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.
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.
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.
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.
Film and music lovers, we have a real treat for you this week: the rock documentary The Smart Studios Story, by director Wendy Schneider. Joining her on our Director’s Cut couch is legendary music producer Butch Vig, who is both a subject of the film and its executive producer.
If you’ve ever been touched by the music of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, L7, Death Cab For Cutie (among many, many others), you’ve been touched by the music created at Smart Studios, the legendary recording facility founded by Butch Vig and Steve Marker. Drawing on in-depth-interviews with musicians and producers, never-before-seen archival footage and a powerful soundtrack, The Smart Studios Story tells the story of the pivotal Midwest link to the global rise of Alternative Rock in the 1990’s and the unassuming Madison, Wis. recording studio at its center. The post-70’s explosion of independent music in America has many traceable roots, each with a compelling story. This is one of the most significant stories that has never been told until now.
Read more about this film, and about my interview with filmmakers Wendy Schneider and Butch Vig.
Wisconsin Public Television’s Director’s Cut kicks off its 11th season this Friday! We’ve got a great lineup this season, starting with my first guest: Erik Ljung, director of the documentary The Blood is at the Doorstep.
On April 30, 2014, Dontre Hamilton, a black, unarmed man diagnosed with schizophrenia, was shot 14 times and killed by a Milwaukee police officer responding to a non-emergency wellness check in a popular downtown park.
Filmed over the course of three years in the direct aftermath of Dontre’s death, this intimate verite documentary follows his family as they struggle to find answers and challenge a criminal justice system stacked against them. Offering a painfully realistic glimpse inside a movement born out of tragedy, this explosive documentary takes a behind the scenes look at one of America’s most pressing social issues.
Read more about this film, and about my interview with filmmaker Erik Ljung.
The film’s protagonist is Father Wally Kasuboski, known in Panama as “Padre Pablo.” Though he has lived in Panama for the last 28 years, he is a native of Ripon, Wis. – also Sensenbrenner’s hometown, which is how the filmmakers made the connection with their subject. Their engaging documentary shows how Padre Pablo became the catalyst for bringing clean drinking water and infrastructure to a poverty-stricken region of eastern Panama. Continue reading Director’s Cut: “From Mass to the Mountain”→
This week on Director’s Cut, I’m joined by director Noah Hutton to discuss his award-winning documentary Deep Time. Deep Time explores how the oil boom, one of the biggest in recent history, has affected a small community in North Dakota.
This week on Director’s Cut, it’s all about family, as director Mac Smith joins me to discuss Scouts Honor: Inside a Marching Brotherhood. It’s a solid film about a world I admit I knew very little about. Smith, a Hollywood sound professional, took on this passion project to tell a poignant, insightful and heartfelt story.
The full-length documentary looks at the competitive world of drum and bugle corps, where performers must be offered a contract in order to be part of the team.
Smith knows his topic well; he was a Scout himself. The experience was so enriching that, years later, he dedicated a couple years of his life to telling this story.