Milwaukee Film Blog

posted by Jonathan on March 4th, 2014

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One of the things we are most proud of here at Milwaukee Film is that we have a pretty good track record when it comes to people sticking around. The vast majority our year-round staff started as a volunteer or seasonal staff member or intern. And sometimes, a person started as all three.

 

This week, Megan Benedict is joining us as my Executive Assistant. Megan has served the organization in a long list of roles over the past few years: Office Volunteer (2010), Program Book Intern & Street Team Member (2011), Features Programming Intern, Screening Committee Member & Street Team Member (2012), Marketing Assistant: Program Book Coordinator, Press Assistant, Marketing Materials Coordinator (2013), Executive Assistant (2014). What can we say? Megan really, really loves Milwaukee Film. (And we really, really love Megan.)

 
Read more about Megan on our staff page.
 
Welcome to Milwaukee Film, Megan!
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posted by Milan on February 27th, 2014

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Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me on VOD (Starts Thu, Feb 27) 
(Chiemi Karasawa, USA, 2013) 
Last year, we lucked out. Not only did we get to screen this fantastic documentary during the Milwaukee Film Festival, but we also were able to screen it with Elaine Stritch in attendance. If that night taught us anything, it's that Ms. Stritch doesn't put on airs just because there's a camera in the room. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me captures the true living legend simply being herself. You're constantly reminded how ridiculously talented she's always been, as well as how lethal her razor-sharp wit can be. And in-between, you get to see the truly genuine, bittersweet moments that come from a person looking back on a very long, very full life. 
Watch the trailer for Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me here.

Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? @ UWM Union Theatre (Fri, Feb 28 - Sun, Mar 2) 
(Michel Gondry, USA, 2013) 
How entertaining could an 88-minute conversation with one of America's foremost linguists and philosophers be? In the hands of filmmaker Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindThe Science of Sleep),the answer is: veryIs the Man Who Is Tall Happy? is a fantastic animated (literally) conversation between Noam Chomsky and the acclaimed French director, whose inherent playfulness helps visually present Chomsky's often-heady concepts in a way that audiences can better understand and enjoy. 
Watch the trailer for Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? here.

The Wind Rises @ Oriental Theatre (Opens Fri, Feb 28) 
(Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 2013) 
While we were all busy taking bets on whether or not Hayao Miyazaki would actually retire, he and his collaborators were putting the finishing touches on another in a long line of breathtaking Studio Ghibli films. The Wind Rises is the animated story of Jiro Horikoshi, who conquerd a number of incredible obstacles on his way into the history books as the legendary designer of Japanese fighter planes during WWII. The voice cast for the film's American release features Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the title role, alongside a who's who of modern film and television stars, including Emily Blunt, William H. Macy, Mae Whitman, and Werner-Frickin'-Herzog! 
Watch the trailer for The Wind Rises here.


MORE PICKS:

Blow Up @ UWM Union Theatre (Thu, Feb 27 @ 7p)
Documentary Frontiers: Girl Rising @ UWM Union Theatre (Wed, Mar 5 @ 7p)
Best Picture Festival pt.2 (Philomena, Her, 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club) @ Wisconsin-area Marcus Theatres (Sat, Mar 1 @ 12:15p)
Rear Window @ AMC Mayfair (Sun, Mar 2 and Wed, Mar 5)
Dead Weight (MFF 2012) @ Grand Avenue Mall, Lower Level (Wed, Mar 5 @ 7p) 
 

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

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posted by Milan on February 20th, 2014

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Bastards @ UWM Union Theatre (Fri-Sun, Feb 21 - 23) 
(Claire Denis, France, 2013) 
Our resident Claire Denis fan and Marketing Director Blyth had this to say about Bastards when she included it as one of her ten favorite films of 2013
"Denis’ latest crime thriller Bastards can be seen as a companion piece to her 2008 film 35 Shots of Rum--both of which are examinations of the complexity and fragility of familial relationships. But where the earlier film was focused solely and deeply on love, this new film delves into the much more complicated territory of suicide, incest and sexual slavery. I hesitate to spell out any more of the film than that, since it is such a powerful viewing experience. Like almost all of her films, Denis collaborates with the incomparable Agnès Godard behind the camera (their first together on digital video) and Tindersticks to create a tension-filled (and slightly creepy) score." 
Watch the trailer for Bastards here.

Muscle Shoals on DVD (Tue, Feb 25) 
(Greg 'Freddy' Camalier, USA, 2012) 
"Free Bird", "I’ll Take You There", “Brown Sugar” — the tiny Alabama town of Muscle Shoals is home to these and many more hit records that shaped the course of popular music. This rousing doc (and MFF 2013 fan favorite) takes a look at the people (Rick Hall and “The Swampers,” his genius rhythm section) behind the town’s sound, whose legendary FAME studio became a creative oasis where talent trumped skin color in an age and state where segregation ruled the day. Jagger, Aretha, Simon, and Bono all lend their voices to a documentary that showcases the lasting power of the Muscle Shoals sound. 
Watch the trailer for Muscle Shoals here.

The Crash Reel on DVD (Tue, Feb 25) 
(Lucy Walker, USA, 2013) 
As the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver approached, snowboarder Kevin Pearce found himself consistently trading top finishes with extreme sports sensation Shaun White. Both were on the same path to professional glory until a violent crash left Pearce with a traumatic brain injury that threatened his life. This MFF 2013 Competition selection from Lucy Walker (Waste Land, MFF 2010), intimately follows the remarkable recovery journey with Pearce determined to return to the slopes despite his family’s protestations and warnings that even the slightest head trauma might kill him. Alternately touching, inspiring, and frightening, The Crash Reel vividly explores the addictive thrills of extreme sports without shying away from the dangerous consequences. 
Watch the trailer for The Crash Reel here.
 

MORE PICKS:

12 Years a Slave @ Downer Theatre (Opens Fri, Feb 21)
The Blood of a Poet @ UWM Union Theatre (Tue, Feb 25 @ 7p)
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete (MFF 2013) @ UWM Union Theatre (Wed, Feb 26 @ 7:30p)
Times After Dark: Donnie Darko @ Times Cinema (Thu, Feb 20 @ 10p) 
After Tiller (MFF 2013) on VOD (Tue, Feb 25)
Marcus Theaters Best Picture Festival @ area Marcus Theaters (Sat, Feb 22 @ 2:35p)
Highway @ AMC Mayfair (Thu, Feb 21 @ 12:20p)
Narco Cultura (MFF 2013) on DVD (Tue, Feb 25)

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

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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!

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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.
 

MORE PICKS:

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.)

 

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