An upcoming film festival in Milwaukee could inspire some much-needed conversation. The Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival stages its first screening, Thursday, Feb. 26 at UW-Milwaukee’s Union Theatre. The first annual festival, founded by the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition (MMWC), is set to be one of the largest, and one of the only events of its kind.
Five films have been selected to platform the voices often maligned or ignored by the general public. While the selections address stunning topics, the President of the MMWC, Janan Najeeb, expects audiences will find the films more entertaining than preachy
“The point is to generate discussion,” Najeeb says. “Too often has the conversation about Islam antagonized Muslims.”
The festival’s ambition is sincere; every film will be followed by an optional post-screening talk back. Filmmakers for the Wednesday, March 11 and Thursday, March 12 screenings, “Yemeniettes,” have agreed to fly in to Milwaukee to contribute to the conversation. Their documentary follows a group of young Yemeni girls entering a male dominated competition to the support of their conservative community. Najeeb recalls the film as “meaningful” and looks forward to its reception.
A fan of film festivals in her own right, Najeeb wanted to make the 1st Annual Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival as effective as possible. She realized that one week was not enough time for audiences to see all of the film. Rather than cramming the films into a short time at a single location, the MMFF has opted to spread across the city over nine weeks. Think “film series” over “film festival.”
The MMWC hopes the multiple venues and extended schedule will allow more people to attend the festival. Films will be screened at the Union Theatre, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the “ornamental” Oriental Theatre on the Cream City’s East Side.
Tickets to all screenings are $6 to the general public. UWM students will be offered free admission at all Union Theatre screenings.
“The Return to Homs”
- Thursday, February 26, 7 p.m., UWM Union Theatre
- Sunday, March 1, 5:30 p.m., Milwaukee Art Museum
- Wednesday, March 11, 7 p.m., Oriental Theatre
- Thursday, March 12, 7 p.m., UWM Union Theatre
“Abd El Kader”
- Thursday, March 26, 7 p.m., Oriental Theatre
- Thursday, April 2, 7 p.m., UWM Union Theatre
- Wednesday, April 8, 7 p.m., Oriental Theatre
“The Wanted 18”
- Wednesday, April 15, 7 p.m., Oriental Theatre
- Thursday, April 23, 7 p.m., UWM Union Theatre