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As part of its nationally renowned Black Lens program, Milwaukee Film will once again devote film and event offerings in February to celebrate Black voices, culture, and experiences for Black History Month, presented by Northwestern Mutual, the nonprofit announced on Tuesday.
Six feature screenings, two shorts programs, and four unique events that showcase the Black experience will be available in-person for participants to engage with.
From a local film showcase and networking social for Black creatives to kick off the month off to a weekend conversation with wellness influencer Shelah Marie of Love & Hip-Hop Miami, an alluring documentary featuring Black icon Arthur Ashe, and the Milwaukee premiere of “The Loyola Project,” there is something for everyone.
“I know it sounds cliché, but this year, our fourth Black History Month celebration, is special,” said Geraud Blanks, Chief Innovation Officer for Milwaukee Film. “In 2021 the program was virtual, so to be back in person, with all we are dealing with as a community, while challenging, feels more significant than ever.”
Tickets are officially on sale for individual films and shorts programs starting Tuesday, January 11. Prices are $12 for the general public or $9 for Milwaukee Film Members. More information on tickets for Black History Month films, and details on events is available at mkefilm.org/bhm.
Black History Month program films include:
Zola • The One and Only Dick Gregory • Citizen Ash • Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America • The Loyola Project • Sankofa • “Black Love Through a Black Lens” shorts • “Family Matters” shorts
Black History Month event highlights include:
- The Creative Collective: A film showcase, panel discussion, and networking experience – Tuesday, Feb. 1: Focused on the intrinsic relationship between ingenuity and imagination, Black History Month kicks off with a panel discussion featuring local Black creatives and entrepreneurs, followed by a brief engagement activity that fosters connection for artists of all sectors of the city.
- “Black Love through a Black Lens: The Honest Truth” with Shelah Marie and Dr. Kristen Warner – Saturday, Feb. 12: Known for her role on the VH1 reality show Love & Hip Hop, Shelah Marie is the founder/CEO of The Curvy, Curly, Conscious movement. Joined in conversation by associate professor in the College of Communication and Information Sciences’ department of journalism, Dr. Kristen Warner, Shelah Marie reflects on her time on Love & Hip Hop, as well as portrayals of Black women in media more broadly. The two will further delve into inspiring topics of healing and wellness pertinent to all women, such as body positivity, self-love, and self- care throughout the evening.
- Black R&B Film Trivia followed by 80s/90s R&B night – Friday, Feb. 18: Test your knowledge of 80s and 90s Black film and culture in friendly competition with other “know-it-alls” for the chance to win an assortment of great prizes. After trivia, we keep the vibe, and nostalgia, going with our 80s/90s R&B dance party.
- Post “Sankofa” screening Reception – America’s Black Holocaust Museum Founder’s Day celebration – Saturday, Feb. 26: Following the screening of Sankofa, join Black Lens for a conversation and reception in the renovated and reimagined America’s Black Holocaust Museum. This is an INVITE ONLY event.
This year’s robust Black History Month program builds on the work of Milwaukee Film’s Black Lens program, which has presented films and events featuring Black filmmakers and community leaders since 2014. In 2019, Milwaukee Film established its Cultures and Communities initiative to engage the entire community in the nonprofit’s mission and programs, including Black Lens.
In addition to the presenting sponsorship from Northwestern Mutual, Black History Month programming is presented with widespread corporate and community support, including from the following organizations: Kohl’s, Molson Coors, Cuna Mutual, WE Energies Foundation, and UWM Student Union Sociocultural Programming.