Interviews

Friends of WPT Board: Meet Masood Akhtar

Masood Akhtar

Elected to the Board of the Friends of Wisconsin Public Television just a few months ago, Masood Akhtar, of Middleton, is adding service to WPT to his already impressive list of activities.

Read on to learn more about this community activist and the experience he hopes to bring to the Board!

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Q&A: Thomas Allen Harris, Family Pictures USA

We know our family history through the images we retain: albums, videos, memories. What kind of story do these images tell when we look at the bigger picture?

Premiering Aug. 12 and 13 on PBS, the three-part series Family Pictures USA explores American communities through the lens of family photo albums, unearthing rich personal stories that expand our understanding.

Host, director and executive producer Thomas Allen Harris spoke with Wisconsin Public Television to share some of his reflections. Read on for more!

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What We Watch: Mouna Algahaithi

Mouna Algahaithi is a smiling woman wearing a jean jacket and a draped pink headscarf.Mouna Algahaithi, WPT’s new education engagement specialist, started at the station as an education and community engagement intern in May of 2018. She’s been full-time since last January, working on WPT Education programs such as implementing Ready to Learn curricula around the state as well as bigger events such as Get Up and Go.

Read on for some of her top public TV picks – and why the mission of WPT and the PBS Kids 24/7 Channel is so important to her!

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What We Watch: Deb Piper

Headshot of a smiling Deb PiperDeb Piper, producer and manager of remote production, has worked in public broadcasting for 30 years – almost all of it right here at Wisconsin Public Television.

She’s particularly proud of the miles our crews have traveled throughout the state, capturing music in intriguing venues. One of them includes beautiful Madeline Island in Lake Superior, where WPT crew captured world-class chamber music from talented young artists. Music From Madeline Island premieres 8 p.m. Monday, June 10.

Read on for some of Deb’s public TV favorites!

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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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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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Q&A: Andy Soth, Portraits From Rural Wisconsin

Portraits From Rural Wisconsin premieres 8 p.m. Thursday, April 11 on Wisconsin Public Television. Through a series of interwoven personal essays, see why some western Wisconsin residents still say that “rural life is the best life” – even in the face of hardship and change.

Andy Soth headshotProducer/reporter Andy Soth, whose work has appeared on Here & Now, WisContext and Wisconsin Life (among others), spoke to us about the multi-year process that has brought these unique visual essays to life.

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Q&A: Pete Schwaba, Director’s Cut

Pete SchwabaFrom his home base in Marinette, writer, director and comedian Pete Schwaba remains connected to the independent film community as host of Director’s Cutas well as introducing documentaries shown on Independent Lens and POV.

Each year, the Director’s Cut season kicks off with a preview of the Wisconsin Film Festival. Join Schwaba and special guests – festival organizers and filmmakers – 9 p.m. Monday, April 1 on WPT to discuss some of the great offerings in store. Then, come on down to the fest itself from April 4-11, where Schwaba presents the Golden Badger Awards to the best of Wisconsin’s Own films.

Schwaba spoke with us to share some of his favorite indie film picks from past seasons, and what he loves about public TV. Read on!

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Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club-Q&A With Holly De Ruyter

Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club is a documentary premiering 8 p.m. Thursday, March 14 on Wisconsin Public Television.

The documentary explores the cultural and historical events that shaped supper club culture in the badger state. Current supper club owners and patrons discuss the institution’s past and imagine its future.

Filmmaker and WPT history producer Holly De Ruyter sat down with us to talk about the documentary.

Read on to learn more!

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