Two men sit in a studio.

‘Director’s Cut’ host Pete Schwaba previews the 2023 Wisconsin Film Fest

April 3, 2023 Pete Schwaba Leave a Comment

Hello, friends! Who wants to talk movies? It’s that time of year again. The Wisconsin Film Festival (WFF) is right around the corner and that means that Director’s Cut is on it. That’s right, on Monday, April 10, we will preview this year’s festival (happening April 13-20) to give all you film fans a rundown of what cinephiles should put on their must watch list.

The WFF is celebrating its 25th year. As someone who was honored to be part of this history – my film, “The Godfather of Green Bay,” was featured in 2005 – it gives me great pleasure to welcome fellow filmmakers to the PBS Wisconsin studios to discuss their films every year before they appear at this cool and unique film festival.

Festival programmer Mike King has been involved with the WFF for over a decade and is first up on the show to provide an overview of the entire festival. He discusses venues for this year and was truly excited to let us know that for this year, and this year only, the Hilldale theater (formerly Sundance Cinemas) are back in action after closing recently. Other staples when it comes to local venues are University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cinematheque, The Marquee Cinema at Union South, Chazen Museum of Art and Shannon Hall.

This will sound corny but I assure you I have nothing to gain in saying that I am a big fan of all the venues for the WFF. Shannon Hall and The Marquee provide some of the bigger shows with big crowds and I am a sucker for a balcony! The Chazen is pristine and new. Cinematheque is old and comes with its own unique charm. I actually love seeing films at Cinematheque, mostly because of the films they choose to grace the screen, but also because it screams UW-Madison and smells like the movies. That’s right, folks — movies have a smell and it’s beautiful. It’s hard to describe, but that smell is alive and well at Cinematheque. If I was involved in marketing for this festival, I would pitch the following: Cinematheque – come and smell the movies!

That was some tangent. Now, back to King’s appearance on Director’s Cut. He also discusses how he would brand the festival and what makes it one-of-a-kind.

Then, we welcome Milwaukee filmmaker Chris James Thompson to discuss his film, “We Are Not Ghouls,” which recently won the audience award at South by Southwest. His film beat out some other heavy hitters that were also up for the award, including a film about Nolan Ryan in Texas. Yes, it’s an excellent film. Thompson’s stories about the making of the film and how he found the project are equally entertaining. Thompson has been on Director’s Cut before to discuss a haunting film called “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files.” He’s a marvelous talent and a great interviewee.

I also have the pleasure of interviewing filmmaker Scott Krahn. We discuss his really unique short film about blind bowlers titled, “Friday Night Blind.” You read that right. Krahn encountered a neighbor who was blind and also part of a trio of ladies who are all blind and bowl together – without bumpers! They are lovely to watch and although none of them will be mentioned in the same breath as famous American bowler Dick Weber, they can trash talk with the best of them!

Following Krahn are Mary Moskoff and Dan LaCloche, the filmmaking team behind the narrative short, “Mondale Courting.” This was an interesting and therapeutic project for director Moskoff. She explores how one neighborhood in Madison dealt with lockdowns during COVID-19, while she was also dealing with the loss of her husband.

Also taking a seat on the Director’s Cut couch once more is Wesley Morgan. He discusses his film, “Expiration Dates,” which tells the story of his grandfather’s hobby of collecting obituaries. Our discussion is about as lighthearted as it can get given the subject matter. As one might expect, Wesley’s grandfather has a pretty good attitude about death.

Closing out the show is Owen Klatte, director of the experimental short film, “Of Wood.” Klatte uses stop-motion animation and combines that with woodworking. That’s right, Owen found the two most tedious pursuits in life and combined them into one venture. As you might expect, his project took a very long time to make and was very ambitious. All filmmakers need to be patient, but Klatte’s filmmaking resolve is above and beyond. This will make more sense if you tune in to the show. And he brought one heck of a show-and-tell piece.

See as many films as you can this year to help the WFF celebrate the 25th! Hope to see you there and hope you can join me for our Director’s Cut preview of this year’s festival which is now streaming on the PBS App and airing 9 p.m. Monday, April 10 on PBS Wisconsin – your home for independent film.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *