EAST SIDE NEWS

Milwaukee Film Festival opens Thursday night

Milwaukee Film Festival opens Thursday night

You can read the full article and view the video from TMJ-4 here.

MILWAUKEE — After several months of preparation, organizers for the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival were ready to welcome tens of thousands of guests on opening day.

Milwaukee Film is hosting the 15-day festival. This year they will show 349 films and host more than a hundred events.

"It’s a community event. We want to draw in anybody who’s just a movie fan. You don’t have to be a movie snob to enjoy our festival," said Karina Henderson, marketing director for Milwaukee Film.

 
Henderson said they expect about 80,000 people will show up to be a part of the festival, filling local destinations like the Oriental Theater. That includes actors, producers, and filmmakers.

New this year are two additional venues, one is in Cedarburg and the other is in Milwaukee's Third Ward.

Henderson says Milwaukee's Film Festival is considered a top 10 film festival.

"Regardless of the size, which we are very proud of we're one of the biggest in the country, the quality of what we present is really important to us and the engagement that it offers for the community," Henderson said.

With the attention of thousands, the festival also allows Milwaukee Film to showcase what they do year-round including educational programs, community programs, and operating the Oriental Theater.

 But one of the best parts?

"We love bringing the community together. That’s something that film can do. Shared experiences in the cinema can bring people together like very few other things can. You walk in, it's dark, you put down your phones, and you enjoy something with total strangers," said Henderson.

 
People will fill up local destinations like the Oriental Theater on Milwaukee's East Side. But they will also eat and explore the neighborhoods around them.

Workers at Ma Fischer's and Crossroads Collective, say they look forward to more guests stopping by and experiencing Milwaukee.

"There’s a lot of buzz. There’s a lot of people from out of town that come to visit and see our beautiful little city," said Jessica Leslie, a manager at Crossroads Collective.

"I would hope that they feel really comfortable and welcome here," said Marilyn Parlow, a server at Ma Fischer's.

Both Parlow and Leslie are Milwaukee natives and enjoyed the film festival either as a guest or a volunteer in the past.

As the festival focuses on the big screen, Milwaukee ends up being the star.

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