Interviews

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.

Polka! – Meet Mollie B.!

Polka! host Mollie B. poses with her squeezeboxWisconsin Public Television’s all-new film Polka!premiering 7 p.m. tonight, March 6! –  goes inside Wisconsin’s vibrant polka culture to see why so many people love this lively dance.

Who better to host this warm tribute than internationally known polka star Mollie Busta, also known as Mollie B.? Ahead of the premiere, WPT’s Erik Ernst caught up with Mollie to talk about how polka has shaped her life and why Wisconsin is such a great polka state.

Continue reading Polka! – Meet Mollie B.!

Behind the Scenes – “Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain”

WPT producer Mik Derks has worked with Jerry Apps since 2012. Photo credit: James Gill.

“[Jerry Apps] gave permission to his audiences to remember their childhoods fondly.” -Mik Derks

Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain premieres 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 on WPT

Over the past five years, WPT producer Mik Derks has been sharing the stories of beloved Wisconsin author, historian and storyteller Jerry Apps with television audiences. This month, the tradition continues with a new documentary: Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain. Reflecting on water’s importance throughout his life, Apps shares why his father told him, “Jerry, never curse the rain.” Continue reading Behind the Scenes – “Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain”

Introducing: What We Watch!

With so many great programs on Wisconsin Public Television, it’s hard to pick favorites – especially for the people who work here! Meet some of the people behind the scenes at WPT and see what gets us excited in this new blog series, “What We Watch.”

Diane Agans, major gifts manager for WPTFirst up: Diane Agans, major gifts manager, who has worked for WPT since 1986.

With two busy teenagers, Diane enjoys programs the family can watch together and discuss – which includes a lot of public television programming!
Continue reading Introducing: What We Watch!

WPT’s “Here & Now” Welcomes the New Year With a New Look

New year, new Here & Now set! Here & Now‘s look has been completely revamped – from a brand-new set design to deeper story possibilities and a fresh logo. Go behind the scenes in WPT’s studios to view the set rebuild, reflect on Here & Now’s history, and hear from Here & Now anchor Frederica Freyberg and Here & Now producer Andy Moore about what they’re most looking forward to in 2017.

Then, tune in to Here & Now tomorrow – 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6 –  to be the first to view the show’s new look.

Continue reading WPT’s “Here & Now” Welcomes the New Year With a New Look

Tribal Histories Q&A: Andy Gokee, Red Cliff Ojibwe

“Our history is an oral history, not written down,” says Andy Gokee, a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. “If it is written down, we don’t pay much attention to it.”

A new season of Wisconsin Public Television’s Tribal Histories premieres Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

federallyrecognizedtribesRecorded in the natural settings of the regions that native people have called home for centuries, these films feature tribal members sharing the triumphs, challenges and time-honored traditions that have shaped their vibrant communities across generations.

The series premiered in 2014 with the Menominee, Oneida and Potawatomi stories. In 2015, the Ho-Chunk, Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican and Bad River Ojibwe stories followed. The series continues with stories from the five other sovereign nations within Wisconsin’s modern boundaries, as well as the Brothertown Indian Nation, whose sovereign status is no longer recognized by the federal government.

All premieres air at 7:30 p.m., following Wisconsin Life.

Red Cliff Elder Marvin DeFoe
Red Cliff Elder Marvin DeFoe

Thursday, Dec. 15: Red Cliff Ojibwe History
Featuring Marvin DeFoe, Red Cliff Ojibwe Tribal Elder, teacher and master canoe maker; and Andy Gokee, director of the Native American Center at UW-Stevens Point

Thursday, Dec. 22: Lac du Flambeau History
Featuring Ernie St. Germaine, Lac du Flambeau Tribal Elder and American Birkebeiner Co-Founder

Thursday, Dec. 29: Brothertown History
Featuring Joan Schadewald, First Nation Brothertown Elder, Cowgirl and Peacemaker

Read on for a Q&A with Andy Gokee.

Continue reading Tribal Histories Q&A: Andy Gokee, Red Cliff Ojibwe

WPT Previews: American Experience’s Mark Samels Takes Us Inside “The Battle of Chosin”

When he visited Wisconsin recently, American Experience Executive Producer, Wisconsin native and University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate Mark Samels talked with Wisconsin Public Television to give a behind-the-scenes perspective on the making of the PBS series’ new film, The Battle of Chosin, which premieres 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Watch an exclusive first look at the first chapter of the powerful film online now.

Q&A: Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin

“Quilting is so much more than making a bed quilt to keep someone warm,” says Nancy Zieman. The longtime host of Sewing With Nancy is excited to present the new Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin special, premiering Tuesday, Nov. 29. at 7 p.m.

Read on to see why and how this unique program came to be.

Continue reading Q&A: Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin

Q&A: Behind the Scenes in the New Season of “Wisconsin Life”

Since the Wisconsin Life project began more than four years ago, producer/reporter Joel Waldinger has been just one of the producers who has worked with WPT videographers to spotlight people and their passions all around the state.

wl-logoAs we get ready for Wisconsin Life’s Season 4 broadcast premiere on Thursday, Sept. 22, check out our Q&A to find out how he and his colleagues search high and low – sometimes literally – for great stories.

Watch Wisconsin Life on WPT 7 p.m. this Thursday, or online now.
Continue reading Q&A: Behind the Scenes in the New Season of “Wisconsin Life”

Preview “Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin,” Coming to WPT This November

Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin, a brand-new WPT  program hosted by Sewing With Nancy‘s Nancy Zieman, premieres 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29 on WPT. In this exclusive preview of the program, quilter and author Natalie Sewell discusses how she first fell in love with quilting and how her art has evolved.

Treasured Quilt of Wisconsin contains interviews, stories and quilts from some of Wisconsin’s top quilters. Nearly 30 quilters and quilts from around the state will be featured, including work by: Diane Gaudynski, Betty Ekern Suiter,  Bruce Seeds, and Wendy Butler Berns.

DVDs of the program will be available at the time of broadcast. Don’t miss the broadcast premiere on Tuesday, Nov. 29!