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Was there a 'butterfly effect' moment that sparked the Milwaukee Film Festival?

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A line of people stand on a sidewalk outside a movie theater with a marquee that reads "Milwaukee Film Festival" and "Milwaukee Showcase."
Milwaukee Film
A line outside the Oriental Theater at the 2009 Milwaukee Film Festival.

Have you ever thought about the "butterfly effect?” I'm not talking about the 2004 movie starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart, but rather the concept that a minor change in circumstances can cause a significant difference in the outcome. A butterfly flaps its wings and causes a typhoon.

For example, Alexander Fleming left his lab for a month, found mold growing in a Petri dish and decided to keep it rather than throwing it out. The mold was penicillium, which produces penicillin, one of the most-essential drugs ever discovered. If he'd just thrown out the contaminated culture, who knows where we'd be in terms of medicine?

But let's bring this concept to a local level: The Milwaukee Film Festival. What happened before the start of this beloved gem? And is it a stretch to say if events didn't align the way they did, we would never have an annual festival?

I spoke to Jonathan Jackson, CEO of Milwaukee Film, and Black Lens Programmer Donte McFadden to learn about the origin and evolution of The Milwaukee Film Festival. Listen to the episode to find out more.

Audio Storyteller / 88Nine On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee