5 Films to See at Milwaukee Film Festival
Don't miss these 5 films, including one that will hit particularly close to home.
The Milwaukee Film Festival kicks off its 15 day run on Thursday evening. The ninth annual festival will open with a single film, Stumped, and a party at Good City Brewing. But what comes after that opening night is a daunting list of hundreds of films to choose from. What should you see? How much popcorn should you eat? Where to start?
Fear not, from the nearly 30 films alone I intend to see, I’ve selected five (in order) that I’m particularly excited to see.
1. The Blood is at The Doorstep
This is the film I’ve been waiting for. Ever since I learned local filmmaker Erik Ljung was working to create a documentary centered on the Hamilton family in the wake of Dontre Hamilton‘s killing by former police officer Christopher Manney. And despite the fact that I’ve been waiting so long for it (Ljung debuted the film at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas this spring), I know I’m going to feel terrible after seeing it. It’s going to be incredibly hard to watch Ljung turn the camera on Milwaukee, but it’s incredibly important that he’s done so.
The closing film of the festival is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Starring Jenny Slate (Obvious Child, Zootopia, Parks & Recreation), Landline is set in the pre-cell phone era of 1990’s New York City and follows two sisters who suspect their father is having an affair. Joining Slate in the cast are Edie Falco John Turturro and Jay Duplass.
3. Citizen Jane: Battle for the City
This one is a no-brainer to put on the list. The film is named after the godmother of urbanism, Jane Jacobs. Her seminal book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, is considered revolutionary in the field of urban planning. The documentary film examines the fight between Jacobs and Robert Moses, one of the most aggressive city builders in history. Jacobs, a resident of the West Village in the 1960’s, and Moses, the head of the Triborough Bridge Authority and a number of other New York agencies, squared off as Moses sought to build highways all across New York, including through Jacobs’ neighborhood and Washington Square Park. If you love cities, you’ll want to see this.
4. Roller Life
If you had no prior knowledge of it, you would be hard pressed to believe that roller derby is a real thing. It’s fast, it’s dangerous and it leads to a quite a few broken bruises. Directed by Milwaukeean Michael Brown, Roller Life shines the spotlight on Milwaukee’s own women-only Brewcity Bruisers roller derby league. You’re not going to want to miss the next roller derby bout at the Panther Arena after watching this documentary.
5. Schumann’s Bar Talks
Charles Schumann is known not only for his bar in Germany, but his world reknown cocktail guide. The Bar Talks documentary follows Schumann as he traverses the globe searching for the finest bars. As the Milwaukee Film guide suggests it’s “a pursuit all Milwaukeeans agree is in need of extensive documentary study.” I know I’m going to the U.S. premiere of the film at the Oriental Theatre, the only question is just what bar to go to afterward.