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Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010

Milwaukee Short Film Festival

Honoring local, independent movies and their makers

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Fifteen years ago, local indie filmmakers were hard-pressed to find venues to screen their works that were both large enough to seat their family and friends and priced to accommodate their shoestring budgets. Ross Bigley, who, at the time, was a Third Ward art gallery owner, sought a solution by organizing a festival that showcases short films. There was a brief stint using public access television as a forum, and later a neighborhood coffee shop. This year, however, on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 29-30, the organizers of the Milwaukee Short Film Festival (MSFF) are hosting the 12th annual event at the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Lubar Auditorium.

Bigley promises the Milwaukee Short Film Festival will deliver “a wide range of films from across the globe.” The festival has earned a stellar reputation outside of Milwaukee—in part because MovieMaker, a leading magazine distributed in the United States, Canada and many foreign countries that focuses on the business and art of making movies, named it “Best Local Festival” four years ago—which is why 60%-70% of the festival’s submissions are international. Highlights from overseas include Mozambique, a film directed by 17-year-old Alcides Soares that documents hislife as an AIDS orphan searching to find a family after his parents have died, and An Affair With Dolls, an 11-minute Swedish drama about a young couple whose relationship is altered when one of them starts playing with dolls.

The Milwaukee Short Film Festival’s organizers are making a concerted effort to support local filmmaking by screening a number of films made or based in Milwaukee on opening night.
Gold Digger by director Karen Lindholm-Rynkiewicz,Indefinite by co-directors Jason Williams and Christopher Kuiper, and Blue Lines, directed by Donald Arthur Ford, are just a few of the short films made by hometown filmmakers. Also on Friday, the Shepherd Express’ resident cinephile, David Luhrssen, one of the co-founders of the original Milwaukee International Film Festival and consummate movie reviewer, will be given the Pace-Setter, an award that recognizes individuals who foster Milwaukee’s film scene.

In 2008 the organizers of the MSFF were given a unique opportunity to take over management of the Milwaukee Independent Film Society (MIFS), an organization formed to help local filmmakers complete their work and have it screened. Now one entity with its own annual short film festival, the MIFS has been hosting screenings of feature-length films in various venues around Milwaukee. After the film festival wraps up on Saturday night at the Lubar Auditorium, Bigley will be joined by actress Bai Ling to introduce his feature film, Petty Cash,in which she stars.

For more information, visit http://festival.milwaukeeindependentfilmsociety.org/milwaukee-short-film-festival.
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