Wisconsin Film Festival Overview – March 30–April 6, 2017

The Wisconsin Film Festival (Festival) is presented by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arts Institute in association with the Department of Communication Arts and is the largest university-managed film festival in the nation showing an average of 150 films over eight days with an average attendance of 25,000-30,000.

The Festival is known for its diverse film offerings including American independent, international cinema, documentaries, experimental and avant-garde, restored classics, the Wisconsin’s Own Competition (selections featuring filmmakers/cast, themes or settings that have Wisconsin connections) and Children’s Cinema: Big Screens, Little Folks and features a variety of shorts in addition to feature-length films. Further information can be found at wifilmfest.org.

This year, the Festival will have the 3rd annual First Look at the Fest on Wednesday, March 8 (more details below). In addition, on the opening night, March 30, the Golden Badger Award winners will be recognized and four Wisconsin’s Own films will be shown as part of the Transmissions from the Heartland program at the Barrymore Theatre. During the opening night festivities, the public will have an option to attend the Opening Night Celebration for $25 (includes the opening reception and Transmissions) or the Transmissions program for $15.

Film Tickets

  • $10 General public
  • $8* Students, Seniors (65+), UW Faculty/Staff and Military Personnel
  • $5 All Big Screens, Little Folks films
  • $15-25 Opening Night
  • $325 All Festival Pass (unlimited access to all the films and special events for one person)

Tickets can be purchased starting at noon on Saturday, March 11 online, visiting the below box office locations or by calling 608-265-2933 during box office hours. A 60¢ per ticket fee will be applied to all online and phone orders.
*Special pricing for students (any high school, college or university), seniors (65+), current UW or UW faculty/staff and military personnel with valid ID. All discounted tickets are subject to verification – please carry a valid ID. Only four discounted tickets allowed per screening, per transaction.

Film Guide – March 9

The Film Guide will be released in the Thursday, March 9 edition of Isthmus. The printed guide will be available in different locations around the Madison area, including local library branches, the Festival’s theater venues and box office, various Hilldale merchants, coffee shops, etc. This year’s specific website: 2017.wifilmfest.org will launch on March 9 which will include film listings, special events and a copy of the Film Guide.

Box Offices

Union South Box Office (closed Sundays, except on April 2)
1308 W. Dayton St. | Madison

  • Opening Day of ticket sales: Saturday, March 11 | noon–6 p.m.
  • March 13–30: Monday-Saturday | noon–6 p.m.
  • March 31–April 2: One hour before the first film of the day begins up until ½ hour after the last film of the day begins
  • April 3–6: The Union South Box Office will be closed for the remainder of the Festival, and tickets will be available only where films are being shown

Sundance Cinemas Box Office
Hilldale | 430 N Midvale Blvd. | Madison

  • March 31–April 6: One hour before the first film of the day begins until ½ hour after the last film of the day begins

For ticket purchase the day of a film, any available tickets will only be available for purchase at the venue where the film is being shown.

For additional information on tickets and the Box Offices, visit the 2017.wifilmfest.org website.

Theater Venues (all are in Madison, WI)

UW-Madison campus:

  • Chazen Museum of Art – Auditorium | 750 University Ave.
    • (March 31–April 2)
  • Cinematheque – 4070 Vilas Hall | 821 University Ave.
    • (March 31–April 2)
  • Union South Marquee | 2nd Floor, 1308 W. Dayton St.
    • (March 31–April 2 & April 4)

City of Madison:

  • Barrymore Theatre | 2090 Atwood Ave.
    • (March 30–April 2)
  • Sundance Cinemas | 430 N. Midvale Blvd.
    • (March 31–April 6)

First Look at the Fest – March 8

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 | 7-9:30 p.m.
Sundance Cinemas –Hilldale | 430 N. Midvale Blvd. | Madison
Cost: $40 in advance, $50 at the door

First Look at the Fest is an annual fundraiser benefiting the Real Butter Fund. Attendees have an opportunity to peruse the Film Guide the night before it hits the stands in the March 9 issue of Isthmus and purchase up to two tickets per screening before tickets go on sale on March 11. Event includes curated Festival trailers, appetizers from Hilldale-area merchants and more.

Wisconsin Film Festival News & Social Media accounts

To stay informed of any updates and learning about some of the films shown during the Festival, film enthusiasts are encouraged to sign for the Festival’s Newsreel (sign up on the general website on the e-news tab) or follow the Festival’s social media accounts: @wifilmfest (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

The Newsreel is sent approximately once a week from mid-February through the end of April. During the rest of the year it’s sent out approximately on a monthly basis.

Economic Impact

$1.6 million in direct economic impact to the Madison area in 2016 based on a report from the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau.