February 25, 2011

Wisconsin InfoLink: Silver screens of the Midwest

Ron Larson. Photo: Wisconsin State Journal/John Maniaci

Wisconsin InfoLink is an almanac of Wisconsin facts and resources compiled by Ron Larson. Each week on the WisconsinWatch blog, Larson introduces us to some of these gems.

With the Academy Awards being held this weekend, it seems many conversations at this time of year turn to movies. Even though there isn’t a direct link between this year’s nominees and Wisconsin, I figured now is still a good time to talk about movies in general and how Wisconsin InfoLink’s Art & Culture section can help with this topic.

Featured resource: Wisconsin InfoLink: Art & Culture > Art & Culture Links

Let’s face it, Wisconsin isn’t the Hollywood of the Midwest. But there are a couple of sites under the Art & Culture list that are definite award winners. One such link is the Wisconsin Film Festival, the annual gathering that is possibly the largest campus-based film festival in the U.S., according to its Web site. This year’s event is just around the corner, in early March.

Another good site is the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. A partnership between UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Historical Society (my employer), the WCFTR’s collections comprise one of the world’s major archives of research materials relating to the entertainment industry.

Wisconsin has been the location of many films over the past several decades, with the most recent Hollywood film being “Public Enemies” in 2008, starring Johnny Depp.  In recent years, Wisconsin worked hard at enticing the film industry by offering attractive tax incentives. Then-Gov. Jim Doyle in 2009, however, rolled up the tax incentive red carpet, eliminating it from the most recent state budget.

Gov. Scott Walker, during his campaign last October, was all for luring the movie industry back to Wisconsin, criticising Doyle for having “gutted this important job creation incentive.” (To read newspaper articles on this topic, Wisconsin InfoLink offers numerous options: (Wisconsin InfoLink: Media > Wisconsin Newspaper Archives.)

A couple of additional links that you might find interesting are:

Pass the popcorn.

— Ron Larson

Ron Larson, a blogger for WisconsinWatch.org and staffer at the Wisconsin Historical Society, spent most of his professional life organizing information and helping reporters find facts and data as the library director at the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times.