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Cinephiles get ready for 15 days of movies with Milwaukee Film Festival

Opening night is Thursday
Milwaukee Film Festival staff
Posted at 12:44 PM, Apr 11, 2024

It's opening night of the 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival — 15 days of more than 300 movie screenings.

The festival is celebrating its Sweet 16 by bringing a historic gem back to life. Reporter Sydni Eure spoke to Milwaukee Film programmers at the Oriental Theater who have spent a lot of time securing the Downer Theater for this year's festival.

The team says it was a complicated process but they accomplished it just in time. The first screening at Downer will be Friday afternoon, right after an official ribbon cutting ceremony that's open to the public.

Milwaukee Film leaders say it'll the grand start to one of the larger film festivals in the country. There's a lot of excitement building around the event.

"Being here at the Oriental is always amazing of course but then being able to have, like, a big ribbon cutting ceremony for the Downer and bring everybody back to that historic gem in our city will be the best," said Kerstin Larson, Milwaukee Film's programming director. "And of course we love the Time Cinema and Avalon Theatre too so we're really excited to get started."

Kerstin Larson
Kerstin Larson is the prgramming director for the Milwaukee Film Festival. She's excited to have so many unique venues this year.

"During the show each reel gets loaded up onto the projectors and every 20 minutes we're basically switching from one reel to the next manually," added technical manager Kelsey Parks. "So, it's art of timing and calibration which is just a lot of fun to do."

Kelsey Parks
Kelsey Parks is the technical manager for Milwaukee Film Festival. She helps keeps the reels of film moving through projectors so you can enjoy your movie!

"I always will stay towards comedies so to hear other people laughing at other things that I may didn't pick up on right away," says Ian Cessna, the school programs coordinator for the film festival. "It really helps increase the experience and everybody kind of learning and sharing it together."

Ian Cessna
Ian Cessna is the School Programs Coordinator for Milwaukee Film. He says he loves to watch comedies.

"I am not horror movie person at all but I was like 'I'll go watch this Norwegian zombie film' and I ended up really enjoying it," added Abbie Esterline, Milwaukee Film's programming coordinator. "It's not something I would normally pick for myself and I think that's something that people during the festival should try and do because you never know what you might find and enjoy."

Abbie Esterline
Abbie Esterline is the programming coordinator for the Milwaukee Film Festival. She says the event is a great way to try out new genres of movie.

The film fun kicks off tonight at 6:00 p.m. — and there's a bonus! If you buy tickets to the first screening, you'll also get admittance into the opening night party at the Villa Terrance. Who doesn't love a two for one deal? Click here for information on tickets and times.