Hey! The 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival is right around the corner! From April 20 through May 4, the Oriental Theatre, the Avalon Theater, and Times Cinema will host 135 feature films and 148 short films. Some of those films have already been announced. All of the films will be announced April 6. Today, Milwaukee Film is revealing some of its Spotlight Presentations—its Opening Night, Centerpiece, and Closing Night films, to be exact.

Opening Night film Mom & Dad’s Nipple Factory—yes, Mom & Dad’s Nipple Factory—screens at the Oriental’s Abele Cinema on April 20 at 6:30 p.m. “After his wife Randi survives breast cancer and a mastectomy,” reads the synopsis for the Eau Claire-based documentary, “Brian Johnson, a serial entrepreneur and tinkerer, embarks on an extraordinary journey to help her feel complete. From a bedroom in Eau Claire, WI, director Justin ‘Justinsuperstar’ Johnson’s parents pursue the perfect prosthetic nipple, transforming what began as an intimate labor of love into a ‘factory’ with the power to change thousands of survivors’ lives in this fascinating tale of resilience, dignity, and family.”

The Opening Night screening will be the world premiere of Mom & Dad’s Nipple Factory. The film’s director, subjects, and crew will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. The film will also screen at the Oriental’s Lubar Cinema on April 21 at 12:30 p.m.

“Opening Night is always an exciting kickoff to fifteen days of incredible films,” says Cara Ogburn, artistic director at Milwaukee Film, “and this year’s film will set precisely the right tone with this heart-warming love story about family and dignity following the director’s mom’s battle with breast cancer. We are so excited to celebrate the world premiere of this Wisconsin story that has so much wider resonance for survivors and their families everywhere as the kick-off to our festival.”

The Opening Night film will be followed by the Opening Night Party at the Historic Pritzlaff Building (143 W. St. Paul Ave.). All Opening Night film tickets include access to the party, which will feature a performance from the always-awesome Immortal Girlfriend.

Next up is the mid-fest Centerpiece film, Little Richard: I Am Everything. The Lisa Cortés documentary “explodes the whitewashed American rock n’ roll canon revealing the Black queer originator at its center—Richard Penniman. This trove of archival and performance footage, interviews of family, peers, and trailblazing Black and queer scholars reveals how Richard created an art form as an ultimate act of self-expression. MFF alum Lisa Cortés guides us through the rollicking career of a man careening between God, sex, and rock n’ roll.” Hell yes.

Little Richard: I Am Everything will screen at the Oriental’s Abele Cinema on April 29 at 6:15 p.m., and at Avalon Theater on May 4 at 1:30 p.m.

Speaking of May 4, that’s when you can catch the Closing Night film, A Disturbance In The Force. Yep, it’s a documentary about the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special! You know, that hilariously awful 1978 variety show with endless non-subtitled Wookiee dialog, embarrassed Star Wars stars, and, um, Bea Arthur and Harvey Korman. “In 1978, CBS aired the two-hour Star Wars Holiday Special to an audience of 13 million people” reads the synopsis. “It never re-aired and is considered one of the worst shows ever to air. George Lucas has said, ‘If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy…and smash it.’ A cavalcade of Star Wars players and historians tell the bizarre history of the special that almost ended the galaxy far, far away.”

The film will screen at the Oriental’s Abele Cinema on May 4 at 7:15 p.m. How about that! MAY THE 4TH!

“Our Spotlight Presentations are those films where the screening is a can’t-be-missed event, Ogburn says. “Whether it’s a film with live accompaniment or a gala premiere with filmmakers in attendance, any one of this set of films is a great starting point for crowd-pleasing festival experiences that exemplify why film festivals are more than just movies. If you’ve never been to the Milwaukee Film Festival, these special nights are the place to start.”

Passes and tickets to the 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival are available NOW.

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