All Student Films
Directed by Melissa Charenko
In a world of scarcity where national parks are being protected from people, a simple act from childhood has grave consequences for a man trying to teach his son the habits he learned from his father.
Directed by Jay Leasa
A story of one family living off-grid
John Ivanko and his wife, Lisa Kivirist, chose to leave the hustle and bustle and intense consumerism of the big city for a more energy efficient and conservation-oriented lifestyle. They grow 70 percent of their own food, produce their own biofuel that can be used in cars, tractors and other diesel vehicles and generate enough electricity through their solar and wind energy systems to power their entire bed and breakfast and farming businesses. They actually receive a check from their utility company for producing a surplus! But for them, the money saved and the ecological footprint reduced are not nearly as important as the legacy of energy consciousness and environmental awareness they’re leaving their son, Liam.
Directed by Kevin Gibbons
100% pure Wisconsin queso
How white is our milk? How American is our cheese – in fact, who actually makes it? More and more of Wisconsin's farmer Johns are working with farmer Juans. Come on a tour of "America's Dairyland" and meet today’s milk producers and cheese packers – the new faces of dairy production. Sí, the Wisconsin countryside is changing.
Directed by Signe Brewster
The best kind of fruit is free
Madison is known for the second largest farmers market in North America and a love of all things local. But how “local” is our food -- really? Meet a community of gleaners who call Madison home and know just where to find apples, pears, grapes, raspberries and even kiwis in backyards, vacant lots, university walkways and gardens across the city.
Directed by Marya Johnston-McIntosh and Aleia McCord
Verlyn Mueller worked for 26 years in the instrument shop at the Badger Ordnance Works (also known as the Badger Ammunition Plant). From 1966-1991, Veryln spent his days repairing machinery in the munitions factory while adhering to strict regulations designed to keep workers safe while they handled explosive material. Now retired, Veryln serves as president and archivist for the Badger History Group. But the usual texts and photos aren't the only records of service carefully cataloged by this historian. Verlyn keeps another physical memory of Badger's history in his pocket. In this story, a landscape of danger leaves an indelible mark on the body, transforming a life-threatening occupational hazard into a life-saving medicine. Verlyn reminds us how personal health can become inextricably bound to a certain place and time.
Directed by Mallika Nocco
Bee Guardian explores the growing movement to preserve bee habitat by keeping honey bees without the honey production element. The film's fiction accelerates the ongoing demise of honey bee populations to imagine a near future without bees, where strawberries have become a rare, precious commodity.
Directed by Sarah Randle and Heather Swan
Since 1965, Eugene Woller has been keeping bees in Mt. Horeb, WI. His love of bees and beekeeping has made his life's work joyful, but beekeeping has changed. The life of the bee is in danger. Colony Collapse Disorder, monocropping, varroa mites, and pesticide use have made beekeeping more difficult. Because bees are responsible for pollinating one third of our food supply, it important we do what we can to protect this important insect.
Directed by Kathleen Masterson
The ultimate recycling machine
In a state where industrial dairies are replacing familyrun farms, this dairy goliath in northeastern Wisconsin is working to lessen the vast environmental impact of the bovine lifecycle. In addition to significant fossil fuel usage, a farm this size produces more than 150 million pounds of manure each year or the weight equivalent of 60,000 Honda Civics. So... Holsum Dairy is striving to minimize their environmental impact by recycling every part of the cow. But the lingering question remains—what is the cost of human interference in nature’s cycles?
Directed by Chris Limburg
In the near future, a spider-silk futures trader goes to the clinic for happiness treatments. When the doctor injects him with nanobots to modulate his autonomic nervous system, things go sideways. The results are beautiful . . . and surprising.
Directed by Megan Katz
(or) "How to run your farm from 500 miles away"
Here in the middle of "America's Dairyland" the fields of corn are golden brown, sun dapples the red barns and peaceful cows dot the countryside. City folks like to romanticize idyllic side-of-the-road notions of life on the farm; but here’s a dairy farmer who loves his life ... and has a lot more to talk about than milk yield.
Directed by Amrys Williams
The tradition, the fish, the lakes . . . the ocean?
From the kitchens of one of Madison's favorite Friday-night spots to the hallowed halls of the University, Fish Fry traces the origins, meanings, and practices behind this state custom, showing how a Wisconsin phenomenon is connected to places and activities beyond the state's borders or even the shores of the Great Lakes. Hold fast to your fork and discover how these pan-aquatic connections do not diminish the Wisconsin-ness of the fish fry or its adherents.
Directed by Jesse Mursky-Fuller
A meditative look at prairie restoration by any means necessary
All across Wisconsin the dreaded garlic mustard, buckthorn and purple loosestrife are WANTED--DEAD or ALIVE. They are being burned out, weed whacked and chemically treated. On the other side of the beloved prairie, native seeds and heritage flora are being harvested and replanted. What time will it be when the prairie is restored?
Directed by Krista Rasmussen
A ride through Madison bike culture
Peering into the world of Freewheel, one will discover that the ways people use and get their bicycles are as diverse as the people themselves. Freewheel is a free bicycle repair shop where anyone can build a free bike. After three hours of volunteering in the shop and helping others to build free bicycles, you get to build your own bike and ride off— FREE. A meditation (mostly on wheels) into how Madison is striving to make bicycling an easy alternative to motor transportation for all people, no matter their income level. Madison's people of the bicycle agree: "winter, summer, rain or shine," bicycling provides a sense of freedom and is just more fun!
Directed by Maggie Flamingo
Commitment comes naturally
They come with broken bodies, tattered wings, and little hope. Only commitment, passion, and loyalty will get them home. It’s a love story...with a wild streak.
Directed by Meridith Beck Sayre
Some of Wisconsin's most sacred land is under farmer Frank’s feet
Frank Shadwald is a 77-year-old retired farmer who owns several hundred acres of valuable farm land in the Lower Wisconsin River Valley. But to Frank, his land is worth far more than money. There are fifteen ancient Native American effigy mounds located on his property, an important site of Native American culture—past and present. For the past twenty years, Frank has worked to preserve them. But what will happen to the land when Frank is not here to protect it?
Directed by Peter Boger
A totemic cult so big . . . only the high priests of Badgerdom truly understand
Everyone knows that Wisconsin is the "Badger State," but what is a Wisconsin badger really? This film explores the cultural history of badgers and meets self-proclaimed Wisconsin Badgers, including UW-Madison’s elite team of "Bucky Badgers." Why are badgers so important to Wisconsin? Everyone has answers at the ready, but are their feelings about this icon grounded in fact or fiction? In history, nature or imagination?
Directed by Alexandra Rudnick and Nathan Jandl
How to drink for four hours by a woodstove with a master mason
When you heat with wood, you warm yourself three times: once when you cut it, once when you stack it, and once when you burn it.
Given the many convenient options available to keep our homes warm in the winter, why do we continue to heat with wood? Is it an economic choice, an environmental choice, an emotional choice—or a combination of the three? How do we reconcile the environmental impact of particulate emissions from wood burning, the physical labor involved in obtaining wood and building fires, and the pleasure of a woodstove or fireplace in the home?
We began with these questions. To help us answer them, we sought the wisdom and knowledge of the coordinator for the Dane County Clean Air Coalition, the master and owner of Fireplace Folks, and a young couple who are learning what it means to live by fire.
Directed by Gregg Mitman
Birds never had it so good
Thanks to the efforts of farmers like Matthew Smith of Blue Valley Gardens, heritage turkeys have come back to their native Wisconsin home. With a little love and respect, Matt Smith gives them the best 35 weeks of their life.
Directed by Diana Macias
Memory Paste explores the consequences of solutions to growing population and food production and distribution systems that focus on efficiency, cost, and physical nourishment. Set in an unknown time, a young girl and her mother live in a world in which they struggle to survive the elimination of knowledge and cosmology embedded in food no longer available to them.
Directed by Jesse Mursky Fuller
One young woman's attempt to convince twelve sororities to buy local
When Chi Omega sorority sister Jessica Halpern finds out that buying high quality, locally produced products can help create jobs for homeless people in her town, she takes matters into her own hands. Follow Jessica and her tray of crackers as she tries to change sorority consumption patterns, and the local commodity food chain, one sister at a time — by buying Porchlight jam.
Directed by Lulu Maslowski
In the future, energy is a precious and regulated commodity.
Directed by Liese Dart
How one woman's idea in North Freedom, Wisconsin changed an entire industry and made a whole nation look for a tiny little number
Meet Millie Zantow, 86, resident of North Freedom, Wisconsin and an environmental hero -- at one point she was the only person sorting plastic in America. Her very simple question & revolution led to years of tenacious advocacy that turned the heads of the EPA and led to a national recycling policy — a veritable plastics revolution.
Directed by Diana Peterson and Brian Towns
Back from the brink of extinction in the 1960s, Wisconsin's resident goose population now calls many parks like Madison's Vilas Park home. In the summer of 2010, the geese contributed to the closing of Vilas Beach for 43 days. So what should we do? Welcome the birds and share the park? Or, take matters into our own hands and remove the geese? The geese are not going anywhere anytime soon (a goose can live twenty to thirty years). Engaged community members/experts share their understandings of how a wild animal has become the center of a public health dilemma. For many, the geese no longer remind us of Aldo Leopold's romantic notion of "The Return of the Geese" in A Sand County Almanac. And presently, much attention is turning to appropriate ways to manage the geese in order to maintain Vilas Park as a healthy, recreational space.
Directed by Jojin Van Winkle
A sonic translator working for the Biodomes' Living Archives receives an unusual shipment. A mini film by Jojin Van Winkle, first year MFA graduate student in UW's Department of Art. Actor, Martha E. White.
Directed by Christopher J. Hommerding and Beckett Horowitz
History is all around us, whether we see it or not. Sometimes it even lies directly underfoot and, with a little knowledge and guidance, we need only glance down and take it in. Such is the case for the history explored here. Built in 1879 and destroyed by fire in 1895, the Tonyawatha Springs Hotel was situated on the opposite shore of Lake Monona from Wisconsin's capital city of Madison. During the summer months the hotel and its natural spring drew visitors from distant cities to the cool, refreshing landscape of Southern Wisconsin. As the centerpiece of the hotel, the spring was thought to have the mineral properties needed to heal a number of ailments and diseases. Indeed, the name Tonyawatha was believed to mean "Healing Waters." With a little help from a local expert, this film documents our encounter with this intriguing historical landscape of health.
Directed by Hua Ming
Utopia and dystopia, dream or reality? Hua Ming received her master's degree from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Fascinated by filmmaking, she wants to continue telling environmental stories using many film languages.
Directed by Kat Cameron
Earth has become an ecotopia. In the face of climate change, people voluntarily took on the challenge to adapt and mitigate its effects and live more sustainably. Everyone except for the few who refuse until government intervenes and forces them to assimilate.
Directed by Andrew Dribin and Stephanie Sigan
Since 1972, the city of Edgerton, Wisconsin has held a summer festival to celebrate its tobacco growing heritage. Edgerton, located in Rock and Dane Counties, was once known as the "Tobacco Capital of the World" due to the explosion of tobacco growth at the turn of the twentieth century. As the economy changes, the community must now come to terms with a past maligned by the negative health effects of tobacco use. First called "Tobacco Days," the summer festival changed names to "Tobacco Heritage Days" in the mid-1990s reflecting this economic shift. In 2006, the festival name changed again to "Edgerton Heritage Days" due to pressure to remove tobacco from the title altogether. However, dropping "tobacco" caused confusion and protest among Edgerton residents and a year later, the festival name changed back. This is a short story of community pride, a controversial festival name and the very long history of tobacco and shifting health values in Wisconsin.