Interviews

WPT Previews: American Experience’s Mark Samels Takes Us Inside “The Battle of Chosin”

When he visited Wisconsin recently, American Experience Executive Producer, Wisconsin native and University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate Mark Samels talked with Wisconsin Public Television to give a behind-the-scenes perspective on the making of the PBS series’ new film, The Battle of Chosin, which premieres 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Watch an exclusive first look at the first chapter of the powerful film online now.

Q&A: Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin

“Quilting is so much more than making a bed quilt to keep someone warm,” says Nancy Zieman. The longtime host of Sewing With Nancy is excited to present the new Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin special, premiering Tuesday, Nov. 29. at 7 p.m.

Read on to see why and how this unique program came to be.

Continue reading Q&A: Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin

Q&A: Behind the Scenes in the New Season of “Wisconsin Life”

Since the Wisconsin Life project began more than four years ago, producer/reporter Joel Waldinger has been just one of the producers who has worked with WPT videographers to spotlight people and their passions all around the state.

wl-logoAs we get ready for Wisconsin Life’s Season 4 broadcast premiere on Thursday, Sept. 22, check out our Q&A to find out how he and his colleagues search high and low – sometimes literally – for great stories.

Watch Wisconsin Life on WPT 7 p.m. this Thursday, or online now.
Continue reading Q&A: Behind the Scenes in the New Season of “Wisconsin Life”

Preview “Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin,” Coming to WPT This November

Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin, a brand-new WPT  program hosted by Sewing With Nancy‘s Nancy Zieman, premieres 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29 on WPT. In this exclusive preview of the program, quilter and author Natalie Sewell discusses how she first fell in love with quilting and how her art has evolved.

Treasured Quilt of Wisconsin contains interviews, stories and quilts from some of Wisconsin’s top quilters. Nearly 30 quilters and quilts from around the state will be featured, including work by: Diane Gaudynski, Betty Ekern Suiter,  Bruce Seeds, and Wendy Butler Berns.

DVDs of the program will be available at the time of broadcast. Don’t miss the broadcast premiere on Tuesday, Nov. 29!

Behind the Scenes: Quilt Expo 2016

Quilt Expo 2016 is just around the corner, Sept. 8-10 at the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. In advance of the three-day expo, Wisconsin Public Television spent the day with Nancy Zieman to find out what goes into making Quilt Expo the ultimate quilting adventure. From storing contest quilts to prepping samples to making media appearances, preparing for Quilt Expo is a year-round production.

Escape, Create and Celebrate at Quilt Expo. Purchase discounted advance tickets at QuiltExpo.com through Sept. 5. Admission tickets and registration for remaining class openings will be available on-site during Quilt Expo.

Director’s Cut: Roger Rapoport, Richard Riehle and “Pilot Error”

On this week’s Director’s Cut, it is my pleasure to welcome two very esteemed guests to discuss the film Pilot Error. The film’s producer, Roger Rapoport and renowned character actor, Richard Riehle, join me in studio. Rapoport is one of the most innovative producers I’ve met in the indie game when it comes to getting films made, from lining up financing all the way through post production. Riehle has appeared in over three hundred films and made countless television appearances. Two of his most notable credits include Office Space and Casino. Riehle is a native Wisconsinite, born and raised in Menomonee Falls.

Pilot Error is an ambitious project for an indie producer but Rapoport and his team were up for the challenge. When a film involves a plane crash, it’s hard not to think “big studio budget.” The film has a nice narrative about an investigative reporter who loses a friend in a plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean, and loses her job to uncover the truth. The production value is excellent for an indie film. Emmy Award-winning composer Garth Neustadter scored the film.

Pilot Error has not only played in hundreds of theaters thanks to an ambitious self-distribution campaign, it has also helped change regulations in the airline industry and bring awareness to issues such as faulty equipment. Rapoport is as proud of the whistle blowing aspect of his film as he is of the film itself. Continue reading Director’s Cut: Roger Rapoport, Richard Riehle and “Pilot Error”

First look at Sherlock Season 4… and some extra tidbits

Flip up your coat collars, Cumberbunnies and… Watseekers? The First Look trailer for Season 4 of Sherlock went live yesterday, as Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) and Amanda Abbington (Mary Watson) joined executive producers Mark Gatiss (also Mycroft Holmes) and Steven Moffat on a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Let’s watch.

We last saw our friends when the deliciously gaslit Sherlock: The Abominable Bride aired on Masterpiece on New Year’s Day. As of July 24, the team was two weeks from finishing filming for Season 4.

So … what do we see? Continue reading First look at Sherlock Season 4… and some extra tidbits

Director’s Cut: Rob Cohen & “Being Canadian”

This week on Director’s Cut,  it is my pleasure to welcome accomplished writer/director Rob Cohen to discuss his very funny documentary Being Canadian. Rob’s body of work as a comedy writer is impressive. His writing credits include The Simpsons – he wrote the ‘Flaming Moe’ episode –The Ben Stiller Show & The Big Bang Theory. Most recently he was working on podcast phenomenon Marc Maron’s show as both writer and director.

Being Canadian is Rob’s love letter to his homeland but was educational for him as well. It is an extremely well-directed and well-produced film, and as with most of Rob’s creations, it’s very funny and very dry. Rob interviewed tons of celebrities, most from Canada and a few from here in the States. The interviews are interesting, funny and set in some crazy locales. As a comedy writer and self proclaimed student of the craft myself for many years, even I was surprised at how many great comedians and writers are from Canada. Their ratio of great comedy writers to actual residents probably far outweighs what we have here and it hurts at little. Well, okay a lot. But at least it’s a little warmer here? 

As great an interview as Rob is, he was a great sport too, hanging out to riff and do some improv with me as we delved into his mysterious Hollywood legend that he always downplays. We explored the ‘myths’ of his career like – Is the Milhouse character from the Simpsons really based on you? Did Aimee Mann really write a song that was inspired by you? Is there an action figure from Austin Powers 2 based on your character? And of course Did you really have a classmate named, Peter Poontip? Be sure to check out the web extras for the answers. Continue reading Director’s Cut: Rob Cohen & “Being Canadian”

Director’s Cut: J.T. Arbogast & “Angel’s Perch”

This week on Director’s Cut, we welcome writer-producer-actor J.T. Arbogast to discuss his film Angel’s Perch. Arbogast, who makes his home in Los Angeles, hails from West Virginia. It’s a place he is still very fond of and where Angel’s Perch was shot. He was happy to come to Madison to discuss his passion project which hit very close to home and was semi-autobiographical.

Angel’s Perch is about hot-shot architect Jack, who is handed the project of a lifetime. At the same time, he is dealing with the death of his young wife, and his grandmother’s ailing health and dementia. Yes, the film has a lot going on emotionally, but Arbogast and his team pull it off. The plot has a little something for everyone, from young busy professionals more focused on their careers to those who know or have dealt with relatives dealing with a family member with dementia. Arbogast is a good actor and portrays an earnest and compassionate leading man as his story unfolds. 

In addition to writing chops, Arbogast has an eye for comedy and a background as well. He studied improv comedy for years and brought his talents to this personal story. Angel’s Perch is peppered with comedy throughout the film and it is well placed. It happens just when the viewer needs a break from heavier plot moments. Angel’s Perch is folksy and will tug on the heart strings just the right amount and make you laugh a little, too. Join us this Saturday night at 10 p.m. for Director’s Cut and Director’s Cut Presents on Wisconsin Public Television…your home for independent film!

Director’s Cut: Mike Batayeh & “Detroit Unleaded”

This week on Director’s Cut,  we welcome actor Mike Batayeh to discuss the film Detroit Unleaded. Mike is a co-lead in the film and while I primarily talk to directors and producers, I think it’s great to get a perspective from an actor’s point of view. Mike is animated and passionate about the film plus has a long list of acting credits. 

Detroit Unleaded tells the story of a young Arabic couple who meet at a gas station run by Sami (E.J.  Essi) in inner city Detroit. Sami takes over the operation after his father’s death and has bigger dreams. But when he meets Naj, played by the beautiful Nada Shouyahib, it helps ease the pain. Batayeh plays Sami’s cousin who has big entrepreneurial plans for the two of them as they compete with the more upscale, successful station in the neighborhood. Continue reading Director’s Cut: Mike Batayeh & “Detroit Unleaded”