Reel Lives: Zach Zahos

Zach Zahos portrait

Q: Tell us about yourself. What do you do for the Festival?

A: Along with Ben Reiser and one or more WUD Film assistants, I program our Wisconsin’s Own slate. I also coordinate print traffic, meaning that I make sure all of the Festival’s films arrive on time and end up at the right screening venue. On top of that, I contribute blurbs to our gorgeous Film Guide and write posts for our Festival’s Facebook and Twitter accounts throughout the year.

Q: What is the best part of the programming process?

A: Watching a film you selected and vouched for with a packed, appreciative Festival audience.

Q: What grabs your attention when screening films for inclusion in the WFF program?

A: For narrative and documentary entries, I appreciate compelling, complex on-screen characters. For experimental entries, I value striking audiovisual choices. For any kind of film, I am looking for a bold, impassioned, even eccentric vision.

Q: What’s the most recent movie you watched?

A: Horse Money (2014), directed by Pedro Costa.

Q: If you HAD to pick, what is your favorite film of all time?

A: An impossible question, of course, but I can choose John Ford’s My Darling Clementine (1946) without much regret.

Q: …and favorite film genre?

A: Comedies and melodramas, or better yet some combination of the two.

Q: Do you have a memorable Festival anecdote to share?

A: I cherish the Q&A I moderated with Yujing Wang, producer of 2019 Wisconsin’s Own documentary feature Yen Ching. We had an illuminating conversation with a reflective and visibly moved audience.

Q: What is your dream job?

A: Being a film professor (with tenure!).

Q: If you were a WFF patron, how would you plan your Festival?

A: Prioritize all the older movies being screened. Frequently, we secure 35mm prints that don’t often see the light of day. On top of that, seek out Q&As with interesting people, whether they be Wisconsin’s Own filmmakers or visiting industry figures, like Ralph Breaks the Internet co-director Phil Johnston this past year.