Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Q&A: Founder of Badger Film Groups shares rewards of student film

‘What makes this group special is that everyone cares,’ BFG president says
Caroline Crowley

The Badger Film Group is an independent film group founded by students from the University of Wisconsin. Jared Rosenthal, the original founder and current leader of BFG, highlighted the success of the group and cinema at Madison.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

What is Badger Film Group and what work do you do?


Badger Film Group started about a year and a half ago. It started after I took Communication Arts 355, and I worked with my last film group from the class and made a short film with them a few months later. We had premieres for movies, and then we would post on Instagram. And we would promote, promote, promote. Over time, we just got more people interested in the films that we were making, and the group just expanded really quickly. And people were brought in and next thing we knew we were making feature films — “Watch Out,” that was huge. And so now making “Wasted,” the movie, it just keeps growing and we keep getting bigger and bigger.

What interested you about making short films in the beginning?

I really like short films, just because they’re good practice because you can really focus on the smaller details. So it’s a great way to train for these bigger ones. But the feature film in itself is a beast, and to do that you need to have experience with the short films. That’s how you get better, by pushing yourself to do things that aren’t typical. And because we’re constantly trying to push the boundaries and push the limits, we get better results each time. So the feature film just comes from us being super ambitious and trying to tell stories that have even more depth.

What are some of the difficulties associated with student filmmaking?

Money, for sure. Budget. That’s the hardest thing, because it is not cheap to make a movie. But when you work as a team, and you do your best to fundraise, and you put your vision out for everyone to see, and you explain yourself and why you want to do something like this, it all falls into place, because we do what we love. I’m a strong believer that if you put love into the world, the world’s gonna come back with a lot of reciprocation, at some point in time. And we felt that immediately.

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How did you find people who were knowledgeable about each field associated with film?

I found these people because in my life I live for film, and I let it be known. I will die for my movies and my ideas because I love bringing people together and showing people that they can be bigger than themselves. So I find people through me constantly talking about film, and constantly thinking about what is needed.

For filmmaking, do you think passion is more important, or knowledge?

I think you need to start with passion, but you need knowledge. It comes down to that because that passion without knowledge, it can only get you so far. But if you are obsessed, then you start to get people who also care a lot and are very good.

What’s the future looking like for Badger Film Group?

Right now, “Wasted” is going to premiere in a few weeks. That’s been such an incredible ride, just this whole crew, the way we’ve all come together — we took it to the next level as far as bonding. It’s such a family mindset. And this was the original vision I always had for the group. Where we’re at now is exactly where I always wanted to be. And now it’s about leveling up and continuing on that path.

In terms of the future, there are a lot of seniors in the group. So over the course of this project, we’ve had a lot of the underclassmen shadowing those seniors to see how they do everything. So that way, next year, in the following years, they’ll be prepared.

We’re going to have new directors, new writers, new editors, and we’re going to start from the bottom again. And that comes with just being positive and having faith in the group and having faith in oneself. And it’s so unique to see a group of like-minded students work together for something that’s bigger than themselves. It’s impactful because, yes, we are still students, and there’s so much to learn. But we’re pioneers, we’re people who all we want to do is have fun, make movies with our friends and be ourselves and there’s no other place like this on campus.

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Did you have any final thoughts or closing thoughts?

What makes this group special is that everyone cares. Everyone truly wants to be there.

I love challenges. I think as a group, that’s, that’s how you get better. That’s how you grow.

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