As far as my picks go most of these are movies I have already heard of but I will be checking out many more that I haven’t. Movies like The History of Future Folk, The Crash Reel and The Perverts Guide to Ideology have caught my eye. Also movies with Wisconsin connections like Free the Mind, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, and Citizen Koch might be worth checking out.
In Alphabetical Order The 8 Movies I am Most Excited to See
1 The Act of Killing – The first time I heard of this movie it was from an interview with Werner Herzog and Error Morris two of my favorite documentarians. So when they recommend a movie I listen. This is a documentary about the mass killings in Indonesia told from the perspective of the people that did the killings. Where this movie takes on a life of its own is that the director Joshua Oppenheimer has the people that committed these atrocities reenact them. Which they excitedly do. The movie promises to blow you mind and leave you in awe.
2. August: Osage County – A big time cast with lots of Oscar hopefuls. The movie is about a family from the Midwest in crisis. When the strong willed women are forced to live together and take care of their mother you know there will be meltdowns and some dark comedy. And when you got Meryl Streep in your movie you almost guarantee Oscar talk. So when I saw that this was going to be playing at the festival I was excited. This is your opportunity to see it before the buzz really takes off and you will be able to say you were one of the first people to see it.
3. Billy Club – This is actually a movie I had not heard of before the festival but it looks amazing. Every year one of the highlights of the festival is its horror program and what makes this movie even more exciting is that it was made by Milwaukeeans. Billy Club looks to bring some of that awesome 80’s slasher movie vibe back. About a group of friends that reunite 15 years after the murder of their Little League teammates. Even if we weren’t partnering with this movie it would be a must see but since we are partners with this movie I have to tell you that you ABSOLUTELY MUST SEE THIS FILM.
4. Earth – Another highlight of the film festival has been their ability to get silent films and get an orchestra to play a live score. This year it is the Soviet Silent Classic Earth. A movie I know very little about but with the 18 piece Milwaukee based orchestra Altos playing the score makes this an event not to be missed for both film and music lovers.
5. The Milwaukee Show –The first year I attended the festival I had no idea what exactly the Milwaukee Show was but it now a must see. The Milwaukee Show is a collection of short films from local filmmakers. You never know what will be there. Last year we had everything from touching documentaries to trippy music videos. But the highlight is always the film that came from the collaborative cinema program. The program is for high school students who want to get into filmmaking. They attend workshops to write a screenplay and one screenplay is selected to be made and shown during the festival. This event always draws large sellout crowds so if you want to go get your ticket early.
6. Shorts: Stranger than Fiction – Having volunteered on the shorts selection committee for the past couple of years I can attest to the great quality of documentary shorts each year at the festival. Every year I always ask if they will have just a short documentary program. And this year they do. What I love about documentary shorts is that they give you a quick glimpse at things or people you wouldn’t know about. Sometimes these people would not make great subjects for feature docs so these short docs are the best way to learn about them.
7. Stories We Tell – Sarah Polley first broke on to the scene as a young actress on the Disney show Road to Avonlea and movies like Go and Dawn of the Dead. But recently she has been getting rave reviews for her directing and writing. She was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay academy award for Away From Her and her film Take This Waltz got great reviews also. Now she is back with her first documentary (is there nothing she can do). This movie has been making the festival circuit for about a year and have been hearing only good things about it. I am glad it is finally coming to Milwaukee. In the movie Polley takes a look at her youth with interviews from friends and family with reenactments mixed in.
8. Which Way is the Front Line from Here: The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington - Tim Hetherington was a photojournalist that liked to risks and photograph some of the most violent places. He teamed up with Sebastian Junger and they co-directed the Academy Award nominated documentary Restrepo. Shortly after Hetherington was killed while photographing the Libyan Civil War. Junger directed this movie about his good friend and the loss of a talent that was on the cusp of really breaking out.