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September melts away at Wis-Kino

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The September screening for Wis-Kino -- Madison's own five-minute film guild -- illuminated the big screen at the Orpheum Stage Door on the night of Sunday, Sept. 24.

As with every monthly screening, there was a theme to which the films may or may not have adhered. In this case, that theme was "Melt," a typically abstract concept for the Kino group, and one that was incorporated into most of this month's entries. Though Sunday's screening was brief (consisting of a mere eight films), it was nevertheless entertaining, with every entry garnering a response from the audience.

The first short to be screened was Know for Sure by Andrew J. Hying of HappyQMedia. Something of a mockumentary, this film spoofed the World War II-era government newsreel format in its presentation of a public service announcement from the U.S. Public Health Service and the Motion Picture Association of America. Consisting of archival U.S. footage from the 40s and set to the ragtime piece "Chinese Blues" by Oscar Gardner, it warned viewers about a new airborne disease melting the brains of its victims. It was a fun piece to kick off the screening.

Up next was the latest short from RASH Films, titled Real TV. Directed by Sam Lawson, the short likewise spoofed a well-known genre, this case being reality television in its depiction of a show titled "Dungeons and Dragons Survivor." This title is fairly self-explanatory, capturing both the conventions of reality TV and board gamer typecasting, one in which the prize was a year's supply of Mountain Dew and Cheetos. This late-season episode followed the ins-and-outs of an ongoing game of D&D, one in which the wrong roll of a many-sided die could result in the dismissal of a contestant.

The third film was Meltdown, directed by Shaun Parker and Craig Knitt. This dramatized what happens when a scientific expedition in Antarctica uncovers a 230 year old message in a bottle, in this case from a vaporous English schoolboy following the nascent American Revolution. This was followed by I am Mel..., a brief animated ditty created by Roger Bindl. Both hewed to the theme while entertaining the audience.

With the screening already half complete, the next short to be screened was Fun Rangers Episode 2, the latest episode in the a new series from Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda at Blame Society Productions.

The sixth film features a sizzling frying pan, in which the words "Wis Kino" is spelled out with thin slices of a peppered cheese. It was a clever piece of real life animation that sticks to the theme while the cheese melts, boils and caramelizes into a bubbly indistinct mess. Untitled by Justin Sprecher was the penultimate film screened on Sunday. Set to the song "To Be Alone With You" from Sufjan Steven's Seven Swans, it featured a montage of lake views, skyline shots, and other outdoors images from around Chicago. It was a tender goodbye from Sprecher, who is shortly moving to Adelaide, Austraila, a city where we will continue to create short films.

The final film to be screened Sunday was the third episode of Blame Society's Chad Vader series, the worldwide internet hit viewed by millions. Though it debuted online nearly a month ago, this was its first big-screen appearance in Madison.

The full list of films screened on Sunday follows below:

  • Know for Sure -- Andrew J. Hying
  • Real TV -- RASH Films
  • Meltdown -- Craig Knitt/Shaun Parker
  • I am Mel... -- Roger Bindl
  • Fun Rangers #2 -- Matt Sloan & Aaron Yonda
  • Cheese ID -- H.E.J.
  • Untitled -- Justin Sprecher
  • Chad Vader #3 -- Matt Sloan & Aaron Yonda

The next Wis-Kino monthly screening is set for Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Orpheum Stage Door, featuring the always popular "Scary/Halloween" theme. This will be followed by the group's annual Fall Kabaret (and fourth anniversary), set for the 48 hours between Thursday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 18.

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