REEL Milwaukee

  • Milwaukee Actor is “GANGBANGER 1” in GRAND TORINO

    lets end the REEL Milwaukee year with a warm n fuzzie. Peep a letter we received at Vital from Elvis Thao repping all the indie-film-actor-milwaukee-hmong’s out there. Peace y’alls: Howie ____________________________________________ I’m a local Milwaukee resident that just landed my first major film. Yes, as a cast. The title is Gran Torino and hits theatres here on January 9th, 2009 (wide). A Warner Bros film directed by Clint Eastwood. It is a four star movie and is in chase of an Oscar award. This is his LAST film acting, at that. Plus, hes already nominated for Best Actor. This is HUGE! All the major television and publishing companies nationwide already have their hands on this. The limited release had already come out December 12th. And the reviews are high. Check your search engines for ratings. However, the film has NOT landed here yet. SOON! This city needs some exposure to it. Lets create a demand for Milwaukee actors and city exposure. By increasing ratings. Also being Hmong, Id like to shed light on our community. Let me know how I can contribute to your corporation and yours to mine. We can even attempt to promote advanced ticket screenings and things of that nature directly from the WB. I have those contacts. Hope you catch the movie and hope to hear from you soon. Take care Elvis Thao

  • FIlm vs Music @ Y-Not III Sat Dec 13th –

    BLUE SUNSHINE an electric eclectic audio/visual freak out Sat Dec 13 9pm @ Y Not III 1854 E. Kenilworth Pl. 10,000 WATTS OF EXPERIMENTAL SOUND AND AUDIO | MULTIPLE SCREENS OF LIVE FILM & VIDEO featuring: SIGNALDRIFT *LIVE* (Wobblyhead, Audraglint, Consumers R&D) Signaldrift has been trying to find a way via hardware since 1995. Their sound resides somewhere between shoegazing bliss and disco muzak at a nightclub in an ’80s sci-fi movie, sprinkled with ambient passages sad and pretty. PETER J WOODS *LIVE* (FTAM) Peter J Woods, a local musician/playwright/performance and founder of FTAM, has been active in Milwaukee’s DIY music scene since 2002 and Milwaukee’s independent theatre scene since 2005. In 2006, he was named one of “the cities most innovative art proponents”. His intense live PA consists of loud, dynamic noise that fluctuates between overpowering feedback to complete silence. SAMARAH *LIVE* (Chasma, Zod) Samarah began playing piano at the tender age of seven and experimented with various orchestral instruments and choir during her childhood. By thirteen she was composing her own songs. In the late 90’s she discovered electronic music. Inspired, she bought her first computer, production software, synthesizers, samplers and drum machines. She has since released 3 EPs and a full length which feature elegant compositions of minimal trip hop and experimental idm with vocals. PYSCHOACOUSTIC SPORE *DJ/LIVE* 4 turntables, 3 mixers, 2 minds, 1 laptop The scientific study of the perception of sound is capable of giving rise to a new individual, either directly or indirectly, unconsciously or consciously, when coupled with adverse environmental conditions or chemical influences. Through the use of 4 turntables and a laptop, organic and austere ambient waveform experiments distort and reshape reality before returning to the void. VJ XAV (Riverwest Film & Video) Be prepared for an eclectic and mind-altering mix of film footage from the Riverwest Film & Video archives, the underground source for local, experimental, foreign and obscure films in Milwaukee. VJ NIXMIX & BISHOP (Simplistiks) The industry veterans will showcase their latest immersive visual tour de force on multiple screens located throughout the venue. Massive Soundrig :: SUBVERSION AUDIO Live video manipulation :: SIMPLISTIKS vs RIVERWEST FILM & VIDEO

  • CALL FOR ENTRIES – Gallery Night Screening Series 1/16/09

    Here is an exciting screening opportunity from Cramer-Krasselt. Please Forward to all interested parties. ∼OFFICIAL CALL FOR ENTRIES∼ Cramer-Krasselt is proud to announce our inaugural participation in Gallery Night on January 16th, 2009 and we want to showcase your films! Our focus is to provide a space to show locally grown timed-based media projects (live action, animation, experimental, etc.) We’ll have two screening rooms running collections of short films and a dozen flat screens that will show individual films. It will be a fully devoted gallery to the art of multimedia! Deadline for Submission: December 15th 2008!! So get them in!! Send Copies To: Timm Gable 246 East Chicago St. Milwaukee, WI 53202 Screener Formats Accepted: Quicktimes, links, dvds. Note: your submission copies will not be returned unless indicated otherwise Final Formats Accepted: DVD or preferably a quicktime since we’ll want to loop the dvd’s. Length Limit: Due to the attention span limitations during Gallery Night- we’re looking for films that are under 15 minutes in length. Not a hard fast rule, but a preference PLEASE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING VITALS WITH YOUR SUBMISSION!! Title: Director: Other Cast/Crew: Length in minutes: Genre: Shooting Format: Year of Completion: Synopsis: Website: Contact Info- Name/Address/Phone Number/Email: Formats Available: Feel free to contact either Timm Gable or Lucian McAfee with questions. Thanks! Timm Gable

  • Obligatory year-end article … go!

    What a crazy year it’s been for independent film in Milwaukee! Isn’t that what you’re supposed to say to start these year-end warm ‘n’ fuzzies? I am trying as hard as I can not to write that everyone should have a Christmas Story leg lamp in their window or remind you how Clark Griswold’s accapella drum roll before he plugs in the Christmas lights in Christmas Vacation might be Chevy Chase’s finest on-screen moment. Not this year. No sentimental musing from me. I won’t say a peep about how Scrooged, Die Hard, Gremlins or even the sexed-up weirdness of Eyes Wide Shut should be a part of everyone’s holiday movie season. What? It takes place during Christmas! I won’t reach for nods of approval from hipsters with A Nightmare Before Christmas midnight screening references. You won’t find me snickering over egg nog at the Red Room about how the 1934 Laurel and Hardy classic Babes in Toyland lives on as NYC sex store Toys in Babeland. They switched the words around and sell dildos! Unreal! Nope. This year, my lips are sealed. Seriously, I am three days past deadline. I have been trying to concentrate on awesome Milwaukee film happenings in 2008 and big action in 2009. If you’ve read this far, you can see I’ve been struggling. That was until last night when I didn’t meet Faythe Levine at a semi-annual meeting for Our Milwaukee (, a grassroots organization advocating the whole think local/buy local/live local thing. I slinked into the meeting, did a lap around the bar (free Lakefront beer), did the name tag bit, found a friendly face, pulled up a chair. After a brief welcome from one of Our Milwaukee’s founders, Faythe was introduced to discuss her Milwaukee-based book-turned-documentary-film project Handmade Nation as well as her handmade gift fair, Art vs. Craft. I snuck onto my iPhone, Googled her name and found more information than I knew what to do with. According to her blog ( Faythe Levine is a filmmaker, author, independent curator and creative director. She is currently documenting the rise of DIY and the new wave of art, craft and design. I got tired just reading that. She even has a whole Wikipedia page with a timeline and external links and everything! F that! The projector and PowerPoint fired up and her presentation about DIY and Milwaukee began. She was passionate and cool and ended her presentation with an eight-minute clip from Handmade Nation – and that’s when it hit me. I got up and went to the bathroom because three beers can break the seal. After that, another thing hit me. DIY is the sometimes forgotten but definite heart of independent film. Plain and simple. Sometimes that golden rule gets lost in the shuffle of million-dollar movie ideas or fantasizing about what you’d say in your Oscar speech. Not like we’ve done that. Uh-oh … here come the warm ‘n’ fuzzies. This past year saw the fall of the Milwaukee International Film […]

  • 99 Bottles Documentary in Milwaukee and Madison + Q&A with filmmaker Jason Williams! Read It Now!

    99 BOTTLES a documentary about WI and Beer 4 shows on 4 different nights. Arrive 30 minutes before all show times for FREE Beer Tasting WHERE: Times Cinema (Milwaukee) WHEN: November 6-9 Thursday at 7:00pm Friday at 7:00pm Saturday at 7:00pm Sunday at 4:00pm WHERE Orpheum Theater (Madison) WHEN: Nov 13-16 Thursday at 7:00pm Friday at 7:00pm Saturday at 7:00pm Sunday at 4:00pm “99 Bottles Documentary” was created to promote exposure and public awareness of the rich and vibrant craft brewing industry. Visit the site for more details and the trailer: What prompted a doc on beer? The producers David Oplinger and Glen Popple were interested in developing a project that was home grown. They were discussing ideas while taking down a few brews at Wolski’s Tavern. Glen relayed a story that his co-worker kept bugging him to make a documentary about craft breweries. “That is a great idea,” said Dave. The great part of the story is there was no such documentary made about this subject before. They decided to start asking the different breweries about the project and found out that all of them were thrilled to have their stories of history shared to the world, or at least in Wisconsin. How long did it take to shoot this doc? The documentary pre-production planning started in February simultaneously with shooting. The idea was to shoot the general “beer enthusiast” and ask their impression of the industry. One of the questions we asked was, “If you could ask a brewmaster anything, what would it be?” This lead to the list of questions that became the focal point of the interviews with brewmasters and owners. Principal photography lasted from February through May. The logistical issue was scheduling trips to other cities each week to get the necessary footage. We went as far as Sand Creek Brewing Co. in Black River Falls, which is 3.5 hours one way. War story to share? Crazy day during production? The biggest war story is the Premiere debacle. The gallant effort we choose was, shoot, edit, and distribute a full feature documentary within 6 months to the Harley Fest lovers. In the final day of editing for the premiere the Compressor failed to output a media file to burn a DVD. After repeated attempts the program crashed at about 20 to 30 minutes through each attempt. The thought was to work solid full time for 1.5 months to cut a feature documentary and deliver a show, but the luck wasn’t there. The lesson is “pick the show date last, not from the start”. The craziest day during production was obviously the above failed premiere. What are you working on next? Currently I’m working on 2 projects. I am in post for a short called “Indefinite”. The premiere of the trailer will be shown during the “99 Bottles Documentary” shows. “Indefinite” is a co-directed project with Christopher Kuiper. He will be penning a comic book series that ties in with the short. The other project […]

  • Amazing music-in-film moments

    For you, me and everyone we know

    Welcome to Inferiority Complex City: Population – me. So indulge me, you painfully skinny punks, you tattooed, bearded, pierced indie-everything hipsters, indulge me from my little film corner, waving my pseudo-hipster white flag because let’s face it – it’s cooler to be a rocker than an actor. I know, stop rubbing it in. And jeez, VITAL, an entire Music issue! I see how it is. GFY Music, GFY. OK, I’m over it. But in the end I’m a team player. And with that in mind I humbly lay before you my own contribution – amazing music from amazing scenes of amazing films. Be Amazed. And no, Pulp Fiction, Garden State, High Fidelity, Velvet Goldmine and 24 Hour Party People will not appear on this list because those soundtracks are on par and at times better than the films they represent and we are looking for moments, people, moments. Now be amazed. MOVIE: The Big Lebowski SONG: “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” by Sons of the Pioneers Let’s jump right in with two feet. Now you’d think it would be the opening credits track of “The Man in Me” by Bob Dylan (we’ll talk Dylan later) or “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition because whenever you are dealing with Dylan or Kenny Rogers in any conversation they automatically are #1, regardless of the topic: everyone knows this. Except when dealing with The Big Lebowski. The opening scene is simple enough. Narrated by Sam Shepard, the camera pans up from a country hillside to reveal the vast valley of Los Angeles. This is when the vintage, crackling country song “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” plays. It has a kid-with-his-blankee effect: you settle in, feel good and realize everything is gonna be alright because The Big Lebowski is on. Again. MOVIE: Napoleon Dynamite SONG: “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai This scene might be the greatest school talent show scene since Lindsay Lohan took the bull by the horns and busted out “Jingle Bell Rock” in Mean Girls. Right people?! Who’s with me?! This is scene is also the reason why I kinda want to see the Pedro actor deejay at Cans. We’ve all seen the ads but no one admits to going. Sinners. MOVIE: Trainspotting SONG: “Born Slippy” by Underworld This song legitimized the whole early-90s, skinny, heroined-out/ecstasy-infused art world in one scene. This dance floor classic plays at the culmination of a drug deal between friends and enemies in a seedy London hotel. The song soundtracks the only silent part of an otherwise dialogue-heavy, narrated film, punctuating the drama and conclusion of the story. Makes we wanna organize a Take Back the Night walk with glowsticks. MOVIE: Dazed and Confused SONG: “Tuesday’s Gone” by Lynyrd Skynyrd I challenge you to name a better 70s song to play during your teenage convertible drive into the sunrise after the greatest night ever. “Loving Cup” by The Rolling Stones, you say? OK, I challenge you to name a third. MOVIE: […]

  • Mlwaukee Film Launches To A Packed House! Go Milwaukee Film Go

    The Milwaukee Show Launches Successfully “I Want You to Know” wins Jury Award, “The Waiting Room” wins Audience Award MILWAUKEE (October 24, 2008) — Nearly 600 people attended last night’s inaugural program of Milwaukee Film. The Milwaukee Show, announced the award winners at the Discovery World – Pilot House last night to a packed house of filmmakers and attendees. The Milwaukee Show Jury Award Winner: “I Want You To Know” Directed, produced and edited by Derek Kimball Written and produced by Matthew Konkel A bated tension and quiet disclosure provides the milieu for this father and son camping narrative about reserved honesty and stunted youth. The Milwaukee Show Audience Award Winner: “The Waiting Room” Directed by Tate Bunker Produced by Mark Metcalf Written by Emily Downes In a room full of strangers, people come and they go…while a young woman waits. Filmmakers Derek Kimball and Matthew Konkel were awarded the first ever Jury Award prize, a $20,000 filmmaking production package to help them shoot their next short on film. Milwaukee Film’s next event is the much anticipated Milwaukee premiere of “Song Sung Blue” on Thursday, November 6 at 7:15pm at the Oriental Theatre. The multiple award winning “Song Sung Blue” goes backstage into the personal lives of Lightning & Thunder, a Milwaukee-area husband and wife singing duo who pay tribute to the music of Neil Diamond. Over several hundred tickets have already been sold for this one time only screening; please buy your tickets in advance to guarantee a seat. Tickets are available at the Landmark Oriental Theatre box office 4-10 p.m., Monday to Thursday; noon-10 p.m., Friday to Sunday.

  • Milwaukee Film Announces The Milwaukee Show Line-up October 23 event to showcase 10 local filmmaker

    Milwaukee Film Announces The Milwaukee Show Line-up October 23 event to showcase 10 local filmmakers MILWAUKEE Milwaukee Film announces the line-up for The Milwaukee Show, October 23 at 6:30 p.m. The event will showcase a variety of local short films presented in the main auditorium of Landmark’s Oriental Theatre, 2230 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee. The one-night-only screening will feature a collection of 10 films, spanning 90 minutes, and include traditional narrative storytelling, documentary, personal memoir, music video, comedy, experimental and more. The nine competition shorts to be screened were selected from a pool of nearly 70 submissions, more than twice the number received in past years, by an independent panel of judges. The panel included Elfrieda Abbe, Duane Dudek, Steve Hyden, Blyth Meier, Christine Prevetti, Scott Radtke, Bobby Tanzilo and Jessica Zalewski. “Launching our new organization with The Milwaukee Show was no accident,” said Jonathan Jackson, artistic director for Milwaukee Film. “We believe in the talent of the local film scene and wanted to champion that with our inaugural screening. It’s essential that Milwaukee filmmakers are given an annual opportunity to show their work in front of a large audience, at such an incredible venue.” The event will double as the launch party for Milwaukee Film. In addition to showcasing the current filmmaking trends in Milwaukee, The Milwaukee Show will feature an Audience Award and a Jury Award. The Jury Award includes a production prize package valued at over $20,000. Artists Excited To Show Their Films “You know people are working on films in Milwaukee, and this is the night you actually see what they made. It’s the one night everybody in the community meets each other,” said Cris Siqueira, director of the film “Ka-Doo.” Siqueira will be in attendance at the screening, as well as all of the local filmmakers who will be showing their films at The Milwaukee Show. “The cool thing about the last few years is that the film scene in Milwaukee seems like it’s moved from the underground to the surface,” said Andrew Swant and Bobby Ciraldo, the creative team that made “Zombie Killer,” and last year’s Milwaukee International Film Festival sensation “What What.” “It’s kind of like the film festival and the Internet have lifted up this big rock and exposed so many local works to the light of day.” Screening outside of the competition will be the world premiere of “The Waiting Room,” a short film produced by Collaborative Cinema in partnership with Milwaukee Film. “The Waiting Room” was written by local high school student Emily Downes, directed by Tate Bunker, produced by Mark Metcalf and funded by The Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation. Downes won an area-wide contest that nearly 150 high school students participated in. Tickets are available for $10 at the Landmark Oriental Theatre box office, 4-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon-10 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Following The Milwaukee Show guests are invited to join Milwaukee Film staff and supporters at the Discovery World – Pilot House, 500 N. Harbor […]

  • The Future of Independent Film Has Arrived

    Meet Milwaukee Film

    by Howie Goldklang + Photo by Kat Berger Film festivals are a tough business, man. One day you’re wearing your cleanest dirty suit in some board room asking for sponsorship money and the next you might be unloading office furniture from a rental truck, arguing about which films to program or waiting around for the Road Runner guy to show up between 3 pm and 10 pm on a Tuesday. And so it goes, on and on into an abyss of film submissions, stacks of papers and messes of wires up and down your office walls, dealing with filmmakers, the endless quest for sponsor dollars, securing equipment partners, a constant need to build build build – film programs, screenings, screenplay readings, competitions, contests, and then your actual festival! My god, you mean we have to show films? Yes! Creating the printed program, hawking down sponsors for ads two weeks late, finding reliable projectionists, pulling a jury together, organizing parties and panels, printing tickets and those cool-guy laminated passes, glad-handing sponsors, and on and on into an abyss of … You get it. The film festival world is a fucking grind and to be the core staff of a successful one means you are either crazy, bulletproof or both. Enter Jonathan Jackson, Kyle Heller and T.J. Fackelman – keys to the defunct Milwaukee International Film Festival (MIFF) now forging ahead with a new organization called MILWAUKEE FILM. (Peep the Facebook group of the same name. Now!) But wait? What the hell happened to MIFF? We’re a beer and shot away from that conversation, so if you see me at a bar, walk over with a Magic Hat and Makers and we can get into it. For now, think about reasons that arts non-profits might split. Then think about who the original organizers were. Go ahead, name names. Then do a Mad Libs called FOUNDERS VS. FESTIVAL and carefully place the words Money, Ego, Sponsors, Vision, Credit and Direction. Then buy me another drink. (Search the REEL MILWAUKEE Blog at for more on the 4W/H about what happened to MIFF.) But I digress. Can you imagine doing the brick-by-brick, day-to-day festival grind for five years and without warning, it’s gone? These dudes couldn’t. Up from the ashes came Milwaukee Film, which is both a kick to the teeth of the powers that stole MIFF from Milwaukee and a dog whistle to independent filmmakers and artists in Milwaukee that the real supporters of MIFF don’t go out like that. “The whole staff went through a grieving process. Having put a festival together for the last five years, I feel like a big part of my life is missing,” says Milwaukee Film Artistic Director Jonathan Jackson. “Ultimately though, I am ecstatic about the future. We have an incredible opportunity to create a cultural organization that will maximize its potential and provide entertaining and socially conscious film programming throughout the year. We can’t guarantee perfection, but the staff and board of Milwaukee Film are […]

  • Milwaukee Film Wants You! Volunteer Today!

    Want to meet fun, new people? Want free movie tickets? Want to help with Milwaukee’s newest film festival? Milwaukee Film is currently seeking enthusiastic and dedicated individuals to help us out with upcoming events. Milwaukee Film are looking to fill volunteer positions in all areas from ticket-taking and ushering at the theatres to helping make sure the parties run smoothly. Please email or send a message on Facebook or Myspace, and include all of your contact information (email, phone #, address). Volunteering is the best way to ensure that Milwaukee’s film festival becomes the institution Milwaukee deserves. You also receive great benefits, for each shift volunteered you will get 1 ticket to the 2009 Film Festival presented by Milwaukee Film. If you know anyone who is interested in volunteering, please forward this message to them and tell them to e-mail with their contact information. Volunteer information for the Milwaukee Show on October 23rd and Song Sung Blue on November 6th will be released shortly so sign up quickly! Thank you in advance for your support!

  • Announcing The 1st Annual Horror Movie Trailer Festival – AMAZING!

    Hi Vital Friends: This festival sums up what 6pack, late-night-idea filmmaking is all about. You don’t have to make the movie, just the trailer! Amazing! from the festival organizers: ————————————————————- Do you have a video camera? Do you have a Mac? (or are you smart enough to handle a PC?) THEN you can create and enter a horror movie trailer into THE FIRST ANNUAL HORROR MOVIE TRAILER FESTIVAL!! —————————————————————————————– Ladies and Gentlemen, Ghosts and Ghouls, Film-makers and Scream-queens… Introducing the First Annual HORROR FILM TRAILER FESTIVAL! Have a horror film that you want to promote? No? PERFECT!!! We are currently taking submissions for 1 to 2 minute advertising preview movies for Horror Films that may or may not exist… or ever exist! Make them serious, creepy and bloody! Make them hillarous… or hillariously serious, creepy and bloody! The most popular Horror Film Trailer will win… well… something! Festival will be hosted by one (or more) of Joe Schmitz’s characters! Films start rolling at 8:00 with costume party to follow in The Alchemist Lounge! SEE YOU THERE!! MOO-HOO-HA-HA!!! (evil laugh)

  • Get Your LGBT Film Fest On

    Sept 4 – 14, 2008 LGBT Film Festival – Milwaukee, WI click above for full schedule One of the community’s longest running film festivals celebrates its 21st anniversary with an international array of the finest and newest in films and videos by and about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. The screening-packed eleven days of features, documentaries, and shorts opens at the Oriental Theatre with the local premiere of Tom Gustafson’s Were the World Mine. The Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival is sponsored by the Cream City Foundation’s Joseph R. Pabst LGBT Infrastructure Fund and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Johnson & Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund.