From his home base in Marinette, writer, director and comedian Pete Schwaba remains connected to the independent film community as host of Director’s Cut, as well as introducing documentaries shown on Independent Lens and POV.
Each year, the Director’s Cut season kicks off with a preview of the Wisconsin Film Festival. Join Schwaba and special guests – festival organizers and filmmakers – 9 p.m. Monday, April 1 on WPT to discuss some of the great offerings in store. Then, come on down to the fest itself from April 4-11, where Schwaba presents the Golden Badger Awards to the best of Wisconsin’s Own films.
Schwaba spoke with us to share some of his favorite indie film picks from past seasons, and what he loves about public TV. Read on!
Continue reading Q&A: Pete Schwaba, Director’s Cut
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.
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Jim Theres, “The Hello Girls”
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.
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Chasing Bubbles
This week on Director’s Cut, it’s my pleasure to welcome Ryan Sarnowski, discussing his documentary Manlife.
MANLIFE – TRAILER from Threshing Media on Vimeo.
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.
Continue reading Director’s Cut: Manlife
This week on Director’s Cut, we take a break from our documentary-heavy lineup and welcome writer-actor-producer Ryan Churchill to discuss his film The 60 Yard Line.
The 60 Yard Line from Gravitas Ventures on Vimeo.
Ben “Zagger” Zagowski is a diehard Packers fan. While he and his fiancée Amy prepare for their wedding, Zagger uses their savings to seize a rare opportunity to buy a house next to Lambeau Field, which he names The 60 Yard Line. His superfan status is elevated, as he spends his days parking cars for money, getting drunk and befriending actual pro football players. In all his drunken tailgating glory, he loses his job and Amy. He must figure out what is most important in his life. Also, where did this cow come from? Based on some true events.
Read more about this film, and about my interview with filmmaker Ryan Churchill.
Continue reading Director’s Cut: The 60 Yard Line
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.
Watch the trailer:
The Smart Studios Story from wendy schneider on Vimeo.
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.
Continue reading Director’s Cut: The Smart Studios Story
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”
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”
The Basilica of Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians is just one of the landmarks of Southeastern Wisconsin that golf fans around the world will become familiar with during this week’s U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills Golf Course.
Fly alongside the beautiful basilica, over Old World Wisconsin and along the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in this beautiful clip from Wisconsin Public Television’s Wisconsin From the Air. Want more? Click here to watch the full show on-demand!
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.