Driftless Film Festival

Loving Vincent

On July 27, 1890, a gaunt figure stumbled down a drowsy high street at twilight in the small French country town of Auvers. The man was carrying nothing; his hands clasped to a fresh bullet wound leaking blood from his belly. This was Vincent van Gogh, then a little-known artist; now the most famous artist . . . 


Minding The Gap

First-time filmmaker Bing Liu’s documentary Minding the Gap is a coming-of-age saga of three skateboarding friends in their Rust Belt hometown hit hard by decades of recession. In his quest to understand why he and his friends ran away from home when they were younger, Bing follows 23-year-old Zack as he becomes a father and . . . 



FUTURE LANGUAGE: The Dimensions of VON LMO is a distorted portrait of an artist that explores storytelling, ego, delusion, conviction and memory. VON LMO is a musician/artist and self-proclaimed alien-hybrid who was a part of the late 70s New York No Wave music scene. Between trips to his home planet of Strazar and multi-dimensional travel, . . . 


Dawson City: Frozen Time

This meditation on cinema’s past from Decasia director Bill Morrison pieces together the bizarre history of a long-lost collection of 533 nitrate film prints from the early 1900s. Located just south of the Arctic Circle, Dawson City was settled in 1896 and became the center of the Canadian Gold Rush that brought 100,000 prospectors to the area. . . . 


Short Film Program

Program includes ten-minute Q&A session with filmmakers at conclusion. Filmmakers in attendance are noted with an asterisk:   Mother Christmas by JS Ondara Directed by: Brendan T. Jones * Music video, 4 min Smile Baby Directed by: Lauren Barker Short fiction, 7 min Recycle Directed by: Spencer Ortega Short comedy, 11 min Pure Gold by . . . 


Hello Girls

In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France as telephone operators to help win the Great War. They swore Army oaths, wore uniforms, held rank, and were subject to military justice. By war’s end, they had connected over 26 million calls and were recognized by General John J. Pershing for their . . . 


Riverwest Film and Video

This documentary is about Riverwest Film & Video, a store in Milwaukee that rents DVDs and sells film equipment. It also hosts a neighborhood radio station open to anyone who wants to produce a program. The documentary examines the regulars of the store and the radio programmers and their relationships with the place. It is . . . 


Short Film Program

Program includes ten-minute Q&A session with filmmakers at conclusion. Filmmakers in attendance are noted with an asterisk:   Singularity Stories, Vol. 1 Directed by: Asa Derks * Fiction, 11 min American Chestnut Story Directed by: Buzz Holland * Documentary, 31 min The Root of Happiness Directed by: Andy Truschinski * Fiction, 25 min


Betty White: A Life in Television

Filmed over the course of 10 years by the team behind the acclaimed Pioneers of Television series, Betty White: First Lady of Television is a warm look at the life and career of the beloved television and film legend who celebrates 80 years in show business this year — officially the longest career in the . . . 

Amazing Grace: Aretha Franklin

Recorded in 1972 live at Rev James Cleveland’s church in Watts, California in front of a lively audience/congregation, Amazing Grace would become the highest selling album of Franklin’s career and the most popular gospel album of all time. However, the film was never released publicly. Sydney Pollack was a feature-film director. When recording, sound is . . . 

Hail Satan?

When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. As . . . 

Lake Michigan Monster

The eccentric Captain Seafield hires a crew of specialists to help him plot revenge against the creature that killed his father. After several failed attempts, Seafield is forced to take matters into his own drunken hands. What began as a simple case of man verses beast soon turns into a rabbit hole of mysterious unknowns . . . 

Eating Up Easter

The iconic statues and sensationalized "mysteries" of Easter Island (Rapa Nui) have drawn the interest of the world for centuries, attracting curious visitors to its shores. Today, this tiny, barren island is experiencing an economic boon as tourism skyrockets. Yet the indigenous culture and the island’s fragile environment are suffering. Directed by native Rapanui filmmaker . . . 

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

An artful and intimate meditation on the life and works of the legendary storyteller and Nobel prize-winner. From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio, to ʼ70s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room — Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her . . . 

The Field

To save their marriage, Ben and Lydia (Tim Higgins, Kara Mulrooney) risk it all and buy a farmstead in Manitowoc, Wisconsin (Making a Murderer.) Lydia is determined to transform the rotting house into a dream home and finally start a family, but Ben’s photographs reveal they’re not alone… Mysterious figures begin appearing in Ben’s photos . . . 

The Infiltrators

Without warning, Claudio Rojas is detained by ICE officials outside his Florida home. He is transferred to the Broward Transitional Center, a detention facility used as a holding space for imminent deportations. Terrified of never seeing him again, Claudio’s family contacts the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA), a group of activist Dreamers known for stopping . . . 

Played Out

Booda is a rapper struggling to live the hip hop lifestyle and promote his new tracks while dealing with parental and spousal responsibilities; Leslie is a single mom trying to find the right way to tell her teenage son she's quit her job. James (who is in a rock band with Leslie) is trying to . . . 

Echo In The Canyon

Echo In The Canyon celebrates the explosion of popular music that came out of LA’s Laurel Canyon in the mid-60s as folk went electric and The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and The Mamas and the Papas gave birth to the California Sound. It was a moment (1965 to 1967) when bands came to . . . 

Finding Loren

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

In 1945, just days before the end of World War II, 27-year-old fighter pilot Loren Hintz was shot down over rural Italy, leaving behind his pregnant wife and young daughter. More than 70 years later, Hintz’s grandson, Hans Wronka, lead an effort to recover his remains and finally have them laid to rest, with the . . . 


The Place That Makes Us

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

Filmed over the course of three years, this documentary film is an intimate and inspiring portrait of Youngstown Ohio, a quintessential post-industrial American city, seen through the efforts of a new generation of residents who have chosen not to abandon their hometown, as so many have, but to stay, rebuild and make a life for . . . 


The Falconer

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

"All this is healing, all this is medicine. All this changes who you are." - Rodney Stotts The Falconer is a documentary feature that captures beauty and hope. This is a story of second chances: for injured birds of prey, for an abandoned plot of land, for a group of teenagers who have dropped out . . . 


Who You Think I Am

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

Juliette Binoche balances cunning and vulnerability in this romantic cyber-drama turned psychological thriller from writer-director Safy Nebbou. Ghosted by her hunky twenty-something lover, Claire (Binoche), a middle-aged professor and single mom, creates a fake Facebook profile to do a little undetected online snooping. But when her 24-year-old avatar “Clara” is friended by her ex’s equally . . . 

At The Video Store

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

Equal parts personal essay, intense rumination, and playful satire, At The Video Store is an ode to the death (and life!) of the American Video Store. An offbeat and bittersweet documentary featuring Bill Hader, John Waters, Lance Bangs, Nicole Holofcener, Charles Mudede, Gus Van Sant, Thelma Schoonmaker, and an entire community of lovable weirdos. Structured . . . 

No Straight Lines: The Rise Of Queer Comics

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

Tells the story of five scrappy and pioneering cartoonists who depicted everything from the AIDS crisis, coming out, and same-sex marriage, to themes of race, gender, and disability. They tackled the humor in queer lives in a changing world, and the everyday pursuits of love, sex, and community. Their work is funny, smart, and profound, . . . 


Driftless Short Film Series

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

The Driftless Short Film Series continues DFF's tradition of highlighting groundbreaking short films during the festival. This year's Driftless Short Film Series features selections from filmmakers who work in and around the Driftless Area. Enjoy cutting edge filmmaking and spirited discussion. Assembled and presented by Key Media's Michael Keeney, this year's featured titles include: "One . . . 


Cecily And Lydia At The Waypoint

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

On a lush, but lonely earth, Cecily walks. Alone in her house, Lydia waits. One balmy afternoon, the two women meet. Cecily and Lydia at the Waypoint sits on the line of fiction and experimental film. The simple storyline that two strange women meet and discover what friendship could be offers deep insight into life . . . 


For The Left Hand

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

For The Left Hand is a documentary produced by Kartemquin Films about the inspiring pianist Norman Malone. At age 5, Norman discovered he was a natural at the piano. Tragically, when Norman turned 10, his father attacked him with a hammer to the head, leaving him paralyzed on his right side. Undaunted, Malone began a . . . 

Falling For Figaro

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

From award-winning director Ben Lewin (The Sessions, The Catcher Was A Spy) Falling For Figaro follows a brilliant young fund manager named Millie (Danielle Macdonald, Patti Cake$, Dumplin), who quits her job and ends things with her longterm boyfriend in order to fulfill her dream of becoming an opera singer — in the Scottish Highlands. . . . 

Real Soul: A Gospel Music Story

Mineral Point Opera House 139 High St, Mineral Point, WI, United States

Real Soul: A Gospel Music Story is a celebration of America’s grass roots musical movement: Gospel. Through interviews and performances, this underappreciated world comes alive, filled with emotion and power. Tucked away in the small churches of Milwaukee, WI are some very large musical talents. They provide a voice for the voiceless and speak directly . . . 

Confession Day

Aled must bury his father, and help his mother find peace. An outsider in a tight mining community, Bethan reveals what really happened the night Llewelyn died. The will of a father, broken by the courage of a son.


A feature documentary starring the Middle East’s first all-female metal band, Slave to Sirens. On the outskirts of Beirut, Lilas and Shery wrestle with friendship, sexuality and destruction in their pursuit of becoming thrash metal rock stars.

Livestock On The Land

In broad-brush, Livestock on the Land is a story about regenerative grazing and its promise for the Iowa landscape. Up close, however, it’s a story about people – the farmers driven by love of family, land and livestock to seek more resilient solutions, and the community that emerges when livestock are on the land. The . . . 


An elderly man expresses his love through coffee and dance.

Jesse James

Two lovers must confront the limits of their relationship and the consequences of loss in the time between a neighbor calling the police and the police arriving at the scene of a domestic dispute.

Mama Bears

An intimate, thought-provoking exploration of the journeys taken by Sara Cunningham and Kimberly Shappley, two “mama bears” — whose profound love for their LGBTQ children has turned them into fierce advocates for the entire queer community — and Tammi Terrell Morris, a young African American lesbian whose struggle for self-acceptance perfectly exemplifies why the mama . . . 

Decolonizing Dinner

Explores how reconnecting with traditional Indigenous foodways preserves heritage and identity, and counters the historical and contemporary erasure of Indigenous cultures. Featuring Cocinera Sujhey Beisser of Five Senses Palate, Chef Elena Terry of Wild Bearies, and Chef Anthony Gallarday of Tavo’s Signature Cuisine.

Trace The Line

Part verité, part direct cinema, Trace The Line depicts the lives of two American artists during the tumultuous year of 2020. Asa, an African American poet, wrestles with the purpose of his life as a young Black man in a divided nation. Eva, a White painter, is confronted with her privilege in a society she . . . 

DFF Kids! Featuring Stage Presents

Join us for a collection of short films tailored just for your young film enthusiast. Stage Presents: The Gifts of a Shared Experience in Theater is an engaging, intimate film that uses time to reveal what was gained by a group of youngsters who performed together in children's theater. Their presence on stage resulted in . . . 

Driftless Short Film Series

The Driftless Short Film Series continues DFF's tradition of highlighting groundbreaking short films during the festival. This year's series features selections from filmmakers who work in and around the Driftless Area. Enjoy cutting edge filmmaking and spirited discussion. This year's short films include: Legend Of The Forgotten Kitty Idol 7 minutes 8 minutes Guys Be Like 4 . . . 


In early 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic was beginning, a group of people in a waiting room come together to right a wrong. Winner, Sam Sorenson (Madison) for best script and Julia Dailey (Mineral Point) best actor at the 2022 Milwaukee International Short Film Festival.


A mother searches for the spiritual truth about where her daughter's soul ended up after her murder.

Sharp Stick

Sarah Jo is a naive 26-year-old living on the fringes of Hollywood with her mother and sister. She just longs to be seen. When she begins an affair with her older employer, she is thrust into an education on sexuality, loss and power.


You never know when someone is miscarrying; it could be happening right next to you.

Not You

A mother is one with her baby, but sometimes she needs to welcome an interloper to find a little space.

How (Not) To Build A School In Haiti

Development, history, and colonialism collide when a seemingly simple aid project spirals out of control in Haiti. When a headstrong American clashes with Haitian leader, it forces a reckoning on privilege and power.

Riotsville, U.S.A.

Welcome to Riotsville, a fictional town built by the US military. Using all archival footage, the film explores the militarization of the police and creates a counter-narrative to the nation's reaction to the uprisings of the late '60s.

Beware of the Leopard

Follows a group of women at an LA party who discover there is a sexual predator in their midst protected by his celebrity status. As they each share their increasingly distressing interactions, we experience their emotional state in surreal interludes. Explores sexual power imbalance in the world of Hollywood and celebrity, told through a female . . . 

The American Dream And Other Fairy Tales

In this feature-length, personal essay documentary, filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney grapples with America’s profound inequality crisis. What Abigail learns-about racism, corporate power, and the American Dream, is eye-opening, unexpected, and inspiring in that it begins to imagine a path to a fairer future for everyone.

Opengate Shutdown

Paints a picture of a remote financial firm that sees only numbers on a spreadsheet, not productive assets or skilled employees. But working people in both Janesville and Los Angeles mobilized to fight back. As one employee says in the film, “If this stuff keeps going on, there won’t be a middle class anymore.”

People Of The Port

Jones Island, a mile-long peninsula bordering on the Lake Michigan shoreline of Wisconsin's largest city, is the home of Milwaukee's sewerage treatment plant and the city's port. People Of The Port: The Story of Milwaukee's Jones Island tells the long and fascinating story of this narrow slice of land. Though there is no evidence remaining . . . 

Roots Of Fire

“If you’re not living your culture, you’re killing your culture.” In ROOTS OF FIRE, a group of musicians honor the rich history and cultural legacy of Cajun music. The genre's contemporary scene in Louisiana has found mainstream success with Grammy Award nominations and wins, but shuttering venues and aging fans leave some questioning the music’s . . . 

We’ll Want For Nothing

A hardened rancher struggles to conceal a devastating loss from her sister.

No God, No Master

When a series of package bombs shows up on the doorsteps of prominent politicians and businessmen in the summer of 1919, U.S. Bureau of Investigation Agent William Flynn (David Strathairn) is assigned the task of finding those responsible. He becomes immersed in an investigation that uncovers an anarchist plot to destroy democracy. Inspired by true . . . 

DFF 2023 Opening Night Party

Join us as we kick off the 14th Annual Driftless Film Festival with an opening night soiree at Cafe 43! Reserve your admission by purchasing a Festival Pass, which will get you admission to the opening and closing night parties, as well as a special passholder hospitality suite. Click here to purchase your pass!

The Call

A solitary man is called out of retirement to help an old friend.

Collecting Killers

A collector by the name of John Stavola reveals that his collection is not ordinary. He collects murderabilia and goes into detail about what got him to collect and why he does it.

Sometimes I Think About Dying

Lost on the dreary Oregon coast, Fran finds solace in her cubicle, listening to the constant hum of officemates and occasionally daydreaming to pass the time. She is ghosting through life, unable to pop her bubble of isolation, when a friendly new coworker, Robert, persistently tries to connect with her. Though it goes against every . . . 

Cottage Grove

A young man struggles to communicate with his stroke-afflicted father, and at the same time, stay true to himself.


Overwhelmed with the pressures of high school. Iggy Fransisco attempts to make friends and is rejected. A classmate Abigail notices this and offers her friendship to Iggy.

Yes Repeat No

Three actors audition to play the Palestinian-Jewish actor and activist, Juliano Mer-Khamis, a former IDF paratrooper who defiantly identified as “100% Palestinian and 100% Jewish.” During a tense rehearsal meant to determine which of them is most suited to authentically portray Juliano Mer-Khamis, the three Julianos find their sense-of-self fractured and disrupted.


When Finn and Sam meet to celebrate the life of Lily — Sam’s dead wife — a Freudian slip by Finn creates an awkward moment that Sam initially brushes off as a mistake that even Lily would appreciate. But the comment haunts Sam and he needles Finn for the truth over an evening of drinks . . . 

This Much We Know

Grieving the suicide of a friend, Frances Henderson heads to Las Vegas, the suicide capitol of the nation to seek answers. There she learns about the shocking suicide of a teenage boy. While investigating the boy's suicide and the suicide epidemic further she learns that the city is also burdened by a national problem scrambling . . . 

A Cloudy Moon

Nick is looking forward to reuniting with his best friend from High School, but regrets a slip of the tongue on a phone call he wants to take back. 🏅 Top Film — Yes We Cannes International Competition

The Gatekeeper

New owners of a small-town building discover an ancient secret in the walls of its basement.

Driftless Short Film Series

The Driftless Short Film Series continues DFF’s tradition of highlighting groundbreaking short films during the festival. This year’s series features selections from the Madison chapter of this year's 48 Hour Film Project. This event is part of a global event that takes place on different weekends in more than 100 cities throughout the year. In . . . 

Curse Breakers

Mary is a young, resilient, and loving Black woman. While grocery shopping with her two kids, she encounters her childhood sexual abuser. This story unveils three generations of women who deal with generational trauma. This short film echoes a common narrative of Black communities in real life.

My Hero, My Mother

A heartwarming documentary that pays tribute to the incredible strength and unwavering love of Angelica, a single Mexican mother. This intimate film delves into Angelica's extraordinary journey as she overcomes obstacles, and becomes a source of inspiration for her children. 🏅 Grand Prize winner, U.S.-Mexico Bicentennial Kaleidoscope Short Film Contest


AmDue to the travel ban imposed on Iran in 2017, immigrants were forced to cross the border illegally into the United States. This is the story of an Iranian man's multiple attempt to cross over the border illegally from Mexico to the United States in pursuit of a better life.

Banana Triangle Six

A day in the life of an elderly gentleman, Hank Crute, as he deals with the trials and tribulations of a resident of Spring Valley retirement home, bad food, conniving females and an unexpected doctor's visit.


Oliver, a recent high school graduate, is kicked out of his house after his parents find out he is gay. He struggles to make it on his own as he tries to find a way to pay for college.


Fiction, reality, the private, and the performed overlap on a routine but emotional day at a medical center.

Friends From Home

A dramedy that follows two childhood friends as they travel cross country. Joe is making the big move to Los Angeles, while Mike is there for the ride. Along the way, they discuss everything from why Niagara Falls is not so special to what it means to never move away from home. 🏅 Winner – . . . 

The Inhabitants

The film follows two fictional immigrant ancestors as they explore our subjective perceptions of a shared American past. Set in the late 19th Century, these inhabitants perform their required daily tasks while searching for each other and a greater meaning to their existence. The story is told through highly cinematic images with no dialogue and . . . 


A short embodied reflection of darkness, sound, and light.

Love & Irony

The search for an authentic life leads an existential bike mechanic to discover the universal truths and transformative powers of love. From the safe confines of a humble Milwaukee bike shop, Charlie passively pursues the "authentic" life while actively carving up the idiosyncrasies of the post-modern world. His guarded life is upended after meeting Chloe, . . . 

DFF 2023 Closing Party & Awards Ceremony

Join us as we bid farewell to the 14th Annual Driftless Film Festival with a closing night soiree at Eliza’s! We'll honor the best films of the Festival, and we'll celebrate yet another year of enjoying independent cinema. Reserve your admission by purchasing a Festival Pass, which will get you admission to the opening and . . .