Film Events

FIVE YEARS OF FILM: Red Cedar Film Festival Returns in July

Menomonie-based festival boasts 40+ international and independent films

McKenna Scherer, photos by Timothy Mather |

READY FOR THE RED CEDAR? The Menomonie film festival is back this July 20-23 with an impressive lineup.
READY FOR THE RED CEDAR? The Menomonie film festival is back this July 20-23 with an impressive lineup.

Cinephiles and curious casual viewers alike, get amped up for the fifth year of the Red Cedar Film Festival! The festival explores and platforms film in the Red Cedar region of Wisconsin and beyond, this year’s slate totaling more than 40 international and independent works.

Housed mainly in the historic Mabel Tainter with one free community showing in the Wilson Park Band Shell, this year’s festival will run from July 20-23 and features a powerful, diverse array of topics; from a feature-length documentary focusing on a treasure-hunter like search in the Atlantic Ocean to a short film about beer and happy hour; a silent film whose narrative is told through dance to a short film featuring shots of Bill Murray; no theme is left untouched, and no showing should be missed.

After three days of film showings, Sunday will feature the last roundup at 12pm, followed immediately by the awards show at roughly 2pm. Awards will be given out for Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Midwest Roots, Best Animated Project, and Best Student Project.

And speaking of student work, the University of Wisconsin-Stout recently held its inaugural Unspooled Film & Animation Festival, one film featured there also made the cut for Red Cedar Film Festival: No Such Thing directed by UW-Stout student, Nicos Wiard. The short film is a sci-fi thriller, and its plot is simply described as following two lifelong friends who make a breakthrough in their search for aliens.

Tickets are available to purchase online, and onsite tickets are available immediately prior to scheduled screenings. Plus, each screening block will feature at least one filmmaker whose work was featured for a Filmmaker Q&A portion.

Our Picks From This Year's Lineup:

  • The Erie Situation (dir. David J. Ruck) | Thursday, July 20 at 4pm, Mabel Tainter

    This feature-length documentary centers around Lake Erie and the complexities of the lake's toxic algae issue. "... Explores the confluence of science, public sentiment, politics, and powerful farming lobby as Ohio wrestles with how to confront the drivers of toxic algae. What's at stake? Who's at risk? And will volunteer measures be enough to confront this growing crisis, both in Ohio and beyond?"

  • Amuka (dir. Antonio Spano) | Thursday, July 20 at 6pm, Mabel Tainter

    A multi-award winning documentary racking up at least a dozen film festival selections in 2022, this feature-length documentary – filmed in French and Swahili – follows the hunger crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo by following five farmers. "The Democratic Republic of Congo could feed almost 1 in 2 people on Earth. Yet one in six Congolese people suffer from hunger. Yet one in two Congolese suffers from moderate acute malnutrition. Yet agriculture accounts for 70% of the population there."

  • GRETEL REDUX (dir. James Barany, Thomas Muschitz) | Friday, July 21 at 4pm, Mabel Tainter

    With a roughly 30-minute runtime, this animated psychological thriller is a retelling of the 2012 film Gretel, which was shot on location in the Driftless region of Wisconsin. Selected for several film festivals and awarded as Best Animation at Toronto's 2022 Art Film Spirit Awards. "This rotoscoped interpretation is a psychological tale about survival and madness, as two young children struggle to make their way out of a vast and threatening wilderness."
  • Bill Murray Lost in Berlinale (dir. Ana Trkulja) | Friday, July 21 at 9pm, Mabel Tainter

    Just five minutes in length, this short film has garnered a large amount of recognition and awards, even winning Best Vintage/Silent Film at the Cannes World Film Festival. "American actor Bill Murray signs autographs at Berlinale Film Festival, but then something unusual happens and he vanishes." Intrigued yet?

  • Phoenix Incident (dir. Keith Arem)| Friday, July 21 at 9pm, Mabel Tainter

    From Keith Arem, award-winning talent director of Call of Duty and Titanfall, comes this genre-bending feature-length film. This transmedia work features never-before-seen classified recordings and material, its synopsis notes, of the Phoenix Lights incident in March of 1997. "Phoenix Incident presents incontrovertible evidence that four men were victims of an extraterrestrial attack resulting from the US Air Force direct engagement with unidentified craft over the Estrella mountains."

Visit the Red Cedar Film Festival's website for more information on each day's film lineup and to purchase tickets.