The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has canceled just about everything this year, but for Cream City cinephiles, thankfully that's not the case for the 2020 Milwaukee Film Festival, which today announced that the show must go on(line) as the second of two 15-day film-filled virtual festivals coming this fall.
An expanded Minority Health Film Festival will arrive first, playing small screens near you Sept. 10-24, before the 12th annual Milwaukee Film Festival takes places in its original 15-day time slot, running Oct. 15-29. Both will take place on CineSend, a digital platform that will allow festival "attendees" to watch the selected films on their TV screens with Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku devices.
"This spring, we struggled with trying to make the best decisions for our staff, our industry and our community," Milwaukee Film CEO Jonathan Jackson said, in a release. "It came down to this: The Milwaukee Film Festival is the core of everything we do, and if we can safely have a festival, then we’re having a festival.
"The incredible thing about having a film festival virtually is the opportunity we have to reach a vast number of people that we’ve never reached before through the accessibility provided by these new digital platforms."
Fittingly themed "Adapted for Your Screen," this year's Milwaukee Film Festival will offer a smaller selection of movies than in 2019, but the two-week movie extravaganza will still feature a variety of films across all sizes and genres as well as opportunities to interact and learn from some of the filmmakers behind the works on screen. Tickets for the 2020 virtual festival will also be cheaper, with individual tickets costing $5 for Milwaukee Film members and $8 for the general public, while full-festival passes will cost $75 for members and $140 for the general public.
Before the Milwaukee Film Festival rolls film, however, there will be the Minority Health Film Festival, significantly expanded this year to 15 days complete with more than 25 films, three shorts programs and almost a dozen complementary events – all presented virtually – focused on family, community and institutional health as well as resources and ways to help improve these themes outside of the screening room and in the city of Milwaukee.
"We started this festival last year thinking that we knew exactly how important it was to have conversations around minority health, and then 2020 happened," said Geraud Blanks, director of Milwaukee Film’s Cultures and Communities program in a release. "It turns out these topics are even more vital to explore after everything that’s taken place in the last few months.
"We see this festival as an amazing opportunity to leverage the power of film and conversation – and turn it into action. A lot of people have seen the impacts of the coronavirus and of racism on our community and wondered what they can do. Our hope is that, if you take part in the Minority Health Film Festival, you’ll have more of the tools you need to help change things for the better."
As with the Milwaukee Film Festival, tickets will be available as full-festival passes or individual tickets, with individual admission costing $.99 for Milwaukee Film members and $2.99 for the general public while passes will run $19.99 for members and $24.99 for the general public. Each pass purchased for the Minority Health Film Festival will also donate a pass to a community partner organization.
"This is a way for us to give our community some much-needed opportunities to connect and celebrate," Jackson said, in the release. "Usually our fall events wrap up an incredibly packed season of festivals in our city – but this year, most of Milwaukee’s beloved fests have been canceled.
"We know our film festivals are better when we’re together, but we’re confident that we can deliver amazing experiences in a virtual space – full of discovery, wonder, tears, laughter and community."
Passes for the Milwaukee Film Festival will go on sale beginning Wednesday, Aug. 26 for members and Monday, Aug. 31 for the general public, through Oct. 12. Individual tickets will then hit the market on the first day of the festival, Thursday, Oct. 15. As for the Minority Health Film Festival, passes will go on sale Monday, Aug. 24 through Monday, Sept. 7, with individual tickets then available for purchase starting on Thursday, Sept. 10. All sales will take place online at Milwaukee Film's website.
For more information, visit both the Milwaukee Film Festival's website and the Minority Health Film Festival's website. And stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more updates coming soon – including the Milwaukee Film Festival's always-ballyhooed lineup of movies and events, expected in early October! In the meantime, be sure to screen something off Milwaukee Film's Sofa Cinema virtual movie platform as well!
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.