September 25, 2017

About Madison Film Forum

Attend, Stream, and Discuss Great Films in Madison, Wisconsin

Madison Film Forum (madfilm.org) is a website dedicated to promoting film culture in Madison on two fronts: providing contextual information for local screenings and improving the viewing experience in the digital domain.

We want Madison cineastes to stream at least one great film every week, attend at least one great film every month, and meet people who are doing the same.

Newsletter for the Madison Film Forum, Volume 4, Number 1, Fall 1999
Newsletter for the Madison Film Forum, Volume 4, Number 1, Fall 1999

Madison Film Forum: The Reboot

The original Madison Film Forum was a graduate student film programming group on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus in the mid-1990s, started by Jonathan Walley, Lisa Dombrowski, Chris Sieving, and James Kreul. Our mission was to program films that otherwise would never play on screens in Madison, ranging from experimental films (La Region Centrale; From the Journals of Jean Seberg) to international and independent features that never had a theatrical run (we had the Madison premieres for Emir Kusturica’s Palm d’Or winning Underground, and the Radiohead concert documentary Meeting People is Easy). We were particularly proud of getting full length reviews in the Isthmus (despite having only one non-theatrical screening for each film) and in part inspiring Isthmus to move listings for campus films from the “On Campus: Film” section to the main movie capsule reviews. Madison Film Forum programming was eventually incorporated within the newly established UW Cinematheque in 1998. To get a sense of where we thought things were going in 1999, check out the PDF of the Fall, 1999 Madfilm newsletter. As you look it over, I believe you will see that the more things change, the more things stay the same. We needed a comprehensive film calendar back then; we need one now (just to give one example).

We will gradually post some additional Madison Film Forum and campus film culture ephemera as a means to look back and see what progress has been made, but also to help explain how Madison film culture still faces some deep-rooted obstacles.

Support Your Local Film Venues

In the coming weeks we will help those who face obstacles that prevent them from going out to see great movies on the big screen with an audience.

  • We will help you find campus and alternative venues.
  • In addition to our own reviews, we will embed trailers and provide links to other resources about films you will not read or hear about in the local media.
  • Our Flipboard magazine will provide a convenient way to read positive and negative reviews of films playing at local venues.
  • Our future plans include group outings to commercial theaters, because who wants to go to their first Bollywood film at AMC Star Fitchburg 18 alone?

Stop Settling for Mediocre Films on Netflix

How many times have you heard people complaining that there is nothing good on Netflix? With a little work, there is no reason that the cineaste experience can’t extend to the digital domain. We will help you do that work.

  • Our coverage of local screenings will include links to related films currently streaming on Netflix and other digital providers.
  • We will provide links to blogs and websites currently dedicated to streaming good films.
  • We will follow up our local coverage of those films that might only play once in town and let you know when they are streaming or on DVD/Blu-Ray.
  • We will provide links to tools that you can use to track film availability by yourself, such as GoWatchIt and InstantWatcher.

We’re Mobile Friendly (Until the Movie Starts)

We are not HTML code-heads, but we will do our best to make sure that the Madison Film Forum site is usable on browsers, tablets, and phones. Bookmark this page on your phone browser and plan your next movie while waiting for the trailers to begin.

Who Are We?

We are anyone who wants to work for positive changes in Madison film culture. Is that you? Then you are the Madison Film Forum. Go to the Discussion forum where you can recommend films to other readers and voice your ideas about Madison film culture.

The initial contributors to the website, however, are James Kreul and Jake Smith, both of whom have experience in academic film studies as well as general film fandom.

  • James Kreul has been a programmer for the UW-Cinematheque and the inaugural Wisconsin Film Festival. In addition to occasional film articles for Isthmus, he also writes the Instant View Film Festival blog. 
  • Jake Smith is an occasional film reviewer and blogger in Madison, and has lived in the area for 13 years.  He once watched 101 heist films in 101 days, and knows far too much about James Bond.  

As we continue to add contributors, you can read about them on our Contributors page.

We always will be looking for ways to improve the website, so feel free to send feedback or suggestions to info@madfilm.org. You can also follow our Facebook page, Google+ page, and Twitter feed.

Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to watching great films with you.