program categories

mke film : festival

The 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival will contain over 200 films in its 15-day run. Watch this page for ongoing announcements of festival programs, as well as the complete line-up.


Spotlight Presentations

When people ask us what our “must-see” films are, we first say, “All of them.” Once they stop laughing at how quick-witted we are, we tell them to focus on everything in this program. Our Spotlight Presentations are a variety of must-see films and film events that best represent the Milwaukee Film Festival experience.




Our annual tributes celebrate the work of individuals who have contributed greatly to film culture through work in differing areas of the film world. Each tribute generally includes both a live appearance from the tribute’s subject(s), as well as a film curated by them for the Milwaukee Film Festival audience. Past honorees include Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney (2012), Academy Award-winning actor Marin Landau (2009), and non-profit documentary powerhouse Kartemquin Films (2011).




Meet the provocative and oftentimes difficult films that we think represent eight of the best films of the year. It’s a mix of both documentary and fiction work, and one of the directors will go home with the $10,000 Herzfeld Competition Award from our esteemed jury.



Passport: Germany

The Milwaukee Film Festival is proud to announce the line-up for its third annual Passport program. After a successful first year showcasing India, and a second year exploring China, the 2013 Passport program will focus on a country that contributed heavily to Milwaukee’s earliest years: Germany.


Rated K: For Kids

Formerly known as the Milwaukee Children’s Film Festival, Rated K: For Kids presents the best children’s films from around the world for ages 3-12 years. This year's Rated K: For Kids program includes a 25th anniversary screening of a children’s classic, three of the best international features on the children’s film festival circuit, and a trio of short film showcases, programmed for age-specific audiences: Size Small (ages 3+), Size Medium (ages 6+), and Size Large (ages 10+).



Cream City Cinema

Our annual showcase of the best new work from local filmmakers features a yearlong Filmmaker-In-Residence prize awarded to the jury winner. The residency includes a cash award of $5000, plus production equipment and services valued at more than $20,000.



Sound Vision

Tom Waits said it best: “I always thought songs are movies for the ears and films are like songs for the eyes.” We couldn’t agree more, which is why we pulled all our music documentaries together in one place this year. Your eyes and ears will be equally happy.



Cinema Hooligante

Our wildly popular late-night screenings get their own official program this year in Cinema Hooligante. These are all the gory, trippy, raunchy, scary, sometimes offensive, always fun films from the best corners of cinema subculture that you wouldn't take your grandmother to. Unless your grandmother likes that sort of thing, which is totally cool.



Shorter Is Better

Here are the best short films from around the world, put together in neat little packages for your viewing pleasure. Considering you really can't see these shorts in theaters outside of a film festival, you probably should attend as many of these screenings as possible.



Documentary Festival Favorites

These are the stories that seem too strange, sad, funny and beautiful to be true. But they are. Lucky for us, someone turned them into incredible documentary films, which we’ve selected as the best from the current festival circuit.



Fiction Festival Favorites

Truth isn’t always stranger than fiction. Sometimes, what the imagination is capable of trumps even the wildest true-life tale. Whether based in reality or a wild world of fantasy, these handpicked fiction films represent the best of fiction filmmaking on the festival circuit.