Howie Goldklang

Road trip! 2009 WI Film Festival guide

By - Apr 2nd, 2009 09:00 am
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2009logoWisconsin Film Festival 2009
April 2-5
Madison, WI
608-265-2933 or

Like the nerd at prom with a shitgrin and lipstick pecks on his cheeks, theWisconsin Film Festival comes but once a year. So pack your phone charger and dundies: we’re going to Madison!

Okay, so you found a ride, but now you’re saying “shit, what the hell are we gonna see?  There are 10,000 films stuffed onto a website and print-out schedule.”  Lucky for you, TCD has got your back.  Here is our guide to the films you cannot miss.  Period.


Friday, April 3

1950s Television from the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research

Short-film program
Bartell Theater, 5pm
(USA, 90 mins)

Who Wha?:
In the beginning, there was live television. From the first major broadcasts in 1948 into the 1960s, most shows were telecast live from New York City. Never filmed in the proper sense of the word, many television episodes from the 1950s have been lost to posterity. Those that have survived are unique documents of a forgotten art. These three treasures from the collections of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research are theatrical in the best possible way — and still feature their original commercials!

TCD Says: In a time where people are main-lining Twitter-ed up iPhone heroin, a showcase from the 1950s might be the stiff rehab slap we all need.  Wear a snuggly sweater, settle in and ride the nostalgia.  Featured Directors include Hal Keith, Sidney Lumet, Lou Sposa.  I dare you to IMDB them.  They all have those laundry list careers where you can’t help but curl the bottom lip and give that knowing nod of approval.

Saturday, April 4

3181UNA Y OTRA VEZ (Time and Again)
Short narrative (USA, 2008, 27 mins)
Chazen Museum of Art @ 1:45pm
In Spanish with English subtitles

Written and Directed By: Antonio Mendez Esparza

Who Wha?: Pedro works in a wire basket factory, where someone else is always ready to take his job. He meets a girl, falls in love, and follows his dreams. Filmmakers Antonio Mendez Esparza and Adam McDaid scheduled to attend.

TCD Says: I’ve seen this film and it’s pretty amazing.  I know that’s the high school newspaper review, but I don’t want to give anything away.  Just promise you’ll go?  And the filmmakers will be there.  That’s always cool.


Narrative feature (USA, 2008, 85 mins)
Wisconsin Union Theater @ 3:45pm
Directed, written, produced and edited by: Tom Quinn

Who Wha?:
The New Year Parade follows Jack and Kat McMonogul over the course of a year as their parents separate and struggle with their decisions as past indiscretions are exposed.

TCD Says: This film screened at Slamdance and SXSW in 2008, so you know it’s gotta have some intangible indie film element that will make you smile/feel really uneasy during the awkward sex scene/hurt your eyes — all hallmarks of low-budget indie filmmaking.  Also when the film has one dude as the writer/director/editor/dp, it demands to be seen on sheer props to the filmmaker alone.


Feature narrative (USA, 1974, 104 mins)
8:45pm @ UW Cinematheque
Directed By: Joseph Sargent (IMDB)
Starring: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, Earl Hindman, James Broderick, Dick O’neill, Lee Wallace

Who Wha?: Four highly efficient hoods hijack an IRT subway car and hold 18 people hostage for a million dollars; if the city doesn’t pay within an hour, one hostage will be shot a minute. The Transit Authority, the Police Department, the Mayor and his colleagues all go into frenzied but coordinated action, while the film cuts most expertly between the stalled car and its passengers, the T.A. Command Center, Gracie Mansion and the city streets.

TCD Says: Before Hollywood releases its totally crap summer 2009 remake, see the original.  35mm print.  That’s what’s up.  This is like Speed and Reservoir Dogs set in 1970s NYC.  Also, the director, Joseph Sargent, was born in 1925 and is still behind the camera, directing network TV as recently as 2008.  Damn!


Short documentary (USA, 2008, 24 mins)
Bartell Theater, 3pm
World Premiere
Directed By: Taylor Pipes

Who Wha?: This documentary compares the standard dairies out west (5000-cow operations milked on metal carousels) with small-scale Wisconsin farms (small herds with more pasture). Both claim advantages that the other doesn’t have — so which is better?

TCD Says: California vs. Wisconsin?  Insert Film WI Tax Incentive comment here.  Great local interest film that for once glorifies dairy land instead of making it the butt end of airport swag jokes

Sunday, April 5


#1 (FALL, WINTER 08)
Narrative (USA, 2008, 2 mins)
Bartell Theater @ 1pm
World Premiere, Son!

Directed By: Dannon Raith

Who Wha?: Crisp editing of rapidly shot still photos of leaves, pears, hornets, fish, waves, and snow suggest the changing of the seasons and small-scale wonders.

TCD Says: Dannon is the freshest editor in Milwaukee, so if you want to see the next step in rapid flicker style editing, go see his film.  He is also a self-proclaimed Milwaukee Bucks jinx.  No real point there, just something to nod about as you sip your coffee.  Follow him on Twitter too, dope links.  Oh, and see his film.


Feature documentary (USA, 2008, 102 mins)
Orpheum Main Theater @ 6pm
In English, French, Wolof, Arabic with English subtitles
Wisconsin Premiere

Directed By: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (IMDB)
Cinematographer: Nick Doob, JoJo Pennebaker
Co-producer: Sarah Price
Cast: Youssou Ndour, Fathy Salama, Kabou Gueye, Le Super Etoile de Dakar, The Fathy Salama Cairo Orchestra, Moustapha Mbaye, Peter Gabriel, Neneh Cherry

Who Wha?:
Senegalese pop sensation Youssou Ndour has spent the last 20 years in the spotlight as a world-renowned musician and iconic “voice of Africa.” At the height of his career, Youssou became frustrated by the negative perception of his Muslim faith and composed Egypt, a deeply spiritual album dedicated to a more tolerant view of Islam. It was a critical and career-defining moment. Ndour’s brave musical message was wholeheartedly embraced by Western audiences but ignited serious religious controversy in his homeland of Senegal. Co-produced by Milwaukee filmmaker Sarah Price (American Movie).

TCD Says: Take your kids with their Jonas Brothers posters tucked under their arms to this screening and open their eyes to real, living breathing icon.  Really, not trying to take swipe at pop sensations, this is just a rare occasion where the power of film can create important cultural dialogue that your near-tard Disney kid needs to have.

PS: yes, you bet your booty that’s the Buffalo Stance Nenah Cheery in the cast.  Snap!

Feature narrative (USA, 2008, 78 mins)
World Premiere
Monona Terrace @ 11:15am

Written, Directed and Edited By: Josh Rosenberg
Original Music: Doveman

Who Wha?: Cat’s an average student at Milwaukee’s Shorewood High School. Her family is a typical suburban one: no hardships, but there is a lack of vitality and real understanding. She’s a little innocent, and when an older student reaches out to befriend her, she jumps at the chance to experiment with something new.

TCD Says: Shorewood Holler!  Rosenberg was listed as a VITAL Milwaukee Filmmaker To Watch last year, so watch!  Doveman, who scored the film, recently released the album Footloose, covering the entire original soundtrack from, yes, Footloose.  You are now 1 degree from Kevin Bacon, bitch!

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