21st Annual Wisconsin Film Festival Overview – April 4-11, 2019

The Wisconsin Film Festival (Festival) is presented by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of the Arts in association with the Department of Communication Arts and is the largest university-produced film festival in the nation from April 4-11 on the UW­–Madison campus and AMC Madison 6.

Information below includes a preview of 10 films, First Look at the Fest on March 6, Film Guide available on March 7, tickets on sale March 9 and Opening Night Celebration on April 4 along with box office, ticket, venue and social media information.

10 Film Preview

This year the Wisconsin Film Festival screens over 150 films ranging from shorts to features. The following 10 films are a taste of the Festival:

“Woman at War/Kona fer í stríð” | Director: Benedikt Erlingsson

Opening Night Selection. Armed with a bow-and-arrow, a lone woman takes on heavy industry in an Icelandic comedy that turns saving the world into an offbeat thrill ride.

“Knock Down the House” | Director: Rachel Lears

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rise from working class bartender to national figure is captured as it happens in this exhilarating documentary that also follows Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearingen and Amy Vilela’s run for Congress. Audience Award, 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

“Good Morning/Ohayo” | Director: Yasujiro Ozu

A 35mm presentation of Ozu’s masterpiece is the personal selection of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” director and UW–Madison alum Phil Johnston, who will participate in a post-film conversation with UW–Madison Professor Emeritus David Bordwell.

“Long Days Journey Into Night/Di qiu zui hou de ye wan” | Director: Bi Gan

3D is used to virtuoso ends in this arthouse neo-noir, which culminates in a mind-bending, 55-minute 3D tracking shot.

“Rafiki” | Director: Wanuri Kahiu

Kenya’s first entry at the Cannes Film Festival, this vibrant lesbian drama was banned in its home country for its positive representation of a same-sex romance.

“Hail Satan?” | Director: Penny Lane

Peek behind the blood-red curtain of the Satanic Temple in this devilishly hilarious and blessedly freethinking documentary. 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

“Light From Light” | Director: Paul Harrill

A paranormal investigator takes a case from a widower (Jim Gaffigan) in Paul Harrill’s thoughtful and compassionate indie.

“Between the Lines” | Director: Joan Micklin Silver
Joan Micklin Silver’s 1977 ode to counterculture alternative weeklies features a young Jeff Goldblum.

“Los Reyes” | Directors: Bettina Perut, Iván Osnovikoff

An inseperable pair of stray dogs roam a Santiago skate park in this immersive documentary.

“Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” | Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

A suitably reverent portrait of one of America’s essential writers, this intimate documentary grants us the gift of hearing Toni Morrison tell her own story.

More Festival Facts

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. In 2018, the Festival provided $1.7 million in direct economic impact to the Madison-area based on a report from Destination Madison (formerly the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau).

First Look at the Fest – March 6

Wednesday, March 6 | 7–10 p.m.

AMC Madison 6 (Hilldale) | 430 N. Midvale Blvd. | Madison

Cost: $40 in advance, $50 at the door

First Look at the Fest provides attendees an opportunity to peruse the Film Guide the night before it hits the stands in the March 7 issue of Isthmus and purchase up to two tickets per screening before tickets go on sale on March 9. Event includes curated Festival film trailers, appetizers from Hilldale-area merchants and more.

Film Guide – March 7

The Film Guide will be released in the Thursday, March 7 edition of Isthmus. The printed guide will be available in different locations around the Madison area the following week, including local library branches, the Festival’s theater venues and box office, various Hilldale merchants, coffee shops, etc.

This year’s website: 2019.wifilmfest.org will have an electronic version of the Film Guide starting March 7. The site is also the home of lots of other Festival facts, including box office and venue information.

Many films are not rated, so viewer and parental discretion is always advised. Big Screens, Little Folks films are suitable for the recommended age range listed in the film descriptions.

Tickets on Sale – March 9

Ticket Prices

  • $11 General public
  • $9* Students, Seniors (65+), UW Faculty/Staff and Military Personnel
  • $6 All Big Screens, Little Folks films
  • $325 All Festival Pass (unlimited access to films and special events for one person)

2019 Wisconsin Film Festival tickets are sold exclusively through Campus Arts Ticketing Box Office at Memorial Union and include a $1 per ticket processing fee for every ticket, in-person, online or by phone.

Tickets can be purchased starting at 11 a.m. CST on Saturday, March 9 online, visiting the below Campus Arts Ticketing location or by calling 608-265-2787 during box office hours. It is strongly suggested to buy tickets online starting March 9 at 2019.wifilmfest.org.

Online sales are available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week until 5 p.m. the night before each screening. After that, available tickets can be purchased (cash or voucher only) at the venue the day of your film.

*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.

Box Office – Updated Location for 2019

Campus Arts Ticketing Box Office at Memorial Union (closed Sundays)

800 Langdon St. | Madison

  • Opening Day of ticket sales: Saturday, March 9 | 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. CST
  • March 11–April 12: Monday-Friday | 10 a.m.– 7 p.m. & Saturday | 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Between March 18-22 (Monday-Friday) hours will be 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. because of UW-Madison’s spring break

To purchase ticket/s on the day of a film being screened, any available tickets will only be sold at the venue where the film is being shown – cash or voucher only. For additional information on tickets and the Box Offices, visit 2019.wifilmfest.org.

Theater Venues (all are in Madison, WI)

City of Madison:

  • AMC Madison 6 | 430 N. Midvale Blvd.
    • (April 5–11)

UW–Madison campus:

  • Chazen Museum of Art – Auditorium | 750 University Ave.
    • (April 5-7)
  • Cinematheque ­– 4070 Vilas Hall | 821 University Ave.
    • (April 5-7)
  • Wisconsin Union Theater – Shannon Hall, Memorial Union | 800 Langdon St.
    • (April 4-6)
  • Union South Marquee | 2nd Floor, 1308 W. Dayton St.
    • (April 5-7)

Opening Night Celebration – April 4

Thursday, April 4 | 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Wisconsin Union Theater – Memorial Union | 800 Langdon St.

Reception starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Main Lounge on the 2nd floor of Memorial Union and tickets are $15 for the reception. The Golden Badger Awards presentation starts at 7 p.m. and the film “Woman at War/Kona fer í stríð” starts at 7:15 in Shannon Hall in the Union and tickets for the awards and film are $11.

This year’s Golden Badger Awards honorees are:

  • “Life on the Mississippi” | Directed by Bill Brown
  • “Elephant Path” | Directed by Todd McGrain
  • “Played Out” | Directed by James Runde

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 go.wisc.edu/artsnews in the “Subscribe to our Newsletter” section) or follow the Festival’s social media accounts: @wifilmfest (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube)

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.