Student Films

Overview of Tales-Related Courses

Gregg Mitman viewing a film with students

In 2007, the festival offered two related courses at UW-Madison - Green Screen, a history of environmental film, and Non-Fiction Story-Telling in Pictures: Moving and Still, an environmental documentary-making workshop — as part of the artist-in-residencies of filmmakers Judith Helfand and Sarita Siegel. Workshop students, all of whom were novice filmmakers, created eight documentary shorts that premiered at the 2007 festival.

In 2009, Tales again offered two courses. In addition to our environmental filmmaking workshop resulting in six student shorts, we offered a new course entitled Community Engagement through Film. This latter course taught students to design community outreach campaigns in conjunction with our community partners that leveraged the 2009 festival's films as forces for positive environmental justice action.

In 2011, the CHE Methods class, which teaches interdisciplinary research skills in the environmental humanities, had students create video slideshows about "landscapes of health." Check out the six student projects, two of which screened as part of the 2012 festival.

A student's camera sits next to the computer editing equipment

In 2013, in addition to the return of the Green Screen history course, visiting artist-in-residence Alex Rivera taught a new filmmaking class: From Ecotopia to Ecopocalypse -- Telling Digital Stories About the Environment that led students through the process of making short fiction films composed largely of existing stock and found footage. Check out the resulting eight student shorts that premiered at the 2013 festival.

All our filmmaking courses have shared at least one goal: creating Wisconsin-focused films that upend traditional notions of what makes a film "environmental." With unique formats and topics, we think you'll agree these short films (most of which later expanded into 5- to 15-minute projects) can enrich your understanding of environmental filmmaking!

For more information and to read the syllabi, read the course materials.

Student Films Directory

2007 Student Films

2007 Student Films Highlights
Alternate Living
Farmer John
Fish Fry
Freewheels and Freedom
I'm In a Badger State of Mind
Matt's Turkeys
For When the Buffalo Roam

2009 Student Films

2009 Student Films Highlights
America's Dairyland
An End to Slim Pickings
Getting Them Home
Holy Land, WI
More Jam, More Jobs
Plastics One Through Seven

2011 Student Films

2011 Student Films Highlights
At the Heart of Badger
Beekeeping in Wisconsin
Living by Fire
Resident Geese
Tonyawatha's Healing Waters
What's In a Name

2013 Student Films

2013 Student Films Highlights
Bee Guardian
Dying for Happiness
Memory Paste
The Translator
Two Planets