How to Have Your Best Milwaukee Film Fest

What you should, and shouldn’t, do to make the most of your film festival experience.



DON’T be afraid to take a chance on something you wouldn’t normally see. Expanding your horizons is part of the experience.
DO use the handy guide from MFF (it groups the films into categories like “Cream City Cinema” and “Black Lens”) to make your picks.
DON’T talk during the films themselves. No one’s interested in your color commentary, witty as it may be.
DO participate in at least one of the many talkbacks and Q&A sessions. You’ll probably learn something, and might chat up a future star.
DON’T show up late, even if you already have a ticket. Fifteen minutes before each show, open seats are offered up to the hordes outside.
DO buy your tickets ahead of time. Last year, more than 100 screenings sold out.

Stream Queens

Some of the most critically acclaimed films shown at the festival in years past are now available online. Here are three editors’ picks – find even more streaming recs here: 7 Former Milwaukee Film Festival Flicks that You Can Stream Right Now.

film stills courtesy of Milwaukee Film

AlphaGo, 2007

Available on: Netflix
100% fresh
In this poignant documentary, the world’s best Go player faces off against the world’s most sophisticated AI.

The Act of Killing, 2013

Available on: Amazon Prime
96% fresh
This disturbing but beautiful documentary follows an Indonesian death squad leader set on becoming a movie star.

Blue Valentine, 2010

Available on: Netflix
87% fresh
Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling deliver performances that elevate this gripping drama about a failing marriage.

The Act of Killing
Blue Valentine

Highlight Reel

Four of our top picks for flicks showing at this year’s festival

film stills courtesy of Milwaukee Film

Science Fair

If you see only one film at the festival this year, make it this opening-night documentary about high school science prodigies. Director and Milwaukee native Cristina Costantini wowed audiences at Sundance earlier this year.

The Little Woods

Set in a fracking boomtown in South Dakota, this harrowing drama by first-time filmmaker Nia DaCosta follows the story of two down-and-out sisters struggling to save their mother’s home from foreclosure.

Personal Statement

The three teenage subjects of this documentary are committed to coaching every member of their Brooklyn high school class through the college application process.


German auteur Christian Petzold’s film about the horrors of the Holocaust is so shocking because it’s set in contemporary Europe, drawing easy parallels between past and present human rights atrocities.

Science Fair
The Little Woods
Personal Statement

“Have your best fest” appears in the October 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning Oct. 1, or buy a copy at

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.