Milwaukee Film To Screen Wildcat at the Oriental Theatre this May with Writer/Director Ethan Hawke in Attendance

Four-time Academy Award® nominee Ethan Hawke will attend two screenings of his 2023 feature Wildcat for post-film Q&A on 5/18 and 5/19

Milwaukee Film is thrilled to announce that four-time Academy Award® nominee Ethan Hawke will be in attendance for two screenings of his film Wildcat at Milwaukee’s historic Oriental Theatre on Saturday, May 18th at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, May 19th at 2 pm. Editor Barry Poltermann will also be in attendance. Wildcat will continue to screen without the Q&A element throughout the week. Tickets and information are available on the Oriental Theatre website.

“Ever since our screenings of his documentary series The Last Movie Stars in July of 2022, we’ve been looking for ways to get Ethan to see our gorgeous cinema palace,” explained Cara Ogburn, Milwaukee Film’s Artistic Director. “And we are so honored to get to bring him to the Oriental Theatre with his latest project alongside the film’s editor and friend of our organization, Barry Poltermann, for what is sure to be an inspiring Q&A. The film will challenge your assumptions about the relationships between an author’s life and work, so I’m excited to dig into those choices made in the filmmaking process with our audiences in May,” she concluded.

Directed and co-written by Ethan Hawke, Wildcat invites the audience to weave in and out of celebrated Southern Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor’s mind as she ponders the great questions of her writing: Can scandalous art still serve God? Does suffering precede all greatness? Can illness be a blessing? In 1950, Flannery (Maya Hawke) visits her mother Regina (Laura Linney) in Georgia when she is diagnosed with lupus at twenty-four years old. Struggling with the same disease that took her father’s life when she was a child and desperate to make her mark as a great writer, this crisis pitches her imagination into a feverish exploration of belief. As she dives deeper into her craft, the lines between reality, imagination, and faith begin to blur, allowing Flannery to ultimately come to peace with her situation and heal a strained relationship with her mother.

“The inspiration for Wildcat came many years ago, when my daughter, Maya, was trying to find an audition piece for Juilliard,” shared Ethan Hawke. “[I]nstead of turning to Shakespeare or Chekov, she assembled a monologue from entries in O’Connor’s Prayer Journal, a personal diary Flannery had written in her youth. When Maya stood in the kitchen and performed it for our family, it blew us away… ever after [her acceptance to Juilliard] it seemed Flannery served as a personal touchstone.”

Director Ethan Hawke continued, “In my experience, films about faith are large statements of belief – martyrdom, conversion, prophesy. There’s a lot less work about the smaller, quieter channels we can use to get in touch with the divine.” He enthused, “Flannery O’Connor believed that devoting oneself to making art that is egoless and honest can be an act of piety. On this, I happen to agree with her emphatically.”

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