Milwaukee Film Festival

Breaking Fast film

When it comes to LGBTQ films, there are a number of good romantic comedies. And a new film, Breaking Fast by writer and director Mike Mosallam, is adding the underrepresented queer, Arab Muslim-American voices to cinema.

freshidea /

Steven Olikara says growing up in Brookfield, Wis., he learned about listening and collaborating. He says talking things through rather than tearing people down whose opinions you might not share just made sense.

But as a UW-Madison student, Olikara, who graduated with degrees in environmental studies and political science, saw the polar opposite when he spent time talking with legislators at the state capitol.


Editor's note: This article was originally published on Oct. 16, 2019 ahead of Bleed Out's Wisconsin premiere at the Milwaukee Film Festival. 

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America. Often caused by miscommunication, medical errors can lead to life-changing outcomes for patients and their families — and the Burrows family is proof.

'Paris Is Burning' Spotlights Queens Of The 1980s

Oct 24, 2019
Jennie Livingston / Janus Films

The "vogue" is a dance style with fast-paced arm and body movements with attitude. It originated from the vibrant drag ballroom culture of New York City's LGBTQ community between the 1960s and 1980s.

My First and Last Film

Milwaukee-native Tracey Thomas didn’t want to be a filmmaker and never dreamed about having her name in lights. But about five years ago, she was about to turn 60 and was feeling at loose ends. So she started interviewing other people who were about to turn 60 (or who already had) about what it felt like. And the idea of turning those interviews into The 60 Project was born.

"I was kind of looking for answers, I guess," says Thomas.

"Science Fair"/National Geographic

Editor's note: This piece was originally published on Oct. 19, 2018.

There are science fairs, and then there are science fairs. There’s the kind we all competed in — tri-fold display, baking soda-and-vinegar volcano, marshmallow-and-toothpick molecules. And then, there’s the kind that future scientists aspire to.

Resonant Pictures

Editor's note: This piece was originally published on Oct. 24, 2018.

The documentary 16 Bars explores how music can bring healing and rehabilitation to people who are locked up.

Yinan Wang

Yen Ching Restaurant on Good Hope Road in Milwaukee’s northwest side has been serving up Chinese-American dishes for decades.

A few years ago, local film student and Chinese national himself, Yinan Wang worked as a driver for the family-run restaurant. He became interested in the family story, specifically its generational dynamics.

Caroline Jaecks

Hall of Fame rock musician Joan Jett has been in the music scene for over 40 years. She got her start in the iconic punk band The Runaways in 1975. Since then, millions of fans have celebrated her songs, including “Bad Reputation” and “I Love Rock and Roll.”

Those songs are also celebrated in a new documentary, Bad Reputation.

Stories Matter Media LLC

The documentary Circles highlights the need for juvenile justice reform — with a focus on one family's story.

The film, which is featured at the Milwaukee Film Festival, follows school counselor Eric Butler. He does restorative justice work with youth in an Oakland school — giving kids that have dealt with the trauma of the system or their environment a safe space to be heard.

Wild Nights With Emily

Poet Emily Dickinson, the famous belle of Amherst, wrote more than 1,800 poems. However, only 11 of them were published during her lifetime. Since her death in 1886, her story has acquired a certain gloss — words like “recluse” and “spinster” used to describe a woman who lived a life far richer than those words suggest.

Courtesy of Janine Sijan Rozina/Team Sijan

We’ve recalled the story of Lance Sijan on Lake Effect before. Sijan was a Milwaukee native and an Air Force fighter pilot in Vietnam. His plane crashed over Laos, and he survived for more than a month in the wilderness before being captured. He was tortured in a prisoner-of-war camp before he died in 1968. Sijan was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Kate Webber / Kim Swims

There are many famous open water swims. There’s the English Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Cook Strait in New Zealand, to name three out of the "Oceans Seven." Lesser known, but arguably one of the most difficult to complete, is the 30-mile swim from the Farallon Islands out in the Pacific to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. From shark attacks to multiple currents to jellyfish and freezing temperatures, only the most determined even think about making the attempt.