Milwaukee Film
Press Release

Milwaukee’s Film Industry is Bigger Than Beer

Film industry grew by 10% (2010-2015); double the rate of local economy

By - Nov 10th, 2017 07:05 am
Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance Launch Party

Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance Launch Party

MILWAUKEE – Friday, November 10, 2017 – The Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance is excited to announce the complete results from a study on the local film industry, which were shared at last night’s Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance Launch Party. The results reveal millions of dollars generated through labor income, billions in sales, and thousands of film industry jobs supporting southeastern Wisconsin’s workforce.

The initiative commissioned ICF International to conduct the in-depth study, assessing the M7 (Milwaukee, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha counties) region’s film industry. The results reveal nearly 15,000 film and media jobs – five times more than the area’s famed beer manufacturing and distribution industry. In 2014, the industry contributed more than $1.55 billion in annual sales and $530 million in labor income throughout southeastern Wisconsin; from 2010-2015 the industry experienced a 10% growth rate, double that of the overall Greater Milwaukee economy’s growth.

The study reports that 43% of survey respondents moved to Milwaukee for a creative education or career. As the local film and media community generates more jobs and economic activity, greater value can be added to traditional non-media sectors through services such as commercial video, web content creation, and social media marketing. In addition, the growing film industry can strengthen the visibility and reputation of the region, attracting a creative young workforce.

Significantly, the study also finds that the number of film industry jobs is actually an undercount of the number of individuals engaged in film related activity, with 25% of survey respondents engaging in film-related activity outside their primary source of income and 55% of respondents active in film-related activity outside of formal work or school activities.

ICF International reports “Greater Milwaukee is home to a dynamic emerging film industry, and the region has many key assets needed to support its development into a significant economic cluster.”

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) reports that 1.9 million workers in all 50 states are a part of the film and television industry, contributing $41 billion to over 345,000 businesses annually. Milwaukee is home to less than 1% of these workers.

“The local film and media industry and economy are growing at incredible rates, but there remains limitless untapped potential,” states Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance Director, Suzanne Jurva. “The Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance plans to support and meet the needs of the region’s film and media industry by providing opportunities for filmmakers to promote their work and skills, network with other professionals, and hone their skills through education programs.”

Key challenges for the area indicated in the study include limited opportunities for funding and investing in films, the need for more connectivity among professionals and resources in the industry, and the need for greater external relationships and exposure. Also recognized are Milwaukee’s current assets, including strong higher education systems, low cost of living and doing business, and the annual Milwaukee Film Festival, which has served the local filmmaking community for nearly a decade.

ICF International drew from three sources of data: federally collected industry and economic data, a survey of over 700 regional industry stakeholders, and interviews conducted on-site and by phone.

The full ICF International report can be read at or by sending a request to

Also at last night’s event, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, John Ridley, shared a message regarding a new creative hub being developed with Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Abele. It was announced that Milwaukee Film will be one of the first tenants in the creative hub beginning in March of next year.

To view Ridley’s video message, visit:

More information on the creative hub can be found at

About Milwaukee Film

Milwaukee Film is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to entertaining, educating, and engaging our community through cinematic experiences. This year’s 15-day film festival took place from September 28 – October 12. For more information, visit us online at

Facebook: | Twitter: @mkefilm | Instagram: @mkefilm

About the Milwaukee Film Board of Directors

Milwaukee Film’s independent board is made up of the following members: Chris Abele (Past President); John P. Bania; Donna Baumgartner; Karen Ellenbecker; Jeff Fitzsimmons; Alexander P. Fraser (President); Cecelia Gore; Bill Haberman (Past President); Carmen Haberman; Susan Haise; Katie Heil; Patti Keating Kahn; Michael G. Klein; Michael J. Koss Jr.; Tracey L. Klein (Immediate Past President); Kenneth C. Krei; Mary Ann LaBahn; Alexander Lasry; Steve Laughlin (Past President); Emilia Layden; Marianne Lubar; Sara Meaney; Steve Mech; Barry Poltermann; Bob Pothier; John Ridley; Joseph A. Rock; Ramona Rogers-Windsor; Lacey Sadoff; Dave Stamm; Julia Taylor; John Utz. Emeritus members: Tom Barrett, Jacqueline Strayer.

About the Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance

Founded in 2016 by Milwaukee Film, the mission of the Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance is to support all forms of media, television, and filmmaking, both artistic and commercial, from Milwaukee to the world and from the world to Milwaukee. The initiative strives to grow and sustain a diverse and vibrant creative community of storytellers through building an industry infrastructure that advances advocacy, education, and financial support.


About the Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance Executive Committee

The Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance Executive Committee is made up of the following members: Marielle Allschwang; Randy Bobo; Amelia Bursi; Jessica Bursi; Mary Chuy; Dani Cortes; Gail DeClark; Scott Emmons; Jessica Farrell; Mary Pat Fischer; Robb Fischer; Mark Foote; Timm Gable; James Gavin; Andy Gorzalski; Jorie Griesemer; Bill Haberman; Maggie Hales (MFA Coordinator); Katie Heil; Kristen Heller; Jonathan Jackson; Suzanne Jurva (MFA Director); Susan Kerns; Jason Koehler; Michael Koss Jr.; Jeff Kurz; Steve Laughlin; Brad Lichtenstein; Erik Ljung; Ross Lowinski; Joan Lubar; Denise McKee; Steve Mech; Susan Mikulay; Jeffrey Morin; David Murphy; Stacey Nash; Cara Ogburn; Kristin Peterson; Jamie Pitts; Tiff Pua; Steve Roeder; Mark Sabljak; LaShondra Scott; Vassi Slavova; Ramon Sloan; Andrew Swant; Colin Sytsma; Sitora Takanaev; Chris Thompson; Gail Towers-MacAskill; Joanne Williams; Rubin Whitmore II; Bohdan Zachary.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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Featuring a five-course meal with five pairings inspired by the film “Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter,” showing at The 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival

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