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Milwaukee Film Festival: ‘MTV,’ ‘The Apollo’ Docs Bookend This Year’s Festival

Associated Bank and 133 additional sponsors support 11th annual Festival

MILWAUKEE – Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 – The powerful stories behind legendary music institutions will lead off and close the 11th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival, presented by Associated Bank.


Milwaukee Film announced on Tuesday that the Festival will kick off with “I Want My MTV” as its Opening Night feature on Thursday, Oct. 17. The documentary dives into the early days of a 1980s experiment that became a cultural touchstone, as well as its impact on the music and media industries.


A musical doc will also close out the show, with “The Apollo” serving as the Closing Night presentation on Thursday, Oct. 31. The film explores the full history of the legendary Harlem theater that has influenced music, culture and everyday life in the U.S. for generations.


On Friday, Oct. 25, “Chained for Life” will be the Centerpiece feature. This award-winning festival darling is a film-within-a-film offers a funny and humane approach to highlighting Hollywood’s representation issues, pointing out how at times we casually dehumanize those different from us.


Opening, Centerpiece and Closing Night films will all be presented in the main house of the Oriental Theatre, 2230 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee. Special guests affiliated with each film are expected to attend these screenings.


“Our opening, centerpiece and closing films all look at the power of the arts to shape our lives,” said Cara Ogburn, Festival director for Milwaukee Film. “They all contribute to important conversations about who we are as a society – and how we make changes toward who we want to be.


“The Milwaukee Film Festival is an outstanding platform for us all to share conversations and experiences sparked by the simple act of watching a film together. We’re thrilled to have so much support from partners around the region who make this Festival possible,” she added.


“Associated Bank is proud to be the Bank of the Milwaukee Film Festival, which continues to enrich the community through the power of film,” said Christopher Piotrowski, chief marketing officer, Associated Bank. “With our Milwaukee Film debit card, 5 cents per transaction is donated back to Milwaukee Film, further supporting the vitality and vibrancy of our local economy.”


The rich and expansive offerings of the Milwaukee Film Festival, covering more than 300 titles and 100 events in 15 days, are largely sustained by support from the Festival’s 134 corporate partners, foundations and individual sponsors.


Tickets for all Milwaukee Film Festival screenings and events, including these titles and over 300 more, will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, Oct. 3. Milwaukee Film Members get an early opportunity to purchase tickets with discounted pricing, starting on Tuesday, Oct. 1. For more information on becoming a Milwaukee Film Member, fans can visit


From Sept. 30 through Oct. 4, Associated Bank will be partnering with Stone Creek Coffee to give away two complimentary Festival vouchers per day to the first 15 people who come into participating Stone Creek locations in the Milwaukee metro area.


Films listed above may be ticketed at premium prices. Full Festival passes, as well as voucher packages that can be exchanged for tickets to non-premium screenings, are currently available at


The full Festival schedule is expected to be released on Thursday, Sept. 26.


Sponsors of the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival include:



Associated Bank, Bank of Milwaukee Film


Luminary ($100,000+)

Donald and Donna Baumgartner
Herzfeld Foundation
Herb Kohl Philanthropies
Marianne and Sheldon Lubar
Allan H. (Bud) and Suzanne L. Selig


Premier ($100,000+)



Visionary ($50,000+)

Argosy Foundation
Bader Philanthropies, Inc.
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
Brico Fund
The Heil Family Foundation
Christine Symchych and Jim McNulty
David Uihlein
The Yabuki Family Foundation


Leading ($50,000+)

88Nine Radio Milwaukee
Good City Brewing, Official Brewery
Laughlin Constable
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Official Law Firm
Urban Milwaukee
VJS Construction Services
Zizzo Group Engagement Marketing


Producing ($30,000+)

CBS 58
Heiser Lincoln, Official Automotive Sponsor
Koss Stereophones, Official Headphones
The Kubala Washatko Architects
Lowlands Grand Cafés
Mandel Group
Milwaukee Magazine
Milwaukee PBS
New Land Enterprises
Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.
Stamm Technologies
UW-Milwaukee Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
WMSE 91.7 FM


Innovator ($20,000+)

John Axford
Brewers Community Foundation, Inc.
Murph Burke
Greater Milwaukee Foundation / Mary L. Nohl Fund
Johnson Controls Foundation
Kelben Foundation, Inc.
Mary Ann and Charles LaBahn
Ken and Kate Muth
Nicholas Family Foundation
Lacey Sadoff Foundation
Cynthia and Jim Stoll
We Energies Foundation


Supporting ($20,000+)

BelAir Cantina|
Big Chair Studios
Black Shoe Hospitality
Colectivo Coffee
The Electric Sun Corporation
Ellenbecker Investment Group Inc
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin
Heartland Advisors, Inc.
Independent Studios
Journal Sentinel: Part of the USA Today Network
Live Wire Productions
Marquette University
Milwaukee Record}
Neroli Salon & Spa
Nō Studios
North American Camera
Shepherd Express
Telemundo Wisconsin
The Times Cinema and Avalon Atmospheric Theater
WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR


Providing ($10,000+)

Beans & Barley
Harvest Motion
The Ideas Network 90.7 FM
Joseph Property Development
The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel
Miller Brewing Company
Milwaukee Art Museum
Milwaukee Public Library 
Milwaukee Repertory Theater
The Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper Printing & Publishing Co. 
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin
The Plaza Hotel
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Radio Caliente 97.9 FM
Rivoli Theatre
Skylight Music Theatre
Sprecher Brewing Company
Bert L. & Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust
Tribute Wine
United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County in partnership with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. 
VISIT Milwaukee
WNOV 860am/106.5 fm "The Voice"


Contributing ($5,000+)

The Coolidge Corner Theater Foundation/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Enclave Light and Sound
Ralph Evinrude Foundation, Inc.
Fuel Cafe
The Greater Cedarburg Foundation
Hacienda Beer Co.
Milwaukee Arts Board and Wisconsin Arts Board
Mittera Group/J.B. Kenehan
Jim Phillips, LLC
Gene & Ruth Posner Foundation, Inc.
Quantum LS
Rotary Club of Milwaukee
The ROS Foundation
The Sadoff Family Foundation
Francie Luke Silverman Foundation
St.Rita Square
von Briesen & Roper, s.c.
Winebow Wisconsin
Zeidler Center for Public Discussion
Zilber Family Foundation


Sustaining ($2,500+)

ANON Charitable Trust
Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
Green Bay Packers Foundation
Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance
Misty Mountain Audio
Porchlight Book Company
SRH • Creative & Digital Agency


Additional Support

Clare M. Peters Charitable Trust
Albert J. and Flora H. Ellinger Foundation, Inc.
The Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club


Hospitality Partners

Beans & Barley
BelAir Cantina
Black Shoe Hospitality
Company Brewing
Float Milwaukee
Gentleman Jack
Good City
Ian's Pizza
Lowlands Grand Cafés
Rishi Tea



About Milwaukee Film 

Milwaukee Film is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to entertaining, educating, and engaging our community through cinematic experiences, with a vision to make Milwaukee a center for film culture. Milwaukee Film operates the magnificent Oriental Theatre, a historic cinema palace committed to high-quality and accessible film and education programming. The 11th annual Milwaukee Film Festival will take place Oct. 17-31, 2019. For more information or to become a member, visit


Facebook: | Twitter: @mkefilm | Instagram: @mkefilm


About the Milwaukee Film Board of Directors

Milwaukee Film’s independent board is made up of the following members: Chris Abele (Past Board Chair); John P. Bania; Donna Baumgartner; Elizabeth Brenner; Héctor Colón; Karen Ellenbecker; Jeff Fitzsimmons; Alexander P. Fraser (Immediate Past Board Chair); Carmen Haberman; Susan Haise; Katie Heil; Patti Keating Kahn (Board Chair); Tracey L. Klein (Past Board Chair); Michael G. Klein; Michael J. Koss Jr.; Alexander Lasry; Steve Laughlin (Past Board Chair); Emilia Layden; Michael R. Lovell; Joan Lubar; Marianne Lubar; Steve Mech; Mark Mone; Susan Mikulay; Kenneth W. Muth; Bob Pothier; John Ridley; Joseph A. Rock; Ramona Rogers-Windsor; Lacey Sadoff; Dave Stamm; Julia Taylor; John Utz; Kimberly Walker; Emeritus members: Tom Barrett; Jacqueline Strayer

Posted by: Tom Fuchs