MILWAUKEE – Thursday, September 28, 2023 – Milwaukee Film and the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition (MMWC) present the eighth annual Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival (MMFF), one of the country’s leading Muslim film festivals, on October 19-22, at the historic Oriental Theatre (2230 N. Farwell Ave.).
The festival’s programming includes eight carefully curated films–stories from across the globe that transcend countries, languages, and cultures while highlighting the common humanity among people of all races, ethnicities, and religious beliefs. Each film screening will feature local ethnic food offerings and a post-screening conversation with local leaders.
Launched by the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition (MMWC) in 2015, the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival shares films from around the world to encourage reflection, hold meaningful conversations, and celebrate the Muslim community and their experiences. In 2019, Milwaukee Film partnered with the MMWC to co-host the festival at The Oriental Theatre. The festival is one of only a handful of Muslim film festivals held throughout the nation and was founded by Janan Najeeb, the current executive director and founding member of the Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition.
“We are excited to continue our collaboration with Milwaukee Film,” Says Najeeb. “Both organizations have a common goal of creating a more inclusive and diverse film landscape here in Milwaukee.”
The Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival will open on Thursday, October 19 at 7:00 PM with the film Wisconsin Life: The Wisconsin Muslim Project, presented by the Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition and Greater Milwaukee Mary Nohl Fund. This all-new PBS Wisconsin documentary invites audiences to journey into the riveting stories of Muslims statewide.
Subjects include Brother Will Perry of the Milwaukee Islamic Da’wah Center, who leads a legacy of service to help those who cannot afford food; Asifa Quraishi-Landes, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who encourages her students to see things from a different perspective by role-playing scenarios acting as Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Antonin Scalia, among others; Amal Azzam and Nayfa Naji, co-founders of Fanana Banana, an organization dedicated to featuring Muslim art that often goes unnoticed, and Isaak Mohamed’, whose work as the Somali district liaison fostering community in Barron goes beyond small changes.
Beyond the film, The Wisconsin Muslim Project includes an immersive photo gallery and a classroom-focused profile in PBS Wisconsin Education’s Wisconsin Biographies series on community leader Mahmoud Othman Otta, Najeeb’s late father. “We are thrilled that this year we will be partnering with PBS-WI and showcasing Muslim community members here in Milwaukee and around the state.” Najeeb shares. This is a very unique project that highlights the vibrancy and diversity of Muslims.”
October 19th’s opening night screening is free and open to the public and will showcase its immersive photo gallery with works displayed by award-winning Milwaukee photographer Lila Aryan. The gallery will offer an intimate look inside the contemporary lives of 15 Muslim Wisconsinites and families.
“Along with the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition and We Are Many – United Against Hate, PBS Wisconsin is proud that our partnership project, The Wisconsin Muslim Project, is a featured part of the 2023 Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival,” PBS Wisconsin Director of Television Jon Miskowski said. “PBS Wisconsin is the state’s largest storyteller, and we look forward to celebrating this work and our state’s Muslim community along with the impressive array of films in the festival.”
Tickets and information for The Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival are available at mkefilm.org/mmff.
Additional support for the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival comes from the Presenting Sponsor, The Greater Milwaukee Foundation/Mary L. Nohl Fund, along with Supporting Sponsors: the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, Hayat Pharmacy, AABaker Realtor, Wisconsin Muslim Civic Alliance, Aladdin's, Max Bodyshop, Medpoint Clinic, Taqwa's Bakery and Restaurant, Prime Printing, Therapy at Home, Hanan Refugee Relief Group, Lebnani House restaurant, and Dura Services.