The numbers are in! Milwaukee Film Festival sees growth in 2014 vs. 2013

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Milwaukee Film Festival

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The sixth annual Milwaukee Film Festival concluded its 15-day run Thursday night, October 9th with the world premiere of the closing night film, The Surface. The sold-out screening included a Q&A with Hollywood stars and main talent for the film, Sean Astin (The Goonies, Rudy, The Lord of the Rings), and Chris Mulkey (Captain Phillips, First Blood). Also in attendance were director Gil Cates, Jr., producer Jeff Gendleman, and cinematographer Jimmy Sammarco. The Surface opens in select Marcus Theatres in Wisconsin beginning October 24th.

Immediately following the closing night film and final festival screenings, ballots were tallied to determine the winners of the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival Allan H. (Bud) and Suzanne L. Selig Audience Awards. The winners are:

Feature Film
Alive Inside (Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett)

Short Film
The Numberlys (Directors: William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg)

This year’s festival presented 275 films from 63 countries at four venues and on five screens and saw continued growth in overall event attendance–64,187 in 2014, compared to 55,194 in 2013.

Public film screenings included a total of 52,986 attendees, while private weekday education screenings hosted a total of 7,052 students (grades 1 through 12) at the historic Landmark Oriental Theatre. In addition, this year’s festival boasted 72 sold-out screenings (64 in 2013). A record 108 visiting guests participated in more than 431 individual festival events over the course of 15 days.

“The festival is a tremendous community undertaking that would absolutely not be possible without our generous sponsors, passionate community partners, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers and staff who work together tirelessly to create such an incredible 15-day experience,” expressed Jonathan Jackson, Artistic and Executive Director for Milwaukee Film. “But, most of all, it’s our enthusiastic audience who attend day after day that make our city’s festival possible.”

Highlights from the festival include:

  • John Ridley, Oscar-winning filmmaker (12 Years a Slave), attended the sold-out centerpiece screening of his new film, Jimi: All Is By My Side. The film is currently playing at the Landmark Oriental Theatre.
  • The festival kicked-off with the sold-out opening night film, 1971, with director Johanna Hamilton and numerous film subjects in attendance.
  • Two Milwaukee shows and a screening of the DearMKE shorts played to full houses, with a record number of local filmmakers in attendance. The festival welcomed a high number of locally produced short and feature films.
  • Festival tributes included Oscar-nominated filmmakers Marshall Curry (Point and Shoot) and Debra Granik (Stray Dog), along with Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, Wesley Morris, and Hollywood comedy legends and Milwaukee natives, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams (Top Secret!). All tribute honorees were in attendance.
  • Debra Granik’s film, Stray Dog, welcomed its Milwaukee premiere with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle ride and meet-and-greet with film subject, Ron “Stray Dog” Hall.
  • Four films screened on 35mm: Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Man With a Movie Camera, and Mary Poppins (Sing-A-Long).
  • Three new film programs launched to great audience response: Art + Artists, Black Lens, and Film Feast.
  • Two super secret members-only screenings took place during the festival, both featuring the film, Last Days in Vietnam by director Rory Kennedy (Ethel, MFF 2012).
  •  Stop Making Sense, the classic music documentary about the Talking Heads, (directed by Jonathan Demme), celebrated a 30th anniversary with musician Jerry Harrison in attendance for a screening-turned-dance party inside the main house of the Landmark Oriental Theatre.
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