Reel to Real

Real to Reel

"The audience thoroughly enjoyed the film and was engaged in the discussion that followed. It was great to see new faces coming to our library."

Jane Henze
Adult Services Coordinator
DeForest Area Public Library

Reel to Real works with public and academic libraries across the state to combine the power of documentary cinema with community dialogue and action. Reel to Real helps libraries host public screenings of critically acclaimed PBS documentaries, followed by audience discussions with local experts. Libraries can choose from an array of films addressing a wide range of topics, including race and diversity, social justice, health care, history, the arts, education and civic engagement - some of the most critical issues facing communities in Wisconsin today.

Reel to Real events are designed to meet core community needs. The screenings successfully bridge the gap between viewing a film and creating community dialogue and action. We have discovered that participation in these events can have powerful effects on public dialogue, participation and involvement. Simply put, Reel to Real seeks to turn viewers into doers.

Reel to Real is a partnership with the Wisconsin Library Association.

Featured Films

A Farm Winter With Jerry Apps

Historian Jerry Apps remembers country winters spent on his family's farm during the Great Depression and World War II.

Bottoms Up: Wisconsin's Historic Bars and Breweries

"Bottoms Up" celebrates Wisconsin history by exploring the architecture and social history of Wisconsin's bars and breweries. Based on the book by Architectural Historian Jim Draeger and Historian Mark Speltz. Watch responsibly.

Freedom Summer: American Experience

Over 700 student volunteers joined organizers to combat white supremacy in Mississippi in 1964.

Independent Lens

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines

From the comic book superheroine to the blockbusters of today, this film offers a fun and witty look at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society's anxieties about women's liberation.

Jerry Apps: A Farm Story

The portrait of a farm boy's childhood in Waushara County is told through personal memories and photos from the Wild Rose community.

MAKERS: Women Who Make America

Part 2: Changing the World

In the 1970s, feminism reshaped the relationships between men and women.

Wisconsin's Nazi Resistance: The Mildred Fish-Harnack Story

Discover Mildred Fish-Harnack, a Wisconsin native who was the only American woman executed on the direct orders of Adolf Hitler. Actress Jane Kaczmarek narrates the documentary which follows Fish-Harnack from birth in Milwaukee to 1930s Germany and to her eventual arrest and execution in 1943.