This week on Director’s Cut, it’s our pleasure to welcome the final guest of our 11th season: director Jim Theres, discussing his documentary The Hello Girls.
In a year which has seen some of the best guests and films we’ve ever had on our show, Theres is under serious pressure! But he rises to the challenge, bringing his A game in both his interview and his film.
They were known as the “Hello Girls” – American women fluent in French and English who answered the urgent call for telephone operators needed in France during World War I.
They took oaths to join the U.S. Army Signal Corps, underwent training by AT&T before boarding ships to Europe, heading to war before most of the American doughboys arrived in France, connected 26 million calls and ultimately proved to be a significant factor in winning the war.
And then they were forgotten.
Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with filmmaker Jim Theres.
It’s three guests for the price of one on this week’s Director’s Cut. I really enjoy having multiple guests on the couch at the same time, and this week, viewers get a taste of filmmaking from three different perspectives. The film is called Chasing Bubbles and its director is Topher Cochrane. “Bubbles” is a documentary about a day trader from Chicago who gave up the yuppie lifestyle to buy a sailboat and travel the world.
At age 90, Merle Hayden has a lot to do. A devout follower of Lawsonomy (a utopian movement begun by Alfred Lawson, inventor of the first passenger airliner), Merle feels Lawson provided the answers to many of America’s economic and social problems. So why was Lawson written out of the history books? And why isn’t anyone listening?
Using a wealth of archival photos, films, and audio tapes collected by Merle, MANLIFE tells the story of Alfred Lawson’s attempts to make history and Merle’s unrelentingly quest to save humanity before he runs out of time.
Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with filmmaker Ryan Sarnowski.
Film and music lovers, we have a real treat for you this week: the rock documentary The Smart Studios Story, by director Wendy Schneider. Joining her on our Director’s Cut couch is legendary music producer Butch Vig, who is both a subject of the film and its executive producer.
If you’ve ever been touched by the music of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, L7, Death Cab For Cutie (among many, many others), you’ve been touched by the music created at Smart Studios, the legendary recording facility founded by Butch Vig and Steve Marker. Drawing on in-depth-interviews with musicians and producers, never-before-seen archival footage and a powerful soundtrack, The Smart Studios Story tells the story of the pivotal Midwest link to the global rise of Alternative Rock in the 1990’s and the unassuming Madison, Wis. recording studio at its center. The post-70’s explosion of independent music in America has many traceable roots, each with a compelling story. This is one of the most significant stories that has never been told until now.
Read more about this film, and about my interview with filmmakers Wendy Schneider and Butch Vig.
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.
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.
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.
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”→