The 2017 Milwaukee Film Festival Highlights
By Livia Peterson
The 2017 Milwaukee Film Festival is in the books. Based on experience, observations, and interacting with fellow moviegoers, attending a film festival is fun, exhausting, and one may not want it to end – but it must come to a close sooner or later. I attended six out of the fifteen days, seventeen feature films, and six short films in the Shorter is Better: That’s Life program.
The Sponsor and Membership Trailers
Throughout the festival, I was astonished by the brilliant advertising. The primary trailer thanked all the generous sponsors and the supplementary trailer publicized all the awesome benefits of becoming a Milwaukee Film member, even if it is the entry level membership. Thus, if you aren’t a Milwaukee Film member, sign up as soon as possible.
The Question and Answer Sessions
The question and answer sessions following some screenings add depth and context to the film you just watched. If it was not for the filmmakers, motion pictures would not exist.
The State of Cinema in Milwaukee keynote address
The Milwaukee film culture is near and dear to me. I frequently visit Milwaukee to attend and support the independent films. Believe me, all the good stuff plays in the big city. Local filmmaker and Columbia College faculty member Dr. Susan Kerns and OnMilwaukee pop culture critic Matthew Mueller discussed the current state and the future of cinema in Milwaukee. On the one hand, Dr. Kerns tackled how Milwaukee lack budgets and tax incentives to be able to produce films. On the other hand, Mr. Mueller examined how streaming services is competing with theatrical exhibition and therefore, more people would rather save money to see movies in the comfort of their homes. The theatrical experience isn’t dead, per say – but we need legitimate reasons to fork over $50 or so to attend films in the cinema. Long story short: the discussion was extremely insightful.
Despite a few films stood out in my perspective, Milwaukee Film provides marvelous film programming. There is something for everyone, even for the kiddos. The feature films may be glitzy and all, but you should attend a Shorts program – see several films in a complete package and if a film or two is underwhelming, the others are redeeming.
The Milwaukee Film Festival took place at the Oriental Theatre, the Downer Theatre, the Fox-Bay Cinema Grill, the Times Cinema, and the Avalon Atmospheric Lounge and Theatre.
The Fox-Bay Cinema Grill provides comfortable seats and tasty food. Think the less sophisticated version of Majestic Cinema in Brookfield. The Avalon Atmospheric Theatre allows filmgoers to literally watch movies under the stars. Not to mention, the theatre is drop dead gorgeous. All the venues deliver magical cinematic experiences, regardless.
The Film Community
From delicious popcorn to interacting with fellow audience members, Milwaukee Film allows you to be a part of a thriving film community. It may not be apparent right away; however, the membership and the monthly screenings make it obvious. Milwaukee may not have a film industry right now and yet, the festival is such an important component to establishing a local film industry. Milwaukee Film will start operating the Oriental Theatre on July 1, 2018. It can only go up from here.