By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Sep 15, 2021 at 5:01 PM

Today marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of Latinx history, culture, achivements and more. The celebratory month begins Sept. 15 – a date marking the independence for several Latin American countries – and runs through Oct. 15.

To share in its message and festivities, Milwaukee Film will bring the month-long celebration to screens big, small and beyond with its Hispanic Heritage Month film series. 

Starting today, Milwaukee Film will feature Latinx voices and stories with regular in-person film screenings at the Oriental Theatre as well as a special Hispanic Heritage Month collection of virtual cinema offerings available right at home – all focused on highlighting Hispanic filmmakers, traditions, cultures and experiences. Milwaukee Film's celebration will also extend beyond the screen by hosting several events – both in-person and virtual – featuring good times, great food and even better conversation centered around Latinx culture and communities. 

“Film has the power to bring us together like no other art form. I can think of no better way to celebrate Hispanic culture and build bridges in our community than through cinema,” said Ernie Quiroz, programmer with Milwaukee Film's Cine Sin Fronteras program, in a release.

The celebration's in-person screenings, all currently set at the Oriental Theatre, include:

  • Saturday, Sept. 18 at noon – "Finding Gaston," a drool-worthy doc about Chef Gaston Acurio and his quest to bring Peruvian cuisine to the world's table. (The first 80 attendees will also receive free empanadas and an Inca Kola courtesy of Triciclo Peru for the showing.)
  • Friday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. – "Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It," a documentary peak behind the curtain of the incredible career of the Oscar-winning, ceiling-shattering "West Side Story" star.
  • Saturday, Sept. 25 at 1:30 p.m. – "My Name is Lopez," a rock doc following the groundbreaking career of rock legend Trini Lopez. 
  • Friday, Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m. – "Ludi," a drama some might remember from the Milwaukee Film Festival earlier this year, telling the intimate and emotional story of a woman trying to create a life for herself in America as a hard-working nurse while staying connected with her family members back home.
  • Friday, Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m. – "Missing in Brooks County," a harrowing documentary about the deadly desert U.S./Mexico barrier of Brooks County, Texas, and the struggle on all sides to figure out the best answers for the dangerous passageway. 
  • Monday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m. – "Catch the Fair One," a tense revenge thriller about a Native American woman (played by boxing champ Kali Reis) falling down the rabbit hole of human trafficking while searching for her missing sister. 

In addition to these in-person screenings at the Oriental, Milwaukee Film's Hispanic Heritage Month celebration also includes a wide variety of excellent virtual options, almost all available now through Oct. 15 at the organization's website. (The art documentary "Love and Fury," from the producer of FX's "Reservation Dogs," will be available exclusively Oct. 8-14.) The full lineup includes:

  • "At the Ready," a documentary following several high school seniors training to become Border Patrol agents despite how it may impact the communities they're closest to. 
  • "Black Mexicans," a breakthrough film – the first Mexican film focused on the Afro-Mexican community – but also an intimate and human one about a love triangle between two women and the man they both love.
  • "Days of Light," an anthology film tackling different stories in a Central American region suddenly disconnected due to a mesmerizing solar storm.
  • "Home from School: The Children of Carlisle," a documentary look into the shameful history of Indian Residential Schools and the leaders attempting to unbury their cruel history and properly pay tribute to those lost in their brutal wake.
  • "The Journey of Monalisa," an intimate documentary about a filmmaker bonding with an old friend who's now a self-described "gender-neutral two-spirit" trying to live their truth and keep their head above water on the harsh streets of New York City. 
  • "Love and Fury," a real-life mosaic focusing on 20 Native American artists, their experiences and how they reflect their particular perspectives on the world and their identity in their works.
  • "Luchadoras," a documentary look at three female wrestlers bravely fighting back against violence and gender stereotypes in a city with one of the highest femicide stats in the world. 
  • "Miguelito," a wild rock doc in line with the likes of "Searching for Sugar Man," tracking the true story of an 11-year-old who recorded a salsa album and performed on one of the world's largest stages only to disappear from the spotlight ever since. 
  • "Negra," a multi-faceted documentary about the director's quest to find what it means to be Black in Mexico through the true experiences and stories of five other afro-descendent women. 
  • "Oacacalifornia: The Return," the rare documentary sequel, catching up to its original family 25 years later to follow a new generation's pilgrimage from America to their Mexican origins.

Milwaukee Film will also host several events throughout the month – such as its free kickoff party on Friday, Sept. 17, hosted from 4-8 p.m. at Zocalo Food Truck Park featuring delicious food, divine local vendors and dance-worthy music from DJ Loop. The programming also currently features two virtual conversations – one on the Afro-Latinx experience, another about immigration and social justice. For the full list of events and updates, click here

Virtual screenings during Hispanic Heritage Month cost $9 for the general public and $5 for Milwaukee Film members, while in-person showings cost $12 for general audiences and $9 for Milwaukee Film Members. For more information on all of the selected movies and events – and to buy tickets – visit Milwaukee Film's website. And enjoy the shows!

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.