2021 Milwaukee Film Festival Moved To May
Organization says move will benefit audiences and create a better fit with film industry.
If you enjoyed the virtual Milwaukee Film Festival in October you won’t have to wait long to do it again.
Milwaukee Film announced Monday that it was moving the annual festival to May.
“From both a community and industry perspective, a spring festival would better suit our needs and serve our audience. It’s odd, but the disruption created by the pandemic has actually played a significant role in opening up this opportunity,” said CEO Jonathan Jackson in a statement.
“We’ve seen some positive long-term developments for fighting COVID-19 in the news recently, but realistically we are planning for a 2021 festival that’s primarily, or possibly exclusively, virtual,
Running from October 15th through the 29th, the entirely virtual 2020 festival featured nearly 200 films, a smaller lineup than past years due to a pandemic-inspired pullback by filmmakers.
Milwaukee Film reported an “attendance” of 66,286 for both film viewings and events. That’s down from 2019’s record-setting total of 87,618 in 2019, but comparing this year to last is hardly apples-to-apples.
Attendees watched a total of 1,735,029 minutes of programming. “Wowza,” said the organization in releasing the figure. A total of 1,232 passes were sold.
“In summer, about one-third of our members told us they had never rented or purchased a film digitally before,” said Jackson. “Our audience did a tremendous job adapting with us to a virtual platform. Many of them deeply missed being in a cinema, but they also enjoyed discovering the flexibility and accessibility of the virtual format.”
In a press release, the organization said it believes a long-term move to May will benefit attendees with better weather making outdoor lines more palatable. It said it will also encourage more travel between theaters and to neighborhood businesses.
The 2019 festival was held at the Oriental, Times and Avalon theaters. The organization operates the Oriental Theatre and has kept the theater closed since March.