Tag Archives: PBS Online Film Festival

WPT’s “Little Man” Featured in PBS Online Film Festival

Wisconsin Public Television is pleased to announce that the animated story “Little Man,” produced by our motion graphics designer Philip Ashby, has been accepted into the 2017 PBS Online Film Festival!

From July 17 to July 28, you can watch all 25 films included in the festival. Viewers are also encouraged to vote for and share their favorite films to win the “Most Popular” award.  And, for the first time ever, a distinguished panel of eight jury members will select their favorite film of the festival for the “Juried Prize”. Join the conversation online with #PBSFilmFest.

In this animated story, “Little Man” brings to life the words of Steven Rodriguez. While enrolled in the First Wave Hip Hop Spoken Word and Hip Hop Arts Learning Community at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rodriguez composed a poem inspired by his younger brother nicknamed, “Little Man.”  He speaks to his brother’s struggles with discrimination as a Mexican American and tries to infuse his brother with a sense of hope for the future. He also discusses his experiences being born to a drug-addicted mother, and being a struggling — but dedicated — college student.

In a Q&A with PBS, Ashby discusses why he was inspired by the words of Steven Rodriquez and the creative process behind his animation.

“My creative process usually starts in my sketchbook. After I hear the voice track or read the script, I start doodling and what usually flows through my pencil is a character or a scene that evokes the atmosphere of what I experience with the piece,” Ashby explains. “Once I have a sense of the art direction I create a storyboard, which helps me think about scene transitions and the flow of the visual story.”

Speaking about his choice of color in the film, Ashby says: “The life circumstances of Steven and his brother are bleak. I wanted to express this by creating a dark environment with no light entering this space. By putting the characters onto a black background, I wanted the viewer to sense their isolation and desperation.”

“Little Man” premiered on Wisconsin Public Television in 2016 in an episode of Wisconsin Life.

“I hope the viewers find an appreciation for Steven’s art, which is sincere and authentic,” Ashby says. “Urban artists like Steven share personal expressions that give us an honest look at areas of our community that are unknown or ignored by most of us.”

Read the full Q&A.

It's Film Festival Season

The Oscars are behind us — Jennifer Lawrence no longer dominates the headlines of every website, and Ben Affleck has regained his street cred. So what’s a film lover to do now that we’re officially in the dark months between Oscar buzz and summer blockbusters?

Seems like a good time for a film festival. We’ve got three of ’em (and you don’t even have to leave the couch to enjoy them).

#SheDocs Online Film Festival
In celebration of Women’s History Month, #SheDocs Online Film Festival brings you the best independent documentaries that tell the stories of women and girls defying odds and rising to leadership positions throughout history. (Could it be the first film fest that’s also a Twitter hashtag)?

If film festivals were known for their headlining acts, in the way summer music festivals are, MAKERS would be the #SheDocs headliner. MAKERS: Women Who Make America, a 3-hour film narrated by Meryl Streep, debuted on WPT Feb. 26 to much fanfare and it dominated the social media landscape thanks to engaged viewers like you. A lot of you called in to WPT Audience Services to tell us you want to share MAKERS with parents and children alike. This tweet sums it up best,  “Watching agn! w/my mom (born ’52) & even had the attn of my daughter (born in 2006) 4 a moment!”

Other highlights from the festival include Solar Mamas and Strong! from Independent Lens.

One of the best ways to enjoy the #SheDocs festival is by participating in an upcoming Ovee screening. Ovee offers a way to watch your favorite public television films and connect with other viewers during the screening via social media. Check out all the upcoming #SheDocs Ovee screenings.

PBS Online Film Festival
PBS, this month, happens to be running its own little festival — the PBS Online Film Festival — showcasing 25 short films that feature a diversity of subjects, voices and viewpoints. I’ll plug CatCam. In a short 16-minute film you’ll find out what happens when an owner straps a camera to a cat that constantly disappears from home.

Watch CatCam below and browse all the selections in the 2013 PBS Online Film Festival.


Wisconsin Film Festival Logo

Wisconsin Film Festival
After #SheDocs and the PBS Online Film Festival wrap this month, you’ll have a few days to recover before the Wisconsin Film Festival (WFF) swings into action. The official kick-off (in public tv land, at least) is 9 p.m. Friday, April 5, when Director’s Cut airs it’s annual preview of the WFF. The official lineup will be announced later this month. Stay tuned to wifilmfest.org for details.

Ok careful readers… I fibbed a little bit earlier. You can preview the WFF from your couch, but if you want to see the films, well, that requires changing out of your pajamas and making the trip to downtown Madison for some engagement with the community. The WFF is no SXSW or Sundance, but there’s always a special buzz in the restaurants and theaters the week of the WFF. Hope to see you out there, or online.