Jeramey Jannene

MKE Film’s Cultures & Communities Festival Returns

Documentary on Rosa Parks, a "big get," is the opening night film.

By - Aug 2nd, 2022 03:50 pm
Oriental Theatre - Screen 1. Photo by Pamela Strohl courtesy of Milwaukee Film.

Oriental Theatre before renovation. Photo by Pamela Strohl courtesy of Milwaukee Film.

Milwaukee Film is doubling down on its efforts to create a second major festival. The organization will host its second annual Cultures & Communities Festival in September, complementing the spring film festival.

The opening night film will be The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. Anticipated to get widespread distribution later this year, it’s the first feature-length documentary about the civil rights icon. The documentary is based on a biography by Milwaukee native Jeanne Theoharis and directed by Johanna Hamilton and Yoruba Richen, both of whom previously had work featured in the Milwaukee Film Festival.

“Once the Tribeca Film Festival announced they were premiering the Rosa Parks documentary in June, my top priority was to book that film for our festival,” said Milwaukee Film’s Chief Innovation Officer Geraud Blanks in a statement. “It was a big get for us, as we’ll be one of only a few festivals to screen the film before its release later this year.”

The five-day festival will take place from Sep. 14-18. It will again take place in a hybrid format, with 20 in-person screenings at the Oriental Theatre, virtual screenings and a mix of in-person and virtual events.

The closing night film is a documentary about the “Reading Rainbow” television show entitled Butterfly in the Sky.

In line with the mission of the festival, many feature minority communities and Black, Latino and LBGTQ+ actors or plots.

“This festival is grounded in principles of equity and inclusion,” said Blanks. “From the programming and pricing of the film passes to the location of events–many of them free–we worked hard this year to make the experience more accessible than ever.”

Blanks hopes to build the festival into something well beyond movies.

“Imagine a multi-cultural festival. The core of it is film, but there are all these other events going on around it,” said Blanks in a May 2021 interview. “Health and wellness is going to be at its core, but all sorts of lifestyle interests will be represented.”

In a press release announcing the full lineup, Blanks said there was something for everyone this year. James Beard award-winning chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry and actor J. Alphonse Nicholson, from the Starz show “P-Valley,” headline the list of guests.

While this lineup was announced Tuesday, a full schedule is to come on Aug. 16. More information is available on the Milwaukee Film website.

All-access, hybrid passes for all of the virtual and in-person screenings are currently available for $75 for Milwaukee Film members and $100 for the general public. Prices will eventually increase by $25 and individual tickets go on sale on Aug. 16.

Rosa Parks Film Trailer

Reading Rainbow Documentary Clip

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