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In Movies & TV

The Milwaukee Film Festival opens tonight.

Milwaukee Film Festival: 140 movies in 11 days


It has been a long and difficult year, but the Milwaukee Film Festival is ready to rise from the ashes of its predecessor.

Thanks to the hard work of Jonathan Jackson, Kyle Heller, TJ Fackelman and a board of directors that includes many of the smartest, most imaginative, active and important people in the community -- people with a deep passion for film, the creative world and Milwaukee -- this is a time to celebrate.

Beginning today, for 11 days, there will be more than 140 films shown on the screens at the Oriental Theatre on Farwell Avenue and at the Marcus North Shore Cinema on Port Washington Road in Mequon.

There will be panel discussions with filmmakers and people from the national film community. There will be parties. There will be prizes. I have talked to several people who plan to take at least a weeks vacation time to just see movies. Some of the movies are the best in the world that have been made in the past year. Two, "Rashomon" by Akira Kurosawa and "Amarcord" by Federico Fellini, are among the best films ever made anywhere.

The final weekend, from Oct. 1 through the closing on Oct. 4 -- will be the busiest and the most exciting for me because these days will showcase Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and new young filmmakers from around the world. The language that film communicates to us is changing constantly with the development of new technologies and just because it must as an organic entity. One of the series being offered is called Breakthrough Films, because it will showcase films that are testing the limits of the storytelling ability of films while still remaining accessible to a general audience. There is an evening of animated films, several nights of shorts from around the world and around Milwaukee, and documentaries from throughout the world that will challenge us and inform us. It is a spectacular lineup of cinematic images and they have done it all just for us. We, the people of the City of Milwaukee, own it all.

The opening night film is called "Racing Dreams," by Academy Award-winning director Marshall Curry, who will be here to introduce his film. "Racing Dreams" is the film that won the big award at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this year. Several of the main characters in this documentary about extreme cart racing, who all range from age 11 to age 13, will be here with their parents as will one of the producers, Jack Turner, who is from Whitefish Bay. Turner has another documentary playing at the Festival called "Theatre of War," which chronicles a production of Bertolt Brecht's play "Mother Courage" that played in Central Park in 2006 starring Meryl Streep and adapted, by Tony Kushner.

The closing night film is one that Jonathan Jackson says will change the way we live together. It is called "Precious: Based On the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire." It won all the awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Precious is a 16 year old, semi-literate, extremely fat African-American girl who is pregnant with her second child and lives in poverty and in the midst of many kinds of abuse, but finds a way to recognize the best in herself through the help of a gifted teacher. Oprah Winfrey is one of the producers.

The vast majority of films will have at least two showings, one at the Oriental Theatre and another at the Marcus North Shore Cinema. The North Shore has just finished a beautiful renovation and it now includes a bar and a restaurant, an Ultra Screen with reserved seating, and seats that, I am told, remember the shape of your fanny. And the Oriental is, well... The Oriental, a beautiful restoration of a 1927 movie palace, in the heart of the East Side.

Here is the complete schedule for the festival:

Thursday, Sept. 24

Landmark Oriental Theatre
7:30 p.m. -- Racing Dreams (94 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema
6:30 p.m. -- Racing Dreams (94 min.)

Friday, Sept. 25

Landmark Oriental Theatre 1 (Video)
2:30 p.m. -- Séraphine (125 min.)
5 p.m. -- Theater of War (95 min.)
7:15 p.m. -- Modus Operandi (77 min.)
9:45 p.m. -- Chef's Special (111 min.)
Midnight -- The House of the Devil

Landmark Oriental Theatre 2
5:15 p.m. -- For My Father (100 min.)
7:45 p.m. -- Shall We Kiss? (100 min.)
10:00 p.m. -- Bronson (92 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema 1
4:45 p.m. -- Lemon Tree (106 min.)
7 p.m. -- Il Divo (110 min.)
9:15 p.m. -- Rumba (77 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema 2 (Video)
5:15 p.m. -- Reporter (100 min.)
7:30 p.m. -- Herb and Dorothy (87 min.)
9:30 p.m. -- We Live In Public (90 min.)

Saturday, Sept. 26

Landmark Oriental Theatre 1
Noon -- Unmistaken Child (102 min.)
2:15 p.m. -- Before Tomorrow (93 min.)
5 p.m. -- Outrage (87 min.)
7 p.m. -- Waterlife (90 min.)
9:45 p.m. -- Humpday (94 min.)
Midnight -- The Chaser (123 min.)

Landmark Oriental Theatre 2 (Video)
12:15 p.m. -- World's Best Commercials (90 min.
2:30 p.m. -- Burma VJ (85 min.)
5:15 p.m. -- An Animated World (78 min.)
7:30 p.m. -- Kisses (86 min.)
9:15 p.m. -- Afghan Star (87 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema 1
11:30 a.m. -- Somers Town (89 min.)
2:30 p.m. -- The Beaches of Agnѐs (110 min.)
5 p.m. -- Lake Tahoe (89 min.)
6:45 p.m. -- Cherry Blossoms (127 min.)
9:30 p.m. -- $9.99 (78 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema 2 (Video)
11:00 a.m. --Azur & Asmar (106 min.)
3:00 p.m. -- The Horse Boy (93 min.)
5:15 p.m. -- Art & Copy (100 min.)
7:15 p.m. -- Crude (100 min.)
9:45 p.m. -- Favela on Blast (80 min.)

Sunday, Sept. 27

Landmark Oriental Theatre 1 (Video)
11:30 a.m. -- Azur & Asmar (106 min.)
2:45 p.m. -- Rumba (77 min.)
5 p.m. -- Changing the Conversation (83 min.)
7:15 p.m. -- All Tomorrow's Parties (85 min.)
9:30 p.m. -- Revanche (121 min.)

Landmark Oriental Theatre 2
Noon -- Somers Town (89 min.)
2:30 p.m. -- Reporter (100 min.)
4:45 p.m. -- Lemon Tree (106 min.)
7 p.m. -- Amarcord (123 min.)
9 p.m. -- Skin (107 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema 1
Noon -- Storm (110 min.)
2:30 p.m. -- For My Father (100 min.)
4:45 p.m. -- The English Surgeon (93 min.)
7 p.m. -- The Yes Men Fix The World (96 min.)
9:15 p.m. -- Chef's Special (111 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema 2 (Video)
12:15 p.m. -- Theater of War (95 min.)
2:15 p.m. -- Séraphine (125 min.)
5 p.m. -- The Best of Shorts (85 min.)
7:45 p.m. -- Everlasting Moments (132 min.)

Monday, Sept. 28

Landmark Oriental Theatre 1 (Video)
5 p.m. -- Herb and Dorothy (87 min.)
7:15 p.m. -- No Impact Man (93 min.)
9:15 p.m. -- We Live In Public (90 min.)

Landmark Oriental Theatre 2
5:15 p.m. -- Il Divo (110 min.)
7:45 p.m. -- $9.99 (78 min.)
9:30 p.m. -- Lake Tahoe (89 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema 1
5 p.m. -- Before Tomorrow (93 min.)
7:15 p.m. -- Shall We Kiss? (100 min.)
9:45 p.m. -- The Chaser (123 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema 2 (Video)
5:30 p.m. -- The Glass House ( 92 min.)
7:30 p.m. -- An Animated World (78 min.)
9:30 p.m. -- Burma VJ (85 min.)

Tuesday, Sept. 29

Landmark Oriental Theatre 1 (Video)
5:30 p.m. -- Art & Copy (100 min.)
7:30 p.m. -- Storm (110 min.)
9:45 p.m. -- All Tomorrow's Parties (85 min.)

Landmark Oriental Theatre 2
4:45 p.m. -- Everlasting Moments (132 min.)
7:15 p.m. -- Terribly Happy (110 min.)
9:30 p.m. -- The English Surgeon (93 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema 1
5 p.m. -- Waterlife (90 min.)
7:15 p.m. -- Bronson (92 min.)
9:30 p.m. -- The House of the Devil (93 min.)

Marcus North Shore Cinema 2 (Video)
5:30 p.m. -- Afghan Star (87 min.)
7:30 p.m. -- World's Best Commercials (90 min.)
9:45 p.m. -- The Best of Shorts (85 min)

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Talkbacks

Myke | Sept. 25, 2009 at 10:45 a.m. (report)

It is a shame that Song Sung Blue which is the true story of a local Milwaukee Couple & incidentally won 9 Best Film Awards on the film festival circuit last year is not showing at the "Milwaukee" film festival.

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