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In 2016, a panel of judges assembled by Milwaukee Film reviewed an application from a Moscow-born Milwaukee filmmaker named Kirill Mikhanovsky. After reading through his pitch for a movie about a medical transport driver trying to navigate chaotic events to help a diverse array of people get through their day, the judges awarded the project, called Give Me Liberty, with $30,000 worth of support from the Brico Forward Fund.

Director/Co-writer Kirill Mikhanovsky and Co-writer/Producer Alice Austen circa 2016 (third and fourth in from the right), having just received the news about their Brico Forward Fund support.


Nearly three years later, Mikhanovsky and his filmmaking partner Alice Austen have been through a journey that parallels that of the characters of their film – a wild race to get their project completed on their terms and on their home turf of Milwaukee, with the ultimate goal of bringing people together to experience this story.

This is a film that is Milwaukee through and through, both on the screen and behind the scenes. And while audiences at both Sundance and Cannes have had a chance to see and be amazed by this film, the first general audiences to see Give Me Liberty in the U.S. will be right here in Milwaukee, at Milwaukee Film’s own Oriental Theatre.

We are thrilled to be hosting the U.S. theatrical premiere of this film, and are parent-proud to see a project that we supported from the early stages ready to break out into the world.



On Aug. 22, the Oriental Theatre will be the center of a red-carpet party to launch this film and honor what it already has accomplished: Critical acclaim from around the globe. A 10-minute standing ovation when it showed at Cannes. Film festival-goers asking, in a number of different languages, all about Milwaukee.

But Give Me Liberty won’t fully come to life, the work of Austen and Mikhanovsky won’t fully pay off, until Milwaukee can see and celebrate this film.

Here’s a little more about what we’re celebrating:




“Completely, delightfully unpredictable from scene to scene” – New York Times
“...very satisfying film about real people living real lives” – Hollywood Reporter
“This warm, fiercely independent comedy-drama eschews anything resembling formula in favor of a boisterous and freewheeling joyride.” – Variety


We all know we live in Smallwaukee, so chances are that you’ll see people or places you see every day featured on the big screen at the Oriental. This premiere is a night for Milwaukee that you won’t want to miss.

The principal cast of Give Me Liberty (yes, we're including the van in that statement)




Posted by: Tom Fuchs