Skills Like This FRI, APR 4 • 8:30 PM 120 TOTAL MIN Chazen Museum 1
Skills Like This
Midwest Premiere • Narrative feature, USA, 2007, color, digital video • 87 min Director: Monty Miranda Writer: Spencer Berger; story: Spencer Berger, Gabriel Tigerman; director of photography: Robert F. Smith; editor: Rock Obenchain; production designer: Pamela Chavez; music supervisor: Shawn Amos; composer: Andy Monley; executive producer: Greg “Freddy” Camalier; producer: Donna Dewey, Tim Gray, Brian D. Phelan, Paul Aaron, Rock Obenchain; associate producers: Judith Wahler, Catherine J. Moore; cast: Paul Neal Rohrer, Robert Markle, Quentin Yamasaki, Winston Ngo, Chelsea Frye, Spencer Berger
Three friends hang out at the diner, gabbing about the lack of prospects in their twenty-something lives. Haven’t you seen this film before? Thankfully, no, because Skills Like This makes a fitfully funny switch when Max, fed up with his own failure as a writer, impulsively grabs his friend’s sunglasses and lopes across the street to the bank. Invigorated by action, he demands cash from the teller, who turns out to possibly be the woman of his dreams. Max is played by Spencer Berger, who turns out to be quite a good writer in real life. The script is concocted of all sorts of loopy adventures in pursuit of a missing bicycle, the $50k in cash, and of course in pursuit of the girl. Winner, Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, South by Southwest Film Festival.
The Sky Turns (El Cielo Gira) FRI, APR 4 • 7:30 PM
WISCONSIN FILM FESTIVAL • MADISON • APRIL 3-6, 2008 • WIFILMFEST.ORG • 877.963.FILM
Wisconsin Premiere • Documentary feature, Spain, 2004, color, 35mm • 115 min Director: Mercedes Álvarez Writer: Mercedes Álvarez, Arturo Redin; cinematographer: Alberto Rodríguez; editor: Laurent Dutreche, Guadalupe Garcia, Julia Juaniz, Sol López, Guadalupe Pérez; producer: José María Lara In Spanish with English subtitles
As spring returns to Wisconsin, take a trip to Spain, to the town that time forgot. La Aldea is a quiet spot in an unremarkable part of the country, and filmmaker Álvarez was the last child to be born there. Returning to explore what’s become of the place, now sparsely populated by elders, she creates an exquisite portrait of a place with a long history and an unknown future. The three-toed dinosaur footprints, the gravediggers at the cemetery, the stump of the giant tree that once stood in the town square — all obsolete. The exception is the Moorish castle now being renovated into a hotel, but the locals sniff at the idea. Like Lavi Ben Gal’s film Eight Twenty Eight, also playing at the Festival, The Sky Turns lets the camera be the eye of the filmmaker, observing with exquisite affection and humor how the more things stay the same, the more 28 they change.
Song Sung Blue
Swopnodanay (On the Wings of Dreams)
Sponsored films of the 40s, 50s & 60s
Almost every major company, national business association, and educational institution produced or commissioned titles intended for staff, customers, or the public. More than the infomercials of today, many of these films used very creative and entertaining filmmaking methods for selling their products. Within these quasi-narratives-advertisements, important aspects of society were documented unintentionally: hairstyles, popular fashions, technological advances, and landscapes where social values become apparent. This selection of films comes to us from the Prelinger Archives, founded in 1983 by Rick Prelinger in New York City. Over the next twenty years, it grew into a collection of over 60,000 “ephemeral” (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films. In 2002, the film collection was acquired by the Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. As a whole, the collection currently contains over 10% of the total production of ephemeral films between 1927 and 1987, and it may be the most complete and varied collection in existence of films from these poorly preserved genres. Program curated by Amy Sloper, UW graduate and Assistant Film conservator, Harvard Film Archive. Notes courtesy of Rick Prelinger, The Field Guide to Sponsored Films, and the Internet Archive (www.archive.org). Full descriptions of each of these titles can be found at 2008.wifilmfest.org.
SAT, APR 5 • 11 PM
110 TOTAL MIN
Play Circle Theater
Song Sung Blue FRI, APR 4 • 10:30 PM 120 TOTAL MIN Bartell Theater
SAT, APR 5 • 4 PM 120 TOTAL MIN Bartell Theater
Midwest Premiere • Documentary feature, USA, 2007, color, digital video • 87 min Director: Greg Kohs Editor: Nicholas Kleczewski; director of photography: Jimmy Sammarco; music: Tony Dekker; music supervisor: Stephanie Diaz-Matos; exec producer: Andrea Mihalik; producer: Greg Kohs; production co: Corn Filmworks, Waitwhat
If you’re one of the lucky ones who saw Lightning & Thunder perform at the Café Montmartre, then you probably already have a ticket to this film. But if you never got the chance to see Lightning (Mike Sardina) singing Neil Diamond songs and standing on the bar wearing nothing but a leather vest and his sequined Stars-and-Stripes boxers, then welcome to the world of Lightning & Thunder. In real life, Mike and his beloved wife Claire are workingclass Milwaukee entertainers who struggle to keep their family together, get the next gig, and pay the rent. The remarkably tragic story of their ups, down, and more downs is laced with their devotion to each other and their drive to weather the storms. Winner, Audience Award and Grand Jury Award, 2008 Slamdance Film Festival.
Spin Cycle SEE: Wisconsin Student Short Films
SUN, APR 6 • 11 AM Play Circle Theater
ORDER CODE: SPONS06 Documentary, USA, color/B&W, digital video • 81 min SERIES: Restorations and Revivals
From the earliest years of cinema, motion pictures have been produced to record, orient, train, sell, and persuade.
(1967, sound, 4 min, color) Production Co: Jam Handy Organization
The Your Name Here Story (ca. 1962, sound, 10 min, color) Sponsor/Production Co: Calvin Communications
The Girl on the Magazine Cover (1940, sound, 9 min, b&w) Sponsor: Chevrolet Motor Co. Production Co: Jam Handy Organization
Leave it to Roll-Oh (1940, sound, 9 min, b&w) Sponsor: Chevrolet Motor Co. Production Co: Jam Handy Organization
Still Life FRI, APR 4 • 5 PM Stage Door Theater
Let’s Make A Sandwich
SAT, APR 5 • 10:30 PM
(1950, sound, 5 min, b&w) Sponsor: Gas Company Production Co: Simmel-Meservey
Stage Door Theater
Design for Dreaming (1956, sound, 9 min, color) Sponsor: General Motors Corp. Production Co: MPO Productions Inc.
Match Your Mood (1968, sound, 7 min, color) Sponsor: Westinghouse Refrigerators Production Co: Jam Handy Organization
American Look (1958, sound, 28 min, color) Sponsor: Chevrolet Div., General Motors Corp. Production Co: Jam Handy Organization
Stages (Tussenstand) FRI, APR 4 • 7:15 PM UW Cinematheque
Wisconsin Premiere • Narrative feature, The Netherlands, 2007, color, 35mm • 80 min Director: Mijke de Jong Writer: Jolein Laarman, Mijke de Jong; directory of photography: Ton Peters; editor: Dorith Vinken; music: Paul M. van Brugge; sound: Kees de Groot & Joost Roskam; producer: Leontine Petit & Joost de Vries; cast: Elsie de Brauw, Marcel Musters, Stijn Koomen, Jeroen Willems, Joan Nederlof, Shireen Strooker, Jennifer St. Jago In Dutch with English subtitles
A distinctive narrative style marks Stages, a new film by Mijke de Jong (Bluebird, WFF06). The story is about Roos and Martin, who are divorced but not yet detached. They meet occasionally, bringing up old arguments and puzzling through what to do about their son, who seems to be the one who is really separating away from the family. Told with a stylized, improvisational tone developed between director and the actors, Stages is mostly set in bars and at restaurants, through the most personal of conversations taking place in the most public places.
Wisconsin Premiere • Narrative feature, Hong Kong, China, 2006, color, 35mm • 108 min Director: Jia Zhang-ke Writer: Jia Zhang-Ke; associate screenwriters: Sun Jianmin, Guan Na; director of photography: Yu Likwai; editor: Khung Jinlei; art director: Liang Jindong, Liu Qiang; production director: Wang Yu; music composer: Lim Giong; artistic consultant: Lin Xudong; executive producer: Chow Keung, Dan Bo, Ren Zhonglun; producer: Xu Pengle, Wang Tianyun, Zhu Jiong; cast: Han Sanming, Zhao Tao, Li Zhu Bing, Wang Hongwei, Ma Lizhen, Lan Zhou, Li Zhubin, Xiang Haiyu, Zhou Lin, Huang Yong, Luo Mingwang In Mandarin with English subtitles SERIES: Undercurrents: Recent Films from China. Presented with the UW China Initiative.
One of four films in the festival about the Three Gorges Dam project, Still Life is made by master filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke (The World, WFF05). Great changes have come to the town of Fengjie due to the construction of the dam. The old town, which has a 2000year history, has been torn down and submerged forever, but its new neighborhood hasn’t been finished yet. There are still things that need to be salvaged and yet there are also things that must be left behind. Such life-changing choices face both Sanming, a miner traveling to Fengjie in search of his exwife of 16 years, and Shen Hong, a nurse who has come to Fengjie to look for her husband who she hasn’t seen in two years. Both Sanming and Shen will find who they’re looking for, but in the process they too will have to decide what is worth salvaging in their lives and what they need to let go of. With an oblique narrative that combines elements of documentary and fiction, Jia is interested in telling a story through visual images more than through linear dialogue, on the ruined landscapes and open spaces. Winner, Golden Lion, 2006 Venice Film Festival; Best Director, 2007 Asian Film Awards.