 1915, when a young German skater ignites America’s love with dancing on ice. The Fabulous Ice Age chronicles a century of theatrical skating: from Berlin’s Charlotte to America’s Ice Follies, Ice Capades, Holiday on Ice, and the Sonja Henie shows, illustrating how they dominated live entertainment for decades while also depicting one skater’s quest to share this history.

Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with Pickett and Blakey!

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Q&A – Not Enough Apologies: Trauma Stories

A young Everett Mitchell and his sister play on swings.

After addressing issues of gun violence in the 2016 documentary Too Many Candles, Wisconsin Public Television’s Frederica Freyberg wanted to tackle another issue that seemed too big to address in the same program.

Not Enough Apologies: Trauma Stories premieres 8 p.m Monday, May 13. and is available to watch online now.

The one-hour film, produced by Freyberg, explores the lasting effects of traumatic experiences, such as abuse and neglect, on children and adults. It also shares new responses to advocating for, and assisting, trauma victims. Throughout the film, trauma survivors share their stories in their own words.

Read on for an in-depth Q&A with Freyberg on how this sobering yet valuable project came to life.

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Director’s Cut: Carol Brandt, Pet Names

This week on Director’s Cut, it’s my pleasure to welcome director Carol Brandt, discussing her film Pet Names.

Pet Names | Official Trailer from Carol Brandt on Vimeo.

When her chemotherapy-patient mother urges her to take a vacation from playing nurse, grad school dropout Leigh invites her old high school boyfriend along on a camping trip. The two soon find that confronting old wounds during a weekend in the woods is anything but restful.

Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with director Carol Brandt!

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Tune In: “Breakthrough” presents Ideas That Changed The World

Through incredible, lesser-known stories of familiar history, the PBS series Breakthrough – The Ideas That Changed the World captures the secrets of today’s world through surprising accidents, colorful characters, and moments of joy and despair.

Artwork of an explosion with inventions – a jet, a car, a smartphone and more – emanate from the centerBreakthrough presents six iconic modern objects through thousands of years of historical precedents. What discoveries came first? Which inventions and ideas paved the way – and where, and why?

In the fourth episode, The Car, explore the history of the automobile, from its roots in dogsleds to scientists working on the next generation of self-driving cars.

Breakthrough – The Ideas That Changed The World: The Car premieres 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Read on to discover how 9,000 years of innovation set the stage for a machine that continues to excite and move us.

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Director’s Cut: Michael McGuire, “Aquarians”

Welcome to Season 12 of Director’s Cut on Wisconsin Public Television. Helping us shout “Action!” this Friday night is director Michael McGuire, discussing his film Aquarians.

AQUARIANS Official Trailer from Michael McGuire on Vimeo.

After an absence of several years, seminary student Daniel Sullivan returns to his wintry, Wisconsin hometown of Silver River. But if he’s to assist the dying Father Rob, he’s going to need to sway the skeptics who learn that he hasn’t spoken to his younger brother, Jake – a reclusive pot dealer – in years.  

With the help of a young woman from his past, Danny tracks his brother down, and the two embark on a ride of faith, ice fishing, temptation, drugs, and rock ‘n roll on the way to confronting their shared scars from a past tragedy that shaped their lives.

Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with director Michael McGuire!

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What We Watch: Holly De Ruyter, WPT History Producer

Holly De Ruyter poses at her desk.History producer Holly De Ruyter is the producer of a documentary about UW Varsity Band director Prof. Mike Leckrone that will air later this year. She also produced Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club, airing 9 p.m. Saturday, May 4. (WPT Passport members can also watch online!)

Read more about Old Fashioned right here on the blog.

Holly is newer to WPT, joining the station last November, but she’s a longtime lover of public television. (Who isn’t?) Here are some of her top public TV picks, along with some reflections on her craft.

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Q&A: Prof. Mike Leckrone, UW Varsity Band

Over his 50-year career leading the University of Wisconsin Bands, Prof. Mike Leckrone has often spoken of “moments of happiness” – the peaks in life that make the valleys easier to bear. He’s had many of those moments at Camp Randall Stadium and the Kohl Center.

Leckrone flies in with a “jet pack” at the 2019 Varsity Band Spring Concert.

So it’s fitting that “Moments of Happiness” is the title of his final Varsity Band Spring Concert.

Watch the legendary Leckrone take his final bow at the Kohl Center 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4 on WPT, with game day favorites, the best of popular and musical theater standards and (as always) many surprises.

Leckrone took time out of his still-busy schedule to speak with us. Read his reflections – including just what he plans to do after stepping down – in our Q&A below!

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Click, Bid & Win! WPT Online-Exclusive Auction Runs May 1-14

For the first time ever, the annual Wisconsin Public Television Auction will be an online-exclusive event — and it all begins May 1!

We invite bidders to take part in the fun for a chance to win a wide variety of merchandise and services from Wisconsin businesses and individuals.

Proceeds from Auction support WPT programs, outreach and community engagement initiatives, and events that serve to enrich the Wisconsin community.

This year’s Auction will be held Wednesday, May 1 through Tuesday, May 14 and can be accessed online at auction.wpt.org.

With more than 2000 items donated by more than 700 different donors, this year’s Auction is sure to be a memorable one!

Read on to learn more!

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Tune In: Meet the Hedgehogs Premiering on WPT April 7

Yes, that is rock legend and former lead guitarist of Queen, Brian May and yes, he is cradling a curled-up hedgehog. Featured in a new documentary hosted by British naturalist Steven Backshall (pictured at right), Meet the Hedgehogs uncovers the secretive life of the world’s most popular spiny mammal and reveals current efforts to protect them. Meet the Hedgehogs premieres on WPT Sunday, April 7 at 6 p.m.

Read on to learn more about this fun documentary!

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