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MLB Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig and Filmmaker Aviva Kempner Bring Baseball and Espionage to Milwaukee Film’s Oriental Theatre


MILWAUKEE - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - Milwaukee Film is excited to welcome longtime, Milwaukee Brewers Founder and National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Allan H. “Bud” Selig to the Oriental Theatre for a special screening of The Spy Behind Home Plate, a documentary about enigmatic ballplayer Morris “Moe” Berg. The director of the film, Aviva Kempner, will join Selig for a post-film discussion on Saturday, June 15, at 3:30 p.m.


"Major League Baseball is full of incredible stories about incredible people, and I am really looking forward to sharing the unique tale of Moe Berg at the Oriental Theatre," said Selig. "I feel fortunate to have been able to participate in this tribute to an unsung American hero."


The son of Jewish immigrants, Berg was a major league catcher throughout the 1920s and ‘30s, but he’s most widely known as a spy with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II. Frequently referred to as the brainiest guy in baseball and known to speak or write 12 different languages, Berg was sent around the globe to gather intelligence on the German atomic bomb program.


Kempner’s film illuminates Berg’s life through rare historical footage and revealing interviews with his family, fellow baseball players, spycraft experts, and Commissioner Emeritus of Baseball Bud Selig.


“Milwaukee is a sports town, and Moe Berg has one of the most extraordinary stories to ever come out of baseball,” said Jonathan Jackson, CEO and artistic director of Milwaukee Film. “We couldn’t be more excited to have award-winning director Aviva and longtime friend of our organization Bud Selig join us at the Oriental Theatre to share this unbelievable story with our audience.”


Selig and his wife, Suzanne, have supported Milwaukee Film for more than a decade, notably sponsoring the annual audience awards at the annual Milwaukee Film Festival. In 2018, the Seligs issued a generous $1.5 million challenge match that launched on opening night of the 10th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival. The challenge match was met in early 2019, ultimately enabling Milwaukee Film to surpass a $10 million fundraising goal to restore the historic Oriental Theatre.


The Spy Behind Home Plate opens at the Oriental Theatre on Friday, June 14, for a full theatrical run. Tickets to all screenings, including the June 15 event with Selig and Kempner in attendance, are on sale now at Tickets cost $11 for general admission and $9 for Milwaukee Film Members.


Hi-res photos for web and print can be found here:




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