Tag Archives: Documentary

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.

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

My Favorite Things: Carol Griskavich

Carol jpg headshot, croppedAs 2018 begins, we’re looking back on some of our favorite memories of the last year. From favorite programs to community events, this was a big year, with fun run-ins and meaningful moments.

Today’s memories come from Carol Griskavich, WPT’s community engagement coordinator – a brand-new position at the station this year. Read on to find out what she’ll remember the most from 2017!

Continue reading My Favorite Things: Carol Griskavich

“Our House: The Wisconsin Capitol” – Coming Nov. 27

Michael Bridgeman hosted Wisconsin Public Television’s Remarkable Homes of Wisconsin in 2015. As an architecture aficionado and history buff, he brought curiosity and appreciation of the homes’ forms as well as their very human functions. Now, Bridgeman returns to television with a portrait of the state’s architectural crown jewel.

Our House: The Wisconsin Capitol premieres 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27 on WPT.

We asked Bridgeman to share his thoughts on the many reasons this building resonates with the state’s residents. Read on for more!

Continue reading “Our House: The Wisconsin Capitol” – Coming Nov. 27

Nature returns to Wisconsin with “Charlie and the Curious Otters”

A baby river otter is fed from a bottle.Two weeks, two episodes of Nature with Wisconsin ties… we swear this isn’t just an excuse to post adorable images of baby animals, but it sure is a good opportunity to do so!

“Charlie and the Curious Otters” takes us to the Amazon, the UK, a crystal-clear river in Florida and the Wild Instincts wildlife rehabilitation center outside Rhinelander in Wisconsin’s Northwoods.

Read on to learn about this unique – and necessary – facility, and how renowned wildlife photographer Charlie Hamilton James discovered what baby otters need to get back into the wild.

Nature: Charlie and the Curious Otters aired 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25 on WPT. Check out the full episode below.


Continue reading Nature returns to Wisconsin with “Charlie and the Curious Otters”

Who are the Canids in Your Neighborhood? “Nature” Knows.

Foxes can make their homes almost anywhere. Nature’s episode “Fox Tales,” premiering 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, takes viewers to the homes they’ve created along the rugged Newfoundland coast and into the Arctic tundra of Manitoba.

But some footage may seem more familiar to Wisconsin viewers: the streets and yards of Madison’s University Heights neighborhood, just up the hill from Camp Randall Stadium and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Read on to hear about Nature’s visit to Madison, the researchers – and homeowners! – who are encountering foxes and coyotes in residential neighborhoods, and what to do if you see a furry visitor in your area.

Continue reading Who are the Canids in Your Neighborhood? “Nature” Knows.

Director’s Cut: “From Mass to the Mountain”

This week on Director’s Cut, I welcome Kurt Sensenbrenner and Colin Sytsma, the creative team behind the documentary From Mass to the Mountain.

Watch the trailer:

From Mass to the Mountain – Official Trailer from Kurt Sensenbrenner on Vimeo.

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”

Director’s Cut: Noah Hutton and “Deep Time”

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. 

Watch the trailer:

Hutton’s first film Crude Independence, executive produced by Jonathan Demme, also dealt with the oil boom in North Dakota. He has dedicated a big part of his young life to telling two stories about this hot-topic issue and industry. You’d be well served to watch one of them this Friday night.  Continue reading Director’s Cut: Noah Hutton and “Deep Time”

Director’s Cut: Mac Smith and “Scouts Honor: Inside a Marching Brotherhood”

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.

Poster for Scouts HonorThe 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.

Continue reading Director’s Cut: Mac Smith and “Scouts Honor: Inside a Marching Brotherhood”

Experience the Sounds of Solitary

What does solitary confinement sound like? In the short film below from our colleagues at FRONTLINE, experience a solitary existence that is anything but silent. Then, join us Tuesday night at 8 on Wisconsin Public Television for the powerful new FRONTLINE documentary, “Last Days of Solitary.” In the film, producers take us inside a Maine prison to learn what happens when prisoners from solitary confinement try to re-enter society, and why leaders in that state are trying to decrease its use of this isolating correction tactic.

Click here to listen to an exclusive Wisconsin Public Radio interview with FRONTLINE Executive Producer and UW-Madison alumna Raney Aronson-Rath from her recent visit to Wisconsin.

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.