Capturing the Moment

Accomplished film directors do not only appear in Hollywood, as demonstrated this past weekend at the 6th annual Central Wisconsin Film Festival. The festival included award winning independent films from short films, to documentaries and feature films. Each of these productions were picked from submissions based on quality filmmaking craft, uniqueness of concept and vision, original subject matter, entertaining stories and diverse ideas.

Screenings took place in Amherst, Stevens Point, and Marshfield from November 4-6. After each screening, the directors, if available, conducted scheduled “talkbacks” where they would discuss the film with viewers. These directors were primarily students or recent graduates with some sort of Wisconsin affiliation. The festival is a good way for these film directors to mature their craft and test it on an audience.

“The Central Wisconsin Film Festival showcases emerging and established independent film and video makers. Established in 2006, CWFF supports film and video makers that demonstrate a high regard for moving images as artistic expression. CWFF’s intent is to promote understanding, tolerance, entertainment and social awareness while providing a stimulating and enriching cultural experience within central Wisconsin,” said Jim McKnight, director of CWFF.

A film that caught a lot of attention was “Francesca” by director Justin Daering, a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison, which premiered at the Sentry Theater @ 1800 on Saturday. “Francesca” is about a vulnerable teenage girl who deals with the aftermath of being abducted. Her rescuer, a tough talking police captain, is then unexpectedly put in charge of the girl.

Starring Debra Lopez and Ashlee Fuss, “Francesca” is one of the first films under Justin Daering’s own production company, Naturalfilms. It took off in 2002 and has since been moved to Los Angeles. Naturalfilms and “Francesca” are not Justin Daering’s only accomplishments, however. He is also well known for working as a production assistant on the set of “Public Enemies” and a creative intern for “Hotel Rwanda.”

Justin can be reached at, Facebook, or For more information on how to submit a film of your own or the film festival for next year, check out


Monica Lenius

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