In addition to screenings, the Wisconsin Film Festival offers more chances to celebrate film throughout the week of the Fest. We look forward to seeing you at one or more of these events!

Opening Night Celebration

Date: Thursday, March 30, 2017
Time: 5:30 pm
Location: Barrymore Theatre | 2090 Atwood Avenue | Madison, 53704

Tickets: Opening Night Celebration tickets (includes reception, awards and film, limited availability) $25 | Opening Night Film (includes awards and film) $15
Note: Comp codes cannot be used for this event.

We are back at The Barrymore Theatre for a second year in a row, where we hope you will help us kick off the Festival in grand Wisco style. Our evening will start at 5:30 pm with a reception in the Barrymore lobby featuring live music, food, a champagne toast and cash bar. At 7 pm join us in the Theatre proper for our Golden Badger Awards ceremony, your first look at our Festival trailer and our Opening Night program: Transmissions From the Heartland - Wisconsin's Own Short Documentaries. After the movies we will have a special Q&A session with filmmakers and Whad'ya Know's Michael Feldman. After that, take a walk on the wild side with us to the Harmony Bar and Grill for a disco dance party with local favorites, VO5. Let's get this Festival started right, right?

Opening Night Reception | 5:30 PM

Enjoy a spectacular sampling of food from your local favorites and soon-to-be favorites, get your drink on at the cash bar, listen to live music provided by John Thulin and Jeff Hamann, enjoy a champagne toast and get your pick of seats for our opening night films. Limit of 200 tickets for this special start to our Festival on Atwood.

Transmissions From the Heartland - Wisconsin's Own Short Documentaries  & Golden Badger Award Ceremony | 7:00 PM

This year's Golden Badgers, awarded for artistic excellence to a select few Wisconsin Own entries, will be presented to the winners. Pete Schwaba of Wisconsin Public Television's Director's Cut will be on hand to host the ceremony.

Four short documentaries from our Wisconsin’s Own section of the Festival that will remind you why we’re here. The Dundee Project, A Place in the Garden, Silently Steal Away and Whad'ya Do Now? are four glimpses into the lives and times of the eccentric, singular inhabitants of our fair state as they strive to communicate, person to person, over the airwaves, and under the radar. Together these subjects blend to paint a picture of our particularly Midwestern state-of-being. Filled with humor, mystery, and a sense of wonder, we invite you to come spend an evening with us here in the heartland.

Afterglow at the Harmony | 9:30 PM

Madison's favorite disco cover band takes the stage at the Harmony Bar and Grill once again to help celebrate opening night of this year's Wisconsin Film Festival. See you on the disco dance floor!

Special thanks to The Green Owl, The Harmony Bar, Monty's Blue Plate Diner and V05 for their support of our Opening Night Celebration.

Afterglow at Festival Hotels, Presented by Stella Artois

Date: Friday, March 31, 2017
Time: 10:00 pm
Location: The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club | 1 W. Dayton Street | Madison, 53703

Date: Saturday, April 1, 2017
Time: 10:00 pm
Location: Best Western Premier Park Hotel | 22 S. Carroll Street | Madison, 53703

Over the Festival's long weekend, come bask in the afterglow of the day's events after the last films of the evening have screened. Join us for conversation and merrymaking at our Festival hotels. Live music will be provided by Madison Red and The Band That Time Forgot on Saturday evening. Enjoy drink specials, featured appetizers and the chance to connect with industry guests along with Festival film-goers, staff and volunteers. There is no entry fee for these events and we encourage you to attend!

Filmmaker's Brunch

Date: Sunday, April 2, 2017
Time: 9:00 - 11:00 am
Location: The Livingston Inn | 752 E. Gorham Street | Madison, 53703

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! We invite you to start your Sunday off right by joining us for our traditional Filmmakers Brunch hosted and sponsored by The Livingston Inn. In addition to carbo-loading, attendees will have the chance to network with Festival filmmakers before the first films of the day are screened. Space is limited.

Special thanks to The Livingston Inn owners Peggy and Dave Furlan.

Card-Making Workshop

Date: Sunday, April 2
Time: 3:30 pm
Location: Union South near the Marquee - See Today In The Union (T.I.T.U) for exact location

The Bear and the Owl is a feature documentary about Joni Vorass Lillard from Beloit, who, as a seven-year-old in 1986, was about to celebrate her birthday at the Children’s Hospital in Boston. After her teacher put an article in the local newspaper requesting cards from the community for the sick little girl, a complete stranger, Bob Jensen of Clinton, responded by sending her not just one handmade card but one every day for the next two and a half years.

The Bear and the Owl will be part of the program Portraits and Pictures from Wisconsin’s Own on Sunday, April 2 at 2 pm at the Union South Maruqee. Following the screening, join Executive Producer Jan Jensen and Director Mark Davis in a card-making workshop at 3:30 pm to create get-well cards for children at UW Children’s Hospital and SSM Health. Materials will be provided; all you have to bring is love and creativity.

“Even if drawing and painting isn’t your thing, you’ll have some fun and learn some easy ways to brighten the day of someone in need,” says the film’s executive producer Jan Jensen, daughter of the late Bob Jensen.  Cards will be collected and delivered to children at local hospitals.

Put the Fest to Bed

Date: Thursday, April 6, 2017
Time: 9:00 pm
Location: Great Dane, Hilldale | 357 Price Place | Madison, 53705

It's become a tradition for Festival staff, volunteers, film-goers and any Guests of the Fest still in Madison to close out the week with a few brews and snacks at Festival sponsor The Great Dane. An RSVP is not needed for this informal gathering of folks who are ready to kick back and reflect on another Fest gone by.

Wisconsin Film Festival Sneak Peeks
with Madison Public Library

You're invited to free previews of this year's Wisconsin Film Festival (March 30 - April 6, 2017) happening throughout Dane County in March of 2017. Watch trailers from this year's films, learn about the ins and outs of the Festival from Festival organizers, and bring your questions about this year's Festival.

Sneak Peek events include:

Kids Sneak Peeks of Wisconsin Film Festival's Big Screens, Little Folks:

  • To India! To India!, with a focus on celebrating the culture & arts of India and  stories in Tamil and English
    Saturday, March 18 | 1:00-2:00 pm | Pinney Library
  • Journey to Latin America!, with a focus on celebrating the culture & arts of Latin America and stories in Spanish and English
    Monday, March 20 | 6:30-7:30 pm | Oregon Public Library

In addition, check out the fifth annual Pinney Mini Film Festival special after hours event at Pinney Library on Saturday, March 18 from 6:30-8:30 pm. Doors for the event open at 6 pm and there is space for the first 60 attendees. Guests can sample light refreshments generously donated by Willy Street Co-op while enjoyoing live music performed by members of White Birch Ensemble from 6:00-6:30 pm. The Mini Festival will begin at 6:30 pm and includes five short films that screened at the 2016 Wisconsin Film Festival, featuring a Q&A with some of the filmmakers and Wisconsin Film Festival Coordinator Ben Reiser. Films to be screened are:

  • Russian Folk by Director Michael Doubek
  • A Grand Walk by Director Sam Wirth
  • Lakeshore Preserve, plus Q&A with Director Austin Moore
  • IMMOO 240 Frames Per Second, plus Q&A with Director Steve Donovan
  • White & Lazy, plus Q&A with Director James Runde

These events are funded in part by Beyond the Page, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Madison Community Foundation and the Wisconsin Film Festival.

Canstruction® Madison

Middleton Outreach Ministry, or MOM, is rolling out the red carpet for the Can Film Festival, this year’s theme for their 7th annual Canstruction® Madison, Monday, April 24 - Sunday, April 30 at West Towne Mall in Madison, WI.

A community competition to end hunger, Canstruction® Madison brings the community together to build imaginative structures out of canned goods and packaged food; after the event, the building blocks are donated to the MOM Food Pantry, one of the largest pantries in Dane County. This year's structures will feature scenes from and artifacts of the silver screen.

Middleton Outreach Ministry is ending hunger and preventing homelessness for neighbors in West Madison, Middleton and Cross Plains and hosts one of the largest food pantries in Dane County.

The event is free. More information can be found at or