Sunday, September 13, 2015

2015 Award Winning Films

What an incredible year, with 530+ submitted, 53 films picked and shown over Sept 11th and 12th, this is what won. We would like to thank all the filmmakers who took the time to send us their films because it was a difficult selection process, we would also like to thank the judges for doing the hard work. The scores were very close this year. We must thank our sponsors because without them there wouldn't be a festival. And much gratitude to Comedy Sportz for allowing us to be at their establishment when our venue, the Milwaukee Art Museum pulled our date. 

Also, credit must be given to MKE Production Rental for supplying us the AV equipment. Lastly, I must acknowledge those that assisted this weekend, our volunteers Jeff and Julie, our photographer Darianne Edwards, our Marketing Director Krystal Hardy, the hosts Natasha Nafrini, Mikal Floyd-Pruitt, Anthony Myers, our designer Stacy Callies, Glen Popple our tech guy, Bill Qurimbach the co-director and finally Rubin Whitmore II who pulled together our new program, Voices Heard. For the first time local multi-cultural filmmakers in our community have an outlet for their work. All in all a great year, with sell out shows on Friday and filled to capacity shows Saturday night. 
Here are this year's winners:


 This category had a tie.


Cast: JoLane Lentz, Amie Barsky, Carlo Ramierz, Paul Whittmann, Justin Wade, Kevin Larsen and Rajan Dharni


And our first Voices Heard event curated by Rubin Whitmore II had their own awards:

See you next year!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

MSFF 2015 Voices Heard Judges

We are pleased to announce the judges for our inaugural presentation of Voices Heard.


James Causey
(Journalist | JSOnline)


Dr. Demond Means
(Superintendent | Mequon/Theinsville School Dostrict)


George Tillman, Jr.
(Hollywood Director)


Marcia Wright Tillman
(Acting Coach)

Sierra Shea (Festival Coordinator | 48hr Film Project-Madison)

Dr. Chia Vang

(Professor UW-Milwaukee Hmong Cultural Studies)


Alma Velez

 (Corporate Development | American Heart Association)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2015 Judge: Craig A. Knitt

Craig A. Knitt is an award winning artist, filmmaker, teacher, performer, writer and creator who is current employment has him engaged in an exciting educational endeavor that is part of a national Arts-based pilot between the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Wallace Foundation. The past three years Craig has been a volunteer for the Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival where he's gotten the chance to se the festival from behind the scenes. He is also one of the founders of the Wildwood Film Festival, a festival dedicated to Wisconsin film talent. 

When Craig is not busy teaching visual art to the young artists of Green Bay he is busy creating film projects or performing Improvisational Comedy with ComedyCity - DePere and DinnerTime Comedy. He has many short and feature length concepts in the works and he hopes to develop a TV series that will be completely created using the resources of our fine state.

2015 Judge: Kathy Fehl

Kathy Fehl

She worked in New York during the eighties and half the nineties, writing and directing plays. Fourteen of her plays were produced in small theaters. She directed new works by John Ford Noonan, John Patrick Shanley, Katharine Houghton, and produced a play written and directed by John Sayles. She also directed classics including Brecht, Strindberg, Beckett, Joyce and Shakespeare. Kathy started an outdoor theater at the 79th Street Boat Basin, on the West side of Manhattan. The site looked out through arches at the Hudson River. 

Along with Ian Teal, Kathy wrote, directed and produced a feature film, Mint Julep (, featuring Angelica Page (Torn), David Morse, John Mezzacappa, Susan Aston and James Gandolfini. This was shot in North Carolina and New York, and edited in Wisconsin. In 2007 Fehl & Teal started Wega Arts and bought and began renovating the Gerold Opera House in Weyauwega, WI. The organization, at, is dedicated to developing new material in theater and film.

VOICES HEARD 2015: Death After Life

Death After Life by Rubin Whitmore II
Running Time: 10 minutes
Screening Time: Friiday, Sept 11th 8:30pm 

Race Drama/ Urban

Synopsis to follow.

Director's Bio:

Rubin was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a self-acknowledged public school kid. As an award winning filmmaker with over one hundred film projects, ranging from feature length documentaries to short format music videos. He grew up straddling the urban/suburban diversity of Milwaukee’s deep northwest side, which by the age of 13 inspired him to create a bunch of video shorts in various genres from suspense to westerns and sci-fi. Rubin believes in artistic freedom and shuns imposed censorship yet believes that media holds significant influence over the minds of many and hopes to encourage people to pursue their aspirations in media while molding media more responsibly. Active in the community he regularly works with at risk youth and the future mediamakers of tomorrow. While Rubin actively makes media, he is also is a media instructor and is completing his Masters of Fine Art in Digital Cinema at National University in California. If you ask him what he really does for a living he often says, raising his daughter, Nile.

VOICES HEARD 2015: Grass Between My Lips

Grass Between My Lips by Amardeep Kaleka
Milwaukee (MKE Premiere)
Running Time: 30 minutes
Screening Time: Friday, Sept 11th 8:30pm 

African/ Rural/ Young Adult 

More info to follow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

VOICES HEARD 2015: D for Dezire

D for Dezire by Bonnie Janelle
Milwaukee (MKE Premiere)
Running Time: 8 minutes
Screening Time: Friiday, Sept 11th 8:30pm 

Drama/ Adult/Urban

Dezire is a young man who learns early how to channel his energy in a positive manner by self teaching him self how to play drums and going against the rhythm of hearing his mother getting abused by his father.


Director's Bio:

Bonnie Janelle is a storyteller, telling your story her way. She was born in Philadelphia Pa and relocated to Milwaukee at an early age with her mother and two sisters. She soon discovered her love to use her imagination and create stories that made friends and family often ask for any new projects. The stories that she began to write were those of the many individuals she came into contact with on a daily basis. Winning a writing contest in Grade school led her to continue writing, which eventually made her want to write a screenplay. Bonnie embraces the essence of women and men who choose not to or cannot tell their story. Everyone has a story to tell and Bonnie Janelle loves to share the stories of those that do not have a voice.