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Scott Smith and John Fromstein penetrate the veil of anonymity shrouding the University of Wisconsin-Madison students who portray mascot Bucky Badger in their documentary Being Bucky, which has its Chicago premiere Thursday at Landmark's Century Centre. (I profiled the film in the Reader's "These Parts" issue May 14.)
Wisconsin natives Smith and Fromstein, now accomplished Chicago admen at Fulton Market Media, offer an intimate portrait of the rigorous tryouts, widely violated rules of behavior, and unexpectedly serious sense of responsibility of the seven young men behind the badger mask. What ultimately emerges is a love letter to Madison and a sense of nostalgia for the innocent fun of the Bucky tradition.
Being Bucky won the audience award after raucous screenings at the Wisconsin Film Festival in April and enjoyed a theatrical run at Marcus Theatres around the state. More screenings and a DVD release are in the works. It screens Thursday at 7 and 9 PM at Landmark, 2828 N. Clark. Tickets are $10 via PayPal or at the door.