Milwaukee Film Festival draws record attendance

Up 12% from 2018

The Oriental Theatre
The Oriental Theatre

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:37 pm

The 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival drew a record 87,618 attendees over the 15-day event.

Attendance at this year’s festival, which ran from Oct. 17-31, was up 12% over 2018.

“In just 11 years, we’ve seen the Milwaukee Film Festival transform into the largest arts event in the city – and an event that people passionately support,” said Cara Ogburn, festival director for Milwaukee Film. “We are thrilled with the numbers, but we’re just as thrilled with the level of authentic engagement our audience has throughout this festival. This is a true community event.”

This year, the festival expanded to two new sites, the Rivoli Theatre in Cedarburg and the Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. The festival lineup included eight screens across six venues, the largest footprint in its history.

The Oriental Theatre, 2230 N. Farwell Ave., remains the anchor venue. Milwaukee Film took over operations of the 92-year-old theater on Milwaukee’s East Side in 2017, and has since completed a series of upgrades to the facility. 

Film audiences voted at each screening to determine the winners of three awards. “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” received the Allan H. (Bud) and Suzanne L. Selig Audience Award for Best Feature; “Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins” won honors and a $2,500 prize for the Women in Film Audience Award; “Tree #3” received the Selig Audience Award for Best Short.

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