Milwaukee Film plans in-person festival for 2022

The Oriental Theater on Milwaukee’s East Side.

Following two consecutive virtual festivals, Milwaukee Film intends to hold the 14th annual Milwaukee Film Festival as an in-person event next spring.

Next year’s event will be held April 22-May 5, 2022, the nonprofit festival operator announced Tuesday.

The 13th annual Milwaukee Film Festival took place virtually last month and drew 41,999 attendees. Numbers were down from the 12th annual festival, which was also held virtually in October 2020 and had 66,286 virtual attendees.

While Milwaukee Film plans to return to an in-person event in 2022, it said it will still offer a virtual component based on audience interest. Associated Bank recently extended its sponsorship of the festival through 2023.

Meanwhile, the organization is preparing to reopen the Oriental Theater in August after completing a $10 million renovation project of the 94-year-old building. Work to restore the Oriental’s west theater was completed in 2019, and work on the building’s main and east houses has been underway during the shutdown.

In September, the organization will host its Cultures & Communities Festival (formerly the Minority Health Film Festival) as a hybrid virtual/in-person event. That festival is sponsored by the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network.

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