WIFF LOGO 2017 600WIFF 2018 is November 7-10

Below is the 2017 Festival Schedule with Film Descriptions

Click on a title below to see the full description

THE SONG OF SWAY LAKE - 7pm Wednesday, November 8 - Narrative Feature
SwayA young record collector, haunted by his father’s suicide, brings a bombastic Russian drifter to his family’s lake house, to help him steal a one-of-a-kind record from his own grandmother. But the vision of two women – one young, one old – distracts the young men from their mission. The Song of Sway Lake is the story of the melody that haunts those who idealize a lost America. Starring Rory Culkin


99 Minutes – Directed by Ari Gold – USA

DEAR COWARD ON THE MOON - 9pm Wednesday, November 8 - Narrative Feature

Coward2A woman is forced to confront her past when her nine-year-old sister runs away after discovering a family secret.

81 Minutes – Directed by Carol Brandt – USA – FILMED IN WISCONSIN

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THE SONG OF SWAY LAKE - 2:30pm Thursday, November 9 - Narrative Feature

SwayA young record collector, haunted by his father’s suicide, brings a bombastic Russian drifter to his family’s lake house, to help him steal a one-of-a-kind record from his own grandmother. But the vision of two women – one young, one old – distracts the young men from their mission. The Song of Sway Lake is the story of the melody that haunts those who idealize a lost America. Starring Rory Culkin


99 Minutes – Directed by Ari Gold – USA

SHORTS PROGRAM #1 - 4:30pm Thursday, November 9

Narrative Short – Directed by Anthony Nion – Belgium – 14 Minutes

An abandoned village- founded by mountain Jews in Azerbaijan in the 19th c. There is a Jewish cemetery near the village. An old man (Meyer) is working at the grave. He is the only Jew who stays in this village. He has been living in this village for all his lifetime. He knows everything about history of this village, and he’s the only nexus between the Past of this Jewish village and the Present time.


Narrative Short – Directed by Alexander Ullmann – Germany – 6 Minutes

Suddenly Tamara is standing in Netta’s thrift shop. Netta is fascinated by her customer: Somehow she is special… Over the way Tamara perceives the clothes and her surroundings the two women get closer to each other and in the end the question is asked: Is it okay, to force someone into their own good?


Narrative Short – Directed by Iber Deari– Macedonia – 14 Minutes

Olti has served a long prison sentence for killing a man based on the ancient code of revenge. He wishes to see his mother and help his family but the ancient code prohibits him from entering the village. Now, on his way home, he has to choose between abandoning his family and risking his life just to be with them.

Fallen SwanTHE FALLEN SWANAnimated Short – Directed by Win Leerasanthanah – USA – 3 Minutes

Trapped at the bottom of a well, an abandoned baby swan cries for help from a flock of swans above to no avail. One night, light from above illuminates, revealing the swan’s true potential.

TUESDAY_1008_ProRes4444_Web_Mix_LtRt_24fps_Dec14TUESDAY 10:08AMNarrative Short – Directed by Jane Tattersall – Canada – 13 Minutes

A homeless man is shot dead by police and a junior inspector with the Special Investigation Unit is caught up in the incident. Unsure of the validity of the official police report, the junior inspector decides to do her own analysis of the many different video recording of the shooting. She pieces the story together but it’s not until she deciphers the audio that the full depth of the tragedy comes clear.

AWAS_04ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGEAnimated Short – Directed by Hannes Rall – Germany – 2 Minutes

An animated adaptation of the famous Shakespeare poem “All The World’s A Stage” narrated by the renowned Shakespeare actor and director Samuel West.


Documentary Short – Directed by Antonio Spanò – Congo – 30 Minutes

Butembo, Congo… While following Jemima, a little curious girl who wanders through dusty roads, crowded markets, slaughterhouses, furnaces and bat hunters we get acquainted with three women who describe the harsh realities of being born female and deaf in a society that discriminates against both women and people with

TWO WORLDS - 6pm Thursday, November 9 - Documentary Feature

Two LivesIn this inspiring family portrait, 12-year-old Laura is our guide through life with her deaf parents, which is unusual, challenging and surprisingly ordinary.

51 Minutes – Directed by Maciej Adamek – POLAND

LAND OF THE LITTLE PEOPLE - 7pm Thursday, November 9 - Narrative Feature

Land_of_the_Little_People_-_Picture_Frame_2Four young kids who live in a village of military officers’ families, form a small gang. An old abandoned army base, located in the surrounding wild fields, turns into their base camp. Another war begins in Israel, and most men are drafted to serve their country. The mothers are sitting worried in front of the television and listen to the constant news reports, while the kids, with no one to supervise them, return to their camp in the wild. To their surprise, they discover two soldiers who deserted from their units, using their camp as a hideout. The children try to regain control over their stolen territory, but the soldiers hold their grounds. Ruthless struggle develops between the groups, and the soldiers, who sought refuge from the war outside, find themselves in another war, which turns out to be as dangerous and bloody.

83 Minutes – Directed by Yaniv Berman – Israel






Quates - the movie guysQuates - PF

KUPAL - 8:30pm Thursday, November 9 - Narrative Feature

KUPAL_25“Kupal” is the story of a hunter and a taxidermist, called “Dr. Ahmad Kupal”. On the last day of the year, moments before the turn of the year, he faces an unexpected challenge. This original and well crafted film from Iran evokes Tarantino and serves as both a tense thriller and a thoughtful introspection on greed, gluttony and life.

WARNING – Contains graphic scenes of violence (Nothing you wouldn’t see on network TV)

81 Minutes – Directed by Kazem Mollaie – Iran

KUPAL Facebook Page

SHORTS PROGRAM #2 - 2pm Friday, November 10

Documentary Short – Directed by Maksim Smirnov – Russia – 14 Minutes

“It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him…”
This story about the old man and the Ural sea…
Anatoly Semenovich Shatohin – 82 . In the past, production worker, Metallurgist, now he asks God for health, in order to go fishing. Semenovich has its own bold and independent views on many issues of modern life. The story of his life, rich experiences, and their opinions about the present, he shares with his young friend, the author of this film, Maxim Smirnov.


Narrative Short – Directed by Milad Jarmooz – Iran – 14 Minutes

The story of a women accused of infidelity on the day after her wedding.

In_the_Skip_Distance_3IN THE SKIP DISTANCE

Narrative Short – Directed by Emily McNeill – USA – 9 Minutes

A young girl alone in the wilderness finds analog technology. An exploration of childhood inspired by solitude, Ray Bradbury, abandoned buildings and shortwave radio.

blind-audition_still_05_HPBLIND AUDITION

Narrative Short – Directed by Andreas Kessler – German – 18 Minutes

Since a few years the violinists Ari and Ron are a couple. As they both get the invitation of an orchestra to audition for the solo part they get into direct competition . Their mutual trust is put on a hard test when Ron gets an tempting offer from the conductor of the orchestra.

SHORTS PROGRAM #3 - 3:30pm Friday, November 10

Narrative Short – Directed by Tarek Roehlinger – France – 13 Minutes

A movie about a society in fear. It is the story of two soldiers in the everyday life of Paris guarding an official building. An abandoned bag, curious passants and a crazy tramp move the situation into its climax. The lines between normality and real danger disappears.

Arrested_Again_crane_tryptich_PhotoCreditGreenpeace_300DPIARRESTED (Again)

Documentary Short – Directed by Dan Goldes – USA – 5 Minutes

Activist Karen Topakian has been arrested dozens of times for using nonviolent civil disobedience to protest nuclear proliferation, human rights abuses, environmental issues, and war. What drives her to repeatedly put her body on the line? In turn lighthearted and moving, Karen’s story speaks to the need for Americans, now more than ever, to exercise this important First Amendment right. Karen is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Greenpeace, Inc. She began protesting in New York City and her native Rhode Island as well as the greater New England area, and now lives in San Francisco, with her wife, Peg Stevenson.


Narrative Short – Directed by Matt Boatright-Simon – USA – 18 Minutes

“JC” is the daring new vision of William Shakespeare’s political thriller “Julius Caesar”. The film, centering around Portia and her husband Brutus, mixes documentary footage, with narrative photography and cutting-edge organic visual effects realized by two-time Academy Award-Winner Jon Meier. Led by powerhouse performances by stage and screen luminaries Francesca Manzi and Charles Porter, “JC” drills deep into the complexities of marriage, friendship and politics, duty to country. Adapted for the screen and directed by award-wining writer/director Matt Boatright-Simon, this action-packed, sexually charged retelling of the Bard’s timeless classic couldn’t be more timely.

Cup of TeaCUP OF TEA

Narrative Short – Directed by Jitendra Rai – India – 4 Minutes

A young photographer stands at the edge of a lake as she takes pictures of the beauty surrounding her. She breathes in the clean air and closes her eyes as she takes it all in, forgetting her troubles for a moment. She notices a young village kid smiling at her. She smiles back. Suddenly, she’s jolted back to reality when the young delinquent picks up her bag and makes a run for it. She chases him through the beautiful landscape as he whips through jungles and open fields and villages. He’s very familiar with the place and she doesn’t have a chance. Just when hope seems to be at an end, she finally finds the kid, and what she sees overwhelms her and melts her heart.


Documentary Short – Directed by Joseph Brown – USA – 12 Minutes

Operation Wolf Patrol: Poacher’s Kingdom, is a short documentary that focuses on the efforts of an activist group determined to stop wolf poaching in northern Wisconsin. The film should not be confused with the 2016 “Operation Wolf Patrol: Wisconsin Wildlife Issues.”


Narrative Short – Directed by Tal Greenberg – Israel – 12 Minutes

When Israeli law pushes Shmulik’s back to the wall, he decides to take matters into his own hands.
What he can’t foresee is the comical farce his life will become when everything turns topsy-turvy.

JEFF'S WORLD - 4:45pm Friday, November 10 - Documentary Feature

JEFFS WORLDSEEK • FIND • DEVELOP • CLIMB – A story of discovery, vision and grit, “Jeff’s World” takes a humorous behind-the-scenes look into the world of rock climbing and the tenacity required to build a sport climbing destination accessible only by boat and hidden in a pristine wilderness of shimmering lakes, dense forest, and blood-sucking insects. Follow Jeff Engel, an accomplished route developer, and his friends as they seek, find, develop and climb Jeff’s World, a wild and remote climbing area ten miles beyond the Minnesota border into Canada.

63 Minutes – Directed by Brenda Piekarski – USA

SHORTS PROGRAM #4 - 6pm Friday, November 10 - PSYCHO FEST

Narrative Short – Directed by Lance J. Reha – USA – 20 Minutes

A thief steals a camera that he later discovers contains photos of a hideous crime. Now he and his girlfriend fear they are the next target as the photographer seeks revenge.


Narrative Short – Directed by Christopher Barrett, Luke Taylor – England – 8 Minutes

A bizarre incident as a young boy left Aaron with an unusual facial disfigurement that has plagued him all his life. Isolated and vulnerable, Aaron seeks comfort in the friendship and understanding of an unexpected group of outcasts.


Narrative Short – Directed by Alex Grossman – USA – 12 Minutes

After her bizarre addiction to eulogize is discovered, a troubled young woman fights to prove her sanity while attempting to survive group therapy.

Playing with deathPLAYING WITH DEATH

Animated Short – Directed by Gonzalo Janer, Sylvia Chen – USA – 3 Minutes

Playing With Death is a funny yet eerie animated short film, reminiscent of mid-20th century humor. The story features a young Grim Reaper and the adventures that ensue after he befriends a puppy that should’ve been his victim, upsetting the natural order.


Narrative Short – Directed by Melonie Gartner – USA – 26 Minutes

Filmed in Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Dirke, a war veteran, struggles with his own personal demons in a small town where he’s shunned and misunderstood by everyone. One day, he meets Emma, the girl of his dreams. She’s a girl who doesn’t judge him regardless of whatever her friends and co-workers tell her. Emma is the only comfort that Dirke has going in his life when everything else seems bleak. In his lonely, run down motel room, he thinks and dreams about her although they only just met. Emma has an intense hold on him, and his world will never be the same. It’s a love story which love takes place where fantasy and reality cross.

WRAITH - 7:30pm Friday, November 10 - Narrative Feature - PSYCHO FEST

WraithWraith is a super-natural thriller. After living in an old mansion for almost 10 years a family suddenly discovers a ghost-like presence trying to communicate with them.

Filmed in Appleton, Wisconsin and starring Jackson Hurst, Ali Hillis, Lance Henriksen, Jensen Buchanan, Christopher Chisholm, Catherine Frances, Lily Hansen.

100 Minutes – Directed by Michael O Sabjel – USA

WRAITH Website

MAIN STREET MEATS - 9:30pm Friday, November 10 - Narrative Feature - PSYCHO FEST

MeatsA struggling meat shop discovers the secret of success.  The film is a black comedy/horror in the vein of Motel Hell and Blood Diner largely inspired by 80’s slashers.

Filmed in Wisconsin!

WARNING:  This film contains partial decapitations, belligerent nudists and a complete lack of good taste. (Per the filmmakers)

100 Minutes – Directed by Jeff Lyon – USA


WE'RE HERE FOR A FISH FRY - 11am Saturday, November 11 - Documentary Feature
Fish FryMilwaukee director Ron Faiola (Wisconsin Supper Clubs, Fish Fry Night Milwaukee) takes another look at the Wisconsin Friday fish fry tradition from the peak season of Lent to summer lakefront dining. The movie features different types of fish including cod, perch, bluegill, haddock and smelt as well as a trip on a commercial fishing boat in the bay of Green Bay, a fish fry pizza and all-you-can-eat buffets.





56 Minutes – Directed by Ron Faiola – USA

FISH FRY Website

SHORTS PROGRAM #5 - WISCONSIN FILMS - 12:30pm Saturday, November 11
Helios Corps on lawn smHEROES RISING

Narrative Short – Directed by Ian Teal – USA – 24 Minutes

HEROES RISING was made by the Wega Arts Film Unit, a group of local teenagers from Wisconsin. The film addresses the heroin/opioid epidemic. A group of kids get superpowers and stand up to the scourge.


Narrative Short – Directed by Shannon McInnis – USA – 9 Minutes

The morning of her mother’s funeral, Angela still can’t find the words for the eulogy. She receives help from some unexpected furry friends in this original musical film.

Shannon McInnis is a vocal a cappella loving, Dr.Pepper drinking filmmaker based in Milwaukee, WI. When not working full time as a commercial Producer for SRH Marketing (clients include Harley-Davidson, Palermo’s Pizza), she makes and supports films that are a unique blend of silly and sad.


Narrative Short – Directed by Maria Pretzl – USA – 11 Minutes

All Toby wanted was one normal day. Turns proves to be too much to ask for when your dad is Captain Chaos, the super villain of Milwaukee! Maria Pretzl is a writer/director based in Milwaukee, WI. She earned her BFA in Film and Video Production and BA in Theatre Studies from UW-Milwaukee.

Isis and OsirisISIS AND OSIRIS

Narrative Short – Directed by Luke Bassuener – USA – 8 Minutes

An animated re-telling of an Egyptian myth of by the 2016-17 fourth grade classes at Crestwood Elementary school in Madison WI. Students made block-prints to illustrate the characters, and large paper landscapes for the backgrounds. They wrote the script, storyboarded the scenes, did the animation, and acted the parts in their art classes, while a group of fifth graders composed and performed the score in music class.


Narrative Short – Directed by Max Hauser – USA – 15 Minutes

A short heightened drama about a boy, coping with loss, who comes of age to realize that adults don’t always have the answers either in the wake of his mother’s death. Made by local filmmaker Max Hauser. Max has worked with Wega Arts on other projects in the past and we are very proud to present his new film.

THE CINEMA TRAVELERS - 2pm Saturday, November 11 - Documentary Feature
cinematravellers_01Cannes prize-winning The Cinema Travelers is a journey with the traveling cinemas of India, which bring the wonder of the movies to faraway villages annually. Seven decades on, as their lorries and cinema projectors crumble and film reels become scarce, their audiences are lured by slick digital technology. Filmed over five years, The Cinema Travelers accompanies a shrewd exhibitor, a benevolent showman and a maverick projector mechanic who bear a beautiful burden – to keep the last traveling cinemas of the world running.





106 Minutes – Directed by Shirley Abraham & Amit Madheshiya – India


SHORTS PROGRAM #6 - 4pm Saturday, November 11

Documentary Short – Directed by Thomas C. Johnson – USA – 8 Minutes

Marieke explores the life and craft of Marieke Penterman, acclaimed Dutch Gouda cheesemaker from Thorp, Wisconsin.


Animated Short – Directed by Ty Primosch – USA – 6 Minutes

A corkscrew battles a giant glass bottle to uncork seven magical lightning bugs corked inside.


Documentary Short – Directed by Alex Lora & Adan Aliaga – Spain/United States – 14 Minutes

The Fourth Kingdom is the kingdom of plastics, a redemption center in NY for immigrants and underdogs where the American Dream becomes possible indeed.

How_Cartoons_Are_Made_still50secHOW CARTOONS ARE MADE

Animated Short – Directed by Matthew Rebel – United States – 5 Minutes

Learn how cartoons are made. Okay, really, in this whiteboard animation we take a playful look at the process of creating an animated cartoon from script to screen.


Narrative Short – Directed by Alex Kohnstamm – USA – 8 Minutes

Steve, in the process of moving on with his life, is contacted by his ex-girlfriend Erica. Alex graduated from Lawrence University in 2012 and has been working in the film industry ever since.


Documentary Short – Directed by Casey T Malone – USA – 15 Minutes

Award-winning filmmaker, Casey T. Malone, turns his lens onto Milwaukee’s performance collaborative and DIY punk rock circus, Dead Man’s Carnival, to create a unique short documentary told through the philosophies and historical tales of Professor Pinkerton Xyloma, ringmaster of the carnival.

A TRIP TO JAMAICA - 5:30pm Saturday, November 11 - Narrative Feature

A Trip To JamaicaUS PREMIER

100 Minutes – Directed Robert Peters –  Nigeria

The wacky Nigerian comedy was filmed in Jamaica and stars Dan Davies of Appleton. In fact Dan was awarded the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy at the Golden Movie Awards Africa. Davies is the first American to receive a Golden Movie Award. Davies will be presented with the award after the film screens.

STREAKER - 7:30pm Saturday, November 11 - Narrative Feature


94 Minutes – Directed by Peter Luisi – Switzerland

In order to get out of a financial crisis, high school teacher Balz Naef starts recruiting and training streakers for illegal sports betting. While he and his team help streaking become the new trend sport, his situation does not improve. On the contrary: His troubles have only just begun. Especially when he falls for the police inspector in charge of his case.




AWARDS RECEPTION - 9pm Saturday, November 11th

WIFF 2012 1WIFF Rewards Reception!!