Film veteran Nicholas Langholff is happy to be back in his home state of Wisconsin working on a project called Madison. Langholff and partner Brent Notbohm have collaborated on several projects in the past, including the short subject 'My Life by Water: Lorine Niedecker,' but they have particularly high hopes for Madison. The film will follow a reporter's return to his old college town after a stint overseas covering the war in Iraq.
'We hope to get it into competition at Sundance [in 2008],' says Langholff, whose long rÃsumÃ includes work on the Sundance grand jury prize winner Forty Shades of Blue. 'I don't know of any other story or antiwar film like this that is going. It's a different kind of movie, and it'll stand out there.'
Langholff is producing Madison, which will primarily be filmed in Madison beginning next month. Screenwriter Notbohm (who teaches media studies at UW-Superior) will direct. Both filmmakers say they're excited to have snagged American Players Theatre regular James DeVita for the lead role. They've also cast Wisconsin theater vets Brian Mani, Sarah Day and Gerry Neugent.
Langholff says the film's budget is well below the $1 million mark. He expects to stretch the dollars quite far, thanks to in-kind contributions from local businesses and the generosity of a crew of film professionals with Wisconsin ties who've been itching to come back home to work.
Unfortunately, Madison won't qualify for tax breaks afforded filmmakers in the Wisconsin Film Bill, which has yet to be activated. But Langholff says that if this project goes well, he'd jump at the chance to film in Wisconsin again. And a better fiscal welcome from state government would make his return that much sweeter.
'I have a number of projects that are scheduled for other states,' he says. 'With this film bill I could easily talk these people into taking a film out of Michigan and Colorado and bringing it to Wisconsin.'
Is the Orpheum Theatre, the city's only largely intact 1920s movie palace, for sale? That's what The Capital Times' Jacob Stockinger reported on Dec. 18 at the end of a long piece on touring musicians' attraction to playing Madison. But Orpheum directing manager Merijoy Endrizzi-Ray says that's news to her and Orpheum co-owner Henry Doane.
She writes in an e-mail, 'Henry did not talk to them,' adding that Doane doesn't believe that fellow co-owner Eric Fleming spoke with The Capital Times either. In any case, Endrizzi-Ray says, 'At this point [Doane] tells me he has no plans to sell, and we are currently booking events for next year.'