Jeramey Jannene

Milwaukee Film Announces Award Winners

And 58% hike in attendance. The next festival will take place April 11-25, 2024.

By - May 10th, 2023 03:07 pm
Oriental Theatre during the 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival. Photo by Valerie Hill.

Oriental Theatre during the 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival. Photo by Valerie Hill.

The 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival was a bounceback success according to host organization Milwaukee Film. The in-person festival ended May 4, with the virtual component closing May 7.

“It was wonderful to see our audiences filling cinemas again this year and to hear, over and over, how much they were glad to be back with us in person to enjoy great films,” said Cara Ogburn, Milwaukee Film artistic director, in a statement. “From the opening night world premiere of our Audience Award-winning Mom & Dad’s Nipple Factory to closing night’s packed house for A Disturbance in the Force – on May the Fourth, no less, this year’s festival was such a joy to share with our festival community.”

Mom & Dad’s Nipple Factory was the feature-length audience award winner. A documentary centered on a family in Eau Claire, the film chronicles a religious father’s unlikely quest to craft the perfect prosthetic nipple after his wife contracts breast cancer.

The audience’s favorite short was Troy, part of the Date Night program. Attendees rate each film on a one-through-five scale as part of the Allan H. (Bud) and Suzanne L. Selig Audience Award program.

Milwaukee Film reported a 58% increase in in-person attendance over 2022, with 29,718 attendees across 280 screenings. But the 2023 total is still a far cry from the record-setting 2019 festival, when the organization reported 87,618 attendees at screenings and events. The 2023 festival included 2,039 event attendees across 13 events.

The festival jury awards were presented to Smoking Causes Coughing (Luminaries Jury), Next Sohee (Emerging Fiction Jury), Lakota Nation vs. United States and The Tuba Thieves (Emerging Documentary Jury), How Not To Date While Trans (Shorts Jury) and FATHEAD (Kids’ Jury).

Three Milwaukee films received recognition from the Cream City Jury: A Common Sequence, Friday Night Blind and Of Wood.

A total of $34,000 in prizes were presented to award-winning filmmakers.

The 2023 festival included a 63% increase in in-person revenue and a 22% increase in total sales revenue over 2022.

Milwaukee Film, which offers year-round programming in addition to operating the Oriental Theatre, reported raising $215,518 through its annual Double Up campaign. Siblings David, Susan Lubar Solvang and Joan Lubar contributed $100,000 as lead sponsors of the Double Up campaign.

Can’t wait for the next festival? It will be back a week early. The 2024 festival will run from April 11 through April 25.

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