Milwaukee Film to Host World Premiere of New Documentary, ‘Milwaukee 53206’

The much-discussed new documentary will have its world premiere in Milwaukee on June 14 at the Oriental Theatre in an event financed by County Executive Chris Abele and presented by Milwaukee Film.

At an astonishing 62 percent, Milwaukee’s 53206 zip code leads the nation with the highest rate of of African American men who have spent time in either jail or prison.

A new documentary will shed light on the area and what life is like for three local residents as they struggle through the experience of an incarcerated loved one.

Named Milwaukee 53206, the film debuts at 7 p.m. on June 14 at the Landmark Oriental Theatre. Immediately following the premiere will be a Q&A with filmmakers, the film’s subjects and community leaders featured in the film. 

Milwaukee Film Members, sponsors and select Milwaukee community groups will be offered free tickets to the premiere. The general public can request free tickets or more information by emailing by June 3.

Calling “the racial disparities that exist in jobs, housing, education, and health care throughout this city, and especially in the 53206 area,”  his highest priority, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is hoping the film takes a hard look at the issues facing residents there.

So much so, Abele — a co-founder and current board member of Milwaukee Film — is personally financing the documentary premiere.

“Everyone has heard the statistics, but statistics don’t tell the story. The people do,” he says. “By having Milwaukee Film host the world premiere of this new documentary, my hope is that more people can hear real stories from real people living the reality of those statistics and be moved to make a difference.”

The film’s director and producer, Keith McQuirter, hopes the film will “will offer an avenue for people to look deeper into the justice system and how it’s impacting families and communities, not just in the 53206 zip code, but across the nation,” he says. 

McQuirter is known for co-producing the five-part Peabody Award-winning and Prime Time Emmy-nominated docuseries Brick City for the Sundance Channel.

The film, which will screening throughout the nation later in 2016, explores the larger topic of mass incarceration.

Watch the trailer here.

For an in-depth look at the 53206 area, read Barbara Miner’s February 2015 feature story (which recently won the Milwaukee Press Club’s Gold award for Best Long Feature Story) on the neighborhood here.

The documentary screening is being hosted by Milwaukee Film, the nonprofit organization that produces the annual Milwaukee Film Festival, which is being held this year from Sept. 22 – Oct. 6. Find out more at



Based in his hometown of Madison, Steve is a freelance reporter and regular contributor to Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus and many other publications. During his undergraduate studies at UW-Milwaukee, he wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Shepherd Express. Now a graduate student at UW-Madison, he'll build on his 15 years of experience in print by focusing on multimedia reporting and data visualization.