Two years ago, Milwaukee Film and HBO teamed up to bring the North American premiere of the Alex Gibney church sex scandal documentary "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" to the Milwaukee Film Festival.Â The film was terrific, but perhaps best of all, the 2012 collaboration seems to spawned an equally terrific relationship between the two organizations, one that's bringing yet another premiere to town.
HBO is currently prepping their latest â€“ and, considering the network's track record, most likely acclaimed â€“ film "The Normal Heart." Based on the Tony Award-winning play from Larry Kramer (nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar back in 1971 for "Women in Love"), the film follows the gay community and its allies in 1980s New York as they attempt to bring desperate attention to the growing HIV-AIDS crisis to a country in denial.Â
It's a star-studded affair, directed by "Glee" and "American Horror Story" creator Ryan Murphy and featuring a cast of Kenosha's own Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer ("Magic Mike," TV's "White Collar"), Taylor Kitsch ("Lone Survivor," "John Carter"), Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"), Alfred Molina ("Spider-Man 2") and an up-and-coming actress named Julia Roberts.Â
"The Normal Heart" airs at 8 p.m. on HBO on Sunday, May 25. Milwaukee, however, was chosen along with five other cities (Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Boston) to get an early look at the film. The movie will have a premiere screening here at the Oriental Theatre on Wednesday, May 21 at 7 p.m. Tickets are exclusively available to Milwaukee Film members and supporters by invite, but a limited number of tickets will also be made available to the public through selected media partners.Â
"Milwaukee has been identified as one of the top markets for 'Game of Thrones' viewership, so we felt it was only logical to bring a film like 'The Normal Heart' to a market with a proven following," said HBO director of corporate affairs Mike Hopper in a press release this morning. "We are excited to be partnering with Milwaukee Film for the Wisconsin premiere and look forward to a continued relationship to feature our programming in front of a savvy film community."
The first thing that stands out in Hopper's comments is Milwaukee's apparent love of George R.R. Martin. Maybe we relate well to a show whose main protagonists' motto is "Winter is coming." Or perhaps we have a secret deep hatred for weddings. I can't explain it.
But more importantly, my eye keys in on the quote's talk of a continued relationship with Milwaukee and our "savvy film community." Now, if we're being honest, that's probably a good bit of PR flattery.
However, I like â€“ scratch that, abso-freaking-lutely love â€“ the idea of Milwaukee starting to get a whiff of having a real reputation as a film city. The Milwaukee Film Festival has already made massive strides in amplifying the town's film scene, and this partnership between HBO and Milwaukee Film â€“ something both sides seem pretty pleased with â€“ will only enhance that.
Both organizations are certainly benefiting from these arrangements, but I think the film fans in town could get the best of this deal.Â With events like this upcoming premiere enhancing Milwaukee's entertainment image, maybe someday soon Milwaukee won't have to wait to get strong independent moviesÂ â€“ and in many cases, merely a whiff â€“Â like "Under the Skin," "Joe" or "Blue Ruin" in theaters months after cities like New York, L.A. and Chicago have already moved onto the next big tiny film.
It'd be nice to be able to join in the cultural conversation as it's happening, not weeks after. And yes, I know many of these movies are watchable on VOD platforms, but I'll always prefer the theatrical experience and will always wait to see if that option is available first. Filmmakers dream, make and envision their movies for the big screen, not for my living room.
Hey, a boy can dream. And maybe I'm just being hopelessly, naively optimistic, but I see this as a strong, positive step toward it.Â
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 June 24, 2016
As OnMilwaukee's resident insufferable millennial, it is my job to look at the Summerfest lineup every year, scoff at all the bands and then resume snarkily Snapchatting a GIF-storm. However, there's still a lot worthy of your earholes this year.
Published June 21, 2016
Before the champagne had dried on the Cavaliers' celebration Sunday night, people already began looking for which sports fans were the saddest now that that city's losing streak was over. And wouldn't you know it, it's us. But really, Milwaukee is not the next Cleveland.
Published June 20, 2016
Inspired by an unexpected collaborator located several miles south, Postman's Plot - found on Wells Street and 2nd Street - now has an updated look with a plethora of new seating options and a mailbox to send letters to Milwaukee.
Published June 18, 2016
Businessman and star of CNBC's "The Profit" Marcus Lemonis has obviously gone places since his time at Marquette. But today, he's returned to the Cream City -- and he's apparently bringing some cameras with him.
Published June 13, 2016
The alt pop sister duo of Lily & Madeline have found an infectious combination of mesmerizing mellow music and potent, passionate lyrics. They'll bring that hypnotic mix to the Back Room at Colectivo Coffee on Prospect on Wednesday night.
Published June 13, 2016
According to a report from TMZ, rapper Lil Wayne's private jet from Milwaukee to California had to make an emergency landing today in Omaha, Neb., after the rapper suffered a seizure mid-flight.
Published June 13, 2016
Hearts and minds throughout the nation and the globe were with those who lost their lives and those who lost loved ones in Orlando. On Monday afternoon, City Hall joined in paying tribute and showing love, hanging a large pride flag from the building.
Published June 11, 2016
Ciclovia MKE will take to the streets for the first time this year on Sunday, June 12, shutting down several blocks for an afternoon of open streets, car-free commuting and community building through arts, activities and staying active.
Published June 8, 2016
Even though Milwaukee brands like Boy Blue or Mrs. Howe's are no longer adorning our streets or our grocery store shelves, you might start seeing them around town a little more often. Or at least their classic logos, thanks to Bygone Brand's T-shirts.
Published May 30, 2016
The Tony-winning musical "Kinky Boots" - coming to the Marcus Center starting Tuesday night - is a bold, bright tale of family, acceptance and fabulousness. For actor J. Harrison Ghee, however, it's a story that goes beyond just the stage.