The ten to twelve inches of snow forecast to start falling early Wednesday morning may bode well for the Wisconsin Film Festival. "I think it's great," says organizer Meg Hamel about the possible winter storm.
The fest, which kicks off Thursday evening, has traditionally been held two weeks earlier in late March. Due to the timing of the UW's spring break, though, it was rescheduled for mid-April.
"My concern was that the weather would be so nice that some people might choose to do something else," explains Hamel, things like cleaning their garages, trimming their raspberry canes, and generally spending time outdoors rather than inside a movie theater. "Despite the two-week delay this spring," she continues, "we are going to get the kind of weather that will be perfect for sitting a cozy theater with a bucket of popcorn on your lap and a great movie on the screen."
With the first film set to begin in just over 48 hours, planning for the festival is rapidly concluding. Well, the planning for the event is actually long completed, explains Hamel. "What's really good right now is that we've made the change from planning to doing," she says. "These last days before the festival are spent building and moving things, instead of email after email after email conversation about how we want to something."
Now, Hamel notes, the consequences of any final decision made in the execution of the festival will be immediately known.
Numerous film prints have already been delivered to their appropriate homes for the weekend. On Monday, for example, festival technical consultants Jared Lewis and Erik Gunneson hauled can after can of film reels to the projection booths perched at the top of both theaters in the Orpheum. The volunteers' will spend the last handful of hours pulling together the last of the materials that will be distributed amongst theaters, including remaining tickets and all of the signs necessary to transform these sites of stage and screen into film festival venues.
Though all of these final deliveries may be slowed down by as much as a foot of snow, the cold weather will certainly encourage people to spend more time indoors this weekend, and even watch more movies. "There's always been a special guardian 'thing' hanging over the festival," Hamel concludes, "and this year it's the threat of inclement weather."