12 Must See Films at the 2017 MKE Film Fest

MKE Film Fest 2017We really only write wedding related articles, with the exception of the Milwaukee Film Fest. It’s one of our favorite times of the year!

Not only are there hundreds of amazing films being screened over the span of 2 weeks (Sept. 28 – Oct. 12), but there are panel talks about films and community issues, launch parties and after parties and live music every night of the week at The Jazz Estate.

Here are our film picks, but be sure to check out www.mkefilm.org for more info and clear your schedule for the entire Film Fest!

1. Landline

We are Community Partners for this film and there is only 1 showing of it throughout the festival, so don’t miss it! Female directed (Gillian Robespierre), Landline sounds like an amazing film!

Film Description: Cannily observed ’90s nostalgia intermingles with a wittily acerbic screenplay to bring back to life an era when families couldn’t hide their animus behind the glow of a cell phone screen, a celebration of life and family in all its imperfection, and the ways in which our endless mistakes only serve to bring us closer together.

>>More Info and Tickets<<

2. Life of the Party

A film about a wedding at a bowling alley… in West Allis. Okay, we are hooked!

Film Description
A wedding reception in a West Allis bowling alley, populated by a motley assortment of friends, co-workers, and family, have congregated to celebrate the union of David and Tyesha. With each passing minute this melting pot of Americana (different cultures and identities abound) threatens to boil over as the attendees anxiously await the arrival of the bride and groom.

>>More Info and Tickets<<

3. The Feels

A film featuring a bachelorette party weekend seems like an oh so appropriate film for us to recommend, but The Feels looks to have some unexpected twists we can’t wait to see.

Film Description: Andi and Lu celebrate their impending nuptials with close friends and family members on a joint bachelorette weekend. But a drunken admission from Lu that she’s never had an orgasm sends the weekend spiraling off into myriad unexpected directions.

>>More Info and Tickets<<

4. The Blood is at the Doorstep

We love Milwaukee, but that doesn’t mean we can turn a blind eye to the institutional racism that exists within our community. This documentary depicting the aftermath of the police shooting of Dontre Hamilton in downtown Milwaukee. It’s sure to sell out so get your tickets in advance.

Film Description: It’s a scene Milwaukee natives will not soon forget: Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed Black man resting in Red Arrow Park, shot 14 times by a police officer in broad daylight, leaving behind a devastated family to pick up the pieces and bringing a community already struggling to maintain positive police-community relations even closer to the brink.

>>More Info and Tickets<<

5. Black Lens Shorts: Family Matters

One of our favorite things about the Milwaukee Film Fest is the ability to get insight into lives of those different then us. For us, this includes the Black Lens Program which is again off the hook this year. Our shorts pick is the Family Matters feature.

Film Description
A wonderful evening of shorts that tackle the notion of family in all of its complicated glory—whether it’s protecting the ones you love, leaning on them for support, bringing each other together, or tearing each other apart. These shorts (alternately funny, thrilling, and sad—just like family itself!) have something for everyone.

>>More Info and Tickets<<

6. The Milwaukee Music Video Show

Looking to get a high level and entertaining glimpse into the Milwaukee scene? Then this selection of music videos from Milwaukee artists is a great film fest show to go see!

Film Description
Our annual showcase features a who’s who of the local music scene (WebsterX, Ishdarr, Marielle Allschwang, Fatty Acids, and many more), running the gamut of musical genres while also showing us the exquisite diversity allowed by the music video format, a series of short, sonic bursts of creative excitement.

>>More Info and Tickets<<

7. CSF Shorts: Menos Es Más

The Cine Sin Fronteras (CSF) Program, is an awesome selection of films showcasing the rich and vibrant Latinx diaspora from around the world. We are excited to see the shorts feature for sure!

Film Description
Menos es Más is an eclectic collection of stories covering a broad spectrum of topics—be it finding strength in a post-Trump society, forbidden love, or documentary looks at topics like female underground skate groups or the solitary existence of a sewage diver—capturing a snapshot of the diverse universes contained with the Latinx diaspora worldwide.

>>More Info and Tickets<<

8. Girl Unbound

Stories of empowered women are our favorite. This film features a young woman, living in a Taliban-controlled region, who plays squash as a boy because women are forbidden from playing.

Film Description
Maria Toorpakai Wazir has spent her entire life defying the odds—becoming an internationally renowned squash player despite the Taliban-controlled region of Waziristan that she calls home explicitly forbidding women from partaking in sport, disguising herself as a boy with the help of her supportive father in order to pursue her dreams. But as her profile rises, her secret becomes impossible to hide, and her family must brave death threats as Maria seeks to shatter Middle Eastern gender norms and represent her country as one of its finest athletes.

>>More Info and Tickets<<

9. Roller Life

The ultimate powerful, badass women sport – Roller Derby – is showcased in this documentary featuring Milwaukee’s own Brew-City Bruisers, along with other Milwaukee teams.

Film Description:
The Brew-City Bruisers, Milwaukee’s own roller league, goes under the microscope in Roller Life, showcasing both the amazing teams that comprise this special community and the incredible women who have helped to form them.

>>More info and Tickets<<

10. The Milwaukee Show I & II

All films created by local Milwaukee talent. Check out the Milwaukee Show I or Milwaukee Show II each featuring different shorts.

“The Beautiful: The Stories She Tell” by Maeve Jackson

Film Description:
Each year The Milwaukee Show is one of the hottest tickets in town—a rare chance to see work from our local best and brightest in the gloriously opulent setting of the Oriental Theatre’s main house. Highlights this year include exquisitely crafted animation, a puppet musical, and a variety of eye-opening looks at serious issues (mental health, human trafficking, and bullying).

>>More Info and Tickets<<

11. New Chefs On The Block

This documentary follows 3 new chefs breaking into the foodie restaurant scene. Owning and running an established restaurant business is tough, and I can only imagine what it’s like to start one up!

New Chefs on the Block documentary trailer from Dustin Harrison-Atlas on Vimeo.

Film Description
Although nearly half of all restaurants fail in their first year of business, two young chefs are willing to risk it as they break into Washington, D.C.’s burgeoning foodie market.

>>More Info and Tickets<<

12. Citizen Jane: Battle Cry for the City

Another film about an empowering woman! This documentary takes place in the 1960s and covers Jane Jacobs who stands up for urban development that benefits NYC residents against the expansion of urban sprawl.

Film Description
In 1960s New York City, a battle raged over the soul of the city. In one corner, Jane Jacobs, the 20th century’s most important urban planning theorist, with an unwavering belief that cities belonged to the people within them. In the other, city planning magnate Robert Moses, a man with a penchant for replacing stoop life with highways and towering, impersonal housing projects.

>>More Info and Tickets<<

BONUS: Virtual Reality Gallery

Throughout the duration of the Milwaukee Film Fest, a Virtual Reality Gallery is FREE and open to the public featuring 7 VR films. From the battlegrounds of Falluja, to the top of One World Trade Center, to a unique experience attempting to replicate the sensations of blindness, this VR Gallery is not to miss!

  • Gallery Location: 2021 E. Ivanhoe Pl. | Milwaukee, WI 53202
  • Gallery Dates / Hours: September 30 – October 8 | 4PM – 8PM (M – F) | 12PM – 8PM (Sa – Su)

Still having trouble selecting which films to see? Check out this list of Quick Picks curated by MFF. We also suggest picking up a program from one of these locations.