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Advocate Sees Good Things Coming Out Of Milwaukee's Film Scene

The Surface Movie

It’s been six years since the Johnny Depp film, Public Enemies, used Milwaukee as its setting. And with the short-lived tax credit for filmmakers long gone, it may be a while before that happens again.

Feature films are still being made here, but the efforts are typically more grass-roots. Two such films were shown at the Milwaukee Film Festival - The Surface, set on Lake Michigan and in Milwaukee, and the romantic comedy Serial Daters Anonymous.

Serial Dates Anonymous' largely local cast and crew included executive producer Sam Kozel, who is also an active advocate of bringing more film production to Milwaukee. His non-profit movie studio, Film Freed, works to connect all the moving parts of the film industry.

"The community is not small, but it is not large. It's growing significantly and over the last 7 years or so I've been seeing it strengthen," Kozel says. "Maybe not necessarily grow in numbers, but the strength of the projects are becoming more and more interesting and more well-rounded, and more original overall. The film festival this year was really excellent and I think that's putting us on an excellent course for the future."

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Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.
Dan Harmon was one of the original members of Lake Effect (formerly At Ten). He started at WUWM in November of 1998 and left December of 2015 after 17 years of production.