A documentary portrait of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a string band from Raleigh, North Carolina, and their mentor, fiddler Joe Thompson (1919—2012). The film captures how three musicians from the hip-hop generation embraced a 19th-century genre and took it to new heights, winning a Grammy in 2010. The story of the band’s rise, from busking on the street to playing major festivals, is informed by the history of the banjo’s origins in Africa, and the untold story of the black string band tradition.
Read on to learn how this film owes its existence to great timing – and see a special bonus video from right here at WPT!
Yen Ching takes an intimate look at how a typical Chinese restaurant owner, and his children, practice their very different American dreams. The film sheds light on their lives as it explores the owner’s dilemma. Neither of his sons, for very different reasons, want to follow the traditional Chinese/Chinese-American path in which children take over the family business.
Read on to learn more about this film, as well as director Yinin Wang’s unique connection to his subjects!
This week on Director’s Cut, we switch things up a bit by focusing on short films. Tune in as I welcome six directors to discuss their work ranging in genre from comedy to drama to the slightly sci-fi – even a touch of the supernatural! It’ll be a fast-paced show, as I only have a few minutes with each director. Short films = short interviews.
The journey begins in 1915, when a young German skater ignites America’s love with dancing on ice. The Fabulous Ice Age chronicles a century of theatrical skating: from Berlin’s Charlotte to America’s Ice Follies, Ice Capades, Holiday on Ice, and the Sonja Henie shows, illustrating how they dominated live entertainment for decades while also depicting one skater’s quest to share this history.
Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with Pickett and Blakey!
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.