Driftless Film Festival


On March 8, 1971 eight ordinary citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, Pa., took hundreds of secret files, and shared them with the public. In doing so, they uncovered the FBI’s vast and illegal regime of spying and intimidation of Americans exercising their First Amendment rights. For the first time, the members of the Citizens’ Commission have decided to come forward and speak out about their actions. 1971 is their story

An Evening At Angelo’s

Angelo Martellano is the septuagenarian owner and proprietor of Milwaukee’s 30-year-old Angelo’s Piano Lounge: a cozy stage and home for jazz singers and musicians, and a time machine for the uninitiated. Spend an evening, a year, or a decade with Angelo and his pack.

An Honest Liar

For the last half-century, James ‘The Amazing’ Randi has entertained millions of people around the world with his remarkable feats of magic, escape and trickery. But when dealing with a master deceiver, the truth can often be hard to find.

Art And Craft

Art and Craft starts out as a cat-and-mouse art caper, rooted in questions of authorship and authenticity, but what emerges is an intimate story of obsession and the universal need for community, appreciation, and purpose.

Because It’s Small

This short documentary about the Little Free Library movement celebrates the joy of reading and the power of community. Winner of Oneota Film Festival’s “Best of the Fest,” Official Selection Beloit International Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival and Hill Country Film Festival.


This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers.

Documentary Shorts Program: At Home In The Shop

Master woodworker Edward Wohl’s globally recognized line of birdseye maple cutting boards has helped him create a unique lifestyle in the Driftless region of southwestern Wisconsin.

Documentary Shorts Program: Dog Down

Dogs learn basic commands that can save their lives. Prisoners gain confidence and learn to get along with others, qualities that transform their lives. Dogs live in loving homes and their families gain a well-trained companion; prisoners earn and retain their freedom; and society as a whole is improved.

Documentary Shorts Program: Getting Lost In My Own Art

Follows the playful and veteran artist James Bakkom as he tells his life story of propping for Tyrone Guthrie, running off to South Dakota to become a cowboy artist, then to be a production designer for Minnesota-made films.

Expedition To The End Of The World

On a three-mast schooner packed with artists, scientists, we set off for the end of the world: the rapidly melting massifs of northeast Greenland. Curiosity, grand pathos and a liberating dose of humor come together in a superbly orchestrated film where one iconic image after the other seduces us far beyond the historical footnote that is humanity.

Food Patriots

Touched by their teenage son’s battle with a foodborne superbug, filmmakers Jeff & Jennifer Spitz document their family’s struggle to raise backyard chickens, grow food, and transform into Food Patriots. Food Patriots features people from all walks of life who are trying to change the way Americans eat and buy food, and educate the next generation of consumers. Screens with short features Because It’s Small and The Great Outdoors.

Hanna Ranch

Hanna Ranch is a documentary about visionary cattleman Kirk Hanna and his personal struggle to protect a once prominent way of life in Colorado. Born into a life on the family ranch, Hanna became a leader in the environmental ranching movement that set out to protect the West from the relentless encroachment of development and misuse.

Inside & Out

Employing a witty mock-anthropological style, Madison filmmaker Eric J. Nelson returns to DFF (Power Trio – Lego Animation, DFF 2011) pens a cock-eyed cinematic ode to Kyle Seekings, a local Madison East Washington Avenue car-wash employee who brings customers in with his truly epic air-guitar moves.

Keep On Keepin’ On

In Tribeca Audience Award winner Keep On Keepin’ On, a 23-year-old, blind piano prodigy, Justin Kauflin, who suffers terrible stage fright, finds his way to jazz legend and teacher Clark Terry, 89. Over the course of filming, Terry begins to lose his sight as an unlikely bond begins to take hold.

Life Itself

Based on his memoir of the same name, Life Itself recounts the surprising and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert, a story that’s by turns personal, wistful, funny, painful, and transcendent.

Rolling Papers

A feature documentary on cannabis culture in Colorado as told through The Denver Post’s new marijuana-centric media outlet: The Cannabist. It’s legal, now what?

Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors

Special Jury Prize Winner at the Tribeca Film Festival, a family drama rooted in the vibrant depiction of a seldom-seen community on the city’s edge. With an eye-opening view of life on the autism spectrum, the film simultaneously explores the strains of the immigrant experience. It explores the dark spaces between us, seeking out the peculiar threads that tie us together.

The Great Outdoors

Shot for the Madison 48 Film Fest, with the genre “fish out of water”, the entire film was conceived, written, shot, acted and edited by Madison resident and returning DFF filmmaker Anthony Wood and his lovely wife Claudia Looze. With a special cameo by Zipper. Shot in the Driftless Area, the film pays homage to the hilarity of French film comedian Jacques Tati.

The Harpist

Emmy Lucas is a young harpist known to the world; young, beautiful and extraordinary talented. Her audiences, time and time again, are entranced by not only the music, but by the splendor of the woman before them. But when the audience leaves, the gown and high heels melt into a t-shirt and jeans, what is left is a girl without a meaningful connection to another human being, and in her search she is led to unexpected places.

The Starfish Throwers

Worlds apart, a five-star chef, a twelve year-old girl, and a retired school teacher discover how their individual efforts to feed the poor ignite a movement in the fight against hunger. Despite being constantly reminded that hunger is far too big for one person to solve, they persevere and see their impact ripple further than their individual actions.

When The King Tilts

A feature film that insightfully explores hidden corners of the human psyche and the different ways we react when faced with the unknown.

Wisconsin Shorts: MECCA: The Floor That Made Milwaukee Famous

When the Milwaukee Bucks moved to the Bradley Center in 1988, they decided not to take their famous floor with them. So what happened to it? This is the story of how a Bucks fan discovered the floor being sold for scrap and worked with his friends and the artist — and took on serious credit card debt — to bring the iconic work back to life.

Wisconsin Shorts: No Brainer

American Players Theatre actors James Ridge, Colleen Madden, Tracy Michelle Arnold, Marco Lama and Sarah Day star in Spring Green film-maker Dave Erickson’s new documentary. No Brainer is described by Erickson as a “comedy/documentary about brain tumors.”No Brainer mixes real doctors, medical technicians and therapists with re-enactments of what it’s like from the patient’s point of view  to be a patient in the American medical system. Erickson was diagnosed with a brain tumor in late 2007,  had surgery immediately and subsequently had several close calls (he recalls going “down the tunnel, seeing  the light, the whole schmeer”). In the documentary Erickson addresses rehabilitation and  coming to terms with the fact that “I’ll never be the same mentally or physically again.”

Wisconsin Shorts: Offsides

Producer and Driftless Area native John Mossman (Into The Wake, DFF 2013) returns to DFF with a film produced by Shanica Winters and the high school students of the Hyde Park Academy/Mossman Films Summer Mentorship program. When a football player transferring to a new school discovers the captain of his team is gay, he is forced to confront his prejudice and own history.

Wisconsin Shorts: One Week Vacation

The story of Bill, a laborer faced with the prospect of an unexpected week of vacation in light of a recent promotion. On a whim, Bill decides on his destination — one that will maximize his relaxation, and a destination his co-workers would not expect.

Wisconsin Shorts: The Wonderful World Of Romance

Shot for the Madison 48 Hour Film festival, the team of Smoking Monkey drew the genre “romance.” Together with co-director and wife Claudia Looze, Madison resident and returning DFF filmmaker Anthony Wood gathered talents from Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago and North Carolina as cast and crew. Shot in the Driftless Area, he film utilizing a variety of film styles from Film Noir to Horror to Japanese Samurai to create a hilarious document of just how love works.

Wisconsin Shorts: Worthless

Produced and written by Mineral Point native Michael Keeney, Worthless was shot partially shot around the Driftless Area. In a world where people are treated as property, everything has its price. A grifter pushes his crew — and his luck — past the breaking point.


Witnesses is a “Midwestern,” filmed entirely in the Driftless region of Southwest Wisconsin. It features actors from American Players Theater playing most of the lead roles, and recently picked up the “Critics Award” and “Best Director” at the New York Television Festival, and the “Best of the Fest” Award at the ITV Festival.


The film captures the passing of the monkey wrench from the pioneers of eco-activism to the new generation which will carry Edward Abbey’s legacy into the 21st century. The fight continues to sustain the last bastion of the American wilderness – the spirit of the West.