Driftless Film Festival

Award Winners

  • Audience Award – Dramatic
    Little Red
  • Audience Award – Documentary
    Bidder 70
  • Audience Award – Short
    Grandma Fern
  • Directing Award – Dramatic
    Terry Green – No God No Master
  • Directing Award – Documentary
    Brad Lichtenstein – As Goes Janesville
  • Special Jury Prize – Documentary
    Bending Toward The Light
  • Special Jury Prize for Acting
    Mark Metcalf – Little Red
  • Special Jury Prize for Acting
    Jane Wilson – Janeane From Des Moines
  • Excellence in Cinematography Award
    Carlo Besasie – Little Red (feature) & The Wheel (short)

Films – Documentaries

As Goes Janesville

Reports from ground zero of the recession-ridden heartland– the town of Janesville, Wisconsin. A cautionary tale for a polarized country falling short of the American Dream, the film follows three years in the lives of laid off workers struggling to survive, business leaders trying to reinvent their local economy, and a state senator caught in the middle, trying to bring peace to his warring state while protecting workers’ rights.

Awards: Official Selection- Flyaway Film Festival 2012; Official Selection- Landlocked Film Festival 2012; Special Jury Award- Milwaukee Film Festival 2012; Best Documentary, Audience Award: Documentary, Best Director of a Documentary- Independent Film Quarterly’s Film and Webisode Festival

Bending Toward the Light

Explores the challenges and triumphs of educational systems in the United States through the lens of students, parents, teachers, reformers and activists in the country’s heartland (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). This documentary provides a platform for the impressions of a cross-section of youth and adults deeply and vigorously engaged in building an infrastructure that will serve all of our children.

Bidder 70

Centers on an extraordinary, ingenious and effective act of civil disobedience demanding government and industry accountability. In 2008, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher committed an act which would redefine patriotism in our time, igniting a spirit of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice.

Awards: Best American Film- Traverse City Film Festival 2012, Moving Mountains Prize- Mountainfilm Film Festival 2012, Official Selection- Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2012, Official Selection- United Nations Association Film Festival 2012, Official Selection- American Conservation Film Festival 2012

The Bus

Playfully explores how a post-WWII German utility vehicle evolved into a cultural icon that represents freedom and the open road; defining and connecting generations of fun lovers everywhere. Beginning in Germany with the vehicle’s creation, into a wild ride that changes the world forever, “The Bus” is an adventure from beginning to end. From Wolfsburg to Hollywood, Burning Man to Baja, people from all walks of life share their stories and passion in “The Bus”.

Chasing Ice

“Chasing Ice” is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

Awards: Audience Award- South By Southwest Film Festival, Audience Award- Hot Docs Film Festival, Best Documentary- Berkshire Film Festival, Best Documentary- Big Sky Film Festival

Circus Dreams

A heartwarming feature documentary that captures the adventures of a sweet, funny and extremely bendy group of 12 to 18 year olds. “Circus Dreams” immerses viewers into the lives of these talented kids, capturing their intense work ethic, passion for performance, deep friendships and budding loves.

Awards: Audience Choice- Woods Hole Film Festival, Best Film4families- Seattle International Film Festival, Youth Jury @ Sprockets- International Film Festival for Children and Youth

Janeane From Des Moines

“Janeane from Des Moines” defies classification. Is it an incisive documentary with fictional elements? Or a socially conscious drama with moments of documentary? Director Grace Lee creates a thought-provoking political (non?)fiction as she follows the journey of an ‘ordinary’ American who offer us an insider’s look at the American heartland’s ultra right-wing movement.

The Jeffrey Dahmer Files

“The Jeffrey Dahmer Files” is an experimental documentary film that uses archival footage, interviews, and fictionalized scenarios to tell the story of the people around Jeffrey Dahmer during the summer of his arrest in 1991.

Last Day At Lambeau

A football movie that will be of great interest to football fans in general and Packers fans in particular, “Last Day at Lambeau” chronicles the adoration and contempt that millions of sports fans feel toward pro football star Brett Favre. The film depicts the divorce of Favre and the Green Bay Packers in 2008 and concludes with Favre’s last game at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2010.


“Sadermania: Fanship to Frienship” is a documentary that explores the incredible story of one man’s quest to meet his childhood idol, Hulk Hogan. In this inspirational tale, Chris and Hulk Hogan relate how they met and developed a bond through mutual struggles and personal loss that each would have faced alone if not for the unlikely friendship that develops between them.


Give Brad Williams almost any day within his lifetime and he can recall the minutiae: where he ate breakfast, whether it had rained or snowed, what was on TV that night. In “Unforgettable”, screenwriter/filmmaker Eric Williams follows his brother Brad’s travels as his rare mental gifts vault him from small-town anonymity to sudden mid-life notoriety. It is both an intimate and funny portrait of a unique individual and a broader exploration into the mysteries of the mind.

Awards: Jury Prize: Best Documentary- Big Bear Lake Int’l Film Festival 2010, Official Selection- Wisconsin Film Festival- 2010, Official Selection- Irvine International Film Festival


Films – Narratives

The Amateur Monster Movie

The greatly idiotic Walter Romero takes on an island with a stupid number of zombies and a freaking werewolf (what!?), just so he can “avenge” his boy scout buddy, and does so by getting this chick, Ashley, stoned, with noted pothead, Johnny Mason. Meanwhile, the inane, foul-mouthed local police and government clumsily march everyone towards death in this comedy send-up to classic b-horror movies!

Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Faced with both her hot-tempered father’s fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community, a six-year-old named Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love in this poetic story of heroism and community.

Awards: Camera d’Or- Cannes Film Festival 2012, Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic- Sundance Film Festival 2012, Grand Jury Prize- Deauville American Film Festival, Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature- Los Angeles Film Festival


Shot in and around the hills of Wisconsin’s Driftless Region and featuring a great lineup of music from Wisconsin artists, “Gretel” is a dark fable of survival and madness. It puts an eerie, contemporary spin on the original tale of “Hansel and Gretel”, as two young children struggle to make their way out of a vast and threatening wilderness.

Lac Du Flambeau

Set in a small, lonely Midwestern town, this is the story of a deeply troubled young man, haunted by guilt and responsibility for his role in a fatal car accident. He falls in love with a local waitress, and in this complicated connection, he is forced to face his tragic past. Overwhelmed by this closer look, he attempts to end his life. We ride with him as he struggles to find a place in a world that seems not to want him. Terrified of what feels inevitable, he finally leaves his hometown, and looks for a new chance at life on the road to Lac du Flambeau.

The Lake Effect

A dramedy about Rob, a charming man-child in his mid-forties. His young wife Natalie’s biological clock starts ticking and Rob has doubts about settling down. When his estranged and very pregnant 18-year old daughter Celia lands on their doorstep with her rocker boyfriend, Rob and Natalie are forced to care for Celia until she gives birth. If he is going to help Celia become a mother, Rob must learn to embrace his role as a father before his grandchild is born.

Little Red

A contemporary Little Red Riding Hood tricks her Midwestern family and sets out on her own to contend with the wolves of the world. While in Florida, she meets a slightly older, worldlier companion, and together they venture to see the wild horses of Cumberland Island. Happily ever after does not come easily, or without a price, when Red encounters a Big Bad Wolf who doesn’t want her to travel alone.

No God, No Master

In the summer of 1919, a series of package bombs show up on the doorsteps of prominent politicians and businessmen. U.S. Bureau of Investigation Agent William Flynn is assigned the task of finding those responsible and quickly becomes immersed in an investigation that uncovers an anarchist plot to destroy democracy. This sets the stage for a timely drama with resoundingly similar parallels to the contemporary war on terrorism and the role that government plays to defeat it.

On The Verge

An original chronicle of one man’s unique quest to find love and the perfect public toilet. On The Verge provides a candid, unfiltered look at how three friends navigate their relationships with the opposite sex. Joe takes drastic measures after another failed relationship causes him to alter his approach with women. Can you manipulate the rules that govern how people fall in love?

Sleepwalk With Me

When an aspiring stand-up fails to express his true feelings about his girlfriend and his stalled career, his anxiety comes out in increasingly funny and dangerous sleepwalking incidents.

Awards: Audience Award- Sundance Film Festival 2012, Official Selection- South by Southwest Film Festival


After Blue Lake, Michigan newspaper editor Steve Faulkner is laid off, his 17 year-old son Justin could have easily stepped aside and watched his dad frantically search for another job. Instead he persuades his workaholic dad to join him on the trip of a lifetime, a 1,000 mile canoe journey retracing the Marquette/Joliet discovery route of the Mississippi. Together they travel along Lake Michigan’s northern shore, through Green Bay, up the Fox, down the Wisconsin and finally the mighty Mississippi.

West Of Thunder

South Dakota 1899… When a mysterious stranger, Henry Seed, visits a small town on the outskirts of the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation he brings with him a terrible resolve. When eerie, inexplicable and deadly events that mirror the atrocities that had been put upon the Lakota people, begin to occur in this western town, everything seems to point to Seed.

Awards: Official Selection- Toronto Independent Film Festival 2012, Official Selection- American Indian Film Festival 2012, Official Selection- Red Nation Film Festival 2012, Nominated for Best Film of 2012, Best Film-Human Rights and Best Film-Peace, Political Film Society Hollywood, CA