Muslim film festival to debut in Milwaukee in 2015

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:15 pm

A Muslim film festival is slated to launch in Milwaukee next spring with an aim to portray the American Muslim experience to the broader community.

The inaugural Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival, organized by the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, will feature five to seven films shown multiple times throughout the course of two to three months.

“The idea is that each film will be shown several times, and each film will have an artistic and also (a) community engagement component,” said Janan Najeeb, president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, which is located in Greenfield.

Those components might play out in the form of an art exhibit or a public discussion with a filmmaker and will build on the festival’s mission to convey the American Muslim experience to the general public.

While the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition has regularly shown films in the past, the 2015 event will be the organization’s first full-fledged film festival.

According to Najeeb, the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival is also likely one of the only citywide Muslim film festivals in the country.

“I think it’s a feather in the cap of Milwaukee,” she said.

The festival will likely launch in February or March and wrap up in May with film showings at venues throughout Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition is exploring sites on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus as well as possibilities at area community theaters, Najeeb said.

A cross section of community members will select films to appear in the 2015 festival, which will be open to the public for nominal admission fees.

The film festival is made possible by a roundup of grants, including $15,000 in funding from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. Of that $15,000, $10,000 has been contributed from the foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund, and $5,000 is coming from the foundation’s William D. Vogel Fund.

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation distributed $300,000 to 19 area visual arts programs during its second quarter from the Nohl Fund and other funds.

Additional grant beneficiaries included: The Bradley Family Foundation, the Friendship Circle, Woodland Pattern Center, On the Commons, School Factory, Carroll University, CORE/El Centro, Interfaith Older Adult Programs, Know Thyself, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network, the Milwaukee Public Theatre, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee, First Stage Children’s Theater, Casa Romero Renewal Center, the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, and HeartLove Place.

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