Milwaukee Film Celebrates Increase of In-Person Attendance by 58% at The 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival and Honors its 2023 Audience Award-Winning Films

Milwaukee Film is also pleased to announce the dates for the 16th annual Milwaukee Film Festival, which is set to occur April 11-25, 2024.

MILWAUKEE, WI – Wednesday, May 10, 2023 – Milwaukee Film is celebrating the successful conclusion of its 15th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival, presented by Associated Bank, announcing the annual “By the Numbers” report along with honoring the 2023 Allan H. (Bud) and Suzanne L. Selig Audience Award Winners and releasing the upcoming dates of the 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival.

For the duration of the 15-day festival, ticket sales remained strong, with a 58% increase in overall in-cinema attendance compared to 2022! The energy and momentum were tangibly felt by audiences and the community at large, who praised Milwaukee Film for its rich and diverse programming selections. “This is, I think, the greatest Milwaukee Film Festival they’ve ever had!” Exclaimed Ryan Jay, a nationally syndicated entertainment critic and resident film critic for TMJ4’s “The Morning Blend.” He expanded saying, “Because the choice of films is so outstanding, I was going through to pick the ones I wanted to see the most, and I had a very difficult time narrowing it down!”

“It was wonderful to see our audiences filling cinemas again this year and to hear, over and over, how much they were glad to be back with us in person to enjoy great films,” explained Cara Ogburn, Milwaukee Film’s Artistic Director. “From the opening night world premiere of our Audience Award-winning Mom & Dad’s Nipple Factory to closing night’s packed house for A Disturbance in the Force – on May the Fourth, no less, this year’s festival was such a joy to share with our festival community,” she concluded.



• 283 Films: 135 feature films, including 62 documentary features and 73 fiction features, and 148 short films. Over 53% of features and 55% of short films were directed by women or nonbinary filmmakers.

• $215,518 was raised through Milwaukee Film’s Double Up campaign, with $100,000 of those funds generously matched by David, Joan, and Susan Lubar.

• 63% increase in in-person revenue vs. 2022

• 22% increase in total sales revenue vs. 2022


• 280 Public, In-Cinema Screenings

• 29,718 In-person cinema attendance (a 58% increase from 2022)

• 13 In-Person Public Events

• 2,039 In-person event attendees (a 97% increase from 2022)

• 3 Venues – The Oriental Theatre, Avalon Theater, and Times Cinema

• 75 Filmmaker & Industry Guests + countless local filmmakers


• 46 features (34%) and 17 shorts programs (89%) available online for all-access pass holders May 1 -7 (41% of total Festival content)

• 6,065 total household views of online films

• 161,812 total film minutes viewed online


In-cinema attendees and virtual viewers voted to determine the Allan H. (Bud) and Suzanne L. Selig Audience Awards. This year’s winning feature and short films were:

• Best Feature – MOM & DAD’S NIPPLE FACTORY (dir. Justin “Justinsuperstar” Johnson; prods. Jason Cohen and Noah Lang): After his wife Randi survives breast cancer and a mastectomy, 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.

• Best Short – TROY (dir. Mike Donahue), part of Shorts: Date Night): Troy has loud sex. Troy has loud sex 24/7. Troy shares a wall with Thea and Charlie. Troy is ruining their lives… Or is he saving them?


The 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival will take place April 11 – April 25, 2024.


Milwaukee Film is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to entertaining, educating, and engaging our community through cinematic experiences, with a vision to make Milwaukee a center for film culture. Founded in 2008 by Chris Abele and Bill & Carmen Haberman as an 11-day film festival, Milwaukee Film is a national leader among cultural organizations and operates year-round using film to inspire community, artistry, education, and joy. At the heart of Milwaukee Film is the Annual Milwaukee Film Festival, one of the largest film festivals in the country, and the recently restored Oriental Theatre; a historic cinema palace committed to high-quality and accessible film and education programming.

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