- Film Guide
Mother of George @ UWM Union Theatre (Opens Fri, Dec 6)
(dir. Andrew Dosunmu, USA, 2013)
Ayodele (Isaach De Bankolé) and Adenike (Danai Gurira) are a Nigerian couple living together in Brooklyn, NY. They're newly married, run a small restaurant together, and are trying to start a family... but with no success. And while dealing with infertility and tradition weighs heavily enough on the new couple's marriage, it doesn't help that Ayodele's overbearing mother constantly puts her two cents in. She wants Ayodele to dissolve his new marriage and find a wife who will provide him with the children he deserves. This gorgeously shot drama (which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival) features cinematography from Bradford Young who won Sundance 2013's Cinematography Award: U.S. Dramatic for both this film, and Ain't Them Bodies Saints (MFF 2013).
Watch the trailer for Mother of George here.
My Perestroika @ UWM Union Theatre (Mon, Dec 9 @ 7p)
(dir. Robin Hessman, USA, 2010)
If you were born on or around 1991, there's a good chance you have no idea what the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is. That's because in 1991, it stopped existing as the U.S.S.R., and broke off into a bunch of countries you're more familiar with, including Russia. As you can probably imagine, having a country and its government collapse into new nations with new ruling bodies is a pretty heavy thing to adjust to. In My Perestroika (the MFF 2010 Competition award winner), director Robin Hessman focuses on that exact adjustment, specifically through the lives of five schoolmates from the last generation born when it was still called the U.S.S.R. And check out this bonus: Director Robin Hessman is scheduled to attend the screening!
Watch the trailer for My Perestroika here.
Sightseers (MFF 2013) on DVD (Tue, Dec 10)
The Angels’ Share (MFF 2013) on DVD (Tue, Dec 10)
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Everybody knows Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday...but have you heard about Shopping With Beer Sunday? Oh, it's the best consumer holiday of them all! We're proud for the third straight year to join our Local First business partners at the Buy Local Gift Fair hosted at the one and only Lakefront Brewery. Really, is there any other holiday gift fair in the country that also features FREE brewery tours? I think not.
Blyth and Kristopher will be there slinging Milwaukee Film merchandise and memberships for all your gifting needs. Do you need a coffee mug for your sister Doreen? Do you need a pint glass for Grandpa Joe? Do you think your mom and her best friend would love to join us for monthly members-only screenings? We've got all that and more for you. (And if we don't have it, chances are you can find something from the 39 other vendors.)
So, to sum up:
Sunday, December 8
Free brewery tours at 12:30 • 1:30 • 2:30
See you on Sunday!comments...
Nebraska @ Landmark Downer Theatre (Opens Wed, Nov. 27)
(dir. Alexander Payne, USA, 2013)
Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is convinced he's won a million dollars through one of those Publishers Clearinghouse-type things. And while his family is not so convinced, his son David (Will Forte) agrees to drive him from Montana to Nebraska to collect his winnings. David sees it as a way for him to spend some time with a father that was unavailable when he was younger-- before Woody's dementia fully sets in. Filmed in gorgeous black and white, and boasting incredible performances from Dern (who won best actor at Cannes last May) and Forte (in a surprisingly wonderful non-comedic turn), Nebraska has earned every bit of its critical acclaim, adding to director Alexander Payne's (Sideways, About Schmidt, The Descendants) highly regarded body of work. (And don't even get us started on Mark Orton's fantastic score!)
Watch the trailer for Nebraska here.
Philomena @ Landmark Oriental Theatre (opens Wed, Nov. 27)
(dir. Stephen Frears, USA, 2013)
50 years ago, Philomena Lee (the incomparable Judi Dench) gave birth to a son while in Ireland. But because she wasn't married, she had to give him up for adoption. She tells this story to her daughter, who in turn tells it to weary journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan). Together, Sixsmith and Lee investigate what in the heck ever happened to her son. Their search begins with the convent where she was forced to give up said son... only the adoption records burned in a fire years earlier. Their distraught is short-lived, however, when dumb luck and personal resourcefulness lead right to him. (Sort of.) What follows next is a heartbreaking and beautiful based-on-a-true-story journey that eventually leads Martin and Philomena right back to where their investigation began, but if we tell you any more than that we'll ruin the film for you.
Watch the trailer for Philomena here.
Found Footage Festival @ Turner Hall Ballroom (Fri, Nov. 29 @ 8p)
We can think of no better way to stretch the joy of turkey day through the weekend than with the always hilarious Found Footage Festival. Now entering its ninth year, the Found Footage Festival presents roughly 90 minutes of-- you guessed it-- found VHS footage. From where? Anywhere things can be found: garage sales, thrift stores, dumpsters, etc. This one-of-a-kind show returns to Turner Hall Ballroom this Friday, so maybe get your tickets before they're gone.
Learn more about the Found Footage Festival here.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles @ Rosebud Cinema (Fri, Nov. 29 - Sun, Dec. 1 @ 10:30 am)
Psycho @ Times Cinema (Fri, Nov. 2 @ Midnight & Sun. Dec. 1 @ 10:30 am)
Every year the holidays approach, and good people like you wonder whether you should buy people fancy gifts, or make a donation to your favorite non-profit organization in their name.
You know you can do both at the same time, right? It’s called “a Milwaukee Film Gift Membership.”
When you give the gift of a Milwaukee FIlm Membership, you're giving someone access to free monthly film screenings of festival-quality films, festival ticket and merch discounts, invitations to exclusive events, and other great Member benefits.
Watch this video and see what one of our very own members has to say.
But that's not all. Giving a Milwaukee Film Gift Membership not only means fun for the loved one you gift it to. It also means you get to deduct a portion of the Membership cost from your taxes! And it means providing support for Milwaukee Film. After all, we are a non-profit arts organization. We’re only able to put on an epic film festival and valuable education workshops because of the generosity of great people like you.
To sign someone up for a gift membership, call me at (414) 755-1965 ex. 204.
Once your Gift Membership is purchased, I’ll let you know the different ways you can get this gift membership into the hands of your loved ones before your chosen holiday.
63 million people have seen the work of Milwaukee filmmakers Bobby Ciraldo and Andrew Swant. Most famous for their Samwell music video “What What (In the Butt),” Bobby and Andrew are also the co-directors of the feature documentary WILLIAM SHATNER'S GONZO BALLET (MFF 2009) which revolves around a Milwaukee Ballet performance. And up next is the 10-years-in-the-works HAMLET A.D.D., slated for a February 2014 premiere at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
In order to finish HAMLET A.D.D., Bobby and Andrew are running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $12,000 needed to finish post-production. (There's just under a week and a few thousand dollars left on the campaign.)
I sat down with both of them last week at their studio in the Fortress building to learn about HAMLET ADD, discuss YouTube fame, and hear their perspectives on how Milwaukee could best support its filmmaking community.
How did you both meet?
Bobby Ciraldo: On the set of ZeroTVdotcom. Andrew came in right at the end, on the last day of the show. We didn’t know it was last day at the time.
What is ZeroTVdotcom?
BC: Before there was YouTube and Myspace, it was an attempt to create online video for people. It offered one new piece of media a day. It was funded by Chris Smith, and many others were involved including Scott Reeder. Chris brought in friends from Michigan and then Pumpkin World (Xav and Didier Leplae) got involved. The humor was really similar to what you see on YouTube today-- quirky, a little edgy, kind of makes you a little uncomfortable.
Andrew Swant: Kind of culty. I was living in Chicago when I was introduced to it, and it was why I wanted to move to Milwaukee… to work with all these weirdos. Then I moved here and finally got my foot in the door as it was ending.
Can you still see ZeroTVdotcom today?
On a You Tube channel.
Bobby, were you in Milwaukee prior to ZeroTVdotcom?
BC: No, I moved here because of it.
And why are you both still here?
AS: (laughs) I love Milwaukee. I’ve had many opportunities to move over the years. It’s Cheap. It’s Easy. There are always fun things to do.
And Bobby, why are you still in Milwaukee?
BC: Umm. Hmm. I don’t know.
BC: It’s not really because of Milwaukee, but because of certain parts of Milwaukee. Like the Fortress. I feel like the Fortress has kept me here, but I don’t know if the Fortress is really Milwaukee.
AS: The creative community.
BC: Yeah, community. I don’t know why Andrew is speaking for me.
Tell me about the Fortress Building.
BC: There’s a lot of Freedom in the Fortress. Freedom and space. It’s really cheap and the management is hands off as far as what you do in the space. I am sure this type of space exists in other cities. Then again, there is something about the people of Milwaukee, too. The random people on the street. I grew to like their demeanor. When I go away, I can tell I am not around those people anymore. It’s weird to want to get back to that, because they’re not the happiest people in the world, but they’re really nice. Just grumpy about all the right things.
AS: They seem real. Realer than other cities.
BC: A certain je ne sais quoi.
AS: For me, I wasn’t kidding around: it's onne of the main reasons I've stayed is the creative community here. Everybody is willing to help everyone out. We have had trouble getting After Effects people, but outside of that, we have always been able to find help.
So, why Hamlet?
BC: Hamlet is the best play ever written. We heard.
AC: Possibly the best narrative of all time.
Why not tackle that.
BC: Get that one out of the way.
AC: Can’t go wrong. Uncontested. Tried and true.
BC: We wanted to do something long form. There was no YouTube at the time we started. ZeroTVdotcom fizzled out because no one had fast Internet at the time. We wanted to let go of short film ideas and work on something longer, something that could go to film festivals and have some kind of a life.
Why 10 years in the making?
BC: I have always loved the number 10.
AS: We were working really hard on just Hamlet ADD for the first few years, but then other projects came up that we couldn’t pass on because they were too interesting or there was money involved. Then, a couple years ago, we just decided we have to swear off all these other projects. Even if it means we’ll be broke, we have to work on and finish Hamlet A.D.D.
BC: I think that there’s something also going on, where it’s sort of, “lets shoot a feature film entirely on green screen. We’ll shoot everyone one at a time and all on different sets and in different time periods.” You go through and shoot it all and that’s difficult itself, but then you’re sitting on so many hours of footage and you know you have to do all the sets, the cartoon background (which is a huge undertaking and we did not know how to go about it), the post production so overwhelming. It seemed impossible, like, “what have we done?!?”
AS: I think we shot 125 hours.
Technology changes a lot over the course of a decade. How has that influenced the final film?
BC: Luckily, quality entertainment never changes.
I think we can end the interview now.
BC: I think the main change was from standard definition video to HD. It was a frightening change. We were worried the whole movie would seem obsolete. But, um, we figured out a cool way to take raw footage and up-res it prior to post-production, so the final project will be HD. You can’t really tell the original footage wasn’t HD, because of the number of filters.
How did the premiere at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles come about for Hamlet ADD?
AS: A curator friend in L.A. mentioned stuff to the curator at the MOCA channel on YouTube. They’ve been soliciting work from artists to put on YouTube. We’re showing the film in L.A. at their theatre, but will still have something on their YouTube channel, too.
When will Milwaukeeans be able to see it?
AS: Sometime in the Spring of 2014 at the Oriental Theatre.
You are a big Star Trek fan, right Andrew? I heard you once got to hang out in William Shatner’s bathroom. Is that true?
AS: Yeah. I took a leak in his toilet and took a picture of it. We also watched Monday Night Football at his house.
Any thoughts on having 63 million people see your work?
BC: I never think about it actually.
That is just a massive audience engaged with your work.
BC: I imagine it’s just a small handful of people who watch it over and over again. For the number to be that big though? How?!?
AS: People are still showing it to each other.
BC: When you read the comments you can tell it’s still people coming across it for the first time, whether outraged or thrilled.
AS: It is strange how consistent it is. Ten to twelve thousand views a day for the last few years.
That is insane. You must be loaded, no?
AS: Ha. It almost pays our Internet bill. That’s it.
Any advice to filmmakers starting out today?
BC: Get good microphones.
AS: Don’t give up. A lot of people have good ideas but they don’t follow through with them.
BC: Make funnier stuff. There’s so much serious stuff out there.
Any more music videos in the works?
AS: We’re not opposed to it, but there are no specific plans. We want to do What What in the Butt: The Movie. Not a music video. A movie. We have a treatment for it. Oh, and we do have Pilgrims Pianist.
BC: Pilgrims Pianists.
AS: Pilgrims Pianists. It’s probably going to be our next project.
BC: It’s a remake of a Bill Rebane movie that we bought the rights to. Bill Rebane is a Wisconsin Filmmaker.
His film The Giant Spider Invasion showed at the Milwaukee Film Festival in 2012.
BC: He made this movie we bought the rights for called the Demons of Ludlow. It’s about this town that inherits this haunted organ.
AS: Haunted piano. It came over here on the Mayflower or some pilgrim ship.
It’s based on a true story?
BC: Yeah, it’s a true story about the movie.
AS: It’s a really special movie.
BC: There are pilgrim zombies in it. Demons.
BC: Since Hamlet ADD took so long we wanted to work on a film we could do super fast.
What is the number one thing that Milwaukee Film or the city could do to support filmmakers or artists in this community?
AS: We need money. It is the hardest thing to come by.
BC: Along with that we need more people like you and Jack Turner. Kind of like go-betweens.
BC: People between the filmmakers and executive producers. There is a huge language and cultural divide between those groups. There is that middle layer that could really make things happen. It is also really cool that the festival gives out these filmmaking package awards. I just wish there were more of those going on.
AS: It’s really hard. There is enough talent in this town. It’s tricky when you’re making weird stuff, you’re not very social, you have no connection to the money people. It’s almost hopeless sometimes. Our work gets good reviews and mentions, but we are not able to raise a budget.
BC: I’ve only been to a few meetings about this subject. I think that there is confusion between helping local filmmakers and building a film industry. I feel like they’re combined a lot of the times, but I think they’re totally different. Some people want to create the industry to bring film projects here and there is also talk of the local film scene and filmmakers that exist here. There is nothing wrong with boosting an industry sector, but it has nothing to do with the culture of Milwaukee. I have always thought about if the people with money had any idea how cheaply these scummy filmmaker artists live, I mean why don’t we set up some fund to pay their salaries, like a $1,000 a month. A lot of filmmaker artists would love that. They would be super happy to scrape by. If people are interested in boosting the culture of this town, just start throwing money at the artists.
If I could only watch one YouTube channel or follow one artist on YouTube who would it be?
AS: We actually don’t watch as much as we used to. We’re kind of out of the loop. The most famous people now are the ones sitting and talking into their webcams: rantings, product reviews, tutorials. There’s not as much creative content as there used to be.
Is there another vehicle for it?
BC: Animated GIFS. I like watching them more than YouTube videos these days.
AS: They’re three seconds long.