Sunday, October 6, 2013

Milwaukee Film Festival




This is the 5th year that Milwaukee has hosted its own film festival. I remember when it first started, and they said they wanted to emulate the Sundance Film festival, which is quite famous and well attended.  I was wondering how they could do so many international and small films in a small city like Milwaukee, but it's been met with pretty good success.  The sheer number and quality of films has been impressive.  Milwaukee isn't exactly Hollywood, but we do have a film school that turns out about 45 new film graduates every year, so there are some independent films being made right here in our city, and Wisconsinites all over the country helping to make quality films.  Some of these are shown during the festival which is hosted at 3 historic theaters- Fox-Bay Cinema Grill, Landmark Downer Theatre, and the Landmark Oriental Theatre- over the 2 weeks it runs.

Photo of the Oriental Theatre- from Milwaukee Film facebook page
This is actually the first time I've attended the festival.  It's not that I haven't wanted to go.  The price is right.  For $10 you can see a movie in an interesting old theater.  You can become a member for $60 which gets you a movie a month all during the year too, and reduced tickets of $8.  A festival pass that allows access to every movie showing is $350 for the general public, or $300 for Milwaukee Film members.  That would be a whole lot of movies.

It's not just about watching films either.  You can meet filmmakers, join in an after movie talk, see a sneak peek at movies that are in production, go to parties, listen to live music, and even bring a classroom of school children for a film screening and workshop.

It is a chore just to choose the movie you want to see.  There's a thick guidebook that comes out and displays movies by genre, or by theater.  You can see movies from noon to midnight every day of the week during the festival.  All of the movies are unfamiliar so it requires some reading to ensure you get to see what interests you.  And there is something for every taste...  As for me, I got free tickets by liking the Facebook page for Milwaukee Film, and commenting on a post about a Danish film.  I was surprised by actually winning, and it meant staying up way past my bedtime, but it was fun to attend.  The theater was only half full for a 1015 pm showing.  The festival runs for another week, so I'll be taking Omar to a kids shorts movie this weekend, and hopefully getting into some of the matinees next week.  It's all good fun.  If you're in Milwaukee for this incredibly interesting array of films, be sure to check out tickets!

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