Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Part one of the ‘Cinebuds’ guide to this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival

Ways To Subscribe
Three of the music-centered movies you can find at the 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival.
Milwaukee Film
Three of the music-centered movies you can find at the 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival.

Every week, Kristopher Pollard from Milwaukee Film and Radio Milwaukee’s Dori Zori talk about movies — because that’s what you do when you’re Cinebuds.

The Milwaukee Film Festival is back for another silver-screen celebration that spans genres, countries and — for the first time in a minute — East Side theater locations.

With Milwaukee Film officially taking over operation of the Downer Theatre, that particular movie house is in the rotation to screen some of the many, MANY options populating the program of this year’s festival.

To help you sift through that cinematic cornucopia, Kpolly and Dori enlisted the help of a true insider: Milwaukee Film programming director Kerstin Larson, the tastemaker responsible for selecting many of the movies you can check out during the event’s run, April 11-25. Her can’t-miss screenings in this episode of Cinebuds are rolled right into this episode of the podcast, as well as the list below, which starts off with four of the festival’s high-provide selections. If any of them sound like your cup of tea, click the film’s title for tickets.

Opening-Night Screening

Shari & Lamb Chop
Lisa D’Apolito | 2023 | USA

As a young performer in the 1950s with big aspirations, Shari Lewis sought a voice who could say things that she could not and found it in a sock puppet named Lamb Chop who would soon become an enduring pop cultural icon. The latest from MFF alum Lisa D'Apolito (Love, Gilda) examines Lewis' impact on children’s television through the lens of her decades-long relationship with Lamb Chop and, like Lewis herself, brims with warmth and spunky charm.

Both screenings include a Q&A with director, producer and writer Lisa D’Apolito.

  • Thursday, April 11 | 6 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Abele Cinema)
  • Friday, April 12 | 12:30 p.m. | Downer Theatre (North Cinema)

Centerpiece Screening

The Queen of My Dreams
Fawzia Mirza | 2023 | Canada

Azra is worlds apart from her conservative Muslim mother. When her father suddenly dies on a trip home to Pakistan, Azra finds herself on a Bollywood-inspired journey through memories, both real and imagined, from her mother’s youth in Karachi to her own coming-of-age in rural Canada. From MFF alum Fawzia Mirza (Auntie, Noor and Layla), The Queen of My Dreams is a touching dramedy exploring intergenerational connections between mothers and daughters, East and West, home and away.

  • Friday, April 19 | 6 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Abele Cinema)
  • Sunday, April 21 | 12:15 p.m. | Downer Theatre (North Cinema)

Closing-Night Screening

Robot Dreams
Pablo Berger | 2023 | Spain, France

Dog lives in Manhattan and he’s tired of being alone. One day he decides to build himself a robot and they become inseparable friends. One summer night, Dog, with great sadness, is forced to abandon Robot at the beach. Will they ever meet again? "Bolstered by the resilient spirit of New York City, this is one of the loveliest movies that you will see this year, animated or otherwise." (TheWrap)

  • Thursday, April 25 | 7:30 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Abele Cinema)

Cinebuds Live Screening

Herbert Ross | 1984 | USA

Kick off your Sunday shoes to join Milwaukee Film and RadioMilwaukee as they team up for an iconic 40th anniversary screening of Footloose presented by Cinebuds hosts Dori Zori and Kristopher Pollard! When city-boy Ren (Kevin Bacon) finds himself in an uptight Midwestern town where dancing has been banned, he revolts with best friend Willard and the minister's daughter. Stick around after the film for a live podcast recording and audience Q&A. Let's dance!

  • Sunday, April 14 | 12:15 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Abele Cinema)

Kerstin Larsen’s picks

The Sweet East
Sean Price Williams | 2023 | USA

Smack in the middle of a high school trip to our nation’s capital, self-possessed teen Lillian (Talia Ryder) breaks off from her classmates, kicking off a journey straight down the rabbit hole of the New Weird America. In the rollicking feature debut for director Sean Price Williams, the Eastern seaboard becomes the site for a deranged and hilarious autopsy of contemporary U.S. life in which Lillian becomes an indifferent sounding board to all manner of loquacious, callous oddballs.

  • Friday, April 12 | 8 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Abele Cinema), includes a post-screening Q&A with writer Nick Pinkerton
  • Thursday, April 18 | 8:45 p.m. | Times Cinema

Spy Kids
Robert Rodriguez | 2001 | USA

Nine years ago, top international spies Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez traded the excitement of espionage for the adventure of parenthood. But when they're called out on a secret mission, the Cortezes are kidnapped by the evil Fegan Floop. Fortunately, there are two people who possess the skills and know-how to reunite the family: Carmen and Juni Cortez, their kids. Chosen by our Teen Screen Selection Committee, they gave this nostalgic favorite two Thumb Thumbs up.

  • Saturday, April 13 | 12:15 p.m. | Downer Theatre (North Cinema)

String Theory: The Richard Davis Method
Michael Neelsen | 2024 | USA

A heartfelt and inspiring documentary that delves into the life and legacy of one of the greatest bass players in history. While Richard Davis is most known for gracing the stages with icons like Miles Davis, Van Morrison and Eric Dolphy, his transition from a celebrated performer to a revered professor at the University of Wisconsin in the 1970s forms the crux of this story, highlighting his dedication to nurturing young talent.

Following the screenings, there will be a Q&A with director and writer Michael Neelsen.

  • Saturday, April 13 | 11 a.m. | Times Cinema
  • Monday, April 15 | 2:30 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Herzfeld Cinema)
  • Saturday, April 20 | Oriental Theatre (Lubar Cinema)

Diane Warren: Relentless
Bess Kargman | 2024 | USA

Boasting 15 Academy Award nominations, an Honorary Oscar, and Grammy, Emmy, and Golden Globe Awards, Diane Warren is responsible for the soundtrack of our lives. She's etched her name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame cementing herself as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. In this intimate documentary, filled with Diane’s signature humor, audiences get a rarely-seen glimpse into Diane’s life and underdog journey to where she is today.

  • Sunday, April 14 | 3:30 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Lubar Cinema)
  • Tuesday, April 16 | 1 p.m. | Avalon Theater
  • Sunday, April 21 | 5:15 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Lubar Cinema)

Who Can See Forever
Josh Liffe | 2024 | USA

The first ever in-depth look into the life and music of Iron & Wine's Sam Beam. Shot over the course of three years and using the traditional concert film as his jumping-off point, director Josh Sliffe digs into the myth and ethos of Iron & Wine through a series of interviews and unguarded behind-the-scenes footage that welcome the viewer into the center of Beam’s universe.

  • Tuesday, April 16 | 6:30 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Lubar Cinema)
  • Saturday, April 20 | 1 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Lubar Cinema)
  • Thursday, April 25 | 1 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Herzfeld Cinema)