If you need an occasional reminder that Milwaukee Film is more than just the Milwaukee Film Festival, here you go: From September 14-18, Milwaukee Film will host the second annual Cultures & Communities Festival at the historic Oriental Theatre. More than 20 films will screen in-person for the equity- and inclusivity-minded fest (others will be available online). Tickets and passes are on sale NOW.
The fest opens Wednesday with a new documentary on Rosa Parks, The Rebellious Life Of Mrs. Rosa Parks. It closes on Sunday with a documentary on Reading Rainbow, Butterfly In The Sky. In between are more new documentaries like Kaepernick & America, new fiction films like New Jersey Drive, and the 1987 Prince concert film Sign o’ The Times. Numerous in-person events and a few free pop-up screenings are also included.
Check out the full list of films below, and check out the Cultures & Communities site for more information.
American Justice on Trial / Takeover
(dir. Andrew Abrahams, Herb Ferrette | USA | 2022 / dir. Emma Francis-Snyder | USA | 2022)
Two shorter documentaries exploring stories of resistance–the Young Lords’ 1970 takeover of a South Bronx hospital and the culmination of Black Panthers founder Huey Newton’s Oakland murder trial.
(dir. Cynthia Lowen | USA | 2022)
An urgent, timely window into the intersection of abortion and politics in America, following three women who lead formidable anti-abortion organizations to witness the enormous influence they wield.
Beyond Ed Buck
(dir. Jayce Baron, Hailie Sahar | USA | 2022)
Starting from the tragic murders caused by white Democratic political donor Ed Buck, this film expands that lens to consider structural racism and transphobia within supposedly progressive queer communities.
Butterfly In The Sky
(dir. Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb | USA | 2022)
For over 25 years, READING RAINBOW (starring LeVar Burton) was a staple on PBS, instilling a love of reading for a diverse young audience. This terrifically nostalgic film explores why this worked, tracing the show’s origin story and plotlines.
Daughter Of A Lost Bird
(dir. Brooke Swaney | USA | 2020)
DAUGHTER OF A LOST BIRD follows Kendra, an adult Native adoptee, as she reconnects with her birth family, discovers her Lummi heritage, and confronts issues of her own identity.
(dir. Anna Baumgarten | USA | 2021)
After failing her final college class, Jane returns home to her family’s lake house and comes to terms with the confusing trauma that derailed her senior year
Fly So Far
(dir. Celina Haydee Escher | Sweden/El Salvador | 2021)
A grave warning of how far state control of women’s bodies can go, FLY SO FAR follows Teodora Vásquez, who was sentenced to thirty years in a Salvadorean prison after she suffered a stillbirth.
Hayden & Her Family
(dir. May May Tchao | USA | 2020)
HAYDEN & HER FAMILY follows the nuanced and intimate adoption journey of an American family raising seven biological children plus five special needs Asian orphans.
(dir. Byron Hurt | USA | 2022)
Weaving his own personal experience with hazing into larger narratives, director Byron Hurt explores power, groupthink, gendered violence, and the functions of collective trauma across a range of pledging rituals in this incisive documentary.
I Didn’t See You There
(dir. Reid Davenport | USA | 2022)
Spurred by the spectacle of a circus tent outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker launches into an unflinching meditation on spectacle, (in)visibility, and the corrosive legacy of the Freak Show.
Kaepernick & America
(dir. Tommy Walker, Ross Hockrow | USA | 2022)
KAEPERNICK & AMERICA explores the intersection between Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protests and the reactions they spurred in the United States, revealing unique insights into America’s ongoing racial turmoil.
Liquor Store Dreams
(dir. So Yun Um | USA | 2022)
LIQUOR STORE DREAMS is an intimate portrait of two Korean American children of liquor store owners who set out to bridge generational divides with their immigrant parents in Los Angeles.
Marvelous And The Black Hole
(dir. Kate Tsang | USA | 2021)
MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE follows Sammy as she befriends a surly magician (Rhea Perlman) who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic.
New Jersey Drive
(dir. Nick Gomez | USA | 1995)
From executive producer Spike Lee comes a thriller about a crew of car thieves who find their lives at risk when a police lieutenant becomes determined to take them down.
dir. Emil Benjamin, Brandon Jackson | USA | 2022)
OYATE shares the perseverance and struggles of Water Protectors at Standing Rock and other Native leaders and activists, braiding together a moving range of responses to ongoing injustices for Indigenous cultures, territories, languages, and lives.
(dir. Tracey Arcabasso | USA | 2022)
When filmmaker Tracey Arcabasso Smith confronts her childhood sexual abuse, she unearths a pervasive history of multigenerational abuse in her seemingly-idyllic family, forcing her to make an impossible decision: to stay silent and let the cycle continue or to speak up and risk losing the family she loves.
(dir. Sarah Jones | USA \ 2022)
Comedian Sarah Jones reflects on her controversial one-woman show as she embarks on a journey to better understand sex work and her own personal relationship to it.
Sign o’ The Times
(dir. Prince | USA | 1987)
This 35th anniversary 4K restoration captures a musical genius in his prime. Prince’s performance of a lifetime is sure to get you out of your seat and dancing in the aisles.
The Exchange. In White America. Kaukauna & King 50 Years Later
(dir. Joanne Williams | USA | 2022)
Milwaukee’s Rufus King High School and Kaukauna High School participated in a 1966 exchange program culminating in a production of IN WHITE AMERICA. Now, over fifty years later, the original participants come together with a new generation.
The Loyola Project
(dir. Patrick Creadon | USA | 2022)
In 1963, the Loyola Ramblers of Chicago broke racial barriers on their way to a national championship. Now, nearly 60 years later, this legendary team is reexamined by Loyola basketball player and co-captain Lucas Williamson.
The Rebellious Life Of Mrs. Rosa Parks
(dir. Johanna Hamilton, Yoruba Richen | USA | 2022)
The unexpected story of Parks and her life beyond the historic bus boycott, The Rebellious Life, reveals the intent behind her activism, her radical politics, and her courage.
Wandering: A Rohingya Tale
(dir. Olivier Higgins, Mélanie Carrier | Canada | 2020)
In 2017, 700,000 people of the Rohingya Muslim minority fled Myanmar, escaping genocide. This immersive and poetic film brings us to the biggest refugee camp in the world, where Rohingya stayed before moving on to cities like Milwaukee.
When Claude Got Shot
(dir. Brad Lichtenstein |USA | 2021)
When Claude Motley is shot during a visit to Milwaukee for his high school reunion, he realizes there’s no escaping gun violence and the ripples of trauma it causes. When he discovers his assailant was shot two nights later by another attempted victim and is now paralyzed, it complicates thinking of any such crime as singular. Tracing this case through the criminal justice system, this documentary asks how and if these cycles can be broken.
(dir. Bretten Hannam | USA | 2021)
Two-spirit Mi’kmaw teenager Link is just discovering his sexuality when he finds out his presumed dead mother may be alive and embarks on a quest to find her.
Exclusive articles, podcasts, and more. Support Milwaukee Record on Patreon.