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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Wisconsin Film Festival begins April 4 to April 11, showcasing a wide berth of films across UW-Madison and surrounding community.

2019 Wisconsin Film Festival: Cardinal preview

The Wisconsin Film Festival is presented by the UW-Madison Division of the Arts in association with the Department of Communication Arts from Thursday, April 4-Thursday, April 11. This is the largest university-produced film festival in the nation at UW-MAdison campus and AMC Madison 6. 

The program will consist of 153 various films that will be featured at different venues: UW Cinematheque, the Chazen Museum of Art, Shannon Hall in Memorial Union, the Marquee in Union South, and AMC Madison 6 at Hilldale. Explore the schedule and buy any last-minute tickets at

Wisconsin Film Festival is known for its diverse film offerings such as American independent, international cinema, documentaries, experimental and avant-garde, restored classions, the Wisconsin’s Own Competition — selections of featuring WI filmmakers, themes or settings — and Children’s Cinema: Big Screens, Little Folks. 

I encourage all to check out the showings and see what you catches your eye. If you need to relax, hang with friends or have a date night, this festival is perfect to explore what they have to offer. 

Here are just a few of the films confirmed to be included:

“Knock Down the House” - A documentary detailing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s amazing rise from a working class bartender to Congresswoman. Director Rachel Lears showcases her on the start of her grassroots primary campaign journey while also complementing it with three other progressive women running Democratic primary challenges across the country. This film won the coveted  FEstival Favorite Award after it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. 

“Woman at War” - Benedikt Erlingsson’s Icelandic comedy focusing on a woman combating climate change with a bow and arrow. Dubbed “Mountain Woman,” the protagonist Halla strives to save the world with absurd comedy and thrill rides. This screening will take place at Wisconsin Union Theater and will include presentations to the local filmmakers who have won this year’s Golden Badger Awards.  

“Good Morning” - Directed by Yasujior Ozu, who is known for his family dramas “Tokyo Story,” this film is a pleasant satire between two children and their weary parents. It will be shown in 35mm print and will feature a post-show discussion led by UW-Madison alumni and “Ralph Breaks The Internet” writer/director Phil Johnston with UW professor David Bordwell.

“Long Day’s Journey Into Night” - This film explores 3D as a way to present this arthouse neo-noir at UW-Cinematheque that will be on a 55mm single tracking shot. It begins in 2D but transitions into a single, unbroken 3D shot that draws the audience into the protagonist’s dream-state and explore the surrealism of the soul. 

“Rafiki” - Wanuri Kahiu’s film received much controversy in their home country, Kenya, for a positive representation of a same-sex romance yet was the country’s first entry in the Cannes Film Festival. Through expressive cinematography, vivid settings and costumes, the relationship between Ziki and Kena are portrayed with a sweet balance of realism and hope. 

“Hail Satan?” - Penny Lane’s hilarious documentary explores the Church of Satan and these so-called devil worshippers. Instead, they’re a righteous cult devoted to exposing the crossbreeding between state and church. They use crazy stunts and expressive performance art to grab headlines by revealing the hypocrisies. 

“Light From Light” - Paul Harrill’s indie drama stars a single mother Sheila (Marin Ireland) who moonlights as a paranormal investigator despite being a skeptic. It distances itself from a horror movie by focusing on the natural acting and authentic relationships between people.

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“Between the Lines” - This restored classic 1977 film directed by Joan Micklin features John Hear, Lindsay Crouse and Jeff Goldblum at the early start of their careers. It centers around the fictional Boston weekly, The Back Bay Mainline, as a tribute to the counterculture alternative weeklies that came about in the 1960s and their financial struggles to contend with changes after being bought by a major publishing company.

“Los Reyes” - A spanish documentary revolves around two stray dogs who take up residence in a  Santiago skate park. This inseparable love due explore the area, play with bottles or lay around in the sun. It’s a true immersion into the subjects’ lives, giving us alternative perspective. 

“Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” - A deeply reverent documentary revolves around one of America’s greatest writers — directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders — granting us a rare experience of Morrison telling her own story. The 87-year old Nobel laureate reflects on her trailblazing career and touches on the African-American experience that is completely absent from the literary canon. Not only is everyone graced by Morrison’s interviews, but Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis, Hilton Als and Fran Lebowitz expanded further on the cultural impact of her work and individual life.

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