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The Milwaukee Film Festival's new Black Lens program includes a 35mm showing of "Hollywood Shuffle."

2014 Milwaukee Film Festival introduces Black Lens program

This morning, the Milwaukee Film Festival announced it had added yet another new program to its 2014 film slate: Black Lens. The new eight-film set, ranging from documentaries to fiction features, puts the focus on African American filmmakers, both emerging and established.

"Last year's incredible screening of George Tillman Jr.'s 'The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete' at the Milwaukee Film Festival sold out the Landmark Oriental Theatre and brought a truly diverse audience out for a celebration of community and cinema," said Jonathan Jackson, artistic and executive director of Milwaukee Film.

"The film went on to win the Allan H. (Bud) and Suzanne L. Selig Audience Award for Best Feature Film, all of which proved that our film festival has the power to bring together our community, something we want to further build upon each year."

The first set of selected films for the Black Lens program include:

  • "25 to Life," director Mike L. Brown's American Black Film Festival Best Documentary winner that follows William Brawner as he finally comes clean – to others and to himself – about living with HIV.
  • "CRU" is an award-winning drama about four struggling high school friends on a journey of redemption and forgiveness after an accident 20 years earlier tore them apart.
  • "Evolution of a Criminal," a candid documentary about Darius Monroe, a 16-year-old honors student who spent three years in prison after robbing a Houston bank with two friends and now, several years later, is returning home to make emends for the lives altered by his decision.
  • "Freedom Summer," a documentary from Stanley Nelson which zeroes in on the heated summer of 1964 in Mississippi, the most segregated state in the Union at that time.
  • "Hollywood Shuffle," Robert Townsend's semi-autobiographical 1987 satire about a young black actor's attempts to break into Hollywood playing something other than a slave, a gangster or a criminal. The film will be presented in 35mm with Townsend himself scheduled to appear for a post-screening Q&A.
  • "Things Never Said," a romantic drama about two troubled young spoken-word poets who strike up a relationship over their electric art.
  • "Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People," a documentary from Thomas Allen Harris chronicling the impact of photography on the African American experience.
  • "'Til Infinity: Celebrating 20 Years of the Souls of Mischief," a documentary in which some of the most influential names in rap (including Mos Def and Questlove) discuss and pay tribute to Souls of Mischief's game-changing debut album "93 'til Infinity."

The 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival begins Thursday, Sept. 25 and runs through Thursday, Oct. 9.


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