On Sunday, September 25th I went to my first film festival. As a lover of all things film and popcorn, I knew it was just a matter of time before I would be going to the place where movie buffs collide.
This particular film festival was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and appropriately called the Milwaukee Film Festival. It’s a two week festival that I had only heard about recently. I made the decision to go only a few days prior while researching about the Toronto International Film Festival. The films that I saw in Milwaukee were both shown at the historic Oriental Theater.
By far my favorite part of the festival was being able to sit in such a beautiful place, full of Buddahs staring into your soul. Really though. If you are ever in the area I would so recommend checking this place out.
I will say that the festival played out a little bit differently than expected. First of all, there was nothing to do except for buying your ticket and sitting in your spot with some M&M’s. I wasn’t expecting carnival rides or anything, but it would’ve been nice to maybe have a couple of things to do in between films. I’m not sure if that’s how all film festivals are, but they should be. Another thing that I was a little bit disappointed by was the lack of any kind of panel or discussion. I know that there were some days with Hollywood writers and directors, but there wasn’t really much there on the day I was there.
As for the films we saw, I was pretty shocked by the quality of them. Being from Wisconsin, I was really expecting some kind of GoPro footage edited in iMovie. That’s not at all what I saw. The first film I saw was a documentary called “Beware the Slenderman”. It was a very well done HBO documentary about the two children from Waukesha, Wisconsin who stabbed their friend almost to death because of the Slenderman myth. While I didn’t completely agree with some of the findings, it was a really well made film. Something else that was really cool was that the director and producer were there to answer questions afterwards. The other film I saw was called “Carmin Tropical”. That was a really cool experience because it was completely in Spanish with English subtitles. I don’t speak much Spanish after ‘hola’ so it was really cool to be immersed into the culture.
Overall, this was a totally awesome experience. While I don’t think that film festivals are for everyone, if you really love movies you would at least appreciate it. If you are ever in Milwaukee around the end of September, you should check this out.