MENOMONIE — This year’s Red Cedar Film Festival is designed to explore and expand the art of film with 53 selections from nine countries.

The third annual festival runs Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 1, at the historic Landmark Theater in The Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, 205 Main St. E.

The cost ranges from $10 for a single ticket to $75 for a general pass. Discounts are available for students, seniors and UW-Stout employees. For the schedule and ticket information, go to Tickets are also available onsite prior to each show.

There will be a free community screening of 13 short films at about 9 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at Wilson Park band shell.

Forty of the films are new for the 2021 festival, and 13 are being shown as part of the in-person event after the 2020 festival ended up being virtual because of COVID-19.

The genres include drama, fantasy, action, mystery, thriller, sci-fi, comedy, romance, horror, family, suspense, family, documentary and music video.

Films are from Italy, Ireland, Belarus, United Kingdom, Canada, India, France, Argentina and the United States.

The festival is dedicated this year to Andrew McIntosh, technology and visual resources coordinator for the School of Art and Design, who died in July.

The first day of the festival will feature international short films.

According to a news release from UW-Stout Communications:

“These are international films you never get to see,” said Peter Galante, recently retired UW-Stout professor, who was program director of video production and is founder and executive director of the festival. “Film festivals are really about networking and meeting people. It’s not just being at a film but being part of the film community.”

Women’s panel

On July 31, the festival will focus on films about women’s issues.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” will be shown at 4 p.m. It’s a feature film that Galante helped produce. Keif Oss, UW-Stout senior lecturer in video production, did visual effects, and Ed Jakober, senior media specialist at UW-Stout, was the sound designer.

The film is based on Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s controversial gothic feminist horror story about patriarchy and hysteria. Jane, a writer and young mother, is prescribed a rest treatment by her physician husband John, who takes her to a remote country estate for the summer. She becomes obsessed with the peculiar yellow wallpaper in the bedroom he has chosen for her. In her isolation, she secretly writes about a woman trapped in the wallpaper — that she must free.

The film has been picked up by Mutiny Films and will likely be distributed via Red Box, Galante said.

Following the screening, a panel discussion will be moderated by UW-Stout applied social science professor Tina Lee with six women film directors, producers, writers and cast members. They will reflect on their experiences in the industry and discuss what new perspectives on human issues arise when women lead the creative process and center women’s experiences. The discussion is free and open to all.

“We have never had a panel discussion, but we hope to have more in the future,” Galante says in the release. He who added that education and public discussion are important aspects of the event from the university’s perspective.

Oss also has three shorts in the festival, including “Doom Scroll Flush,” based on the quote “tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are”; “Ax Chase,” described as never give away the entire plot of a short film in the title; and “Five Minutes for a Mask,” in which a disgruntled man learns that freedom isn’t free at his local computer repair shop.

Telling stories

Jonny Wheeler, a UW-Stout lecturer in video and photography, will have three shorts in the festival titled “The Arconaut, “Liminal” and “Cindy.”

“Cindy” is inspired by Cindy Sherman’s untitled film series of photographs. The narrative short runs 1 minute, 41 seconds. Wheeler created it, as part of a class with Galante, as one long video shot. Wheeler is a UW-Stout alumnus with an M.F.A. in design this year and a bachelor’s degree in art education in 2014.

“The Arconaut” is an experimental sci-fi film; Wheeler used a UW-Stout student research grant to help fund filming in Arizona. The film is based on a futuristic man trying to leave a caste system.

“Liminal” follows a lab tech who finds clues to a buried treasure in the memories of a child.

Wheeler earned a Copper Quill award in 2019 for his student film at the festival.

“For me, it was a validation for the work I was doing,” Wheeler says in the release. “For a lot of no-budget filmmakers, we work for passion. The film festival helped me want to keep going. It gave me the motivation to work on the next project.”

A dozen student and UW-Stout short films will be shown on Sunday, Aug. 1, followed by festival awards. Six awards will be given: best narrative feature, narrative short, documentary short, Midwest roots, student short and animated short.

View of isolation

One UW-Stout student film is “Inbox.” It is directed by Kyra Shepherd, an entertainment design major with a concentration in animation. Shepherd, of Elkhart Lake, graduates in August.

The film focuses on a young woman, performed by UW-Stout student Han Schoening, with Shepherd providing the voice-over, who copes with isolation following a breakup by leaving diary-style voicemails.

The idea came from a video production class that required sound to be important to the narrative, Shepherd said. “One thing I listen to a lot is voice mails, and I thought that could have a lot of potential.”

She shot the film in March using a Canon Rebel T30 DSLR camera and submitted it to the festival at the urging of Wheeler.

“It is both exciting and a little scary,” Shepherd says in the release, noting she plans to attend part of the fest. “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m excited to see the film on a bigger screen. I’m excited to see that whole section of films.”

UW-Stout, Wisconsin Public Radio and The Mabel Tainter are sponsors of the festival.