Milwaukee Film Festival Panel Preview

By Cara Ogburn

The Milwaukee Film Festival is just around the corner.  C21 is involved with two events- it is cosponsoring J. Hoberman’s keynote, and partnering with the film WE ARE LEGION: The Story of the Hacktivists.  Get your tickets now! With so many exciting films, panels, and conversations coming up, Cara Ogburn took the time to explain some of the highlights. 

In addition to my life as an elusive dissertator in English, I also work as Panels Producer for the Milwaukee Film Festival. This is my second year in this position and I wanted to write to let people know about the great panels we have planned this year.  From serial murderers to film careers on youtube, public policy discussions to conversations about contemporary Chinese cinema, we’ve got it all.

J. Hoberman

Which isn’t even mentioning the main event: our keynote this year (Sunday, September 30 at 1pm) will be delivered by none other than revered film critic J. Hoberman. His talk is titled: State of Cinema in the 21st Century: Film After Film. This is such a big event that we’re holding it in the Downer Theatre and we are ticketing it. The tickets are free, but to reserve some of the limited space you’ll need to pick up a ticket either at C21, online at, or at one of the Milwaukee Film Festival Box Offices (open now at the Oriental and Fox-Bay theatres, opening Friday at the Downer).

We also have a slate of eight additional panels, all of which are free and open to the public. Most are held in UWM’s Kenilworth Square East (KSE) building, on Kenilworth Place (the street just south of the Oriental) between Farwell and Prospect. See our website at for full and up-to-date details.

But here’s a few highlights that I think you might want to check out. With one exception (see below) all of these panels will be held in KSE 640. Hope to see you there! 

Chinese Cinema in a Transnational Frame | Saturday September 29, 1pm

Part of our Passport: China program, this talk by Dr. Jennifer Feeley (University of Iowa) will focus on the complexities of defining contemporary Chinese cinema. From nationality to language, ethnicity, and culture, the lenses that can define Chinese cinema sometimes overlap but often compete. Further complicating this definition are how Taiwanese, Hong Kong and diaspora filmmakers working in China fit in, as well as the increasing transnational co-productions. Moderated by UWM’s Dr. Jian Xu. 

Access and Ethics in Documentary Filmmaking | Saturday, October 6, 1pm

This discussion of how documentarians gain access to subjects and ethical issues therein will appeal to filmmakers and documentary aficionados alike. Moderated by local filmmaker Janet Fitch and featuring the directors of As Goes Janesville (Milwaukee’s own Brad Lichtenstein) and Tchoupitoulas (Turner and Bill Ross).

Work-in-Progress Forum | Saturday, October 6, 3pm

Now in its second year, this annual event looks at “coming attractions” from Wisconsin’s vibrant filmmaking scene. Come see what might be in next year’s festival (or the year after that…) as filmmakers discuss and preview their current work. 

Three A-holes Talk about Web Videos | Saturday, October 6, 7pm

Held at the Y-NOT III Tavern (1854 E Kenilworth Place) this 21+ only event will focus on how one makes a film career on the Internet. With RedLetterMedia’s Jay Bauman and Mike Stoklasa plus Funny or Die Contributor Jack Packard in attendance, it’s also bound to be a riotous time. 

Dahmer, Milwaukee | Sunday, October 7, 5pm

Following the matinee of local film, The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, this discussion will reflect on how the case changed the city’s social, political, and cultural terrain.
Moderated by the film’s director (and UWM grad) Chris James Thompson, the panel features UWM’s own Dr. Joe Austin (History) and Dr. Pat Kennedy (Criminal Justice and the lead interrogator in the Dahmer case) plus the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s James E. Causey and Jerome Smith of the Open Door Café. 

MKE at Risk: Afterschool Programs | Wednesday, October 10, 7:30pm

Inspired by the documentary Brooklyn Castle (a screening of which happens immediately before the panel at 5pm), and in conjunction with the Public Policy Forum’s multi-part research initiative, this panel considers challenges for Milwaukee’s after-school programs. Moderated by Alan Borsuk, Senior Fellow in Law and Public Policy, Marquette University Law School and featuring representatives from MPS, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Safe & Sound and City on a Hill.
[Cara Ogburn is a dissertator in the Modern Studies program in the English department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her dissertation centers on the connections (metaphoric and literal) between books and bodies in print media, hypermedia, and performance/body art. She teaches writing courses at UWM and at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.]

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