A Music Lover’s Guide to the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival

Get ready, Milwaukee, because the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival is almost here! Beginning on Thursday, this year’s festival runs from October 17th-31st, with a whopping 350+ movies to choose from over six different venues. Fortunately, we’ve perused the schedule and have it narrowed down to the films (and other events) that you’ll want to check out if you’re a music fan.

Opening Night – “I Want My MTV”

Oh hey, that was quick. The opening film of the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival is music doc, “I Want My MTV”. The movie takes a look at the history of the music channel that changed the world, from its humble beginnings in 1981 to it’s current incarnation, featuring some of the biggest stars of the history of the channel. If you can’t make the opening night showing at the Oriental Theatre (10/17 at 7:00 PM), it’s also available (on standby) at the Broadway Theatre Center on 10/19 at 3:45 PM.

Sound Vision Program

A good place to start when you’re looking for the music programming is, well, the music program at the Milwaukee Film Festival, Sound Vision. Here’s this year’s titles from that category:

“Bluebird”
If you’ve been to Nashville, or even seen the show “Nashville”, you probably have heard of The Bluebird Cafe. The movie features a look into the country music hotbed, with performances from major names in the genre including Taylor Swift, Jason Isbell and more.

Showtimes: 10/18 – 3:45 PM (Times Cinema), 10/23 – 6:30 PM (Oriental Theater) (on standby only), 10/26 – 9:30 PM (Times Cinema)

“Carmine Street Guitars”
New York City has always been an epicenter of rock and roll, and “Carmine Street Guitars” takes a look at a unique aspect of the city’s Greenwich Village shop of the same name. The documentary looks at five days of owner Rick Kelly’s life, and his shop, which makes custom guitars from reclaimed wood. The movie also features appearances from Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and more.

Showtimes: 10/18 – 7:00 PM (Avalon Theater), 10/22 – 1:00 PM (Times Cinema), 10/25 – 1:00 PM (Rivoli Theatre)

“You Gave Me A Song: The Life And Music of Alice Gerrard”
In the folk music world, a proper celebration of Alice Gerrard is long overdue. This documentary looks at the singer/songwriter’s life, featuring recording footage, performances, and interviews with collaborators, you can get a glimpse into the fascinating life of this prolific artist.

Showtimes: 10/19 – 6:30 PM (Rivoli Theatre), 10/21 – 1:00 PM (Oriental Theater), 10/26 – 4:00 PM (Avalon Theater)

“Mystify: Michael Hutchence”
The late INXS frontman is profiled in this unique documentary, which chronicles his rise to fame and quick downfall with archival footage, home movies, and without interviews. Narrated by friends and collaborators, the world of pop stardom in the late 80’s comes to life from a new perspective.

Showtimes: 10/19 – 9:00 PM (Rivoli Theatre), 10/26 – 6:30 PM (Times Cinema), 10/31 – 1:00 PM (Times Cinema)

“Who Let The Dogs Out”
Yes, this film looks at The Baha Men’s inescapable one-hit wonder from 2000. However, there was much more than meets the eye to the annoyingly catchy single. Get the full story, with legal issues, inspirations, and the influence that the song had all within an hour-long doc.

Showtimes: 10/21 – 3:45 PM (Jan Serr Studio Cinema), 10/27 – 3:45 PM (Times Cinema), 10/28 – 6:30 PM (Oriental Theatre)

“Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind”
A profile of another icon, Gordon Lightfoot discusses his lengthy tenure at the top of folk music. This includes discussion of the the one song that he absolutely refuses to play, as well as a host of memories from throughout his career. You’ve likely heard his music in some form, and now you can get his story as well.

Showtimes: 10/22 – 1:30 PM (Oriental Theatre), 10/24 8:00 PM (Rivoli Theatre), 10/29 – 1:00 (Times Cinema)

“Mr. Jimmy”
Akio Sakurai isn’t your average novelty/tribute act. A lifelong Led Zeppelin fan, Sakurai became obsessed with Jimmy Page specifically, creating a tribute act over 35 years that is utterly his own. When his idol caught wind of what he was doing, it creates a whole new adventure. In addition, Akio will be in attendance for the October 29th screening!

Showtimes: 10/23 – 9:30 PM (Broadway Theatre Center), 10/29 – 7:15 PM (Oriental Theatre)

Milwaukee Music on the Big Screen

Yes, there is a pair of local music offerings making their way to the Milwaukee Film Festival as well. One is a celebration of the city’s music scene, and another features a unique look at a local-based controversy.

The Milwaukee Music Video Show
Local music gets a chance to shine in this program, which features back-to-back music videos from Milwaukee creatives, including clips from Twan Mack and Solana, Amanda Huff, Fuzzysurf, Violent Femmes and more.

Showtimes: 10/20 – 8:30 PM (Oriental Theatre)

“Plucked”
The other local music-related offering chronicles a controversy surrounding the stolen Stradivarius violin from Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra violinist Frank Almond in 2014. The $5 million dollar violin was on loan when Almond was attacked and robbed, and the movie looks at the FBI attempt to get it back into the right hands.

Showtimes: 10/22 – 6:45 PM (Broadway Theatre Center), 10/25 – 9:15 PM (Oriental Theatre)

Other Categories

Outside of the Sound Vision program, there’s still a host of music-related pieces to check out throughout the run of the Milwaukee Film Festival. Don’t miss some of these titles:

“Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool”
What’s there to say about Miles Davis that hasn’t been said already? The jazz legend is profiled in this documentary full of stories, with a smooth, artistic feel to it. Combined with the music of Davis himself, this one will make you feel good coming out of it.

Showtimes: 10/22 – 9:00 PM (Times Cinema), 10/27 – 5:00 PM (Oriental Theatre), 10/31 – 6:30 PM (Oriental Theatre)

“The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion”
Hip hop has transcended beyond a musical genre into a true lifestyle. With an emphasis on the style portion of things, the movie looks at the influence that hip hop has had on fashion over the past 40 years.

Showtimes: 10/24 – 6:30 PM (Jan Serr Studio Cinema), 10/31 – 4:00 PM (Oriental Theatre)

“Bakosó: Afrobeats De Cuba”
If you’re a fan of Cuban music, or even the contemporary music that is now currently trending full of Afrobeat influence, this movie may be of interest. DJ Jigüe showcases the history of the genre, as well as where the music is headed

Showtimes: 10/26 – 7:00 PM (Avalon Theater)

“Stop Making Sense”
While it is an annual showing, Milwaukee Film honors arguably the best concert film of all time, with Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense”. If you’ve never seen the concert film from Jonathan Demme, this is your chance to sing and dance along with the film on the big screen.

Showtimes: 10/26 – 8:30 PM (Oriental Theatre)

Live Music!

Last but certainly not least, there’s a plethora of parties and non-film events around the Milwuakee Film Festival. That includes plenty of live music, from both Milwaukee and international artists.

“Afrobeatz: ¡Baila Con Buya!”
In addition to the showing of “Bakosó: Afrobeats De Cuba”, Cuban music star DJ Jigüe and Chicago act Bomba con Buya will be taking the stage at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee on Saturday, October 26th at 9:00 PM for a special post-movie performance.

Film Festival Soundtrack Series at Hacienda Brewing Co.

In addition to all of the movies and events happening at the Milwaukee Film Festival’s locations, Hacienda Brewing Co. is offering up local music nightly with the Film Festival Soundtrack series at their North Avenue location. Check out the lineup here:

10/18 Rx Drugs / Lex Allen
10/19 Klassik / Immortal Girlfriend
10/20 Retoro / Indonesian Junk / Mortgage Freeman
10/21 Ms. Lotus Fankh / Nickel & Rose
10/22 MKE Film Fest: Hip Hop ft. Cine Sin Fronteras
10/23 Devil Met Contention / Social Caterpillar
10/24 MKE Film Fest: Black Lens ft. Doc B
10/25 No No Yeah Okay / L’Resorts
10/26 IshDARR / Paper Holland
10/27 MKE Film Fest: Miles Davis Tribute ft. Lesser Lakes
10/28 Midnight Purchase / Brat Sounds
10/29 LUXI / Amanda Huff
10/30 Coyote Brother / Hughes Family Band
10/31 Seasaw / Surgeons in Heat

For even more information about the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival, please visit their official website. See you around the city!

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