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Wega Arts hosts film festival

Horror films featured Friday the 13th

The Weyauwega International Film Festival is slated for Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 11-14, at the Gerold Opera House.

Presented by Wega Arts, this year’s festival will screen 43 films from 17 countries.

Many of the films were either made in Wisconsin or have Wisconsin connections.

WIFF opens at 4 p.m. with five short films from Germany, Spain and Wisconsin.

“The Gospel According to Charlie” is slated for 5 p.m. This documentary follows eight years in the life of artist Charlie Van Ness whose work ranged from whimsical fiberglass sculptures to installations involving mythical stories carved into hundreds of stone tablets.

More short films from Ecuador, Iran and Wisconsin are scheduled for 6:15 p.m.

At 7:30 p.m. WIFF presents “Embers,” a thought-provoking science-fiction film set in a postapocalyptic world where a global virus has wiped out the memory of everyone it infects. The film follows several characters as each morning they awake with no recollection of the previous day or who they are.

“This film is a real conversation starter and is also beautifully filmed,” according to Ian Teal, with Wega Arts.

At 1:30 p.m. Dr. Jack Rhodes will present the 1959 movie, “Compulsion,” starring Orson Welles, Diana Varsi, Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman. Admission to this movie is free and open to the public. Set in 1924 Chicago, “Compulsion” is based on the popular 1950s book by Meyer Levin, reconstructing the crime, conviction and sentencing of Leopold and Loeb and the trial defense by the legendary attorney Clarence Darrow.

After screening several short films from Germany and the United States, WIFF will present “Polyfaces” at 5:15 p.m. This feature-length documentary is about the unique and highly sustainable farming practices at the Polyfaces Farm in Virginia.

At 8 p.m., the documentary “Peace Officer” examines the militarization of U.S. police through the eyes of Dub Lawrence, a former sheriff who established and trained the first SWAT team in Utah.

“In a sad note of irony, this examiner’s family also becomes the victim of a SWAT raid gone wrong,” Teal said. “This film is one of those must-see films for anyone who is a citizen of the world.”

WIFF will show horror films and thrillers all during its “Friday the 13th Fright Fest.”

The day begins at 1 p.m. with a series of short films from Wisconsin, Italy, Switzerland, France and India.

At 3:30 p.m. “Haunted State,” a documentary that explores the hauntings of several locations in Wisconsin, will be shown with director Michael Brown, of Appleton, in attendance.

The other Wisconsin film is the psychological thriller, “The Scarapist,” which tells the tale of a distraught woman who is led astray by a demented therapist. The writer, director and star of the film, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, is expected to be at the screening at 5:15 p.m.

At 7 p.m. “In the Dark,” a film by David Spaltro, offers a spooky tale of demonic possession featuring a mostly female cast.

The world theatrical premiere of ”Dismembering Christmas” is scheduled for 9 p.m. Local filmmakers Steve Golz and Kevin Sommerfield, of Slasher Studios, will be on hand to present their twisted Christmas tale.

At 10:30 p.m., “Luciferous” tells the story of a family being tormented by a nasty entity.

“This unique tale features a real couple and their daughter as the onscreen family,” Teal said. “This especially creepy film has lately been honored with several awards on the festival circuit.”

The day opens with a filmmaker seminar featuring local filmmakers Dan Davies, Craig Knitt and Rex Sikes at 10 am.

An encore screening of “Embers” is set for 2:15 p.m., followed by the romantic comedy “Dirty Beautiful” at 4 p.m.

A documentary about Wisconsin Supper Clubs, “Old Fashioned,” screens at 6 p.m. with the filmmakers Holly L. De Ruyter and Brian Risselada in attendance.

At 7:30 p.m., WIFF will present its closing film, “Frame by Frame.” During the Taliban regime, all photography was banned and women were severely oppressed. The film follows several young Afghani photojournalists who are again facing the threat of another uprising by the Taliban.

“This film shows a truly beautiful side of Afghanistan that is rarely seen while simultaneously illuminating the dark reality and horror of oppression in a society that seems to be forever doomed,” Teal said.

“Frame by Frame” will be followed by an awards ceremony.

Tickets are $12 for a day pass, which are good for any one film or a whole day of films. Festival passes are $30 and are good for the whole festival and also include a free large popcorn.

The full schedule can be found at wegaarts.org. Festival passes can also be found online and at the Book Cellar in Waupaca and at Rural Relics Antiques in Weyauwega. The box office can be reached at 920-867-4888.

The Gerold Opera House is located at 136 E. Main St., in Weyauwega.

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