Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Follow up: Date Night Shorts

Friday night Stephen and I made it to our Milwaukee Film Festival event after sampling some tacos and margaritas at BelAir Cantina. The theater was packed and we had to crane our necks from the first row, but it was worth it.

The first film of the seven was my favorite. Who's Up (Quis De Nous Deux) was in French, and lately one my great pleasures has been films and shows with subtitles. Although NBC has recently canceled it, I can't recommend enough Greg Poehler's show Welcome to Sweeden. There is something so fun about the interplay between the language, the subtitles and the delivery by the actors--especially if you have a hint of understanding of the language.

Anyway, back to Who's Up. The film playfully addresses first dates, attraction, and chemistry while constrained by the realities of budgets and who pays for what. As you might guess, the phrase "Who's Up" plays with who pays and when during a date. It was laugh out loud funny and charming, all at once.

Stephen's favorite was In the Clouds. The film explores the standard love narrative - which the film posits is a distinctly American desire - of wanting a grand, surprise proposal. Check out the trailer below.

My favorite part of the series of seven shorts was how quickly the whole showing went by. I learned  something interesting about the characters in a focused way, but I never grew bored. The only disappointment for me in the films were that they all featured hetero-normative relationships.

You can still see the set of shorts on September 30 and then again on October 2. Get your tickets here. You won't be sorry!

I apologize for this posts brevity. The Film Festival website was having a hard time when I was drafting, so I had a hard time finding more trailers and I wanted to get this out ASAP!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Milwaukee Film Festival

One of my favorite Milwaukee events is the Milwaukee Film Festival. This is my sixth fall living in Milwaukee, and I use the opening of the festival as a signal that summer has left. As I have experienced the festival nearly every year since, I believe it has gotten more inviting each year and it is not the be missed.

When I was a graduate student at UW-Milwaukee and new to the city, I learned of the festival in a class. I was encouraged to attend to experience class themes outside of the classroom texts. That first nudge created a tradition for me and my husband.

A year or two later, my husband and I saw Page One: Inside the New York Times. It is the reason why we always try to subscribe to a print newspaper, even if only for the Sunday edition. We were also introduced to David Carr, a journalist who has unfortunately passed away but whose story is very inspirational. For whatever reason, and despite mediocre critical reviews, the documentary is something we still talk about occasionally.

Every year the film festival seems to overlap with a crazy busy period of my life. This year is no exception. I am proud to say I have my tickets purchased for two films and I have several marked on the calendar if my schedule allows.

Aside from the films themselves, which are, of course, the stars of the show, I love the venues. When I first began attending the festival, I might have had to trek to Mequon and view a film at a multiplex (which I did, in a flash flood for Page One). This year six different neighborhood theaters are playing host to the festival. I find it is much more fun to see a movie at the Oriental, or my personal neighborhood favorite, The Downer.

First up on my film viewing agenda this year is a collection of seven short films categorized as Date Night. This will be my first time experiencing short films, and I am excited to engage in my own date night after a long week of work. Shorts: Date Night are showing two more times this festival, so I'll be sure to share my experience.

If you are reading from Milwaukee, I challenge you to try to squeeze in a least one film. You'll be hooked. All the information you need is here, or else pick up a booklet from Colectivo. For other inspiration, Jeremy Janene from Urban Milwaukee is planning to catch 33 films! If you live elsewhere, when is your local film festival?