For the sixth year in a row, Milwaukee Film, Black Lens and the Oriental Theatre will bring Black History Month to the big screen with a month-long series of special screenings, featuring movies big and small, blockbusters and indie gems – all centering Black stories, storytellers and experiences.
The nine selections coming Milwaukee movie-lovers' way throughout February include its opening night encore of "Renaissance," Beyonce's recent big-screen concert film – complete with audience members encouraged to dress in silver. The Oriental's Black History Month screenings also include a special retrospective showing of Eddie Murphy's 1992 rom-com "Boomerang," the Al Roker-produced documentary "Gaining Ground" about Black-owned farms in the past and present, the acclaimed horror film "Nanny," and several other buzzy docs and indies.
With no further ado, here's the full schedule of screenings for Milwaukee Film's 2024 Black History Month programming:
- Thursday, Feb. 1 – "Renaissance": For the series' opening night pick, all hail Queen Bey as her recent concert film documentary returns to the big screen for an encore showing. For maximum fun, dress up in silver!
- Saturday, Feb. 3 – "The 50": In this buzz-worthy documentary, director Brenton Gieser follows a group of 50 prisoners using their life sentences to train and become substance abuse counselors to help others.
- Thursday, Feb. 8 – "Boomerang": An underappreciated chapter in Eddie Murphy's career returns to the big screen with this retrospective screening of the 1992 business-world rom-com "Boomerang" – complete with a special post-showing discussion on its legacy.
- Saturday, Feb. 10 – "Treasured Heirlooms": This collection of six short films looks at preserving, archiving and saving traditions and culture in a multitude of ways – from simple games to sports to hair and much more.
- Thursday, Feb. 15 – "Nanny": For horror movie heads, check out "Nanny," a 2022 atmospheric horror flick about an immigrant working as a nanny for a wealthy NYC family, suddenly finding herself haunted by a mysterious menace. Stay after the credits for a special discussion about the film's fascinating and fear-inducing themes and ideas.
- Saturday, Feb. 17 – "Invisible Beauty": Fans of fashion won't want to miss this documentary about fashion icon Bethann Hardison, from her ground-breaking origins in the industry as a model to her behind-the-scenes work pushing for more diversity on runways and magazines.
- Tuesday, Feb. 20 – "Girl": In this Sundance-approved and British Independent Film Awards nominee, a mother and her daughter live secluded from the world in their small apartment, causing tensions as the younger grows up and the older comes to terms with her past.
- Saturday, Feb. 24 – "Know Your Place": For fans of "The Last Black Man in San Francisco," check out "Know Your Place," an indie saga about two friends making their way across Seattle to deliver a suitcase and traversing the changing world of their beloved city.
- Thursday, Feb. 29 – "Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land": Produced by Al Roker, the closing night documentary "Gaining Ground" focuses on the history of Black farmland in America, how Black Americans have lost land over the decades and how many are fighting to keep their farms today.
“To kick off the momentous tenth-anniversary celebration of the Black Lens program, Milwaukee Film is thrilled to present an exceptional selection of films during Black History Month," said Black Lens programmer Marquise Mays, in a release. "This film series is dedicated to the theme of reclamation – reclaiming ourselves, our stories, our genres and our vibrant futures. The purpose extends beyond mere acknowledgment; it's about embedding ourselves firmly into the fabric of cinema."
“For Black History Month 2024, the programming is focused on reclaiming our stories, exploring our identities and looking to the future," said Community Programming Coordinator Deiva Motley, in the release. "Marquise and I hope to make the Black Lens audience that has shown such excellent support for the last decade proud of what we can offer in February."
For more information on showtimes and tickets for their Black History Month programming, visit Milwaukee Film's website – where you can also find showtimes and tickets for what's on screen now, including "American Fiction," "Poor Things" and "Mean Girls."
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.