2013 MSFF Archive

The Longest running Milwaukee film festival that supports Milwaukee filmmakers is back!
Date: Oct, 25th and 26th, 2013
Location: Lubar Auditorium. Milwaukee Art Museum.
The Milwaukee Short Film Festival is proud to also say that the home of the festival is a Milwaukee landmark, The Milwaukee Art Museum's Lubar Auditorium situated in the world famous Calatrava. Located on Milwaukee's lakefront area.
Our Goal: To spotlight emerging artists, and give a focus to Midwest filmmakers. Created by local and independent filmmakers, the Milwaukee Short Film Festival is proud to provide local talent with a venue for their work to be seen. Through community support, we are able to put on this festival every year. 
Named "Best Local Festival" by

Session 1: Friday 10/25  6:30pm
Ages 16 and up.
Susan Kerns & Dan Wilson
2013 Pace-setter Honorees
Plus Milwaukee Premieres of Milwaukee Films.
A World of Difference
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Gerald Guthrie (Ill)
'A World of Difference' is a digital animation that moves us along a bumpy path through Space and Time to discover Truth, Perfection and Meaning.
Girls Season 38
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Gail Lerner (L.A.)
Same girls, same problems... forty years later. This satirical valentine to Lena Dunham's groundbreaking HBO series stars original SNL cast member Laraine Newman, as well as Wendi Malick, Mindy Sterling, Sally Kemp, Martin Starr, and Sarah Wright. Written, Directed, and Produced by Gail Lerner.
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Lasse Lorenzen (Denmark)
In a remote place in the not so distant past a family sits down for dinner. In this bleak Scandinavian tableau the children will learn the true meaning of life. Even though the harsh father looms over the silent room, the children's primitive thirst for color and fun punctures the prudent atmosphere. 

Hurricane Bonnie
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Linda Cieslik (MKE)
The story of two thirty-something brothers with issues that have been partially buried in the sands of time. Their mom also known as Hurricane Bonnie, recently passed away and both of them are having a hard time dealing with that and with themselves.
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Tony Porter (MKE)

A colorblind handyman born inside a melting snow globe tires to escape after finding schematics for a prototype rocket.

For More Info:

It Was Wonderful
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Timothy DeWitt (Racine)

A man remembers the life and love he once had.
Rock Doc: Die Kreuzen
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Bill Schulz & Gary Porter (MKE)
The reunited band Die Kreuzen is the subject of a special Tap Milwaukee Rock Doc project which chronicles the rise, fall and rebirth of the band.

For More Info:

Spaghetti für Zwei
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Matthias Rosenberger (Germany)

The likeable but lonesome man is on his way to lunch. Awaiting him, the outside world lurks menacingly: in his imagination it swarms with would-be crooks, hussies and criminals. What should have been a routine stroll develops into a dark odyssey, triggering a troubled conflict against himself and against the world... and ultimately, it is the underdog who is victorious.
Love You Still
Directed by Michael Viers

John's memories of young love haunt his waking hours. Did he lose the love of his life, or did he lose his mind?

(This film is being screened as part of the Pace-setter presentation for honoree Susan Kerns)

Q/A with attending filmmakers will follow.

The Wayward Sun
by Jozef K. Richards

Three friends (Wren, Chaz, and Hahn), on a drug and booze-fueled road trip to Puerto Viaje, Mexico, run into big trouble when they flip their car in the remote Sonoran Desert. Hahn is killed in the accident, and Wren and Chaz must decide whether to follow the road 35 miles to the nearest town, or follow their compass on a 17 mile shortcut through the desert.
Starring: Emma Bernhoft, Jozef K. Richards, Emily Pohl, F. Justin Horton & Bruce Spielbauer
The Wayward Sun will be a special presentation during the 15th Annual Milwaukee Short Film Festival on Friday October 25th at the Lubar Auditoriun, Milwaukee Art Museum.
After Party to follow at:
924 East Juneau Avenue

2013 Judges:
Dan Laske: Recognizing the importance of Arts and Culture to local economic development and over all quality of life, Dan Laske founded the Southeastern Wisconsin Arts Guild in 2010. Dan developed S.W.A.G as afoundational resource to help promote growth in the arts and cultural
communities, in any economic climate, through expanded relationships with stakeholders.

Today, the Southeastern WI Arts Guild is a highly
regarded partner for arts and business organizations that seek to expand theiraudience, promote their programs, and develop strategic ties with individuals, non-profits and businesses throughout the region. As its head, Dan is apassionate community builder and arts advocate
and thrives on introducing new audiences to the great
arts and cultural attractions of southeast Wisconsin.
Dick Grunert is an independent writer, producer and director in Los Angeles, CA. He was born in Milwaukee and raised in Cedarburg, WI. He Studied film/video at Columbia College-Chicago, where he graduated in 1996. The next year, he moved to LA in pursuit of his life long dream. In 2003, he co-wrote the Farelly Brothers produced short film, T For Terrorist starring Tony Shalhoub. The comedy about stereotypes in Hollywood played at numerous festivals and won awards in New York and San Francisco.
Grunert's short film, Birthright played at the 2008 Atlanta Horror Film Festival, and he is also resurrecting radio drama with his podcast, Dead of Night Radio. The show is an anthology of original horror stories written by Grunert and starring some of LA's most talented voice actors. Visit www.deadofnightradio.blogspot.com to listen to the show. Currently, Grunert works on the hit Cartoon Network series, Adventure Time.
Jon Kline is a director, cinematographer, and photographer, raised in the Midwest. His years of experience stretch from feature films and shorts to no-budget viral web videos. In 2013, he founded Milwaukee's first DSLR rental house for filmmakers, MKE Production Rental, with the goal of empowering Milwaukee filmmakers to tell more compelling stories. He lives in Wauwatosa with his wife, Anna.
J. Sibley Law, Founder and CEO of Saxon Mills, is the creator of twenty online television series ranging from cooking shows and animation series to political spoofs and scripted narratives and everything in between. One of the first YouTube Partners (ever), he is an Official Honoree of the Webby Awards and he regularly creates commercials for broadcast. Additionally, he co-founded the NYC Writers Group for the International Academy of Web Television (IAWTV), where he also serves as Chairman of the Board. His book, Streaming Media Delivery in Higher Education is available on IGI Global. His articles about the online video industry can be read in various industry publications. Additionally, he is a co-founder of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival (now called Festival Stratford) in Connecticut and was its executive producer from 2005-2010. In addition to all this, he has been a management consultant for Fortune 500 companies since 2000. In this role he has worked with top-level executive management and line producers in every major industry segment for hundreds of the world’s most profitable companies.

The films are judged on the three merits of:
  • technical skill
  • artistic representation
  • entertainment value.
The judges rank each film and then return the scores to be tallied by the film fest directors. The judges also consider the cast of each film for Best Actor/Actress/Ensemble Award.

The Audience Favorite film is picked by the audience on the closing night of the festival. The votes are tabulated and the film awarded that evening.

Each year we do our best to get industry professionals from Los Angeles and the Milwaukee area to jury the films. Previous judges were Mark Metcalf (Animal House, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Zack Ward (A Christmas Story, Transformers), Uwe Boll (Postal, House of the Dead) Timothy J. Lonsdale (Speed, Species) and David Streit (Jurassic Park III, River's Edge) .

Session 6: Saturday 10/26  7pm
Ages 16 and up.
Night in A Hotel
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Daniel Kontur (UK)
James seeks nothing more than to make his young son happy. The boy's obsession with getting waved back from the morning train affects his otherwise happy childhood.

James sets off to the nearby town to take the morning train but meets a mysterious old stranger in a hotel the night before.

Le Train Bleu
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Stephanie Assimacopoulo (France)
Paris - Gare De Lyon. Elie behaves as a true bounder, Selena, evermore in love, still wants to pick up the pieces. At the bar of 'Le Train Bleu', where they stop to have a last drink, neither one cannot imagine what will happen ...

This is Stephanie Assimacopoulo's first film as a writer, prooducer and director.
Melon Head
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Andy Fortenbacher (NY)
Gordon is infatuated with Wendy but can’t figure out how to win her over. After receiving some god-awful advice that women are turned on by things that scare them, Gordon sets out to take Wendy on the most terrifying date of her life: a late night trip into the woods where cannibalistic creatures known as the “Melon Heads” are rumored to live.

Mitt Forra Liv (My Past Life)
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Sebastian Linblad (Sweden)
What you don't know wont hurt you?

Directed by Jaclyn Tyler Poeschl (MKE)
'Sometimes' is a surreal tale of love and it's ever changing presence in our modern culture, as told through 1950's French cinema. A young woman finds love, loses it, and finds it again in 90 seconds. This gain and loss of 'true love' represents the fickle, lightning flash obsessions of the Information Age.

Atlantic Avenue
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Laure de Clermont (France)
How a seventeen year-old determined girl in a wheelchair encounters love through a young antisocial male prostitute.
by Ryan Bloomquist (MKE)
"With blood on his hands, a missing client, and a knock at the door, average carpenter, Michael McDugan, struggles to find out the truth before time runs out."


Time 2 Split
(Milwaukee Premiere)
by Fabrice Bracq (France)
Last year Fabrice won "Artistic Acheivement" for his film Split Time, the year he's back with his new film.

The Cucaranchula
Directed by Kate Balsey (WI)
A story between a young writer, a pompous critic, and a mysterious little creature known as...The Cucaranchula.

Mason Jelly Jar
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Van Campbell III (MKE)
In this short narrative film, two characters live at two different speeds, albeit with the same lifestyle. One searches for the fix, always and forever linked to the next rush, while the other surfaces from being underneath the influence, just long enough to feel like a normal human being without the calamities of a life in abuse. His life is regret, and her life is shame.

From The Darkness Theatre
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Michael Viers (MKE)
A short film in development by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student Michael Viers that shines a light on the private life of a local television personality that reveals dingy theaters, old movies, and sinful actions.
Q/A with attending filmmakers will follow.
After Party to follow at:
924 East Juneau Avenue
Session 2: Saturday 10/26  12pm
Ages 16 and up.
Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music 
and The Exclusive Company‏ present:
The Librarian and The Banjo
Directed by Jim Carrier (MKE)
The true story of music librarian Dena Epstein who spent 25 years documenting the musical contributions of Africans slaves to the New World. Her classic work shattered stereotypes and prejudices, legitimized the study of America’s biracial musical roots, proved that the banjo was a slave invention, and sparked a revival of black string band music. The film zooms from tranquil libraries to lively stages where banjos twang 300 years after slaves brought the instrument here. The film features Grammy-winning performers Bela Fleck, Eric Weissberg, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Session 3: Saturday 10/26  1:15pm
Ages 16 and up.
Bishtar Az Do Saat (More Than Two Hours)
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Ali Asgari (Iran)
It’s 3 AM, a boy and a girl are wandering in the city.they are looking for a hospital to cure the girl, but it is much harder than they thought.
To Dream Away
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Si En Tan (Singapore)
An ordinary office worker grows disillusioned with his tedious life. The ocean offers a metaphysical release that tempts him.
Lean on Me
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Gavin Butler (Ireland)

Dan is suicidal and turns to his best friend for assistance - but how far does a best friend go to help?
Le Herisson De Verre  
(The Glass Hedgehog)
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Jean-Sebastien Bernard (France)

Summer 1955. The sun shines brightly on a bucolic landscape sprinkled with poppies. Persephone, a young beautiful and mysterious woman lays in this sparkling field of blood-red. The sunbeams caress her smiling face. A moment of happiness that nothing seems to be disturbing.
For More Info:
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Miguel Najera (Mexico)
Young Maria will have a last chance to say goodbye to her lover.
To Hell, With Love
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Gavin Michael Booth (Canada)

Dr. Desai is desperate to prove the existence of an afterlife. Unfortunately for one feisty prostitute, Cheri, his obsession will become her nightmare in a battle for survival.
Junggesellin (Bachelorette)
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Anna Linke (Germany)
The bachelorette Stefanie is a young woman who, at 26 years old, has not yet managed to live in an environment in which she can truly be herself. At home in the back country, everybody tries to find a man for the last bachelorette in the village, who is not thrilled about this at all.
蜜月套房 (Honeymoon Suite)
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Zao Wang (China)
A hotel in Beijing, China, forgets to feed its monstrous and angry guest from America. But one brave Chinese woman from the staff stands out to tame the beast.... But little does she know that the American guest is not what he appears to be at all.

For More Info:

Q/A with attending filmmakers will follow.


Session 4: Saturday 10/26  3:15pm
Ages 16 and up.
Donna Ray
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Omar McClinton (Ill)
This is the day in the life story of DONNA RAY, a woman that works as a social worker for the DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) that must put her life back together after a bitter divorce all while raising her son by herself, training a new partner, working under her boss, the woman that stole her husband away from her in the first place and delicately attempt to complete the placement of a special young woman, who’s love for her mother and refusal to leave her side, puts not only herself at risk from her mother’s abusive boyfriend, but jeopardizes the safety of everyone involved.
White Carpet
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Jordan Fein (New York)
Play housewife with Mindy as she is indoctrinated into a world of kitchenware, jewelry parties and deceit.
Why Fly - A Hot Air Affair
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Roger Bindl (WI)
John Trione, a hot air balloon pilot, goes through the process of flying hot air balloons... the setup, flying, competition, comradery, and in the cold.
Directed by Vassi Slavova (MKE)
While inspecting a building under foreclosure a realtor gets the surprise of her life.
Unknown Caller
Directed by Matthew Huebsch (MKE)
Submitted for the 2013 Milwaukee 48-Hour Film Project. A man receives mysterious texts from a potentially dangerous source, and the clock is ticking if he hopes to stop the plans of the unknown caller.
Gun Point
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Darby Kern (WI)
Chad and Amy owe Floyd money and he is bad news. Even though they are in quite a jam they have plans to straighten out their lives even if it involves guns.

Super Fun Sunshine Gun
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Craig A Knitt (WI)
An unhappy reader rests in a park until a helpful stranger enters and tries to cheer him up.
Once An Afternoon
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Tony Oliveras (MKE)
Ryan (Daniel Hass) and his mentor Bill (Matthew Nichols),are on a mission to visit the home of a family who has been looking after a young girl named 'Ellie' (Allison Chicorel). Ellie is considered to be the missing 'gift', taken long ago from a powerful man.
While it Lasts
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Marc Kornblatt (WI)
At 81, Jamie Ross, a retired art professor lives in a falling down studio crammed with his own work and thousands of objects he has collected over the decades. His current passion is rescuing intriguingly shaped tree limbs from his wood pile and turning them into finely polished shapes adorned with some of his favorite words, such as 'seemlessness.' One rain-soaked afternoon, as water drips from the ceiling, he shares his thoughts on the meaning of art and his own mortality.
Q/A with attending filmmakers will follow.

Session 5: Saturday 10/26  5:15pm
Ages 16 and up.
to Buy Tickets:
People Aren't All Bad
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Matthew Hashiguchi (OH)
Born in San Francisco in 1924, Yutaka Kobayashi endured many obstacles in life. As a young boy he was labeled stupid by his teacher for refusing to learn Japanese. Later, after his high school graduation and at the start of World War II, his attempts to enlist in the US Army were refused because of his Japanese heritage. Then, in 1942 he was sent to the Topaz Japanese American Internment Camp. Surprisingly, it was during this dark period in his life that he experienced compassion and kindness from where he least expected it, a gun tower guard from within the Topaz Japanese American Internment Camp.

Yutaka now lives in Newton, Masschusetts, with his wife.

For More Info:


(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Adriane Little (MI)
By origin, the word temenos is used to mark sacred space that encourages or creates shelter for disclosure and discovery. This act of revealing can be towards another or inward and beyond a physical sense of place. Playing off the idea of death as 'six feet under', Temenos creates a space six feet up. Within a spatial awareness of temenos, exists kairos or the unstructured time of personal insight and growth. Combined, temenos and kairos create place and time for ritual, meditation, mourning, psychic disruption and renewal.
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Sabrina Doyle (L.A.)
Los Angeles, the hottest day of the year. A Mexican migrant worker struggles to operate a heavy jackhammer. He wipes his brow with his bandana, and watches enviously as restaurant patrons sup champagne in nearby shade. Stoical, he continues working, but the heat and dust just get more and more oppressive. Relief comes in the form of a prayer. A prayer to Tlaloc, the Aztec rain deity. The weather breaks, and rainwater pours down from the heavens. The restaurant patrons rush indoors, while the worker carries on working, cooled and joyful. Tlaloc smiles, pleased at his work.
Directed by F-Stop Won (MKE)
A solitary, slightly enchanted artist spends his time creating whatever comes into his mind in his workshop in the woods. Although his creations bring him great satisfaction, he makes no attempt to present them to the world, he is content to simply surround himself with the objects of his making.
He's unaware that, as his creations come to fruition, his ideas go out into the collective consciousness and provide inspiration to the unsuspecting.
Into the Tangerine Parlor
Directed by Vito Valenti (WI)

A man on the verge of despair spontaneously resorts to introspection and finds a way to transcendence and liberation.

For More Info:


Coffee or Tea
Directed by Lucien Jung (MKE)
Zany party girl Britney sets up her sexually confused ex-boyfriend Matt on his first gay date with kooky club kid Richie. Awkward first impressions lead to outright hostility. But Britney is a girl who always gets her way and what she wants is for these boys to give love a chance.
A Hard Life
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Rubin Whitmore II (MKE)
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Matt Troge (WI)
Catalyst is a story of searching for lost love. In the aftermath of ending their relationship with their significant other, Vince and Brooke search for the right way to cope with themselves and their future after Brooke receives some heartbreaking poems written by Vince. They decide to meet in order to discuss where they will go from there, and just what exactly went wrong in the relationship.
Six Letter Word
(Milwaukee Premiere) 
Directed by Lisanne Sartor (L.A.)
“Six Letter Word” is about down-on-her-luck, devoted single mom, Zoe who writes off her young son Jax’s crossword puzzle obsession to genius until an unexpected encounter makes her realize that Jax has autism and needs much more than she alone can give him.
Hide and Go Seek
(Milwaukee Premiere)
Directed by Eli Hayes (MKE)
Once someone is lost, the only thing left to do is find them.

Two sisters drive up to their cabin in northern Wisconsin, where they discover a mysterious tree while playing a game of hide and go seek. Suddenly, they become separated; in order to win the game, they must reunify.
Q/A with attending filmmakers will follow.

Session 7: Saturday 10/26  9pm
Zombie Frat House preview
Ages 16 and up.
A look at the newest feature film shot in Milwaukee, with an epic size cast of over 40 speaking parts, and 80 zombies.
Meet the cast and crew of this film.
It'll be followed by a presentation of
Starring Bai Ling, Cyn Dulay and Robert WC Kennedy. 
Directed by Ross Bigley