Arts, Film & Music

WPT Exclusive First Look: Wisconsin Water From the Air

Are you ready to come soar with us again?
Watch an exclusive first look at the all-new Wisconsin Water From the Air.
Coming to Wisconsin Public Television at the end of November 2018.

The all-new Wisconsin Water From the Air takes viewers above, atop and along state waterways that inspire reflection, wonder and adventure. From the routes that the Wisconsin, Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers carve through the state’s landscape to the wide-stretching shores of Lake Michigan, celebrate the waterways that shape Wisconsin.

As we anxiously await this exciting new show, we want you to be the first to take a look inside the program with an exclusive clip from the show’s first segment that explores the wonders of the Wisconsin River.

Looking toward the premiere in November, we will be sharing other new segments from the program each month here on the WPT Blog, along with information on a series of premiere screenings at venues across Wisconsin for you to take in the beautiful imagery and stunning musical score on the big screen before the television broadcast.

Enjoy this clip from the show’s first segment and share this video with your friends!

Director’s Cut: Jim Theres, “The Hello Girls”

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.

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Director’s Cut: Chasing Bubbles

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.

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Director’s Cut: Manlife

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.

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Director’s Cut: The 60 Yard Line

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.

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Director’s Cut: The Smart Studios Story

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.

Watch the trailer:

The Smart Studios Story from wendy schneider on Vimeo.

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.

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New season of Director’s Cut: “The Blood is at the Doorstep”

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.

Watch the trailer:

The Blood is at the Doorstep (exclusive SXSW trailer) from Erik Ljung on Vimeo.

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.

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What We Watch: Matthew Kramer, Special Projects Engineer

Matthew Kramer is a special projects engineer in WPT’s engineering department. Matthew’s days involve defining and reviewing production workflows, coordinating with producers, directors and other WPT staff to keep track of each show’s many moving pieces, and maintaining WPT’s technology and hardware — from studio cameras to routers and intercom systems. 

For the May issue of our member program guide, Airwaves, we caught up with Matthew to learn more about his top public television picks.

Interested in receiving Airwaves in your mailbox? The Airwaves program guide is mailed to supporters who contribute $35 or more to Wisconsin Public Television. Learn more about WPT membership at support.wpt.org.

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What We Watch: Kayleigh Steinback, Audience Services Manager

Kayleigh Steinback leads Audience Services at Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio. If viewers have questions, or if staff members request surveys about our programs, Kayleigh’s team is there – and at our many events, too! For the April issue of our member program guide, Airwaves, we caught up with Kayleigh to learn more about her top public television picks.

Continue reading What We Watch: Kayleigh Steinback, Audience Services Manager