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Wega Arts hosts film festival

45 movies from 16 countries

The seventh annual Weyauwega International Film Festival will take place Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 8-11, at the Gerold Opera House.

WIFF will screen 45 films from 16 countries, including over a dozen filmed in Wisconsin or with Wisconsin ties.

Some of this year’s highlights include the U.S. premiere of “A Trip to Jamaica,” a comedy from Nigeria starring Appleton-based actor Dan Davies.

Davies was awarded the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy at the Golden Movie Awards Africa. He is the first American to receive a Golden Movie Award.

Davies will be presented with the award after the film screens at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11.

On Wednesday, Nov. 8, WIFF will screen two dramas: “The Song of Sway Lake” at 7 p.m. and “Dear Coward on the Moon” at 9 p.m.

“Sway Lake” is a coming of age story of sorts set in a lakeside home which evokes the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes. The film stars Rory Culkin (Macauly’s younger brother) who returns to the lake home after his father commits suicide. He and his Russian pal at first are up to no good. They soon find themselves in some unexpected romances.

“Dear Coward on the Moon” by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate Carol Brandt is a story that follows a young girl and her older sister as they confront a long hidden family secret.

On Thursday, Nov. 9, there is another screening of “The Song of Sway Lake” at 2:30 p.m., followed by some short films and the documentary “Two Worlds” at 6 p.m.

Produced in Poland, “Two Worlds” offers a touching and rewarding look at the lives of a Polish couple and their daughter. The couple is deaf, and their daughter has learned to be a bit of a caretaker and translator, and when time permits, a daughter.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, WIFF will screen the “The Land of the Little People,” a provocative film from Israel. A group of young children living near an old army base find themselves in their own war with two army deserters. This film is an eye opening study of the effects of being perpetually at war has on a society and its children.

At 8:30 p.m. Thursday, “Kupal,” a film from Iran will be shown. “Kupal” is a lonely taxidermist and hunter who lives in an extravagant house. It is New Year’s eve and before the night is over he finds himself in an unexpected situation that he may or may not recover from. This highly stylized film evokes Tarantino as well as Hitchcock.

Friday, Nov. 10, starts at 2 p.m. with two sessions of international short films. At 4:45 p.m. is “Jeff’s World,” a documentary about a group of rock climbers who have made their own playground in the north woods of Minnesota. Beautifully filmed and engaging, the audience follows Jeff and his friends as they seek out new paths up the sides of lakeside cliffs.

Psycho Fest is WIFF’s Friday night horror and thriller films inspired by Robert Bloch who was living in Weyauwega during the Ed Gein murders in nearby Plainfield.

Spurred by Ed’s obsession with his mother as well as Weyauwega’s Lakeshore Motel, Block penned the thriller “Psycho” and created the iconic Norman Bates and the Bates Motel. The sign for the Lakeshore Motel still stands at the west edge of town.

Psycho Fest begins at 6 p.m. with a group of twisted short films, including “Where the Great Spirits Live,” which was filmed in Manitowoc. Director Melanie Gardner will be in attendance.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, it is the Appleton-filmed supernatural thriller “Wraith” with director Michael O. Sajbel in attendance.

“Main Street Meats” screens at 9:30 p.m. This Wisconsin filmed pic is a tribute of sorts to the slasher films of the ‘70s .

Saturday, Nov. 11, starts at 11 a.m. with “We’re Here for a Fish Fry” by Milwaukee filmmaker Ron Faiola. Faiola visits many different fish fries around the state and takes a ride out of Green Bay with a commercial fisherman in search of white fish.

At 12:30 p.m. Saturday, five short films from Wisconsin will screen, including Wega Arts’ own production, “Heroes Rising,” which tells the story of a group of youths who receive super powers and stand up to the scourge of heroin and opioids.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, it’s “Cinema Travelers,” the Cannes Film Festival award-winning documentary about traveling cinemas in the countryside of India. With their large tents and old arc lamp projectors, they rumble through the countryside in their ancient trucks, screening their films for the eager moviegoers looking for some cinema magic.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, another group of short films will be shown, including a documentary about Professor Pinkerton Xyloma and the Deadman’s Carnival of Milwaukee who recently performed at the Gerold Opera House.

At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, there will be another showing of “A Trip to Jamaica.”

At 7:30 p.m., WIFF will screen the U.S. premiere of the Swiss comedy “Streaker,” an adult comedy about a school teacher who happens upon a strange way to pay off a large gambling debt.

Saturday night wraps up with the awards festival and reception with complimentary appetizers.

The full schedule and more details about each film may be found at wegafilm.com.

The Weyauwega International Film Festival is presented by Wega Arts. All screenings take place at the historic Gerold Opera House at 136 E. Main St., in Weyauwega.

WIFF offers day passes for $15 and festival passes for all four days for $40.

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