World Cinema Day 2019

World Cinema Day has traditionally brought only high school students to Madison for the screening of a high-quality international film with an introduction and post-film discussion led by a member of the UW faculty or staff. It is an annual event held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Film Festival.  World Cinema Day 2019 will take place on Monday, April 8th, with two showings, 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

For the first time, in 2019, IRIS and the WI Film Festival are offering both a middle-school AND a high-school version of World Cinema Day.  The middle-school film, “Tito and the Birds,” will be shown at 9:00“Midnight Traveler,” will be shown for a high-school audience at 11:00.

This event is free to school groups attending with their teachers. Seating is limited, so registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Venue: AMC Dine-In, 430 N. Midvale Blvd., Madison, WI

The MIDDLE SCHOOL film for World Cinema Day 2019 will be “Tito and the Birds.”

Portuguese with English Subtitles |  Brazil  |  2018  | 73 min

About the film: A boy and his two friends set out to find his father’s missing research on bird songs, something that just might save their world from an epidemic where fear makes you sick.


The HIGH SCHOOL film for World Cinema Day 2019 will be “Midnight Traveler.”

Afghan Persian with English Subtitles |  Canada, Qatar, UK, USA |  2019  | 87 min

In 2015, after Hassan Fazili’s documentary Peace aired on Afghan national television, the Taliban assassinated the film’s main subject and put a price on Hassan’s head. Hassan looked at his wife and his daughters, and he knew they had to flee their home. Over the course of their multi-year saga in search of safety, the family grasped onto the only means they had to assert control over their situation: their camera-phones.

Hassan and his wife Fatima are both filmmakers, and they are educating their daughters and encouraging them to be artists. The whole family shot this autobiographical film, which follows them from when they sought and were rejected for refugee protection through their journey along the notorious Balkan smuggling route. As they experienced increasingly degrading circumstances, the family latched on to filmmaking as a way to not just survive, but retain their humanity.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. The deadline to register is the close of business on Monday, April 1, 2019.

The schedule for this event will be as follows:

For 9:00 o’clock showing:

  • 8:30-8:55- Arrival, check-in, purchase snacks
  • 9:00 –  Welcome and Introduction by World Cinema Day organizers
  • 9:10 – Movie Screening Begins
  • 10:25 – Movie Screening Ends/Move to Q&A Space
  • 10:30-11:00: Q&A with Regional Expert

For 11:00 o’clock showing:

  • 10:30-10:55 – Arrival, check-in, purchase snacks
  • 11:00 –  Welcome and Introduction by World Cinema Day organizers
  • 11:10 – Movie Screening Begins
  • 12:50 – Movie Screening Ends/Move to Q&A Space
  • 12:55-1:20: Q&A with Regional Expert

For More Information: Please contact Nancy Heingartner, Assistant Director, Outreach, Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS), UW-Madison, by email at or phone – 608.265.6585 – if you have any questions about World Cinema Day.

World Cinema Day is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Film Festival.

Past Films: World Cinema Day has been offering films for high school students since 2004. Here is the list of films we have shown in conjunction with this event:

  • 2019 – Tito and the Birds (Brazil)–for middle schoolers; Midnight Traveler (Canada, Qatar, UK, USA)–for high schoolers
  • 2018 – The Taste of Rice Flower (China)
  • 2017 – Parting (Afghanistan, Iran)
  • 2016 – Celestial Camel (Republic of Kalmykia)
  • 2015 – Girlhood (France)
  • 2014 – Village at the End of the World (Greenland)
  • 2013 – The Painting (France)
  • 2012 – Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
  • 2011 – The Colors of the Mountain (Colombia)
  • 2010 – Masquerades (Algeria)
  • 2009 – Football Under Cover (Germany)
  • 2008 – Fermat’s Room (Spain)
  • 2007 – Of Love and Eggs (Indonesia)
  • 2006 – Stolen Life (China)
  • 2005 – Daughter of Keltoum (Tunisia)
  • 2004 – Ticket to Jerusalem (Israel)

WCD was started in 2004 and was coordinated by UW-Madison’s Language Institute through 2009. Many of the films listed above were presented in collaboration with the Global Film Initiative. We thank them for their support and assistance over the years.