The sun seems brighter. The birds' chirping sounds sweeter. My usual mid-afternoon lunch of Cheez-Its and Mountain Dew tastes better, like something that's not slowly rotting me from the inside. You know what that means: The Milwaukee Film Festival is coming.
Hyperbole (mostly) aside, the film festival â€“ arguably one of the best cultural events this city does, and yes, the fact that I'm a movie junkie does bias me deeply â€“ is barely two months away. Opening night is Sept. 25, which means that film fans should regularly expect announcements coming from Film Festival HQ. The first one came out this morning, including a significant addition to the festival: a new venue.
In addition to the successful rotation of the Oriental, the Downer and the Fox Bay movie theaters, the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival has recruited the Times Cinema to its Avengers team of old school Milwaukee movie houses.
"I am thrilled that we can partner with the Milwaukee Film Festival and bring the wonderful films that Milwaukee enjoys to the west side neighborhood of Washington Heights," said Times Cinema owner Lee Barczak in the press release issued this morning.
"It has always been my dream to be a part of this and expand the opportunities for the Festival and all of us who love movies. I hope this begins a long and prosperous relationship with Milwaukee Film Festival."
The Times originally opened in the Washington Heights part of Milwaukee back in 1935. It briefly closed, along with the Rosebud, back in 2012 but quickly reopened the same year after Barczak took over.Â
The added venue will give the festival one more screen to spread its selections, as well as a working relationship with the Neighborhood Theater Group â€“ which, in addition to the Times, also operates the Rosebud and currently mid-restoration Avalon.Â
Over the years, the Milwaukee Film Festival has been seemingly trying to expand further out across Milwaukee, becoming more accessible to more parts of the city while still maintaining the tight festival community.
The Marcus Ridge in New Berlin and North Shore in Mequon were once a part of that mission, but those suburban cineplex locales ended up being a step too far. Film festival regulars tended to avoid the long drives out into the 'burbs, away from the event's East Side hub, and suburban audiences didn't really venture enough into the festival's offerings to make up for it. The result was long drives and sparse screenings (I vividly remember several screenings consisting of me and about three to four others).Â
Adding the Times Cinema, however, seems like a logical step for the Milwaukee Film Festival. It fits in well with the rest of the festival's character-rich venues, ones whose film calendars â€“ and typical audience members â€“ are also no stranger to eclectic, artistic and occasionally experimental fare. It also spreads the event further out into Milwaukee without becoming a distant hassle for both moviegoers and staff, bounding around between films.Â
Most importantly, it adds another screen for movies. More movies is never a bad thing.
This morning's release also revealed this year's campaign art, the collaborative product of Milwaukee Film, Cathy Brautigam of Lone Shoe Graphics and Milwaukee-based freelance photographer Kat Schleicher. More exciting than the artwork or even the new venue, however, is just knowing the festival is within sight, the time of year that totally makes up for having to watch stuff like "Planes: Fire and Rescue" and "Blended."
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published Oct. 8, 2015
It's now the final day of the Milwaukee Film Festival. But don't cry because it's over; smile because there are still movies to see ... namely these three.
Published Oct. 7, 2015
It's the penultimate day of the Milwaukee Film Festival. You could make the day one of melancholy and tears and Sarah McLachlan. But instead of firing Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" on repeat, you should remember that, hey, there's still a whole pack of really great movies to check out. These three movies in particular.
Published Oct. 6, 2015
What makes Brian Selznick, the man behind gorgeously crafted ticking literary contraptions like "The Invention of Huge Cabret" and the newly released "The Marvels," tick himself? OnMilwaukee chatted with the author before his Milwaukee appearance on Monday, Oct. 12 at Alverno's Pitman Theatre to find out.
Published Oct. 6, 2015
The end of the Milwaukee Film Festival is nigh, but don't be scared of that. Instead, be scared of an insane Jack Nicholson wandering around a snowed-in hotel with an axe and a honestly lukewarm at best Ed McMahon impression. That's right: "The Shining" is tonight, as well as two other films more than worthy of helping to wrap up the festival.
Published Oct. 5, 2015
After two weeks of binging on movies, what better way to bring the Milwaukee Film Festival to a close than a movie about a movie recreating another movie? That's at least the hope with the festival's closing night pick, "Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made." Considering the film took 30 years to finish, that subtitle isn't exaggerating either.
Published Oct. 5, 2015
We're now in the final stretch of the movie marathon that is the Milwaukee Film Festival, and while you may be getting exhausted, the lineup certainly isn't yet. There are still plenty of great movies to check out - and here are three in particular for today!
Published Oct. 4, 2015
Time to cook up some meatballs, saffransbullar and pepparkakor because on Day 11 of the Milwaukee Film Festival, we're headed to Sweden. Here are your three picks for the day, nicely assembled like a lovely Ikea shelving unit.
Published Oct. 3, 2015
William "Dub" Lawrence knows more about the current tensions between cops and citizens than most people - and from both sides of the debate. As former Utah sheriff, he helped create the state's first SWAT team in 1975, serving over 16,000 warrants without issue. 30 years later, that very team he helped bring to life would be responsible for his son-in-law's death. His story and ensuing investigation takes the spotlight in the doc "Peace Officer."
Published Oct. 3, 2015
I hope you got some sleep yesterday, because the two of the three picks for Day 10 of the Milwaukee Film Festival are going to keep you up late - and, in the case of one selection, on your feet.
Published Oct. 2, 2015
It can be tough to keep a full head of steam going all the way through the entire film festival, but here are three - or at least two - inspiring picks for Day 9.