Badger Film Group, a local Madison-based film group, is set to premiere its latest project and first feature film, “Watch Out,” at the Marquee Theater in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Union South on Thursday. Entry is free, and the first 100 viewers to arrive will receive an Ian’s pizza slice voucher.
In this action-comedy film, two brothers embark on a mission to track down the villains who kidnapped their sister. The bad guys kidnapped the sister in order to get their hands on the brothers' special teleportation watches.
In a conversation with The Daily Cardinal, producer Jared Rosenthal shared, “This movie is a love letter to the city of Madison.”
He explained that every crevice of Madison is featured in its beauty: the lakes, capital building, Camp Randall and more.
Rosenthal founded Badger Film Group, the organization that put on this film. The Cardinal sat down with him to learn about the film and group.
The student team consisted of around 20 actors and actresses alongside a crew of 15. Rosenthal emphasized that the project was a team effort with everyone putting their soul into making the film a success, specifically crediting Blake Switzer and Max Jacobs for their monumental roles on this project.
The idea for the Badger Film Group came about at the end of Rosenthal’s COM ARTS 355 (Introduction to Filmmaking) course, where he found an awesome group of people making films.
He thought, “Why does the filmmaking have to end when the class does?” So, he got the ball rolling — he reached out to friends and classmates, and they started making short films. The group has since won a 48 Hour Film Competition and a WAVE Award from Madison Media Professionals.
However, the organization has greater ambitions. The Badger Film Group wants to make UW-Madison a hub for filmmaking in the Midwest. As Rosenthal explained, the East Coast has NYU and the West Coast has USC; they believe Madison has the potential to be the go-to destination for aspiring filmmakers in the collegiate and broader community. By putting Madison on the map for filmmaking, he hopes to support the growth and success of the industry in the region, he said.
When asked about future plans for the film, Rosenthal shared their plan to submit the film to various festivals and competitions in order to get more exposure and recognition for their work. In addition, Rosenthal expressed a desire to involve the campus and build up the film community in Madison. Rosenthal acknowledged that the film industry can be overwhelming, but with discipline and a step-by-step approach, he believes it possible to successfully execute a project with the magnitude of a feature film. Badger Film Group has proven this to be true with their previous projects and currently have their next two planned out.
When asked about the inspiration for “Watch Out,” Rosenthal said his relationship with his sister was a major driving force behind the creation of the film.
“I did not like the path our relationship was headed down and, upon reflection, realized I had been inconsiderate and intolerant,” he shared.
This realization led Rosenthal to seek change and become a better person. Through the development of the movie, he created a character he wanted to become, realizing through this process that family was most important to him and that he needed to prioritize relationships.
Rosenthal said he wants viewers to walk away from the film with an appreciation of the importance of family, adding that it is never too late to make adjustments in order to improve yourself and your relationships.
He also emphasized that there is no shame in being vulnerable and admitting when you’re wrong; owning up to your shortcomings is a brave and necessary step in order to grow and move forward. This movie highlights just that.
“Watch Out” promises to be an exciting event for film lovers in Madison.
If you can’t make the premier on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Marquee Theater in Union South, you can find “Watch Out” on YouTube.