Full Frame Documentary Festival's Deirdre Haj

Flyway 2015 Keynote Speaker Deirdre Haj

Scroll down the list of MovieMaker Magazine’s “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World,” and next to Western Wisconsin’s own Flyway Film Festival you’ll find Full Frame, the renowned North Carolina documentary film festival helmed by Deirdre Haj. Ms. Haj will give the keynote address at the Flyway Film Festival’s opening night gala at the Villa Bellezza Winery in Pepin, Wisconsin on October 21st. Her topic: the importance of theatrical screenings to communities large and small.

“It’s great for Flyway and Full Frame to be on the ‘coolest’ list,” says Haj. “But festivals are about more than being cool. Movie houses are magical places that also drive the economics of their communities.” She should know: Full Frame, which started with a handful of films in 1998, now draws over 12,000 people and brings in around $96,000 in tax revenue for the city of Durham.

Flyway Film Festival director Rick Vaicius met Ms. Haj at an International Film Festival Summit conference several years ago. “I was inspired by the forward momentum she’s brought to her festival,” says Vaicius. “We’re thrilled that we can tap into that positive energy at the Flyway this year.”

Haj will continue leading the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival as she moves to the Twin Cities with her husband Joseph Haj, incoming artistic director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Ms. Haj has never been to the Western Wisconsin area, but she’s read about its reputation for artistic and culinary excellence.

“I look forward to gathering with new friends to discuss the importance of events like the Flyway,” she says. “I’m also hoping to indulge in the local pie I’ve heard so much about.”