Milwaukee Film Blog

posted by Jonathan on February 19th, 2014

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Our newest staff member, Jessica Bursi, at last year's Sponsor Kick-off

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jessica Bursi, our new Development Manager.

Jessica first joined the Milwaukee Film team during the 2013 Film Festival as our Hospitality Coordinator. And when you consider the fact that we had more guests last year than ever before, that's no small feat. 

Memphis-born and Midwest-raised, Jessica graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and headed west to Los Angeles, where she spent her early years at VH1 Motion Pictures. She eventually left to join Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation (a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for film preservation), and worked her way up from assistant to Program Director. 

As Development Manager of Milwaukee Film, Jessica will be responsible for building and nurturing the supportive relationships that make our organization, its festival, and education programs possible. 

Welcome to the family, Jessica!


posted by Milan on February 13th, 2014

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The Past @ Downer Theatre (Opens Fri, Feb 14) 
(Asghar Farhadi, France, 2013) 
Four years ago, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) left France and his family for his homeland. When he returns to France to finalize his divorce from his wife Marie (played by the captivating Bérénice Bejo, whose performance earned her the Best Actress Award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival), he discovers that she and her two children from a previous marriage are living with her current lover, Samir (Tahar Rahim). Fun facts about Samir: he has a son (no big deal)...and a wife who is currently in a coma (very big deal). Adding to this already complex set of circumstances is the fact that Marie's daughter Lucie is not a big fan of Samir. For as complicated as all of this seems, acclaimed director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) manages to tell the story with unbelievable ease. The result is a haunting, emotional film destined to cement Farhadi's status as a master storyteller. 
Watch the trailer for The Past here.

Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014 @ Oriental Theatre (Opens Fri, Feb 14)
Outside of a film festival, short films don't often appear on the big screen. That's why we strongly suggest you take advantage of this, Milwaukee. For a limited time, the Landmark Oriental Theatre will be screening the Academy Award Nominated short films-- both animated and live action. Each program features all five nominees and includes short films from all over the world. Friends of the Milwaukee Film Festival will recognize two of the live action shorts: The Voorman Problem (starring Martin Freeman, who most of you will know as Watson from BBC series Sherlock) screened at MFF 2012 and Do I Have to Take Care of Everything screened at MFF 2013. 
See trailers for all of the animated and live action short films here.

Zaytoun on DVD (Tue, Feb 18) 
(Eran Riklis, USA, 2012) 
MFF 2013 alum Zaytoun is a remarkable combination war thriller/buddy film from director Eran Riklis (Lemon Tree, MFF 2009). When young Fahed sees something fall over his Palestinian refugee camp, he can scarcely believe his luck at discovering Yoni (a wonderful, moving turn from Stephen Dorff), a proud second-generation Israeli Air Force pilot. Seeing in each other the only chance at making it back to what they each consider their homeland, this odd couple makes their way across gorgeous scarred landscapes in war-torn Beirut, slowly warming to the possibility of peaceful cohabitation as they navigate the dangers that surround them. 
Watch the trailer for Zaytoun here.


Philomena (return engagement) @ Downer Theatre (Opens Fri, Feb 14)
51st Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival: 16mm Edition @ UWM Union Theatre (Tue, Feb 18 @ 7p)
The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (MFF 2013) on DVD (Tue, Feb 18)

(Want this info and more sent to your inbox every Thursday? Sign up for the Milwaukee Film Newsletter.)



posted by Kristopher on February 12th, 2014

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Your February members screening is ... The Rocket.



Set in lush, rural Laos, this spirited drama tells the story of a scrappy ten-year-old who yearns to break free from his ill-fated destiny. With the help of a spunky orphan and her uncle Purple (a James Brown enthusiast), he builds a giant rocket to compete in the dangerous Rocket Festival. Director Kim Mordaunt has created an uplifting and thrilling story full of bold characters and inspired performances from child actors.


As our Programming Manager Jaclyn put it, "It pretty much won all the awards." She's not far off. It received audience awards from the AFI Fest, the Tribecca Film Festival, Naples International Film Fest and the Sydney Film Festival, among others.


The screening takes place on Wednesday, February 26, 7 PM at the Landmark Oriental Theatre. The film has a running time of 96 minutes.


RSVP HERE to reserve your spot for the screening. Space is limited and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.Reservations close at NOON on Tuesday, February 25. (If you do not receive a reply to your RSVP within 48 hours, please call me at 414-755-1965 x204.) If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at


"Hey, Kristopher! What if I'm NOT a member, but I want to come to this and all subsequent screenings, and I want to get lots of great deals on festival tickets and merchandise, and--"  Whoa! Slow down, friend! I have just the solution. BECOME A MEMBER THIS VERY MINUTE and all your movie-related dreams will come true!


posted by Milan on February 6th, 2014

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Festival of Films in French @ UWM Union Theatre (Feb 7 - 16) 
Starting Friday, the UWM French Program and Union Theatre kick off the 17th annual (17 years!) Festival of Films in French-- a nine-day festival consisting of nothing but (you guessed it) great French-language films. This year's fantastic selection includes an MFF 2012 alum, Tey (pictured above), which earned Saul Williams a Best Acting Award from our jury that year. (Watch the trailer for Tey here.) This year's festival will also spotlight work from four female filmmakers (Chantal Akerman, Lorraine Lévy, Maïwenn, and Sophie Lellouche), as well as Jean Renoir's La Grande Illusion, and Abel Gance's silent classic J'accuse (with live musical accompaniment). Talkbacks will follow some of the screenings and all films are free and open to the public! 
Get more information on the Festival of Films in French here.

Spinning Plates on DVD (Tue, Feb 11) 
(Joseph Levy, USA, 2012) 
This MFF 2013 favorite focuses on three restaurants with three extraordinary stories. Chicago’s Alinea restaurant, run by the mad molecular gastronomist Grant Achatz, aspires to provide customers with the most incredible and unique dining experience they’ll ever have. Meanwhile, Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa, has been built around more than a century and a half of serving old-fashioned comfort food to its community. Finally, La Cocina de Gabby, a fledgling Mexican restaurant, struggles to stay afloat as the husband-and-wife co-owners work to provide for their 3-year-old daughter. Three disparate stories combine in a mouthwatering portrait of how genius, love and community intersect on every plate served. 
Watch the trailer for Spinning Plates here.

Cutie and the Boxer @ area Marcus Cinemas (Starts Mon, Feb 10) 
(Zachary Heinzerling, USA, 2013) 
Almost three months after Milwaukee Film Members saw this film as their November Members-Only Screening, Cutie and the Boxer finally hits Milwaukee thanks to the Marcus Cinemas (check here to find the one closest to you). Zachary Heinzerling's Academy Award-nominated documentary tells the story of Ushio and Noriko. Back in the '60s, Ushio left Tokyo for New York and (fingers crossed) international artistic recognition. Then Noriko arrived in NYC to study art, fell in love with him, and quit being a student to become his wife and assistant. Forty years later, they're still together. But now it's Noriko getting international acclaim for her "Cutie and Bullie" drawings (based on challenges she's faced with Ushio), and Ushio trying to make sure he leaves his own legacy, too. 
Watch the trailer for Cutie and the Boxer here.


Monuments Men @ Landmark Oriental Theatre (Starts Thu, Feb 6)
The Invisible Woman
@ Landmark Downer Theatre (Starts Fri, Feb 7)

MKE LGBT Film/Video Presents: Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger @ UWM Union Theatre (Thu, Feb 6 @ 7p) - Filmmaker in attendance, Q & A to follow

(Want this info sent to your inbox every Thursday? Sign up for the Milwaukee Film Newsletter.)


posted by Kristopher on February 5th, 2014

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What's more romantic than taking a special someone to a beautiful, cozy, classic movie house to watch a hearbreaking or funny or lovely film that you wouldn't have seen had you not been a.... Milwaukee Film Member. (See where I'm going with this?)

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 merchandise discounts, invitations to exclusive events, and other great benefits. 

Don't believe us? Watch this video and see what one of our very own members has to say.

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 it into the hands of your loved ones before Valentine's Day.