By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Feb 29, 2024 at 9:31 AM

Festival season is fast approaching – and don't forget that includes the Milwaukee Film Festival, rolling film on big screens across the city on April 11-25 this year. And to get film fans excited about the coming attractions, the festival today revealed its first dozen movie selections for the 2024 festival – plus a way to snag discounted tickets and passes. 

First, let's start with the sneak peek at the festival's film picks for 2024 – and if the rest of the more than 300 movie selections expected for this year's Brew City cinema-apalooza are on par with this first dozen, we're in for yet another excellent fest. The first batch of movies includes two current Oscar nominees (the doc "Four Daughters" as well as the animated nominee "Robot Dreams"); the latest wonderful works from film icons Wim Wenders, Agnieszka Holland and Frederick Wiseman; and a special screening of an '80s classic with the Cinebuds podcast – just to name a few of the standouts in this first slate. 

“Our sweet sixteen festival is shaping up to be as strong as ever,” said Milwaukee Film artistic director Cara Ogburn, in a release. “Although we are still finalizing a number of films, we can say with confidence that the creativity and resilience of filmmakers and artists has not been slowed by the pandemic nor the dual strikes of 2023. Indeed, we have more films that we would like to bring to Milwaukee than we have room for!”

And so, with no further ado, here's just a teaser trailer-sized look at the epic lineup headed your way at this year's Milwaukee Film Festival:


The unpredictable, undefinable career of Wim Wenders ("Wings of Desire," "Paris, Texas") takes another captivating turn with his latest picture: "Anselm," a documentary portrait of the unique contemporary artist Anselm Kiefer, shining a light on his life, remarkable works and inspirations. 

"Bye Bye Tiberias"

In this intimate documentary journey, character actress Hiam Abbass ("Succession," "Ramy" and much more) takes center stage in a film about her own life and family, following her as she returns to Palestine with her daughter to reconnect with the family members she left years ago. 

"Cinebuds Live: Footloose"

Everybody's gonna be cutting loose, footloose, at the 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival with this special 40th anniversary screening of the dance-happy smash '80s hit, starring Kevin Bacon as a city kid who helps bring dancing back to a repressed small town. And if that wasn't enough, the showing will be followed by a special live recording of the Cinebuds podcast!

"Four Daughters"

Currently nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars, this acclaimed documentary tells the unassuming story of a mother and her four daughters – two of which suddenly disappear – with the surprising help of two actresses standing in for the missing siblings. 

"Green Border"

Captured in beautiful black and white while telling a story that's anything but, the latest drama from Oscar-nominated Polish director Agnieszka Holland ("Spoor," "Europa, Europa") follows a family of Syrian refugees as they attempt to cross the border between Belarus and Poland to safety during a crisis. 

"Let the Canary Sing"

It wouldn't be the Milwaukee Film Festival without some standout rock docs – and this one just wants to have fun, capturing the rise of punky pop star Cyndi Lauper and her influential work on as well as beyond the stage throughout her career. 

"Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros"

After venturing through government, college campuses, national galleries and the New York Public Library, documentary giant Fredrick Wiseman ("City Hall," "In Jackson Heights") and his inquisitive camera heads into the kitchen with one of the most well-regarded restaurants in the world: the Michelin-starred Troisgros.


A standout at the Tribeca Film Festival as well as a recent Independent Spirit Award honoree, "Mountains" tells the story of a Haitian construction worker living in Miami and coming to terms with his identity while helping dismantle fellow small diverse neighborhoods in the name of gentrification and progress. 

"Riddle of Fire"

For fans of childhood adventure and whimsy, the Milwaukee Film Festival will screen "Riddle of Fire," about three children who discover a world of magic, mystery and fantasy while running errands for their mom. And as an added bonus, the festival will feature this new yet nostalgic adventure in 35mm!

"Robot Dreams"

Currently nominated for Best Animated Film at the Oscars, "Robot Dreams" is the charming and emotional saga of a dog who decides to end his loneliness by creating a robot friend and adventuring all across 1980s New York City together.

"Rosa and the Stone Troll"

A gorgeously animated adventure captivating for any age, "Rosa and the Stone Troll" follows a fairy and butterfly who become friends, only for the latter to require rescuing after getting kidnapped by a stone troll. 


For fans of "Young@Heart" and other quirky and life-affirming documentaries, dive into "Unsyncable," following a senior-citizen synchronized swimming team still making a splash late into their lives. 

If that dozen of movies somehow didn't get you leaping for joy, maybe some Leap Day savings will do the trick? Indeed, in honor of the special day, Milwaukee Film is hosting a one-day flash sale at its website right now. For the next 24 hours or so, film festival six-packs will cost just $70 as opposed to its usual $80 (or, for Milwaukee Film members, $55 as opposed to $65); film festival ten-packs will run for just $105 versus its standard $120 (or $90 for members versus the regular $100); and all-access passes will be marked down to $475 from its typical $550 price (or $375 for members, down from $450). To buy these discounted passes, and to find out more about the film festival, click here

For more 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival updates, stay tuned to OnMilwaukee – and for what's showing at the Oriental Theatre and other cinemas around town, check out our weekly movie listings guide

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.