By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Aug 16, 2017 at 7:36 PM

Milwaukee Film is on a roll with its rollout of movie selections for the upcoming festival coming to a theater near you next month. Yesterday, it unveiled its lineup of picks for its nationally recognized Black Lens program, and now today, the organization announced the sophomore year of its Cine Sin Fronteras program, featuring seven features and a collection of shorts all highlighting the diverse culture, stories and viewpoints of the Latinx diaspora. 

"We are excited for another year of showing the untold stories of our local Chicanx/Latinx and immigrant communities through the beauty of film," said Cine Sin Fronteras co-programmer Jeanette Martín, in a press release. "From the male-dominated world of Mexican rancheras to the labor movement, films like 'Chavela' and 'Dolores' give us an opportunity to uplift our own local stories of women who have been in the front lines of community mobilization and transformation."

"This year's films are all about passion," said fellow co-programmer Claudia Guzmán, in the release. "They're about people with dreams and the perseverance to pursue them: Dolores Huerta organizing the farmworkers' movement, Chavela Vargas and the Divinas Divas challenging gender norms in the performance arts, the Carpinteros falling in love without language, and Esteban, who learned to play piano when he was supposed to be helping his mother sell sundries on the street."

Here are the eight new additions to the ever-growing 2017 Milwaukee Film Festival lineup:

"Carpinteros (Woodpeckers)"

The first Dominican movie to be selected for the Sundance Film Festival, "Carpinteros" tells of a romance between two prisoners who fall in love – despite never speaking a word to one another, thanks to the barbed wire, concrete and literal distance keeping them apart. Instead, the two lovers use a real language of hand signals to keep their fledgling love alive in a hopeless place.


Dive into the life, times and music of Chavela Vargas, the stereotype-crushing Mexican singer who challenged the male-dominated world of ranchera music and challenged gender norms across her rollercoaster of a career, in the documentary "Chavela."

"CSF Shorts: Menos es Mas"

  • "El Buzo"
  • "Hermanas En Ruedas"
  • "Leche"
  • "La Madre Buena"
  • "El Maquinador"
  • "Otro Corto"
  • "Undesirables"

"Divinas Divas"

Leandra Leal's documentary "Divinas Divas" brings the audience into the world of its titular icons, a generation of drag queens in 1960s Brazil who took the Rival Theatre stage – as well as gender norms – en route to becoming famous around the world. Now, half a century later, eight of the original performers return to the stage that made them legends for one final joyous bow.


Director Peter Bratt's documentary "Dolores" shines a light on Dolores Huerta, a legendary activist who worked with Cesar Chavez to help form the first farmworkers union, fought for those who are exploited and still fights today – at the age of 87 – as a fiery feminist for those who don't have the rights they deserve. 


While struggling with his single mother on the streets of Havana, 9-year-old Esteban meets a grouchy piano teacher who helps push his passion and inherent skill for music – despite his mother's wishes – in Cuban director Jonal Cosculluela's inspirational heart-warmer. 

"Extra Terrestres"

The clan at the center of this Puerto Rican family drama is dealing with quite a bit. Astrophysicist Teresa is coming out to her traditional family, the family business is under siege from the government and from other companies swooping in, her sister is coping with her young son growing up and cosmic interludes keep cutting into their struggles in Carla Cavina's feature film.

"El Sueno de Mara'akame"

The modern world and one's indigenous roots battle inside Nieri, a young native Huichol, as he travels to Mexico City, deciding between rocking out with his friends in a growing band or staying true to the cultural traditions his father, a Huichol shaman, holds so dear and hopes he continues to follow. 

In addition to the film screenings, Milwaukee Film will host a pair of events around the Cine Sin Fronteras program, starting with a free and open to the public kickoff party hosted on Thursday, Sept. 21 and concluding with "Noche de Nostalgia," a tribute to Chavela Vargas, on Friday, Oct. 6. Both events will be hosted by 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.

Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more updates on Milwaukee Film Festival selections and events. The festival itself will run from Sept. 28 through Oct. 12.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.