Milwaukee Film Festival will return next month, bringing more than 200 film titles to five screens at three local venues.
The 14th annual event is to take place April 21 - May 5, at the Oriental Theatre on Milwaukee's East Side, the Avalon Theater in Bay View, and the Times Cinema on the city's southwest side, according to a news release from organizer Milwaukee Film.
This year's full slate of local, national, and international films will again be screened live and in-person, following two consecutive virtual festivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, a variety of titles will also be available through the festival's virtual platform for those who aren’t ready to return to the cinema just yet.
"We heard loud and clear that people appreciated the ease of the virtual offerings in 2020 and 2021, especially amidst many unknowns," Cara Ogburn, artistic director at Milwaukee Film. "This year’s hybrid festival offers options for an all-virtual experience (using our virtual-only pass) as well as in-cinema screenings of every program."
Ogburn recommends taking advantage of both viewing experiences.
Milwaukee Film teased the festival's lineup ahead of its full release in April. Early highlights include a 40th-anniversary screening of "The Thing"; a big-screen presentation of Spike Lee’s 2020 documentary David Byrne’s "American Utopia," featuring Milwaukeean Angie Swan; music documentaries "Charli XCX: Alone Together" and "For the Left Hand"; and favorites from the top festivals of the year, like the Sundance standout "892."
"We are ecstatic to see all our festival friends back in our cinemas together – laughing and crying together and letting conversation about films spill out into the lobbies," said Ogburn. "And this year’s lineup is shaping up to continue to offer something for everyone – a return of all of our favorite program categories audiences have come to know and love, from Black Lens to Cream City Cinema to GenreQueer to Rated K: For Kids to Worldviews and so much more in between – and quite simply, two weeks of the best films of the year."
Discounted passes and ticket packages are available now through Milwaukee Film's website, with prices increasing on March 12. Virtual film screenings are available by purchasing a virtual-only pass or an all-access festival pass, which includes in-cinema film screenings and other events. Individual tickets will also be available for all in-cinema screenings and in discounted six-packs.
The 13th annual Milwaukee Film Festival took place virtually last June, drawing 41,999 virtual attendees. Numbers were down from the 12th annual festival, which was also held virtually in October 2020 and had 66,286 virtual attendees.
Prior to the pandemic in 2019, the festival drew a record 87,618 attendees over 15 days.
Milwaukee Film Festival is presented by Associated Bank, which last year extended its sponsorship of the festival through 2023.