The 2015 Milwaukee Film Festival runs Thursday, September 24 through Thursday, October 8. Check out our list of 13 reasons to get excited for the fest here. If you’re looking for daily recommendations and/or when and where to stalk us, look no further.

30 Seconds Away: Breaking The Cycle (6:30 p.m. – Oriental Theatre)

Filmed in near-secrecy for five years, this feature debut by former federal agent-turned-filmmaker Faith Kohler takes an extended look at the chronically homeless population in Milwaukee, interviewing people on all sides of the issue. This film wins for pre-fest buzz alone: it’s Kickstarter campaign earlier this year was launched at Manpower’s headquarters in front of community leaders, including the mayor, county executive, police chief, and district attorney, as well as being featured on IndieWire’s Project Of The Day. (No shocker that they surpassed their goal by over $3000.) Having worked for many years developing relationships within the local homeless population, the filmmakers shine a light on our fellow citizens who go by and large ignored in the civic debate. Be sure you get there on time: the pre-feature is Psychopath (MFF 2014) director Manny Marquez’s new short film, Operation Allie, featuring his brother and the service dog that helped him in Iraq.

Recommended if you like: being a concerned citizen; searching for solutions to impossible problems; movies directed by awesome local women.

The Second Mother (7:00 p.m. – Oriental Theatre)

Val is a housekeeper in Sao Paulo, taking care of every need in a wealthy household: cooking, cleaning, and basically raising their teenage son. Val also has a daughter of her own who lives hours away back home that she hasn’t seen in years. (You see where this is going…) Until one day she appears, wanting to stay with her mom while she takes a college entrance exam. What follows is a nuanced story of class, gender, and generations told by Brazilian director Anna Muylaert, who is dealing with some conflict of her own. As her film became Brazil’s biggest cinematic success of 2015, Muylaert has been very publicly criticized by other famous Brazilian male directors, basically for being a successful female filmmaker. Reminder: It is 2015, and we should all go see this film and prove them wrong. Actually, their country already proved them wrong as they selected The Second Mother as Brazil’s entry in the foreign-language film Academy Awards category. (Shout out to local filmmaker Cris Siquera for keeping us on top of this film!)

Recommended if you like: dramedies; being a pain in the ass to your mom; movies directed by awesome Brazilian women.

Welcome To Leith (7:00 p.m. – Downer Theatre)

And now for something completely different, how about some white supremacists who want to take over a small North Dakota town? Yep, true story. For most of the country, all they know about that area is the oil boom that has been well-covered by the national press. Beyond that, what do folks know? It’s cold? Yep. It’s flat? That, too. But there’s also this really creepy story about an (apparently) notorious white supremacist leader, Craig Cobb, who somehow targets tiny (and we mean like 20-people tiny) and remote Leith as the place to build his own Aryan nation. The oil fields may be gushing, but over the last 50 years or so, the dwindling of family farms means fewer people and lots of empty lots. So when Cobb moves to town, starts buying up plots and inviting his friends, the town is relieved to have new blood around. Until, you know, the swastika flags go up.

Recommended if you like: The Jeffrey Dahmer Files; desolate landscapes; taking on idiots.

About The Author

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Blyth Meier is a photographer and filmmaker based in Milwaukee. She received her MA in Photography and MFA in Film from UWM and served as the first Marketing Director for Milwaukee Film from 2010-2014. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for Shotgun Cinema in New Orleans and is the founder and co-host of The Tiny Film Invasion, a weekly radio show about film on WMSE 91.7FM.