Sunday, March 22, 2009

Film Critics are Meaningless

How else could you explain the fact that arguably the most acclaimed foreign film of 2008, no, it was not “Slumdog Millionaire,” only reaches Milwaukee four months after its theatrical release.

“It filled me with unadulterated joy” A.O. Scott, New York Times

French director Arnaud Desplechin’s “A Christmas Tale” filled film critic top ten lists and garnered the types of quotes (from legitimate film critics, not the ones living in their parents basement) that make film distributors salivate, but only played in about 30 US cities (14 of which were in California).

“A marvelously rich visual, intellectual and emotional experience” Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

We at Milwaukee Film are presenting “A Christmas Tale” on Monday, March 23 as the opening film of our six week film series “Monday Night at the Movies with Milwaukee Film.” Our exciting new partnership with Marcus Theatres made it possible for us to bring six award-winning, critically acclaimed U.S. and foreign films to Milwaukee. Each premiere film will be shown at North Shore Cinema located in Mequon, a Northern Milwaukee suburb, and admission for each is $10 with tickets available now at or at the North Shore Cinema box office 11700 N. Port Washington Rd., Mequon.

“Nothing could be more energizing, more captivating, more pure pleasure on screen than (this) passionate, evocative experience .“ Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

We should be thankful in Milwaukee that at least our daily paper has its own film critic, Duane Dudek of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Many dailies around the country have laid-off their film critics and are now only publishing Associated Press reviews. In order for our film community to thrive it is vital that we have a quality film critic like Dudek who has access to the wide audience of a daily paper. The film events here are distinct from other cities and should only be covered from a local angle.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wisconsin Film Industry in Peril

Your Action Is Needed to Prevent the Removal of Film Incentives in Wisconsin

Fans of Milwaukee Film, are you aware that the growing film industry in Wisconsin is in serious jeopardy?

The proposed 2009 budget for the State of Wisconsin, from Governor Doyle’s office, calls for the elimination of the bi-partisan legislated Film Wisconsin tax incentives that were in effect for 2008. The elimination of the tax incentives would be devastating to the film industry in Milwaukee and throughout all of Wisconsin.

In just one year, the incentives brought “eight feature films, 16 TV shows, three national commercials, two new Wisconsin-produced video games, new film training programs at five colleges and universities and millions of dollars of new private investment in film and television production-related infrastructure throughout the state.” (Film Wisconsin) In addition, the incentives created 759 jobs for WI residents and has garnered the enthusiastic endorsement of the Northeastern WI stage hands union IATSE local 470.

After one year, let’s review and improve the incentives, not scrap them. Understanding the value of tax incentives, our neighboring states (Michigan, Illinois) are clamoring for this same business and are even installing larger tax incentives to lure the film industry. Don’t let Wisconsin fall behind, your help is needed!

Action Steps:

Write or call Gov. Jim Doyle, your senators and representatives, as well as members of the Joint Committee on Finance. Their contact information can easily be found here.

Join the Cause to Support the Incentives (Now Over 1,700 Supporters!)

Talking Points for Film Incentives

Arts Wisconsin Action Alert on the Film Incentives

Now is the time to act.

This is probably the most important film moment in Wisconsin’s history, let’s not be on the wrong side.

Join the Milwaukee Film staff in supporting the reinstatement of the Wisconsin Film Tax Incentives through writing and petitioning.

Diane Bacha
Executive Director

Jonathan Jackson
Artistic Director

Kyle Heller
Operations Director

T.J. Fackelman
Program Coordinator