World Cinema Day 2020

World Cinema Day, a collaboration between UW-Madison’s IRIS and the Wisconsin Film Festival that began in 2004, brings school children and teachers 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. For the second year in a row, World Cinema Day will offer two screenings–one, on April 8th, to middle-school teachers and students, and a second, on April 9th, to high-school teachers and students.

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

Some financial assistance to help defray bussing costs may be available to schools coming to WCD from outside of Dane county.

WHERE: AMC 6 Theaters, 430 N. Midvale Blvd., Madison

WHEN: April 8 (middle schools); April 9 (high schools); 11:00 am – 1:00 pm both days


for Middle Schools (April 8): “Zu Weit Weg” (“Too Far Away”), Germany 2019, German and Arabic with English subtitles

11-year-old Ben’s village will soon be only an open brown coal mine. He and his family move to a nearby city but Ben fails to fit in at his new school. Bullied, he returns secretly to his old, abandoned home. His one pleasure, football, pales with the arrival of 12-year-old Tariq, a Syrian refugee and better player. But when bureaucracy stops Tariq playing and he runs away, Ben finds him and learns that Tariq is desperate to be reunited with his scattered family. To cheer him up, Ben shares his biggest secret: the village. Jealousy on the football field becomes friendship and understanding. So when Tariq’s brother calls from Amsterdam, wanting Tariq to join him, he will leave with happy memories and Ben can finally feel at home in his new life.


for High Schools (April 9): “المرشح المثالي” (“The Perfect Candidate”), Saudi Arabia, 2019, Arabic with English subtitles

When Maryam, a hardworking young doctor in a small-town clinic, is prevented from flying to Dubai for a conference without a male guardian’s approval, she seeks help from a politically-connected cousin, but inadvertently registers as a candidate for the municipal council. Maryam sees the election as a way to fix the muddy road in front of her clinic, but her campaign slowly garners broader appeal.

A challenge to Saudi patriarchy, The Perfect Candidate is an amusing but biting reflection on women in a society that systematically marginalizes them. Maryam…learns to run a campaign from a web article and creatively navigates a restriction barring her from addressing male voters directly. With spirit and authenticity, the film offers a rare glimpse into a still-obscure society.


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

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 – with questions about World Cinema Day.

Past Films: Here is the list of films we have shown at World Cinema Day since this event’s inception:

  • 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 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.