April 2012

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liveIn the Moment The Wisconsin Film Festival director creates a yearly adventure for fi lmgoers Plan Your Silver Screen Outing To create your own adven- ture at the 2012 Wisconsin Film Festival, taking place April 18-22 throughout Dane County, download a copy of the Isthmus' guide and purchase tickets at wifi ties at the Orpheum Th eater. Just when her nerves reached their peak, than her bike tires could spin. Having assumed the role of Wis- consin Film Festival Director only four months prior, she was biking up State Street to kick off the yearly festivi- It was March 30, 2006, and Meg Hamel's mind was racing faster Hamel turned a corner, only to be greeted by a line of people wrapped around the block, waiting to see the show. "I remember feeling so excited that with Meg Hamel people showed up!" says the 46-year-old mother of one with a laugh. "I love that moment every year." Hamel began volunteering at the festival in 2001 to pursue a hobby that resonated with her love for storytelling and fi lmmak- ing. After contributing in larger capacities each year, Hamel was given the opportuni- ty to fi ll the shoes of the festival's previous director, Mary Carbine, in late 2005—an opportunity she was thrilled to pursue. Since assuming the role, Hamel focuses her time on catering the annual festival to the unique interests of her audience. "I'm not at all concerned about press, buyers or red carpet hype," she says. "I focus on putting together the most inter- esting, varied and deeply satisfying blend of fi lms." With this year's event set to show approximately 150 fi lms in locations throughout Dane County, Hamel advises fi lmgoers to resist intimidation. She says the quantity of fi lms you see is not impor- tant; instead, take the opportunity to be adventurous in what you choose. "People [enjoy] stepping away from their typical means of entertainment and trust us to choose good pictures," she says. "Th ey don't worry so much about whether or not they'll like it; they simply allow the story to fl ow over them and escape for a little while." —Mollie Busby April 2012 11 Photo by Shanna Wolf

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