The Wisconsin Film Festival turns 18 this year, and like most 18 year-olds, we’re going somewhere new. For the first time, we’ll be raising our flag on Madison’s East Side, presenting a full week of films at the historic Barrymore Theatre. The fun begins on opening night with Taika Waititi’s wonderful and hilarious Hunt for the Wilderpeople (left), followed by an after party at the Harmony Bar and Grill. Join us under the Barrymore’s twinkling ceiling stars for a veritable constellation of cinema: uproarious comedies, stylish animation, mind-expanding documentaries, and much, much more.
8 days and over 150 films later, we’ll arrive at Sundance Cinemas Madison for Whit Stillman’s lovely Jane Austen adaptation Love & Friendship. In between, you’re invited to meet your neighbors in our “Mad About Madison” shorts program, a celebration of our fellow residents including folk orchestras, nude cyclists, and a certain flock of especially free-range turkeys. Log on to the digital beyond with Werner Herzog (Lo and Behold). Be awed by Sonita (right), a teenaged girl in Iran protesting her oppression through fierce rap lyrics. Steel yourself for an immersion into the world of competitive tickling (Tickled). Cry along with South Korea’s most popular independent film of all time (My Love, Don’t Cross That River), then dry your eyes for a peek behind the North Korean curtain with Under the Sun. Experience the final films of recently departed masters Al Maysles (In Transit) and Andrezj Zulawski (Cosmos) alongside vibrant debuts from young filmmakers like Anna Rose Holmer (The Fits) and Anita Rocha da Silveira (Kill Me Please). Get in on the ground floor with the US premieres of highly acclaimed films like John From and The Love Witch.
Film is for everyone, and to that end our Big Screens, Little Folks program returns, with programs geared towards junior cineastes from ages 5-11. Madison schools are closed on Friday, April 15 and we’ll be running youth programming all day at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, so get the family together for some quality screen time. If your kids are a little older, earn a year’s worth of cool-parent cred by blowing their adolescent minds (not to mention your own) at Friday afternoon matinees of Phantom Boy (left) and Love & Peace at the Marquee Theater.
The best films are built to last, so be sure to catch some of our repertory offerings. David Bryne and David Bowie get in front of the camera for True Stories and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (right). Our celebration of legendary auteur Robert Altman extends from acclaimed classics like California Split to Corn’s-A-Poppin’, a newly restored industrial-musical-whatsit he wrote in his 20s. And don’t miss an extremely rare screening of Nothing Lasts Forever, an all-but-impossible-to-see 1984 comedy featuring Bill Murray that was recently hailed as a “lost comedic masterpiece” by the New Yorker.
8 days a year, the world comes to Madison. Here are 158 chances to lose yourself to new experiences, to shake off your preconceptions and find yourself in places you’ve never been. Gather with your neighbors and go somewhere new.