Experience The Milwaukee Film Festival

Milwaukee may be known best for its brewing traditions, but it’s also becoming known for its growing and thriving entertainment and artistic hub. It is home to the Historic Third Ward, where you’ll find a number of art galleries, theaters, specialty boutiques and a wide variety of different restaurants.  One of the city’s most outstanding cultural attractions is the Milwaukee Art Museum, which features a moving sunscreen that resembles a bird when unfolding. However, one of the biggest draws the city has is its amazing festivals, earning it the nickname, “City of Festivals.”

Milwaukee holds a number of ethnically themed festivals over the summer to celebrate the city’s diversity and history. Summerfest is not only the biggest festival in Milwaukee, but is one of the largest music festivals in the world and attracts over a million music lovers a year. Festivals are also held to celebrate art, food and film. The Milwaukee Film Festival offers something for everyone and is an experience that all film lovers will enjoy.

The 2017 Milwaukee Film Festival featured 297 films and shorts shown at two galleries and five different theaters, including historic theaters such as Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse, Times Cinema, the Avalon Atmospheric Theater, and for the first time, the Oriental Theater. The 15 day festival is one of the largest film festivals in the United States and attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. As one of the most entertaining festivals of the year, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best independents films, documentaries and shorts of the year. Here is a list of some of the top films that played at the festival:

Citizen Jane

Citizen Jane: Battle For The City

Named after Jane Jacobs, the godmother of urbanism, this documentary focuses on the feud between Jacobs and Robert Moses, head of several New York agencies including the Triborough Bridge Authority. If you’re a fan of Jacobs, whose book ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’ revolutionized the field of urban planning, then you’ll love this movie.

The Blood Is At The Doorstep

Local filmmaker Erik Ljung brings the sensitive subject of police killings home to the city of Milwaukee. This documentary focuses on the Hamilton family after former police officer Christopher Manney shot and killed Dontre Hamilton.



This dramady stars Jenny Slate, John Turturro, Jay Duplass, and Edie Falco. As the last film of the festival, this film is sure to bring out the laughs and maybe even some tears. Set in the early 1990’s in New York City, the film follows two sisters who are having problems with relationships and fear their father is having an affair.

Besides films, the Milwaukee Film Festival also featured panels for people who want to get deeper into the film world. Some of these Panels included:

Indigenous Voices In Film

Guest filmmakers will discuss the importance of telling the stories of indigenous people and their perspective of colonialism and racism.

State Of Cinema In Milwaukee

Film critic Matt Mueller and local filmmaker Dr. Susan Kerns will talk about what it means to watch and make film in Milwaukee.

State Of Cinema: Talking Pictures With Ann Hornaday

Ann Hornaday, author of ‘Talking Pictures: How To Watch Movies’ and top film critic for the Washington Post, talks about how to watch and write about movies during a time when media proficiency is seen as both good and antagonistic.

The Milwaukee Film Festival has everything a film lover can want. And after the screenings and panels, you can party the night away at one of the many festival themed events happening throughout the city.