The Milwaukee Film Festival Announces Black Lens Program Lineup
For our readers in Milwaukee… a program of films at the upcoming Milwaukee Film Festival that should interest you – some of them indie films you may not get to see in a theatrical setting otherwise, if not for the festival programming them; all films that we’ve covered on this blog. So you’re encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity.
Milwaukee Film announced in April that it had received a $10,000 FilmWatch grant in support of its Black Lens Program from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Milwaukee Film is one of 16 FilmWatch grant recipients for the 2016-2017 grant year.
In addition to support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Black Lens has received a grant from the Johnson Controls Foundation to help underwrite the program for a second year. Promotional support for the program comes from Program Sponsors WJMR Jammin’ 98.3 and the Black Lens Engagement Committee, as well as a network of Milwaukee Film sponsors and community partners.
New this year, the Black Lens Engagement Committee is comprised of individuals from FUEL Milwaukee, Media Circus, Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals (MULYP), Milwaukee Black Professionals (MBP), and Social X. This group will work collectively with the Black Lens programmers to conduct outreach to various constituencies about the program and the Milwaukee Film Festival.
“In two years, Black Lens has gone from a worthy experiment with ambitious goals to a bona fide attraction at the Milwaukee Film Festival. The growth of the program since its inception is a testament to the need for culturally diverse programming in our city. When you consider how segregated Milwaukee is, and then see the diversity of Black Lens audiences, you realize the power of film and, more importantly, the resonance of great storytelling,” stated Black Lens Co-Programmer Geraud Blanks.
In response to the program’s growth, Milwaukee Film is announcing a jury prize for the Black Lens Program. A $5,000 cash award will be presented to the director of the jury-selected winner of the best short or feature film within the program.
“I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that year three for the Black Lens Program will be a game-changer,” exclaimed Black Lens Co-Programmer Donte McFadden. “What also makes year three exciting is the addition of the Black Lens Council, which is designed to provide support directly to the Black Lens Program from new and continuing Milwaukee Film Members.”
The Black Lens Council provides its members ongoing access to films by African-American filmmakers and instills a direct link between the Milwaukee community and the Black Lens Program. In addition, Black Lens Council members receive year-round and festival benefits. For more information, visit mkefilm.org/blacklenscouncil.
In cooperation with Program Sponsor WJMR Jammin’ 98.3, a Black Lens Reception will take place on Friday, September 16 at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. The event is intended to showcase the program’s film trailers as well as provide an opportunity to engage with the Black Lens programmers, sponsors, and community partners. The event is free and open to the public; details to be available at mkefilm.org.
Facebook: /BlackLensMKE | Twitter: @BlackLensMKE | Hashtag: #BlackLensMKE
Festival passes and ticket 6-Packs for the 2016 Milwaukee Film Festival are now on sale. For a complete list of prices, as well as a breakdown of the discount deadlines, visit mkefilm.org/tickets.
African-American filmmakers explore stories and topics rooted in the black community and relevant to all. This program features fiction and documentary films from both emerging and established voices.
- 9 Rides (USA / 2016 / Director: Matthew A. Cherry)
- Can You Dig This (USA / 2015 / Director: Delila Vallot)
- How to Tell You’re a Douchebag (USA / 2016 / Director: Tahir Jetter)
- The Land (USA / 2016 / Director: Steven Caple Jr.)
- Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (USA / 2016 / Directors: Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack)
- Somewhere in the Middle (USA / 2015 / Director: Lanre Olabisi)
- Two Trains Runnin’ (USA / 2016 / Director: Sam Pollard)
Black Lens Shorts Program
An eclectic array of shorts that represent African-American cinema in all of its glory: stories range from a documentary about the intersection of hip-hop and social justice to boy-meets-girl romantic comedies to striking suspense thrillers. An abundance of talented voices tell stories of love, self-discovery, inclusion, and justice, giving voice to an experience often neglected by our movie screens.
- #Bars4Justice (USA / 2015 / Directors: Queen Muhammad Ali, Hakeem Khaaliq)
- The Big Chop (USA / 2016 / Director: Derek Dow II)
- Black Movie Night (USA / 2016 / Director: Sterling Milan)
- Didn’t I Ask for Tea? (USA / 2015 / Directors: Rahwa Asmerom, Essence Ward)
- Flowers (USA / 2016 / Directors: Nikyatu Jusu, Yvonne Shirley)
- Tap Shoes & Violins (USA / 2015 / Director: Dax Brooks)
Aja Naomi King, Chike Ozah, Clarence “Coodie” Simmons, Deborah Riley Draper, Muhammad Ali, Nate Parker, Reggie Wilson, Spike Lee