We’re arguably living in the golden age of television, and all signs point to a slow death march for big-budget cinema. But there are still plenty of fantastic small and medium-sized production outfits crafting unique, poignant, and impressive big screen cinemas for smaller audiences. Luckily, we Milwaukeans don’t have to hop a flight to Cannes or Sundance to see them.

The 8th-annual Milwaukee Film Festival starts September 22nd; over the course of two weeks, it will bring 300+ shows to an under-served but deserved city. From festival darlings and local exposes to cinema classics and thought-provoking documentaries, there’s more than enough variety to satisfy even the stingiest of critics.

An interior shot of the majestic Oriental Theater on the Lower East Side. Article photos and video by Joe Powell. Featured photo by Milwaukee Film.

An interior shot of the majestic Oriental Theater on the Lower East Side. Article photos and video by Joe Powell. Featured photo by Milwaukee Film, modified by Joe Powell.

This is an amazing chance to get out and see great films (for an awesome, non-profit cause) and experience some of the most beautifully-restored movie palaces still standing in Milwaukee: the Landmark’s Oriental and Downer Theaters on the East Side, the Times Cinema in Washington Heights, the Fox-Bay Cinema Grill in Whitefish Bay, and the Avalon Theater in Bay View.

An interior shot of the Avalon Theater's night-sky ceiling in Bay View.

An interior shot of the Avalon Theater’s night-sky ceiling in Bay View.

Some of our own picks for what we want to see, in no particular order (and certainly not an exhaustive list):

  • 9 Rides: Shot entirely on an iPhone 6s, go on a ride around NYC with an Uber driver on New Years Eve.
  • Tale of Tales: Billed as “Brothers Grimm meets Game of Thrones”, this fable about mad kings and queens is said to be visually stunning if mentally taxing.
  • City of Gold: Follow along with a world-renowned food critic on a culinary adventure in diverse Los Angeles.
  • The Milwaukee Show 1: Short stories from local filmmakers.
  • It’s Now Or Never: Spanish-language comedy about absolutely everything going wrong on your wedding day.
Tickets go on sale starting today, September 8th, for $12 a piece. That’s the same price (or less than) you’d be paying at a chain, but you’ll be seeing films that aren’t playing anywhere else in the city in an audience packed full of aficionados. Plus, the festival has an official brewery nearby, so you know where we’ll be before / after / at intermission.
Find a complete alphabetical list of films here.
The calendar version here.
And ticket information here.
Also, enjoy a video I randomly took of Milverine being filmed for the opening credits of the 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival here:

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