Monday, September 19, 2011

Time to put on your monkey suit!

Milwaukee Film Fest Opening Night Party
Red carpet, Milwaukee style.
by: Jenna Kashou 

This Thursday’s Milwaukee Film Fest Opening night party at Discovery World is probably the closest Milwaukee will get to the red-carpet glamour of Hollywood. So, dress to impress, people.

The party goes from 8:30 p.m.–1 a.m.,
so if you plan on seeing the opening night film, Natural Selection (7 p.m. at the Oriental Theatre), don’t fret, you won’t miss any of the party. This year, organizers of the festival are kicking it up a notch to make it the signature celebration of the festival. A potpourri of performances will highlight individual films and reflect elements of this year’s festival.

In the Radio Milwaukee Sound Travels Tent, DJ Marcus Doucette will spin ‘60s music from France and India throughout the night. At 10:45 p.m., Sex & Cigarettes will ooze sultry French pop in honor of the ‘60s French music legend Serge Gainsbourg and the spotlight film Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life. Actually, the band is forming for this one performance only and is comprised of Milwaukee musicians you might have heard of: William Seidel (Decibully), Ryan Schleicher (Juniper Tar), Fran Switalski (The Flips), Austin Dutmer (Jaill), Jason Todd (Def Harmonic) and Matthew Gorski (Fresh Cut Collective). New York-based DJ Rekha will close the night with a Bhangra hip-hop dance party (yes, please) calling attention to the festival’s Passport: India program.

The Great Lakes Room
will feature The Brew City Bombshells Burlesque at 10 p.m. – a nod to the closing night film, On Tour, and a Beauty Bar by Neroli should make you feel inclined to mimic their sassy Hollywood glamour.

In The Pilot House, check out DJ Dori Zori from WMSE as she hosts soundtrack trivia and screens trailers of films from the fest in the preview theatre, complete with hot, buttery popcorn. Also on display and available for sale will be eight limited-edition screen printed posters made by Milwaukee artists Kari Couture of Redline and Eric Hancock, Eric Von Munz, Dwellephant, Alyssa Schulte, Orchard Street Press and Francisco Ramirez of Bureau of Print Research and Design.

“There are so many amazing artists in Milwaukee and everyone’s willing to help out, so I asked all artists to pick a film and make a poster for it,” says Ghazal Sheei, party coordinator. “Even better, they were generous enough to donate the proceeds to Milwaukee Film.”

There were roughly 1,000 people in attendance last year and Sheei hopes for even more this year. “But it really isn’t a matter of how many people, it’s about the quality of the event and that people walk away having the best Thursday night possible,” she says. “That’s what I am focusing on.”

And in true Hollywood fashion, there will be (local) celebrities, film producers, actors and maybe a professional athlete or two – though no specific names have been revealed.

Your $20 ticket (or $10 with stub from opening film or FREE if you have a festival pass) gets you complimentary appetizers from Bartolotta Catering & Events and two free drinks from MillerCoors and Bacardi. Buy tickets online or at the door.