2016 Wisconsin Film Festival’s Economic Impact of $1.6 million

The 2016 Wisconsin Film Festival (“Festival”) generated $1.6 million in direct spending for local-area merchants. The previous economic impact report was $1.17 million in 2013. The data was provided by the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, a Festival partner, and the report was calculated by Destination Marketing Association International.

In addition to the economic impact of 29,000 Festival-goers to the community, this UW–Madison outreach program enhances the community by its embrace of the Wisconsin Idea – by making the community integral to its programming endeavors during the annual festival, as well as throughout the year. These efforts are made possible through the financial support from hundreds of donors, partners and volunteers. Examples include:

  • Over 1,500 elementary and secondary school students attended free and subsidized screenings of international films and received supplemental educational materials.
  • 70 film industry guests shared insights into their artistic process during complimentary audience talkbacks, UW–Madison master classes and community events.
  • In partnership with the Festival, the Madison Public Library hosted educational workshops, organized special Festival preview events, screened Festival films at various branches throughout the year and increased their collection of Festival films for circulation.
  • Through sponsorship from UW Health and Unity Heath Insurance, the Festival provided patients at American Family Children’s Hospital with two weeks of Big Screens, Little Folks programming on closed-circuit television station.
  • The Festival’s strong relationship with Hilldale provided an opportunity to create a free pop-up exhibition featuring UW–Madison Art Department students during the screening schedule at Sundance/Carmike Cinemas.
  • A record number of 50 Wisconsin’s Own films were screened at the 2016 Festival. This October, the Wisconsin’s Own documentary “Rwanda & Juliet” will return to Madison after a tour to Beaver Dam and Appleton as part of the Shakespeare in Wisconsin 2016 initiative.

The next Wisconsin Film Festival is currently scheduled for March 30-April 6, 2017.

The Wisconsin Film Festival is presented by the UW-Madison Arts Institute and the Department of Communication Arts and was established in 1999. As the largest campus-based film festival in the nation, it is known for its diverse film offerings including American independent, international cinema, documentaries, experimental and avant-garde, restored classics, Children’s Cinema: Big Screens, Little Folks and Wisconsin’s Own (selections featuring filmmakers/cast, themes or settings that have a connection to Wisconsin).