“It’s almost as if there is something in the water,” Jack Turner says when he describes his hometown to his friends. A Milwaukee native, Jack has been in New York City for more than a decade making movies. He took note of the Milwaukee Film Festival’s growth under Jonathan Jackson’s leadership and wanted to take part. The result? Dear MKE, a series of short documentaries about the people who live, work and play in Milwaukee.
As an award-winning independent producer and director, Jack is lending his skills to Dear MKE, a project sponsored by VISIT Milwaukee, which will showcase all the city has to offer. “I am a little dubious of most tourism campaigns,” he says, “But this one is really innovative and very reflective of the city – and there is nothing else like it.”
To jump-start the creative process, Dear MKE held an online contest for Milwaukeeans to submit their favorite images, short videos or stories representing what they love about this city. Although the contest (and the chance to win prizes) has closed, you can still go to the website to submit your ideas for the project. The website will live on long past the film series. “We would like to turn it into a place where people can find out about all that’s happening in the city,” Turner says.
The campaign kicked off this fall at the Milwaukee Film Festival, though the bulk of the project is just starting to roll out. There will be 12 films total, two released per month, throughout the next year. The films will also shed light on developments in business, natural resources and the arts and cultural scene.
Through his work, Jack hopes that Milwaukee and its filmmakers get the attention they deserve. He also credits Barry Poltermann and his companies About Face and Purple Onion, who are key in helping with production and edits for the Dear MKE project. There are currently two films on the site. See them, and hundreds of submissions from regular ol’ Milwaukeeans here.
And follow me on Twitter as @jkashou to stay on top of what's happening around town or search #GirlAboutTown.
Photos and video courtesy of Dear MKE.