By Maureen Post Special to Published Feb 06, 2009 at 10:58 AM

The only thing more extraordinary than the showing of the locally made feature documentary "Handmade Nation," was the locally produced buzz and turnout that greeted the film at the Oriental Theatre last night.

For a theater seating 1,100, I was surprised to arrive half hour before show time and find a line out the door both for tickets and again for entrance to the auditorium. For the showing, the lower level was packed with only an occasional spare seat, pushing viewers into a moderately full upper deck.

Filmmaker Faythe Levine chose Milwaukee for the film's debut as a way of thanking the community that inspired her efforts and fueled her ambition.

Clearly, Milwaukee thanked her back last night.

The crowd fell in love with the film's undeniably cute and heartwarming overtones. More importantly, Levine's ability to transport the audience into both the daily reality and idealistic passion of artists around the country was amazingly inspiring.

The film solidified a sense of community between artists and artisans, energized by raw honesty in each personal interview and craft explanation. Levine's film captured a genuineness ill-adapted to fiction; she found what she sought in the individuality, intimacy and endeavor within a nationwide community of crafters.

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.