Milwaukee Film
Press Release

Milwaukee Film Makes Tremendous Strides In Gender Representation at Film Festival

47.05% of feature films at the festival are directed by women; a 19% increase in a single year. A total of 142 films at this year’s festival are directed by women

By - Sep 28th, 2018 09:16 am
2014 Milwaukee Film Festival Opening Night.

2014 Milwaukee Film Festival Opening Night.

MILWAUKEE – Friday, September 28, 2018 – Milwaukee Film is proud to announce that 46.71% of films being screened at the 10th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival, presented by Associated Bank, are directed by women. Impressively, the organization increased the amount of woman-directed feature films by 19% in a single year.

In 2017, women comprised only 27.73% of feature film directors at the festival and 37.84% of directors overall. The 10th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival will showcase 142 films directed by women, out of 304 total films. Of the 136 features, 64 are directed by women (47.05%) and 78 of the 169 short films (46.43%) are directed by women.

This exceptional improvement of gender representation was accomplished through intentional film program research and curation. Early in 2018, Milwaukee Film Programming and Education Director, Cara Ogburn, introduced a challenge for the programming team to consider gender parity during their selection process.

“Recently there has been a lot of visibility being drawn to gender parity and other equity challenges in the film industry. While Milwaukee Film has tracked our progress internally for a number of years, this felt like the right time to hold ourselves accountable by contributing to these larger industry conversations,” states Ogburn. “The programming team welcomed this challenge, signalling how overdue these dialogues around equity in the film industry may be.”

This achievement propels Milwaukee Film into the industry-wide conversation on gender equity and representation at film festivals around the world. Research conducted by the Center for Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University analyzing films at 23 major film festivals revealed that women comprised just 29% of directors.

“I think film festivals and other exhibitors have only recently realized that we can influence change earlier in the pipeline, by demonstrating that audiences demand films from diverse makers, telling diverse stories. I am hopeful that this will help make more equitable access to funding, work, and other resources so that more incredible films get made from so many more perspectives,” comments Ogburn.

“I firmly believe we have the strongest film line-up in our festival’s history. Nearly half of these films are directed by women – above the industry average – which is evidence of the incredible amount of underrepresented talent that exists throughout the film industry,” states Jonathan Jackson, CEO and artistic director of Milwaukee Film. “Milwaukee Film is now actively joining the conversation on gender parity and equity and we intend to continue taking a lead through our programming every year.”

In addition to making significant strides through programming, Milwaukee Film will be supporting women directors through the inaugural Women In Film Audience Award, sponsored by Live Wire Productions. A $2,500 cash prize will be awarded to the top-rated feature length film directed (or co-directed) by a woman at this year’s festival.

The 10th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival runs October 18 – November 1, 2018. For complete film and schedule information, please visit The festival box office will open on October 2 for Milwaukee Film Members and on October 3 for the general public.



Keep the Change (USA | 2017 | Director: Rachel Israel)

Madeline’s Madeline (USA | 2018 | Director: Josephine Decker)

Night Comes On (USA | 2018 | Director: Jordana Spiro)

Pet Names (USA | 2018 | Director: Carol Brandt)


Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable (USA | 2018 | Director: Sasha Waters Freyer)

Kusama – Infinity (USA | 2018 | Director: Heather Lens)

Love, Gilda (USA | 2018 | Director: Lisa D’Apolito)

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist (United Kingdom | 2018 | Director: Lorna Tucker)


The Bill (USA | 2017 | Director: Caralene Robinson)

Bodega (USA | 2017 | Directors: Donna Augustin and Talibah L. Newman)

Forever (USA | 2017 | Director: Joyce Sherrí)

French Fries (USA | 2017 | Director: Janine Sherman Barrois)

Hair Wolf (USA | 2018 | Director: Mariama Diallo)

Jinn (USA | 2018 | Director: Nijla Mumin)

Little Woods (USA | 2018 | Director: Nia DaCosta)

Mighty Ground (USA | 2017 | Director: Delia Vallot)

Mr. SOUL! (USA | 2018 | Directors: Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard

Mr. Talented (USA | 2018 | Director: Rochee Jeffrey)

Still Water Runs Deep (Nigeria, USA | 2017 | Director: Abbesi Akhamie)

Suitable (USA | 2017 | Director: Thembi L. Banks)

War Paint (USA | 2017 | Director: Katrelle N. Kindred)


El libro de Lila (Lila’s Book) (Columbia, Uruguay | 2017 | Director: Marcela Rincón)

Nos Llaman Guerreras (They Call Us Warriors) (Venezuela, USA, Mexico, Jordan | 2018 | Directors: David Alonso, Edwin Corona Ramos, Jennifer Socorro)

Pájaros de verano (Birds of Passage) (Columbia, Denmark | 2018 | Directors: Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra)

Vuelven (Tigers Are Not Afraid) (Mexico | 2017 | Director: Issa López)

¡Las Sandinistas! (Nicaragua, USA | 2018 | Director: Jenny Murray)

The Unafraid (USA | 2018 | Directors: Heather Courtney, Anayansi Prado)


The Devil’s Doorway (Ireland | 2018 | Director: Aislinn Clarke)

Let the Corpses Tan (Laissez bronzer les cadavres) (France, Belgium | 2017 | Directors: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani)

Revenge (France | 2018 | Director: Coralie Fargeat)


Ava (France | 2017 | Director: Léa Mysius)

Distant Constellation (Turkey, USA | 2017 | Director: Shevaun Mizrahi)

I Am Not a Witch (UK, France, Zambia, Germany | 2017 | Director: Rungano Nyoni)

Scary Mother (Georgia, Estonia | 2018 | Director: Ana Urushadze)


Alice’s Garden (USA | 2017 | Director: Jenny Plevin)

Amanda Huff – “Gravetalking” (USA | 2018 | Director: Kristen Peterson)

Attraper des Gemmes (USA | 2017 | Directors: Bria Smith, Brian Le, Alyssa Cunningham, Leilah Covington)

Balance Beam (USA | 2018 | Director: Leean Le)

Brothers (USA | 2018 | Directors: Sheyam Ghieth, Emmett Jack Lundberg)

Bruise Violet – “Nightmare” (USA | 2018 | Director: Robyn Ehrlich)

Dreams Tonight (USA | 2018 | Directors: Gavin Portillo, Brayden Lemke, Angie Charchesi)

Invisible Lines (USA | 2018 | Directors: Laura Dyan Kezman, Nate Imig, Vianca Fuster)

Marie (USA | 2017 | Director: Katie Theel)

Meet Uncle Paul (USA | 2018 | Director: Jessica Bursi)

A Modern Valentine’s Day (USA | 2018 | Directors: Chloe Ullenberg, Mitchell Jakubowski, Katie Koehler)

Respect in Representation (USA | 2018 | Directors: Tori Frank, Elena Gonzalez Clark)

Sijan (USA | 2018 | Directors: Tim Seymour, Janine Sijan Rozina)

This Is America (USA | 2018 | Directors: Bria Smith, Aya Fares, Kate Meyer)

This Little Light (USA | 2018 | Directors: Ada McMahon, Wendi Moore-O’Neal)

The Water Will Carry Us Home (USA | 2018 | Director: Gabrielle Tesfaye)

You Find Yourself (Sick) in Bolivia (USA | 2017 | Director: Hannah Raye White)


3 Days in Quiberon (Germany, Austria, France | 2018 | Director: Emily Atef)

Western (Germany, Bulgaria, Austria | 2017 | Director: Valeska Grisebach)


Bee Nation (Canada | 2017 | Director: Lana Šlezić)

Blowin’ Up (USA | 2018 | Director: Stephanie Wang-Breal)

Capturing the Flag (USA | 2018 | Director: Anne de Mare)

Charm City (USA | 2018 | Director: Marilyn Ness)

Day One (USA | 2018 | Director: Lori Miller)

The Feeling of Being Watched (USA | 2018 | Director: Assia Boundaoui)

General Magic (United Kingdom, USA | 2018 | Directors: Sarah Kerruish, Matt Maude)

Netizens (USA | 2018 | Director: Cynthia Lowen)

On Her Shoulders (USA | 2018 | Director: Alexandria Bombach)

Silas (Canada, South Africa, Kenya | 2017 | Directors: Anjali Nayar, Hawa Essuman)

Time for Ilhan (USA | 2018 | Director: Norah Shapiro)

United Skates (USA | 2018 | Directors: Dyana Winkler, Tina Brown)

Warrior Women (USA | 2018 | Directors: Christina D. King, Elizabeth A. Castle)

Zero Weeks (USA | 2017 | Director: Ky Dickens)


The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution (Canada | 2018  | Director: Maya Gallus)


Bixa Travesty (Tranny Fag) (Brazil | 2018 | Directors: Kiko Goifman, Claudia Priscilla)

Chedeng and Apple (Si Chedeng at si Apple) (Philippines | 2017 | Directors: Rae Red, Fatrick Tabada)

Rafiki (Kenya, South Africa | 2018 | Director: Wanuri Kahiu)


Ant (Germany | 2017 | Director: Julia Ocker)

A Bit Lost (Un peu perdu) (France | 2016 | Director: Hélène Ducrocq)

Black Barbie (Ghana | 2016 | Director: Comfort Arthur)

Dark, Dark Woods (Denmark | 2017 | Director: Emile Gignou)

Doll’s Letters (Russia | 2016 | Director: Natalia Grofpel)

The Fruits of Clouds (Czech Republic | 2017 | Director: Kateřina Karhánková)

Funny Fish (Drole de Poisson) (France, Switzerland | 2017 | Director: Krishna Chandran A. Nair)

Hadia (The Gift) (Hediye) (Germany, Turkey | 2017 | Director: Sinem Sakaoglu)

I Want To Live In The Zoo (Hotschu jit w zooparke) (Russia | 2017 | Director: Evgenia Golubeva)

If You Fall (Canada: 2017 | Director: Tisha Deb Pillai)

Jubilee (France | 2016 | Directors: Charlotte Pioge, Coralie Soudet, Marion Duvert, Marie El Kadiri, Agathe Marmion)

Land Without Evil (Tierra Sin Mal) (Argentina, Hungary | 2017 | Director: Katalin Egely)

Lion (Germany | 2017 | Director: Julia Ocker)

Outdoors (France | 2017 | Directors: Adrien Rouquié, Anne Castaldo, Elsa Nesme, Sarah Chalek)

Patchwork Dog (Germany | 2017 | Director: Angela Steffen)

The Penguin (France, Belgium | 2016 | Director: Pascale Hecquet)

Pride & Prejudice (Trots & Treiter) (Netherlands | 2017 | Director: Mirjam Marks)

A Reptile Repents (USA | 2017 | Director: Rosie duPont)

Scrap Dolls (USA | 2016 | Director: Aude Cuenod)

Sherbert Rozencrantz, You’re Beautiful (Australia | 2018 | Director: Natalie van den Dungen)

Tip-Top (Russia | 2016 | Director: Alla Vartanyan)

Two Trams (Russia | 2016 | Director: Svetlana Andrianova)

Water Path for a Fish (Camino de agua para un pez) (Spain, Colombia, France | 2015 | Director: Mercedes Marro)


9 at 38 (South Korea, USA | 2017 | Director: Catherine K. Lee)

Agua Viva (USA | 2018 | Director: Alexa Lim Haas)

Are We Good Parents? (Ireland | 2017 | Director: Bola Ogun)

The Beetle at the End of the Street (El Escarabajo al final de la calle) (Spain | 2017 | Director: Joan Vives Lozano)

Bloeistraat 11 (Belgium, Netherlands | 2018 | Director: Nienke Deutz)

Caroline (USA | 2018 | Directors: Logan George, Celine Held)

Contact (France | 2018 | Director: Léa Bancelin)

End of the Line (USA | 2017 | Director: Jessica Sanders)

Death Metal Grandma (USA | 2018 | Director: Leah Galant)

Eve (USA | 2017 | Director: Susan Bay Nimoy)

Freaks of Nature (Canada | 2018 | Director: Alexandra Lemay)

Funeral for a Bird (USA | 2018 | Director: Zoe Lubeck)

Homeless: The Soundtrack (USA | 2018 | Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky)

Judith Loves Martha (USA | 2017 | Director: Anna Gaskell)

Laundry (New Zealand | 2017 | Director: Becs Arahanga)

Liberty Hill (USA | 2018 | Director: Katie Graham)

Ming (USA | 2017 | Director: Danski Tang)

Muteum (Estonia, Hong Kong | 2017 | Director: Äggie Pak Yee Lee)

Pan (Germany | 2017 | Director: Anna Roller)

Pink Trailer (USA | 2017 | Director: Mary Neely)

Pumpkin Movie (Canada: 2018 | Director: Sophy Romvari)

Rien Ne Va Plus! (Germany | 2017 | Director: Sophie Linnenbaum)

Second Best (Australia | 2018 | Director: Alyssa McClelland)

Smithy & Dickie (Ireland | 2017 | Director: Hannah Quinn)

Simbiosis Carnal (Belgium | 2017 | Director: Rocío Álvarez)

Tibor (Canada | 2017 | Director: Petra O’Toole)

Wendy’s Shabbat (USA | 2017 | Director: Rachel Myers)

While I yet Live (USA | 2018 | Director: Maris Curran)

Wild Wild West: A Beautiful Rant by Mark Bradford (USA | 2017 | Director: Dime Davis

With Thelma (Avec Thelma) (Belgium | 2017 | Directors: Ann Sirot, Raphaël Balboni)

Xavier Corbero: Portrait of an Artist in Winter (Spain | 2017 | Director: Nathalie Biancheri)


Kim Swims (USA | 2017 | Director: Kare Webber)

Wrestle (USA | 2018 | Directors: Suzannah Herbert, Lauren Belfer)


Pick of the Litter (USA | 2018 | Directors: Dana Nachman, Don Hardy)

Science Fair (USA | 2018 | Directors: Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster)

Wild Nights with Emily (USA | 2018 | Director: Madeleine Olnek)


Blue My Mind (Switzerland | 2017 | Director: Lisa Brühlmann)

High Fantasy (South Africa | 2017 | Director: Jenna Cato Bass)

New Beginnings (USA | 2018 | Director: Aseel Tabaza)

Personal Statement (USA | 2018 | Directors: Juliane Dressner, Edwin Martinez)


The Sun Ladies (USA | 2017 | Directors: Celine Tricart, Christian Stephen)


Angels Wear White (China, France | 2017 | Director: Vivian Qu)

Daughter of Mine (Figlia mia) (Italy, Germany, Switzerland | 2018 | Director: Laura Bispuri)

Fifty Springtimes (Aurore) (France | 2018 | Director: Blandine Lenoir)

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Indonesia, France, Malaysia,Thailand | 2017 | Director: Mouly Surya)

Never Steady, Never Still (Canada | 2017 | Director: Kathleen Hepburn)

Oh Lucy! (Japan, USA | 2017 | Director: Atsuko Hirayanagi)

Spoor (Pokot) (Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden ,Slovakia | 2017 | Director: Agnieszka Holland)

Wajib (Palestine, France, Germany ,Colombia, Norway, Qatar, United Arab Emirates | 2017 | Director: Annemarie Jacir)

About Milwaukee Film

Milwaukee Film is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to entertaining, educating, and engaging our community through cinematic experiences, with a vision to make Milwaukee a center for film culture. The organization is one of the largest of its kind in the country, with over 4,000 members and 84,000 festival attendees. Milwaukee Film recently launched the Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance, an industry pillar with over 350 members dedicated to stimulating and growing the filmmaking economy in southeastern Wisconsin. In addition, Milwaukee Film operates the magnificent Oriental Theatre, a historic three-screen cinema committed to high-quality and accessible film and education programming. The 10th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival will take place from October 18 – November 1, 2018. For more information, or to become a member, visit us online at

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