Milwaukee Film Festival adds Cream City Cinema picks and more to 2017 lineup
After announcing its Black Lens and Cine Sin Fronteras selections last week, the Milwaukee Film Festival today added yet another collection of movies to its ever-expanding lineup – and these come from right next door.
The festival unveiled the six feature films and four jam-packed short programs that will be part of this year's Cream City Cinema category, shining the spotlight on projects with their roots in the Milwaukee movie scene – whether that means local filmmakers or producers behind the camera, or familiar Sconnie locales in front of it.
Here are this year's local highlights at the Milwaukee Film Festival – so many that this particular category couldn't even hold them all!
At 25, Alex Rust traded in his comfortable career, his traditionally successful life and his minivan for a sailboat named "Bubbles" and an amateur excursion to the Bahamas, guided only by a copy of "Sailing for Dummies" and his soul's need for adventure.
"Civic Art: Four Stories From South Los Angeles"
It's an L.A. story, but one that echoes across the country into Milwaukee, as four groups get to work on transforming vacant and underutilized sections of South Los Angeles into safe and friendly public spaces as a part of a 2013 initiative.
"Life of the Party"
Milwaukee's Rubin Whitmore II directs this tense social comedy about a melting pot of family, friends, work colleagues and more from all walks of life, which threatens to boil over while waiting for the bride and groom at a West Allis bowling alley wedding reception.
This documentary puts the economic, spiritual and philosophical movement of Lawsonomy into the spotlight, sharing the fascinating story of its creator, Alfred Lawson (casually also a baseball player and the inventor of the airliner), as well as Merle Hayden, the last of the Lawsonomists, who strived to keep the teachings alive for decades.
The Milwaukee Music Video Show
The Milwaukee Music Video Show collects some of the finest intersections between the growing, talent-filled local music scene and some of the Cream City's best burgeoning filmmakers. The result is a treat for the ears and the eyes. Here are 2017's selections:
- Direct Hit!, "Snickers or Reese's"
- The Fatty Acids, "Digested"
- Hot Coffin, "Whistle, Hawk & Spit"
- IshDARR, "Locals"
- Jacob Banks, "Unholy War"
- Jim White & Paul Fonfara, "The Saga of the Whittled Hodag"
- Joe Quinto & Miguel Diaz, "Black Magic"
- The Kingdom of Mudnscum, "Genie Gypsy Woman"
- The Listening Party, "Bones"
- Marielle Allschwang, "Aquarium"
- NO/NO, "Television"
- Ragani, "Peace Prayer (Seeing All The World As Divine)"
- Sat. Nite Duets, "St. Yuppie"
- Soul Low, "Amputee"
- Uncle Larry, "Cosmic Sugar"
- WebsterX, "Blue Streak"
The Milwaukee Show I
Every year, The Milwaukee Show shorts program serves as one of the best ways to see some of the city's finest filmmakers in fun-sized servings. This year's roster of picks – featuring everything from animation to serious looks into bullying and mental health to a puppet musical – is no different. Here are 2017's selections:
- "The Alligator Hunter"
- "'the beautiful': The Stories She Tell"
- "Grey Sheep"
- "Remnants of a Room"
- "The Sneeze"
- "The Survivor"
- "A Walk With My Brother"
The Milwaukee Show II
It's an idea so nice, the Milwaukee Film Festival had to do it twice. Indeed, there's just too much filmmaking talent in the Brew City for one night to hold, so that's why there's The Milwaukee Show II, featuring even more fun-sized shorts – including animation, local history and more – from some of Cream City's brightest future filmmakers. Here's 2017's roster of picks:
- "The Deer Queen"
- "Hummingbird: A Sister's Courage"
- "It's Gotta Be In Ya!"
- "The Pilot"
- "Silently Steal Away"
- "Visions of an Island"
The Milwaukee Youth Show
If you think Milwaukee's cinema scene is looking bright, just wait until you see what the Cream City's kids have been up to. The Milwaukee Youth Show showcases some of the finest works – including PSAs, documentaries and other shorts that blissfully defy genre – from some of the city's youngest cinephiles. Here's 2017's lineup:
- "Aww Heck"
- "Clayton's Cavalcade of Confounding Creatures (and Calamitous Cuisine) (...or chowder)"
- "Giombi Gone Wild"
- "Green Creek - 'Father Nature'"
- "Greyhound Pets of America Wisconsin"
- "I am a Feminist"
- "I Miss You"
- "Just Desserts"
- "One Step Ahead"
- "Tiny Glowing Screens"
- "Walk a Mile"
The hard-hitting ladies of the Brew City Bruisers get the big-screen treatment in "Roller Life," a documentary about the current renaissance of roller derby, the local teams that battle for bone-crunching supremacy and the special bonds between the women in this unique community – inside and outside the rink. Expect a bit of blood and a lot of heart.
A Chinese feature from Milwaukee-based producer Youcai Yang, "Scott Road" tells a coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy living in 1949 Shanghai who suffers from a childhood crush on his substitute teacher – which might be cute if she didn't also happen to be his older brother's ex-girlfriend. Both young men, however, must learn to let go and grow up as they prepare to leave the country for Taiwan.
The Cream City Cinema program, however, is far from the only place you'll be able to find local productions at the Milwaukee Film Festival this year. Here are several other notable Brew City works scattered across the festival's upcoming program book (headed your way on Sept. 2, from noon until 4 p.m. at Good City Brewing).
"The Blood is at the Doorstep"
A follow-up to his probing 2015 short film "Mothers For Justice," "The Blood is at the Doorstep" is Milwaukee director Erik Ljung's feature-length look into the aftermath of the 2014 police shooting of Dontre Hamilton, intimately spending time with the family and the surrounding community, as well as branching out into the greater national conversation about police violence.
"Dear Coward on the Moon"
In this world-premiere Spotlight Presentation pick from Milwaukee Film Festival alum Carol Brandt, an imaginative and precocious young girl with a habit for exploring the lunar landscapes in her head runs away after discovering a grim family secret, forcing her struggling older sister to also search into the past to find her sibling in the present.
"Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker"
The influential '90s punk rock group – tour mates of Nirvana, inspirations and collaborators with the likes of Rancid and Green Day – gets the band back together for this Sound Vision documentary pick, tracing its glorious rise, ugly behind-the-scenes fall and heartfelt present day reunion.
Mark Borchardt's "The Dundee Project," "Bob the Buck," "Pharma Lab Training Video: 1" and "Across the Line" are also amongst the shorts and VR experiences with local roots set to screen at the Milwaukee Film Festival, which runs Sept. 28 through Oct. 12.
For more updates on the ever-growing lineup of movies and events, stay tuned to OnMilwaukee.
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