Milwaukee Film Festival to go virtual this October

Milwaukee Film Festival to go virtual this October

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Thanks to COVID-19, one of my favorite events in the city, the Milwaukee Film Festival, will go virtual this fall. The virtual festival will take place over 15 days from Oct. 15-29.

In addition to the main festival, Milwaukee film will also host the Minority Health Film Festival presented by Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin virtually as well, which will take place from Sept. 10-24.

Photo via Milwaukee Film’s Facebook page

From the press release

Milwaukee Film will present both festivals through CineSend, a platform that has powered a number of other film festivals that switched their events from in-person to virtual. CineSend provides viewers the opportunity to consume content on their televisions through integrations with platforms like Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV and ROKU. 


Sept. 10-24; 

In a year when minority communities have been highly impacted by both the coronavirus pandemic and the increasingly urgent fight against racism, Milwaukee Film believes presenting films and events that spotlight minority health to be critically important. 

That importance, combined with the support of partners such as Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, led to a decision not only to move forward with a virtual MHFF, but also to greatly expand its length and scope. 

More than 25 feature films and three shorts programs will pair with about a dozen events, all structured around themes of family, community and institutional health. The festival will also highlight health resources and ways for festival attendees to take action toward improving health outcomes. 

“We started this festival last year thinking that we knew exactly how important it was to have conversations around minority health, and then 2020 happened,” said Geraud Blanks, director of Milwaukee Film’s Cultures and Communities program. “It turns out these topics are even more vital to explore after everything that’s taken place in the last few months. 

“We see this festival as an amazing opportunity to leverage the power of film and conversation – and turn it into action,” he noted. “A lot of people have seen the impacts of the coronavirus and of racism on our community and wondered what they can do. Our hope is that, if you take part in the Minority Health Film Festival, you’ll have more of the tools you need to help change things for the better.” 

Festival attendees will be able to purchase either passes to access all virtual content or tickets to view individual films. 

MHFF passes are available starting Monday, Aug. 24, through Monday, Sept. 7. Passes will be $19.99 for Milwaukee Film Members and $24.99 for the general public. For every pass purchased, Milwaukee Film will donate a pass to a community partner organization. 

Individual tickets will go on sale starting Thursday, Sept. 10, the first day of the festival. Tickets will be $.99 for Milwaukee Film Members and $2.99 for the general public. 

All tickets and passes will be sold online only and may be shared among members of the same household. The full lineup of films and events will be announced in late August. 



Like arts organizations throughout the country, Milwaukee Film has had to learn how to adapt to a world in which people can’t safely gather to enjoy experiences together. With the closing of theaters throughout the region in March, including Milwaukee Film’s Oriental Theatre, and reductions in staff and budgets in July, the fate of the 2020 Milwaukee Film Festival was in question during the early days of the pandemic.  

“This spring, we struggled with trying to make the best decisions for our staff, our industry and our community,” Jackson said. “It came down to this: The Milwaukee Film Festival is the core of everything we do, and if we can safely have a festival, then we’re having a festival. 

“The incredible thing about having a film festival virtually is the opportunity we have to reach a vast number of people that we’ve never reached before through the accessibility provided by these new digital platforms,” he added. 

The campaign theme for MFF2020 will be “Adapted for Your Screen,” a nod both to the change to a virtual platform and to the rich artwork created by local artist Jade Watring, which features technicolor butterflies emerging from a fantastical chrysalis. 

“Oddly enough, we decided in early 2019 that this year’s theme would be built on the idea of transformation, and we had drafts of Jade’s beautiful artwork in February,” noted Jackson. “Highlighting the adaptations that take place in nature was eerily on the nose.” 

Though MFF2020 will offer a slimmer set of film selections than in 2019, Milwaukee Film is confident there will still be something for everyone, and attendees will also have many opportunities to interact with filmmakers. With films being offered on-demand, at a lower price point and without location restrictions, film fans will have more choices than ever before to view all the titles that spark their interest. 

MFF2020 attendees will also be able to purchase either passes to access all virtual content or tickets to view individual films. 

Milwaukee Film Members can purchase MFF2020 passes starting Wednesday, Aug. 26, for $75. For non-Members, passes will be available starting Monday, Aug. 31, for $140. Passes will be available for purchase through Monday, Oct. 12. 

Individual tickets will go on sale starting Thursday, Oct. 15, the first day of the festival. Tickets will be $5 for Milwaukee Film Members and $8 for the general public. 

All tickets and passes will be sold online only and may be shared among members of the same household. The full lineup of films and events will be announced in early October. 

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