Tag Archives: Film

Director’s Cut: Manlife

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

Director’s Cut: The 60 Yard Line

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

Director’s Cut: The Smart Studios Story

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

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”

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”

See Holy Hill and Other Scenes From Around Wisconsin’s U.S. Open Golf Course From the Air

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!

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.

Preview: Wisconsin Film Festival 2017

The Wisconsin Film Festival is the state’s premier cinema event, featuring local filmmakers anmovies shot in the state, as well as a diverse range of national and international films. Celebrating its 18th year in 2017, it takes place in Madison from March 30 to April 6.

In this year’s Director’s Cut special episode Wisconsin Film Festival 2017, host Pete Schwaba sits down with the Jim Healy, the festival’s director of programming, to preview this year’s selection of films from a variety of categories. From American visionaries to films by new female directors and even pre-teen filmmakers, Healy’s selections on the program particularly showcase movies made right here in Wisconsin.

“We program thinking about the audience,” Healy says. “We’ve picked the best films from festivals around the world, and films that have been submitted to us in our Wisconsin zone section, to make a festival of festivals.”

With a look at five films screening at the festival, Schwaba and Healy are joined by:

Director Andrew SwantSilently Steal Away: The film explores the story behind the Jack Raymond Show, which has aired on an eccentric Chippewa Falls radio station. But who is Jack Raymond?

Director Mark Davis and subject Jan JensenThe Bear and the Owl: This short documentary film explores the story of an ailing young girl and the kindness of a stranger.

Director, producer and screenwriter Katherine AcostaDivided We Fall: This documentary looks back at the massive 2011 protests inside the Wisconsin State Capitol against Act 10. The investigation revisits many issues that remain relevant in a post-2016 election America.

Co-directors Wesley Morgan & Kate FeldtFake Jewels: This nostalgic and comedic movie explores a long-lost friendship as two women attempt to find a time capsule buried a decade ago.

Editor Luke Bassuener and fifth graders Jaeana Sabally and Jalen Baumback (directors, cast, writers)Daedalus and Icarus: Students in the 4th grade classes of Madison’s Crestwood Elementary School animate the classic Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus, using block-print and paper-cuts. This film has been awarded one of only three 2017 Golden Badger Awards as a top Wisconsin’s Own honoreee.

Director’s Cut airs Monday, March 27 at 8 p.m. on Wisconsin Public Television.

Wisconsin Public Television is a proud sponsor of Wisconsin’s Own, hosting a brunch each year for the festival’s film industry guests. This year, more than 150 people submitted films to be considered for Wisconsin’s Own.

Quiz: Polka in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, polka is tied to our identity like beer, brats and cheese! But, how much do you actually know about the music and dance?

Test your knowledge with this 10-question quiz!

And tune in Monday at 7 p.m. for Polka! with musician and host Mollie Busta — better known as Mollie B. — as she explores the history and culture surrounding the often misunderstood dance, the memories it conjures, the people who enjoy it … and the fun it invokes across Wisconsin. Watch the preview and read our interview with Mollie B.

Ready to get out your dancing shoes? Find polka across Wisconsin by exploring this map that lists venues with weekly music and annual festivals.

Funding for Polka! is provided in part by the Stanley J. Cottrill Fund, International Polka Association, Wisconsin Dells Polka Fest, and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.