A Peek at Three Film Festivals in Milwaukee This Fall

  • 01 of 04

    From Short Films to Foreign Films

    2012 Milwaukee Film Festival at the Oriental Theater. Milwaukee Film Festival

    Autumn’s cool crisp nights are an ideal time to head to the movies. But even better than taking in that new Hollywood blockbuster hit are films screened as part of a local film fest. These curated selections each touch on art, culture, politics and other societal issues, giving a greater sense of both the world at large and also the subcultures here in Milwaukee.

    Milwaukee is lucky to host three different film fests every fall. As the largest, Milwaukee Film Festival‘s screenings are at several different theaters throughout the city and its suburbs in late September through early October. Other festivals are the MKE Short Film Festival, hosted at Comedy Sportz in Walker’s Point in early September, and the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival, hosted at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on the city’s East Side in mid- to late-October.

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  • 02 of 04

    18th Annual 2016 MKE Short Film Festival

    A Walk Through The Woods by Trez Gee, to be shown at the 2016 MKE Short Film Festival. MKE Short Film Festival

    18th Annual 2016 MKE Short Film Festival

    When: September 9-10, 2016

    Where: Comedy Sportz, 420 S. 1st St., Milwaukee (Walker’s Point)

    Ticket Prices: $10 per film, purchased through this link

    Sponsored by the Milwaukee Independent Film Society, the line-up of films—a mix of foreign films, animation and documentaries—is split up into five sessions over two days. Each film is about 10-15 minutes in length. On Friday, September 9, 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. screenings total nine films, while on Saturday, September 10 showing times are 3:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The three judges hand out awards at the close of festival, which is after the 8:30 p.m. screenings are complete. Many of these films use the backdrop of Milwaukee, including “Closed Mondays” by Henry Willette, about a small-town museum guard developing a friendship with a patron, filmed at the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University. In fact, university students worked on the film.

    An after party is hosted each night after the...MORE screenings. There is also a Filmmaker Social at ComedySportz on Saturday at 1 p.m., a chance for those who enjoy creating films to mingle.

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  • 03 of 04

    Milwaukee Film Festival

    Oriental Theater, one of the Milwaukee Film Festival screening sites. Milwaukee Film Festival

    Milwaukee Film Festival

    When: September 22-October 6, 2016

    Where: Landmark Oriental Theatre, 2230 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee (East Side); Landmark Downer Theatre, 2589 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee (East Side); Fox-Bay Cinema Grill, 334 E. Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay; Times Cinema, 5906 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee (Washington Heights) and Avalon Theater, 2473 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee (Bay View)

    Ticket Prices: $485-$500 (festival pass); $66-$72, 6-pack of tickets purchased here; $12 at the door

    With the recent news that Oscar-winning director and screenwriter John Ridley (a Milwaukee native) joined the fest’s board of directors, this year’s line-up is poised to win the hearts of many movie fans. Among Ridley’s works is “12 Years a Slave,” winning him an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2013.

    In terms of local interest, “Slenderman”, a documentary about the Waukesha case that grabbed national headlines when two teenage girls were charged with attempting to murder their...MORE classmate, a case that is still making its way through the system, will be screened during the fest. Also, the city’s zip code of 53206 – on the North Side – will be highlighted in “Milwaukee 53206.”

    Foreign films continue to be a main focus, as they are year after year, with this year’s highlights including the French thriller “Neither Heaven Nor Earth.” Documentaries are just as good year after year. Three titles released so far are “Orange Sunshine,” about a hippie church formed in Southern California during the 1960s; “A Song for You: The Austin City Limits Story,” about the music festival’s storied history over the past four decades; and “Yarn,” spanning the lives of knitters and crocheters in 11 different countries.

    The festival is always a good place to view old favorites, such as this year’s inclusion of “Blue Velvet” by celebrated director David Lynch, marking the film’s 30th anniversary. “Beauty and the Beast” will not only be shown but the audience is encouraged to sing along, too.

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  • 04 of 04

    Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival

    UNDERTOW (Contracorriente, screened at the 2010 Festival. Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival

    Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival

    When: October 14-23, 2016

    Where: UW-Milwaukee’s Union Cinema at Peck School of the Arts, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd., Milwaukee (East Side)

    Ticket Prices: $100, festival pass (includes fast-pass entry); $40, Fiver pass (entrance to five shows for the price of four); $15, Opening Night and Centerpiece tickets (includes pre-screening party at Beans & Barley and post-screening reception); $10, per screening (free to UW-Milwaukee students and Union Cinema members)

    The 31st annual fest is again hosted at UW-Milwaukee this year. Opening night is October 12, although the fest's first screening isn’t until October 14, kicking off with “Kiki” at 7:30 p.m. Coming into the festival, this movie about LGBT youth-of-color has already received acclaim after screenings at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, winning the Teddy Award for Best LGBT Documentary.