2009 MSFF Archive

Date:  September 11th - 13th, 2009 
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

 Friday, September 11th, 2009
Opening Night 
Location:The Eisner Museum of Advertising and Design.
The Pace-setter Award
This year the Milwaukee Independent Film Society (MIFS) has established the Pace-setter Award. This award is bestowed upon persons that are dedicated to advancing filmmaking in Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Independent Film Society has chosen to honor Kathy Fischer and Mark Metcalf with the Milwaukee Independent Film Society Pace-Setter Award. This award is given to mark their accomplishments and 
advancement of film in the Milwaukee area.
Basket Bronx (Spain)
by Martin Rosete
Alex is an African-American kid from the Bronx who dreams of playing basketball as his idols. However, the gang of older guys in the neighborhood keep reminding him that he cannot. One day Kiat, a newly arrived Chinese girl, appears in his life and using some Zen philosophy teaches him to overcome his fears, to enjoy life as much as possible and to stop worrying about his results.

The Anchorite (Atlanta, GA)
by Matthew Maloney
This moving mural is a dream-like account of an artist struggling with his painting. It is a visual poem designed to portray the inner emotional state, drawing from surrealism and the fading mythology of the United States superpower.
FOT- The Next Big Thing (New Zealand)
by Alex Dorn & Rhys Darby
FOT ‘the next big thing’ is a short animated collaboration between director Alex Dron and comedian/actor Rhys Darby (of Flight of the Conchords fame). FOT is a little ginger nutter who’s lofty footballing ambitions drastically outweigh his talent. This poor little fella really thinks he's quite the buff babe magnet. Unfortunately for him, he's just not cut out for the athletics, or anything else really. 

No Good Reason (Michigan)
by Michael Mierendorf, Lawrence Marshall.
Musicians and singers from around the country, people who have never met and who are currently or recently homeless, gather in Boston to record a song written by a 15-year-old girl who was homeless when she wrote it. Natalie Merchant (formerly of 10,000 Maniacs), has less than three days to arrange and record the song - in a process that normally takes weeks or months.

How To Not Kill Everyone (MKE)
by Kathy Fischer and Drew Foerster.
Smart Guy has a problem. As someone with an extremely high I.Q. he is constantly surrounded by idiots, and every interaction in daily life is a nightmare. In an effort to control his murderous fits of rage and find happiness, Smart Guy tries various methods. . .with varying degrees of success.
After Party at
The Ale House

Saturday September 12th, 2009
Location: Lubar Auditorium, Mil Art Museum
1pm. Ages 10 and up
Snow Maiden (Japan)
by Yumi Yoshida
This project is a senior degree project, made over 9 months. Pencil on paper, it describes the emotions of someone who is an outsider trying to belong.
8 Tire on Ice ( Canada)
by Nicholas Humphries
A relationship is rekindled during a scavenger hunt to win the perfect marriage.
Locally Unwanted Land Usage (MKE)
by Kate Balsley
Locally Unwanted Land Usage is a comedy about resourcefulness and wastefulness. To maintain the spirit of sustainability throughout, nearly all of the props were completed using recycled materials and no new camera or editing equipment was purchased. The result is a green movie that is just as enjoyable as any high-tech, high-budget production.
BOTNIK! (Chicago)
by Jackie Smessaert -Brenna
A frustrated artist who longs to win the heart of a sexy beatnik chick goes to robotic extremes to create the ultimate art show.
Small Comforts ( Chicago)
by Hannah Dallman
Small Comforts is a childhood drama about a little girl, Moira, who accepts her new family arrangement by recreating the comforts of home herself.
Blow ye Winds ( MKE)
by Isaiah Justin Wells
A group of seamen answer the call to search for a great white whale.
Rain Rain ( Los Angeles)
by Matthew Brown
Trapped inside on a rainy day, a young girl discovers a family secret which unleashes her devilish imagination upon her house.

2:30 PM ages 16 and up
Happy Boy (WI)
by Craig A. Knitt
We follow a likeable looser throughout a segment of his day as he realizes an earlier purchase might not have been such a great idea. He pumps $12.00 worth of gas into his tank and only has $10.00 in his wallet then must figure out what needs to be done to solve his dilemma. When that doesn’t work… the choices get even more insane!
Growing Up Vegas (NV)
by Amber Beard 
Taylor, an isolated, withdrawn tomboy hangs out at the casino where her single mom works as a cocktail waitress. There Taylor meets a lovable , washed-up Elvis Impersonator who takes her under his wing. But what are his true intentions?
60 (WI)
by Mark Mazur and Trent Hilborn 
Time is taken for granted, but how precious is and what could happen in :60?
Sprinkles (Chicago)
by Josh Hope
The true tale of a dead dog.
Shiva Street (WI)
by Vito Valenti
A spiritual, transformative journey from innocence to disillusionment to a fuller understanding of life.
Suzukishoji (Japan)
by Kazo Kono
Kono had been fired for the company and kept the dissolute life.But Kono decided to work at Suzuki & Co..Suzuki & Co. sold the used things on internet auction.Suzuki was a funny man. Kono was surprised at the start, but gradually understood Suzuki.
Without Name: Ignition (MKE)
by Anthony Christian Mikkelson
A stranger drives down a road and is hit by another car.
Film Noir (WI)
by Breton Thom 
A private investigator, surrounded by corruption, is on a never-ending quest for booze.
Wintress (CA)
by Bill Elverman

Mike's concern for his friend reveals horrific abuses on a cold winter day in Wisconsin.
Love Struck (TX)
by Jason Clemons
What happens when the world's unluckiest girl meets the man of her dreams?

5:00 PM Korporate Media Event
hosted by David R. Overbeck
6:30pm ages 16 and up.
Last Deal at Mt Carroll Gun Club (Ill)
by David Guffey
Real estate developers threaten to level the cabin where a bunch of old guys have played poker for decades. The members struggle to save their clubhouse and discover their friendship in the process.
Self Determination (MKE)
by Iverson White
Pursued and loved; well at least made love to at 29, married at 30, pregnant at 31 and again at 35, and left mostly alone at 36, she contemplates divorce, other men and suicide.
The Motel (NY)
by Joseph Zentil 
It’s amazing what people can do for attention.
I want You To Know (MKE)
by Derek Kimball 
A bated tension and quiet disclosure provides the milieu for this father and son camping narrative about reserved honesty and stunted youth.
Spammed (ILL)
by Brett Thompson
Why oh why does Kurt get so much spam???
Vagrant (CA)
by Eric Gerber
A derelict man who lives in the streets of LA finds unique ways to survive while also attempting to reshape his environment.
The Box (MKE)
by Jonathan Richter
"The Box" is the maiden short-film voyage for motion graphics and visual effects company, Supermassive Studios.
The Hands (ILL)
by Charise Studesville
A daughter explores her relationship with her dying father and becomes fixated upon his hands as a representation of who he was as a man.
Eat your Fill (MKE)
by Mark Irving
A former ad man embarks on his annual mission to eat every menu item at the Wisconsin State Fair that is either deep fried or on a stick. Even deep fried Oreos?
The Parable of the Chance Upon Briefcase
by Gregory Carlson
Two young novices make a choice between matters of the spirit and earthly treasures.

9:15 PM Milwaukee Feature Film Premiere
New Day by L'oiseau Blanc Films

Produced by R. Michael Gull, Jon Anne Willow
and Jason Williams
Directed by Jason Williams
Written by R. Michael Gull and Jon Anne Wilow. Starring Nathaniel Ross, Debra Lopez, Carolyn Kanter, Brian Green and R. Michael Gull.
Featuring Dylan Avery & John Waite
Robert and Alison Logan were married less than a year when Alison boarded American Airlines Flight 77 on the morning of September 11th, 2001. Later that morning, Robert watched in horror as televised news reports told him that Alison's fight had been hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon. Eight years later, Robert has pulled his life back together and relocated to the Midwest. Still haunted by the memory of Alison, he has married Rachel, a clinical psychiatrist, and they share an idyllic life with Rachel's daughter Carly. The peaceful calm of Robert and Rachel's life is torn apart when a research project Rachel is working on includes a brain damaged patient at a secure hospital who bears a striking resemblance to Alison. Both Robert and Rachel embark on their own personal investigations, for separate reasons, to discover the truth about the woman in the hospital. Their inquiries attract the attention of the ruthless Agent Ross, who will stop at nothing to keep the identity of the woman in the hospital a secret.
After Party at
Moe's Pub

Sunday Sept 13th 2009
Juried Films
Location: The Oriental Theatre
Birthdate (NY) 
by Jeremy Brunjes
When Kim realizes she wants to meet the son she's never known, it may already be too late.
Out of Nothing (WI)
by Jason Servi 
The short film Out of Nothing follows a mother and son as they work to repair their relationship, choked by business-like tendencies. With a big new project at work, Ethan is close to success. However, with bone cancer worsening, Gloria is wondering if she will ever truly know her son. Do we give up when life feels empty, or do we find something out of 'nothing?
Open Your Eyes (CA)
by Susan Cohen
A journey of self-discovery begins when a woman diagnosed with breast cancer finds herself locked in a bathroom with a stranger during a bridal shower.
This Is Umberto (MKE)
by Anna Krutzik
Anna Krutzik returns with another variation on her previous film, Oh Paprika.
Mannen med Kulorna (Sweden)
by Hans Montelius
Two thirty-something brothers play marbles for their inheritance.
H5N1 (MKE)
by Joesph Kraemer
A chilling film about a virus that slowly takes over the world, and there's few places to run to. 
How To Not Kill Everyone (MKE)
by Kathy Fischer and Drew Foerster
Smart Guy has a problem. As someone with an extremely high I.Q. he is constantly surrounded by idiots, and every interaction in daily life is a nightmare. In an effort to control his murderous fits of rage and find happiness, Smart Guy tries various methods. . .with varying degrees of success.
E finita la Commedia (Belgium)
by Jean Julien Collette
A parked car in a residential neighbourhood. A father and his son slowly set up a discussion. Love, sex, mother and death. An atypical connivance, a fusional relationship. Time goes by, tone rises and some questions stay in abeyance: what are they waiting? And above all… what are they about to accomplish?
Liminal (CA)
by Stephan Keep Mills
A woman, her body, and the destructive voice that controls her. The story is about individual power in the wrong hands. INA needs to get her power back from JOY who has taken it. This intense and raw confrontation is shot in 35mm, entirely in black and white, with both players naked. The nudity is non-erotic and allows the audience to experience the characters? extreme circumstances of primitive vulnerability and privacy.
Sinking Ships (WI)
by John Van Slyke
A woman has a strange question, she hopes that someone has an answer.
After Party at
Live on North
Sponsored by

Winning Films:
BEST FILM: Mannen Med Kulorna by Hans Montelius
HONORARY MENTION: E Finita La Commedia by Jean-Julien Collette
BEST DIRECTOR: Stephen Keep Mills for Liminal
BEST ACTOR: Cedric Eeckhout from E Finita La Commedia
BEST WISCONSIN FILM: How To Not Kill Everyone by Kathy Fischer and Drew Foerster
AUDIENCE FAVORITE: Open your Eyes by Susan Cohen.
For the past few years we were honored to be the only local festival with industry professionals as judges like Uwe Boll, Zack Ward, Mark Metcalf, Rex Sikes and Lori Kahn, we continue that pattern with a mix of Milwaukee and Hollywood coming together to judge these films.
Our 2009 judges are:
Tim Lonsdale 1st AD (Pushing Daises, Eli Stone, Moscow on the Hudson), Third Coast Digest Publisher and film producer Jon Anne Willow (New Day) , Actor Jerry Houser (Slap Shot, Brady Girls Get Married, Summer of 42)
Local Documentarian and Student Academy Award Winner Elizabeth Pollock Bruch (Indiana Aria, Atlantis Approching),  Producer David Streit (F/X, Marrying Man, Jurassic Park III) and
creative director Aubrey Walker.


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.