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Cultures and Communities Festival left Milwaukee wanting more

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Milwaukee has culture and community to back our city. That’s exactly what Milwaukee Film and Black Lens highlight with the Cultures and Communities Festival (CCF), giving traditionally marginalized communities a platform to share their stories with their voices. 

The 2022 Cultures and Communities Festival ran Sept. 14-18, showcasing an abundance of films, intentional community events and workout classes that go beyond the body. This week for Uniquely Milwaukee, I teamed up with Kim Shine from our sister station, HYFIN, to discuss our experiences with the festival.

Salam Fatayer's festival takeaway

I’ll be honest: Some Mondays, I face the work week with sluggish optimism. But this week I felt inspired and empowered to tackle the unexpected. I have an inkling that the change in attitude had to do with packing my previous week and weekend with CCF.

Although the festival was packed with diverse events, the one I connected with most was attending a Black-owned mind, body and soul spin class with Spinn Mke. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve felt alien to my body this year. But being in an intentional atmosphere that’s welcoming and endorses wellness beyond physicality, I came out feeling stronger, grateful for being able-bodied and more connected to Milwaukee.

Kim Shine's festival takeaway

As usual, CCF did not disappoint. Each year, the festival returns with deeper cultural perspectives, new views on historical people/dates and amazing events. I went to more movies than events this time and walked away with new insights on topics both familiar and foreign.

For instance, before seeing Takeover, I’d never heard of The Young Lords’ 1970s fight for civil and healthcare rights when they took over Lincoln Hospital in South Bronx, N.Y. And while I knew of Black Panthers Founder Huey P. Newton, watching American Justice on Trial revealed the significant role his Oakland murder trial had on diversity within the jury-selection process.

This year’s festival was also exciting because the HYFIN team talked with two Black women from Milwaukee who either directed or co-produced two of the films shown:

Both films were quite impactful and showcased the breadth of Milwaukee’s creative community. It’s also worth noting that When Claude Got Shot is now an Emmy-award-winning documentary. 

Listen to the full episode below to hear more about our experiences at the festival. Then head over to HYFIN.org for in-depth interviews with the local filmmakers who premiered their documentaries at CCF.


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