We wrap up Season 12 of Director’s Cut with an excellent music documentary. Director John Whitehead rolls into town to discuss his film Don’t Get Trouble in Your Mind: The Carolina Chocolate Drops Story.
A documentary portrait of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a string band from Raleigh, North Carolina, and their mentor, fiddler Joe Thompson (1919—2012). The film captures how three musicians from the hip-hop generation embraced a 19th-century genre and took it to new heights, winning a Grammy in 2010. The story of the band’s rise, from busking on the street to playing major festivals, is informed by the history of the banjo’s origins in Africa, and the untold story of the black string band tradition.
Read on to learn how this film owes its existence to great timing – and see a special bonus video from right here at WPT!
Continue reading Director’s Cut season finale: John Whitehead
While watching this week’s Director’s Cut, prepare to find yourself craving Chinese food (I’m a Kung Pao Chicken guy).
The documentary Yen Ching takes us to a Chinese restaurant on Milwaukee’s northwest side, watching the family dynamics in play.
Yen Ching (5 mins) from Yinan Wang on Vimeo.
Yen Ching takes an intimate look at how a typical Chinese restaurant owner, and his children, practice their very different American dreams. The film sheds light on their lives as it explores the owner’s dilemma. Neither of his sons, for very different reasons, want to follow the traditional Chinese/Chinese-American path in which children take over the family business.
Read on to learn more about this film, as well as director Yinin Wang’s unique connection to his subjects!
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Yinan Wang, Yujin Wang and Dick Blau, Yen Ching
This week on Director’s Cut, we 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!
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Shorts
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!
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Keri Pickett and Roy Blakey, The Fabulous Ice Age
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!
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Carol Brandt, Pet Names
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!
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Michael McGuire, “Aquarians”
This week on Director’s Cut, it’s our pleasure to welcome the final guest of our 11th season: director Jim Theres, discussing his documentary The Hello Girls.
In a year which has seen some of the best guests and films we’ve ever had on our show, Theres is under serious pressure! But he rises to the challenge, bringing his A game in both his interview and his film.
They were known as the “Hello Girls” – American women fluent in French and English who answered the urgent call for telephone operators needed in France during World War I.
They took oaths to join the U.S. Army Signal Corps, underwent training by AT&T before boarding ships to Europe, heading to war before most of the American doughboys arrived in France, connected 26 million calls and ultimately proved to be a significant factor in winning the war.
And then they were forgotten.
Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with filmmaker Jim Theres.
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Jim Theres, “The Hello Girls”
It’s three guests for the price of one on this week’s Director’s Cut. I really enjoy having multiple guests on the couch at the same time, and this week, viewers get a taste of filmmaking from three different perspectives. The film is called Chasing Bubbles and its director is Topher Cochrane. “Bubbles” is a documentary about a day trader from Chicago who gave up the yuppie lifestyle to buy a sailboat and travel the world.
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Chasing Bubbles
This week on Director’s Cut, it’s my pleasure to welcome Ryan Sarnowski, discussing his documentary Manlife.
MANLIFE – TRAILER from Threshing Media on Vimeo.
At age 90, Merle Hayden has a lot to do. A devout follower of Lawsonomy (a utopian movement begun by Alfred Lawson, inventor of the first passenger airliner), Merle feels Lawson provided the answers to many of America’s economic and social problems. So why was Lawson written out of the history books? And why isn’t anyone listening?
Using a wealth of archival photos, films, and audio tapes collected by Merle, MANLIFE tells the story of Alfred Lawson’s attempts to make history and Merle’s unrelentingly quest to save humanity before he runs out of time.
Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with filmmaker Ryan Sarnowski.
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Manlife
This week on Director’s Cut, we take a break from our documentary-heavy lineup and welcome writer-actor-producer Ryan Churchill to discuss his film The 60 Yard Line.
The 60 Yard Line from Gravitas Ventures on Vimeo.
Ben “Zagger” Zagowski is a diehard Packers fan. While he and his fiancée Amy prepare for their wedding, Zagger uses their savings to seize a rare opportunity to buy a house next to Lambeau Field, which he names The 60 Yard Line. His superfan status is elevated, as he spends his days parking cars for money, getting drunk and befriending actual pro football players. In all his drunken tailgating glory, he loses his job and Amy. He must figure out what is most important in his life. Also, where did this cow come from? Based on some true events.
Read more about this film, and about my interview with filmmaker Ryan Churchill.
Continue reading Director’s Cut: The 60 Yard Line