Lori Greenberg of Fitchburg is a movie fan, like anyone. It's the yearly bounty of the Wisconsin Film Festival that pushes her over the edge. Greenberg, 61, will spend the next three weeks plotting a course to ensure that she meets her annual quota of catching a dozen or more films at the five-day fest.
Greenberg, development associate at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, attended the festival for the first time in 2004. She appreciates being able to see intelligent, untraditional pictures not regularly seen in American theaters.
"I think the Wisconsin Film Festival is one of the best events Madison has on an annual basis," she says. "I love the energy of the festival and the camaraderie of when you're in line waiting to get into the theater. And then when you get into a theater, I love the feeling of being in a room packed with people who are there to see something out of the ordinary."
She has already picked two films she doesn't want to miss. "Jiro Dreams of Sushi is right at the top, because I'm a foodie," she says. "If we ever had just a food Wisconsin Film Festival, I'd have to go see everything. The film Klown also seems pretty irreverent and funny, and it uses Curb Your Enthusiasm as a comparison in the write-up, so that's kind of all I needed to hear."
Greenberg saw three films at the festival in 2004, and she has upped the count every year since. "It can be exhausting," she says of her approach. On occasion, she says, "I have left or not gone to the very last film of the night I've planned because I was too tired. Or sometimes it happens, on the last day of the festival, where I'll just be feeling maxed-out. But it's always with mixed emotion."
To ensure she gets the most out of the festival, she religiously reads through the guide each year, circling with a pen anything that piques her curiosity. "Once my partner and I have individually picked out what we're interested in -- which is usually a lot more than we can ever see -- we then have to review our list and see what we have in common," says Greenberg.
First they agree on the films they know are sure things. "Then we go through again, trying to convince each other to go see something that might not be on one another's lists. So there are circles in the guide, and the second time around there may be a star or a check mark, and then it has to be plotted out with the schedule because sometimes you want to see three films and they're all playing at the same time."
Says Greenberg, "It's really quite a process."