One of the best part about the Milwaukee Film Festival is the local-centric series Cream City Cinema. All of these films are made, directed and produced by local filmmakers. And one lucky and well-deserving fillmaker will receive $5,000 for his or her work.
“The quantity, and importantly, quality of submissions this year was astounding,” shares Jonathan Jackson, Artistic and Executive Director for Milwaukee Film. “With 177 submissions, a 31% increase over last year, it is clear that our film community is on the rise.”
Cream City Cinema will screen two feature-length fiction films (Neptune, Take the Dog), and three feature-length films documentaries (30 Seconds Away: Breaking the Cycle, Clarence, Yoopera!). There will also be four short film programs, including two installments of the ever-popular The Milwaukee Show, The Milwaukee Youth Show (18 & under filmmakers), and the Milwaukee Music Video Show.
The Milwaukee Music Video Show is a new program for Cream City Cinema. The program consists of two installments of some of Milwaukee's best music videos from some of the city's best artists and bands. It will be really great to see these videos on the big screen at the Oriental instead of my little laptop.
Calliope – "Casino" (USA / 2014 / Director: Victor Buell IV)
Field Report – “Wings” (USA / 2014 / Director: Blackbox Visuals)
GGOOLLDD – "Boyz" (USA / 2015 / Directors: Ryan Bingham, Tony Hunt)
Greatest Lakes – "Nothing Left" (USA / 2015 / Directors: Brian Steinseifer, Josiah Werning)
Kane Place Record Club – "Sunshine" (USA / 2014 / Director: John Roberts)
Lex Allen – “This is Our Year” (USA / 2015 / Directors: Damien Gram, Cody LaPlant)
Maritime – "Milwaukee" (USA / 2015 / Director: Bob Purvis)
The Midwest Beat – "High Life" (USA / 2014 / Director: Jon Salimes)
Sam & Margot – "Burn It Down" (USA / 2015 / Director: Brendan T. Jones)
Sylvan Esso – “Dreamy Bruises” (USA / 2014 / Directors: Timm Gable, Bob Purvis)
Tigernite – “Witch” (USA / 2015 / Directors: Kyle Arpke, Eric Arsnow)
Uncle Larry – "Pieces" (USA / 2014 / Director: Billy Judge Baldus)
Vic and Gab – "Love of Mine" (USA / 2014 / Director: Betty Allen)
Victor DeLorenzo – "Carry Me" (USA / 2014 / Director: T.C. De Witt)
WebsterX – "Doomsday" (USA / 2015 / Directors: Damien Klaven, Cody LaPlant)
Wooldridge Brothers – "Drive Through Summer" (USA / 2015 / Director: Robb Fischer)
30 Seconds Away: Breaking the Cycle
(USA / 2015 / Director: Faith Kohler)
Milwaukee's homelessness problem is examined by no less an authority than former federal prosecutor and Marquette graduate Faith Kohler in 30 Seconds Away, a vital documentary examination of this issue from all sides of the argument. Spending time with those struggling to survive on the streets as well as with the justice system and Milwaukee police stuck between trying to enforce the law and care for these forgotten members of society (through means such as our local Homeless Outreach Team), Kohler paints a powerful and empathetic portrait of an ever-growing problem with no easy solutions.
(USA / 2014 / Director: Kristin Catalano)
Meet Clarence Garrett, an African-American WWII veteran who had to put his own dreams of a higher education on hold to put his four children through college. But at the ripe age of 85, Clarence decides to enroll in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and finally get the last 52 credits that will earn him his bachelor's degree. However, medical complications from an earlier cancer scare threaten to derail his graduation dreams from becoming a reality. Clarence is an inspirational portrait of an indomitable spirit, a documentary that proves it's never too late to finish what you started.
The Milwaukee Show I
Perennially one of the festival’s hottest tickets, this first of two installments celebrating our wealth of homegrown filmmaking talent includes styles ranging from documentaries to fiction to experimental films—be it the story of a man with a giant thumb for a head, a documentary following the weird world of sport drumming, or the story of a rock band that goes head to head with an invading UFO!
Beautiful Orifice Boy (USA / 2015 / Director: Vincent Maslowski)
The Daffy Strut (USA / 2015 / Director: Andrew Megow)
The Death Drive (USA / 2015 / Directors: Michael Bourne, Kyle V. James)
Destiny (USA / 2015 / Director: Rubin Whitmore II)
DOG*WALK (USA / 2015 / Director: Kristin Peterson)
Fast Company (USA / 2015 / Director: Jack Davidson)
It's Cold Up North (USA / 2015 / Director: James J. Roufus)
The Life and Times of Thomas Thumb Jr. (USA / 2015 / Director: Ryan Fox)
The Sonatina (USA / 2015 / Director: Kate Balsley)
The Milwaukee Show II
The second installment of our local celebration brings us even more diverse styles and voices from the local film scene, with stories ranging from a documentary about a Kenyan sound engineer’s work in African crisis zones to Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” broadcast coming to life in our very own public museum, and even a claymation short about a cat-hating grump saddled with an affection-seeking kitten.
Again (USA / 2015 / Director: Natasha Scannell)
Lemon (USA / 2015 / Director: John Roberts)
Mothers For Justice (USA / 2015 / Director: Erik Ljung)
Notes from the Interior (USA / 2015 / Director: Benjamin Balcom)
Parting (USA / 2015 / Director: Sitora Takanaev)
The Sound Man (USA / 2015 / Director: Chip Duncan)
We Interrupt this Broadcast (USA / 2015 / Director: Kurt Raether)
The Milwaukee Youth Show
It’s not just the adults making stunning contributions to our local film scene, as this wide-ranging showcase aims to prove. After you take in the diversity of viewpoints and styles crafted by our eminently talented youngsters (documentary, fiction, animation, live action, music video, and PSAs are all covered here), you’ll be excited for the next generation of Cream City Cinema!
Awakening (USA / 2015 / Director: Mikayla Bell)
The Brooklyn Bridge (USA / 2015 / Director: Marcelo Quezada)
Crazy He Calls Me (USA / 2015 / Directors: Julia Mutranowski, Eden Raduege)
Fusion (USA / 2015 / Directors: Alex Meeth, Ethan Suhr)
Gettysburg (USA / 2015 / Director: Sam Pike)
Happy Cookers (USA / 2015 / Directors: Youth from the Fitzsimonds Boys & Girls Club)
In the Victim’s Voice (USA / 2015 / Directors: Tasha Kappes, Kirsten Kliebenstein)
A Perilous Poisoning (USA / 2015 / Directors: Sam Pike, Hanxiou Wang, Andrei Conrad)
Scorched Earth: A British Soldier's Memoir of India's Partition…. (USA / 2015 / Director: Megan Sai Dogra)
They Never Came Back (USA / 2015 / Director: Alondra Mercado)
Urban Ecology: A History (USA / 2015 / Director: Serbata Tarrer)
What is Milwaukee to Me? (USA / 2015 / Directors: Youth from the Milwaukee Visionaries Project)
A Work in Progress – The Painter (USA / 2015 / Director: Tyler Pelzek)
What is Beauty? (USA / 2015 / Director: Raven Miller)
(USA / 2015 / Director: Derek Kimball)
Set on a small island off of Maine's coast in the late 1980s, Neptune is a coming-of-age story marked by a lush setting and beautiful cinematography. Obsessed by the disappearance of a young boy her age who washed out to sea, young orphan Hannah takes over the boy's former position on a lobster boat, working alongside his grieving father. Having been a ward of the local church since an early age, Hannah begins to chafe at her limited upbringing, plagued by mysterious dreams that appear to be calling her out to sea.
Take the Dog
(USA / 2015 / Directors: Carol Brandt, Andrew Tolstedt)
Three punkers pack up their dog and make their way from Milwaukee to California for a brother's wedding in this freewheeling roadtrip from co-directors Andrew Tolstedt and Carol Brandt. Brothers Tim and Jack (along with Tim's girlfriend, Leah) make their way to their brother Patrick's wedding, cutting a booze-soaked swath as they cross the country. Tensions flare and bonds are tested as what it means to be a brother, boyfriend, and responsible adult are all put under the microscope before they reach their final destination, with no guarantee these relationships will last until journey's end.
(USA / 2015 / Director: Suzanne Jurva)
What do you get when you combine the cultural heritage of Yoopers — those born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula — and the classical tradition of opera (or oopera, if you’re Finnish)? You get Yoopera!, an exuberant documentary about a group of people gathering together to tell their local and family history in a beautifully artistic fashion. We follow the commission and production of a major opera for and of the people, maintaining the legacy of family stories and celebrating the history of people who eked out a living in the beautiful and remote U.P.
The following locally-made short films will precede features throughout the festival program. See the program book for their pairings.
The 414s: The Original Teenage Hackers (USA / 2015 / Director: Michael T. Vollmann)
Arrowhead (USA / 2014 / Director: Jon Phillips)
Avi, La Petite Ballerina (USA / 2015 / Director: Susan Kerns)
A Boy and His Guns (USA / 2015 / Director: Sean Kafer)
For Carillon No 5 (USA / 2015 / Director: Joe Brown)
The Mule (USA / 2015 / Director: Mike George)
Operation Allie (USA / 2015 / Director: Manny Marquez)
Places (India / 2015 / Director: Kyle Arpke)
Police Shooting Tests New Wisconsin Law (USA / 2015 / Director: Erik Ljung)
Vuriloche (USA / 2015 / Directors: Erik Ljung, Maureen Post)