Tag Archives: American Experience

What We Watch: Garry Denny

Bringing Wisconsin Public Television’s delightful mix of programming together takes a lot more work than most of us realize. Beyond PBS itself, WPT previews and purchases programs from American Public Television, the BBC, our own local production teams and multiple other independent sources.

Garry Denny

In our latest installment of What We Watch, we chat with Garry Denny, WPT’s director of programming. A member of our staff since 1986, he’s the one who brings it all together: acquisition, scheduling and delivery of programming services on WPT’s six-station network.

Read more to find out what Garry is most looking forward to in WPT’s fall schedule!
Continue reading What We Watch: Garry Denny

Celebrate Women’s History Month on WPT! Part 1

Anne Morrow Lindbergh poses in a leather aviators capFighters, feminists and “firsts” take the screen this month, showcasing the contributions of women in the modern world.

As we created this post, we actually got overwhelmed by the amount of amazing content out there – what a nice problem to have! So we’ve broken these offerings into two posts.

Read on for Part 1: broadcast highlights in the month to come. And keep your eyes open for Part 2: online resources, podcasts, interactive media and more!

Continue reading Celebrate Women’s History Month on WPT! Part 1

Meet Wisconsin’s 2017 PBS Digital Innovator: David Olson

In April, we introduced you to David Olson, chair of the social studies department at Madison’s James Madison Memorial High School. As Wisconsin’s 2017 PBS Digital Innovator, he was one of 52 educators across the country to attend the 2017 PBS Digital Summit. Read their stories.

WPT spoke with Olson shortly after his return from the Digital Summit in San Antonio.

“Having access to high quality digital resources, and finding ways for teachers to connect with one other and foster innovation, can only lead to good things,” says Olson. “It will lead to much better outcomes for students; we’re creating citizens who hopefully will be ready to be full participants in a very different world than the one in which many WPT members might have grown up.”

For more great resources for educators, kids and anyone who loves to learn, visit WPT Education.

Continue reading Meet Wisconsin’s 2017 PBS Digital Innovator: David Olson

WPT Previews: American Experience’s Mark Samels on The Great War

When he visited Wisconsin this past October, American Experience Executive Producer and UW-Madison alumnus Mark Samels talked with us to give a behind-the-scenes perspective on the making of the PBS series’ new film, The Great War – a three-night event that begins 8 p.m. Monday, April 10 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Watch his behind-the-scenes perspective on the film’s creation and then watch a trailer for this powerful three-part documentary, below.

WPT Previews: American Experience’s Mark Samels on Command and Control

When he visited Wisconsin recently, American Experience Executive Producer and UW-Madison alumnus Mark Samels talked with us to give a behind-the-scenes perspective on the making of the PBS series’ new film, Command and Control, which premieres the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 10, immediately following PBS NewsHour coverage of President Obama’s Farewell Address.

Watch his behind-the-scenes perspective on the film’s creation and then watch a trailer for this powerful documentary, below.

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.

A Look Ahead with WPT’s Director of Programming: Fall 2015

 “There are only 21 hours of prime time in the week. We can’t expand time.” – Garry Denny, Director of Programming

The summer is growing short, and as kids get excited about fresh crayon sets, adults anticipate a new broadcast season full of zombies, dragons and political intrigue. I spoke with our director of programing, Garry Denny, to see what exactly goes into crafting a successful fall schedule.

Whitechapel premieres in October

“As with all fall schedules, there’s a great deal of optimism,” Denny says. “We feel like everything we put on the air has a great deal of value to our viewers. Having said that, there’s a certain amount of reality that sets in. There’s a lot of competition out there.” Continue reading A Look Ahead with WPT’s Director of Programming: Fall 2015

'Last Days' Shares Untold Stories from the Vietnam War

American Experience “Last Days in Vietnam” airs 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 28 on WPT. Scroll to the end to see more programs about the Vietnam War.

Ever since the United States ended it’s involvement in the Vietnam War 40 years ago, journalists, filmmakers, historians and countless others have studied and scrutinized the Vietnam War from several angles. So when American Experience asked Rory Kennedy to make a film about the final days of the Vietnam War, her initial response was, “Could I provide anything new.” Fortunately, Kennedy obliged and she managed to uncover one of the most dramatic tales from the Vietnam era.

Sailors push a helicopter off a landing platform of the U.S.S. Kirk to clear room for more helicopters dropping off refugees.

Since its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the Academy Award®-nominated “Last Days in Vietnam” has been seen in communities throughout America, and, according to Kennedy, the overwhelming response is, “I can’t believe we didn’t know this story.”

The film shares how the handful of American diplomats and military operatives that remained in the country at the war’s end engaged in unsanctioned operations to save as many South Vietnamese as possible from the approaching North Vietnamese Army. The film’s narrative is woven with emotional first-hand tales of bravery and gripping footage of the evacuation shot from the U.S. embassy and the Navy ships that awaited the last of the evacuees. It’s a film that is sure to give any viewer a new perspective on U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

“Last Days in Vietnam” is among several programs airing this week that mark 50 years since U.S. combat troops first landed in Vietnam and 40 years since the fall of Saigon. Some programs cover familiar topics, but each provides unparalleled in-depth storytelling and historical accuracy that public television is known for.

Preview “Last Days in Vietnam” and scroll to the end to see the full schedule of Vietnam programs.

Also airing on Wisconsin Public Television
American Experience “My Lai”

8 p.m. Tuesday, April 21
Examine the My Lai massacre, its cover-up and efforts of soldiers who broke rank to halt atrocities.

The Draft
8 p.m. Monday, April 27
The Draft tells the story of how a single, controversial issue continues to define a nation.

Dick Cavett’s Vietnam
9 p.m. Monday, April 27
Explore the war and its impact on America through interviews conducted by the host of The Dick Cavett Show.

The Day the ’60s Died
7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28
In May of 1970, four students were shot dead at Kent State. The Day the ’60s Died examines the event and its fallout.

Last Days in Vietnam
8 p.m. Tuesday, April 28

Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories
Watch Online Anytime
See Wisconsin Vietnam War veterans recount their experiences in a three-hour documentary.

You're Invited: Free Screening of Last Days in Vietnam in Madison

Join Wisconsin Public Television and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs for a free screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary, Last Days in Vietnam.

7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7
Union South Marquee Theater
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1308 West Dayton Street
Madison
Click here for parking information and directions.
No reservations needed. Limited seating – first come, first served.

Coming soon to Wisconsin Public Television, American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam reveals the story of the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon and the South Vietnamese resistance crumbled.

The United States had only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. With a communist victory inevitable and the U.S. readying to withdraw, many Americans on the ground worried their South Vietnamese allies and friends faced imprisonment or death at the hands of the approaching North Vietnamese.

With the clock ticking and the city under fire, a number of heroic Americans took matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese as possible.

Through firsthand interviews with the people who were there and rare archival footage being seen, in some cases, for the first time, Last Days in Vietnam reveals the heartache and heroism of the war’s final moments.

American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam will premiere on Wisconsin Public Television 8 p.m. April 28.

Click here to watch a preview of the film online now.

Online Exclusive: Watch Oscar-Nominated Last Days in Vietnam

Wisconsin Public Television and PBS have long been a home for the best documentary films on series like P.O.V., Independent Lens, Frontline and, here in our state, Director’s Cut. Across the past decade, WPT has also told the stories of our veterans through our award-winning War Stories programs and specials like Wounded Warriors and has supported veterans and their families through community engagement projects, including the ongoing Veterans Coming Home initiative.

That work converges this spring with the premiere of American Experience‘s groundbreaking Last Days in Vietnam.

In April 1975, the North Vietnamese Army was closing in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance was crumbling. Approximately 5,000 Americans remained with roughly 24 hours to get out. Their South Vietnamese allies, co-workers and friends faced certain imprisonment and possible death if they remained behind. Last Days in Vietnam tells the firsthand stories of the bravery, sacrifice and tragedy of those final moments of the war.

The film, directed by Rory Kennedy, premieres on WPT April 28 and has already been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

To make sure public television viewers had a chance to see the film before the award ceremony Feb. 22, PBS and WPT streamed the full documentary online for three days – Feb. 5 – 7.