By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 30, 2009 at 10:18 AM

The Milwaukee Independent Film Society presents the 11th installment of the Milwaukee Short Film Festival, billed as the longest-running film festival in Milwaukee. The three-day event takes place Sept. 11-13 and boasts 44 films from around the globe.

This year's judges are Tim Lonsdale 1st AD, Jon Anne Willow, producer of "New Day" -- which screens at the festival -- actor Jerry Houser, local documentarian and Student Academy Award Winner Elizabeth Pollock Bruch, producer David Streit and creative director Aubrey Walker.

With 44 films on tap, we asked organizer Ross Bigley for some of his picks this year.

"Well," he says, "our lineup is pretty strong, but I can think of a few."

  • "Basket Bronx" (Spain) 14 minutes Directed by: Martin Rosete. "This was done by a student filmmaker from Spain and shot in New York."
  • "No Good Reason" (Michigan) 11 minutes. Directed by Michael Mierendorf & Lawrence Marshall and featuring Natalie Merchant. ‘A great insight to what it takes in making a song. Plus the music is good too."
  • "BOTNIK!" (Chicago) 10 minutes. Directed by Jacqueline Smessaert Brennan. "An animated short that is pretty wacky, and we have lots of animation this year, too."
  • "Growing Up Vegas" (Las Vegas) 20 minutes. Directed by Amber Beard (student film). "The story of an Elvis impersonator tutoring a young girl."
  • "Suzukishoji" (Japan) 12 min Directed by Kazuo Kono. "Like a low-rent version of ‘The Office' from Japan."
  • "Eat Your Fill" (Milwaukee) 13 min Directed by Mark J. Irving. "A former ad man hits the State Fair to eat all that he can eat ... (having) never been to the State Fair, (he) was a little surprised by the food offerings. Deep fried Oreos?"
  • "Birthdate" (New York) 11 minutes. Directed by Jeremy Brunjes. "An emotional stunner."
  • "This is Umberto" (Milwaukee) 6 minutes. Directed by Anna Krutzik. "She has a unique sense of humor, one that I like."
  • "Mannen Med Kulorna" (Stockholm, Sweden) 14 minutes. Directed by Hans Montelius. "I really love this one."
  • "How to Not Kill Everyone" (Milwaukee) 5 minutes. Directed by Kathy Fischer, co-directed with Drew Foerster. "It's fun and Mark Metcalf is terrific."

With the first festival presented Milwaukee Film slated for Sept.24-Oct. 4, Milwaukee is graced with two great film festivals in September. In the past, the short film review was a spring event.

"I wasn't sure how that was going to work," admits Bigley. "We had to move our date due to us reforming as a nonprofit. To my surprise it seems that people are getting excited about both of our festivals, and that's always a good thing."

On opening night, Friday, Sept. 11, the Milwaukee Independent Film Society honors Kathy Fischer and Mark Metcalf with the Milwaukee Independent Film Society Pacesetter Award at the Eisner Museum at 7 p.m. Several films will be shown.

On Saturday, Sept. 12 there are three shows - 1, 2:30 and 6:30 p.m., in the Milwaukee Art Museum's Lubar Auditorium. The Milwaukee Independent Film Society will also present the Korporate Media Event at 5 p.m. and the world premiere of "New Day" at 9:15 p.m.

The festival closes Sunday, Sept. 13 at the Oriental Theater. The MSFF will present the Best Film and Best Wisconsin Film awards as well as certificates for Best Actor and Audience Favorite at 6:45 p.m. An after-party at Live on North follows.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.