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 films for smaller audiences. Luckily, we Milwaukeeans don’t have to hop a flight to Cannes or Sundance to see them.

The 9th-annual Milwaukee Film Festival starts today, September 28th. 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.

The Downer Theater in Northpoint, Milwaukee. All photos and videos by Joe Powell for The Squeaky Curd.

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 (soon to be run by MKE Film full-time) 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.

The Avalon Theater in Bay View.

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

  • Person to Person: the quirky ensemble comedy is back (did it ever leave?), with an ambiguous plot and lo-fi film.
  • American Fable: I am so frightened by this film’s trailer but also so intrigued. Get ready for the immersive Pan’s Labyrinth to meet rural Wisconsin.
  • Infinity Baby: Macaulay Culkin’s little brother sells never-aging babies to Nick Offerman and and Megan Mullally. What else do you need to know?
  • Jasper Jones: Based on a classic Australian novel, this period-piece mystery is getting raves for both its teenage actors and ability to jump from page to screen.
  • The Road Movie: Literally just 67 minutes of Youtube videos from Russian car dashboard cameras. Literally.
Tickets are on sale now for a paltry $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:


Originally posted 2016-09-08. Updated 2017-09-28.

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