Milwaukee Film and the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition (MMWC) will continue their partnership to produce the seventh annual Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival (MMFF), one of the country’s leading Muslim film festivals.
The event, which takes place from Thursday, October 20, through Sunday, October 23, features eight in-person screenings at the Oriental Theatre.
Founded in 2015, the festival was operated independently during its first four years, showcasing films at various venues around the city until MMWC president Janan Najeeb partnered with Milwaukee Film to host her organization’s signature event at the Oriental Theatre in 2019.
After a successful inauguration as part of Milwaukee Film’s expanded line-up of year-round programming, MMFF was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moved to October last year, the annual event did not fare much better, suffering below-average attendance as health & safety protocols deterred many would-be attendees.
Najeeb, however, has renewed optimism for MMFF 2022. Hopeful that the dog days of the pandemic are behind her, the festival’s founder has expressed excitement about the growing collaboration with Milwaukee Film, a partnership that now includes a long-term commitment to host the festival at the Oriental Theatre as part of the non-profit arts organization’s expanding Cultures & Communities Initiative
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Milwaukee Film to showcase MMFF at the historic Oriental Theatre,” said Najeeb. “We see this as the next phase in the evolution of the MMFF and are excited to bring this unique festival to Milwaukee Film members and the city at large.”
Looking to bounce back from the disappointment of the past two years, Najeeb and Milwaukee Film’s programming team have curated one of their best line-ups yet–a mix of acclaimed films from this year’s festival circuit and overlooked “sleepers” that deserve another chance to be embraced by local audiences.
The in-person cinema line-up includes (chronological order):
An Act of Worship
Thursday, October 20 | 7 p.m. (USA / 2022 / 90 min / DIR Nausheen Dadabhoy)
Travel Bans, surveillance, and deportations have shaped the lives of young Muslims in this country, but now they are pushing back. An Act of Worship follows a new generation of female Muslim-American activists while Islamophobia is sharply on the rise in the U.S. This is the story of what it has been like to live as a Muslim in America for the last 18 years, as told by an all-Muslim filmmaking team.
Thirst For Justice
Friday, October 21 | 7:00 p.m. (USA / 2019 / 70 min / DIR Leana Hosea)
In the spring of 2015, residents from two separate communities enlisted the help of scientists to prove their suspicions that their water had become dangerously contaminated. Now they are fighting back.
Wandering: A Rohingya Story
Saturday, October 22 | 12:30 p.m. (Canada / 2020 / 88 min. / DIR Mélanie Carrier, Olivier Higgins)
In 2017, 700,000 people of the Rohingya Muslim minority fled Myanmar (formerly Burma), escaping genocide. This immersive and poetic film brings us to the largest refugee camp in the world (Kutupalong Camp in Bangladesh), where the Rohingya stayed before moving on to cities like Milwaukee. Between poetry and nightmares, food distribution and soccer games, WANDERING bears witness to their daily lives and to the ghosts of the past, offering insights for those hoping to provide refuge.
Saturday, October 22 | 3:30 p.m. (Australia / 2021 / 58 min / DIR John Swatland)
Two young Iranian musicians fleeing their homelands and seeking asylum in Australia end up in an immigration detention centre where they encounter the Scattered People band – a small group of kindred spirits who play music and create songs with refugees and people seeking asylum. Following their journeys, we observe how music breaks down barriers and gives Saha and Mas purpose, helping to shape their identities and offering hope for the future.
Boy From Heaven
Saturday, October 22 | 6:30 p.m. (Sweden, France / 2022 / 126 min / DIR Tarik Saleh)
On the first day back after the summer holidays, the grand imam collapses and dies in front of his students in a prestigious university in Cairo. This marks the start of a ruthless battle for influence to take his place.
Sunday, October 23 | 12:30 p.m. (USA / 2021 / 74 min / DIR Julia Bacha)
Boycott traces the impact of state legislation designed to penalize individuals and companies that choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record. A legal thriller with “accidental plaintiffs” at the center of the story, Boycott is a bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation and an inspiring tale of everyday Americans standing up to protect our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats to freedom of speech.
Sunday, October 23 | 3:30 p.m. (Israel/ 2022 / 85 min / DIR Alon Schwarz)
In the war of 1948, hundreds of Palestinian villages were depopulated. Israelis call it The War of Independence. Palestinians call it Nakba. The film examines one village, Tantura, and why “Nakba” is taboo in Israeli society.
Sunday, October 23 | 6:30 p.m. (USA / 2021 / 129 min / DIR Kevin Macdonald)
The true story of three lawyers uncovering a far-reaching conspiracy while investigating the case of a suspected 9/11 terrorist imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay without charge for 14 years. Starring Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley, and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Established in 2015 by the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival aims to create meaningful and relevant community dialogue surrounding Islam and the Muslim experience.
The festival’s dedicated team carefully selects films from across the globe that transcend countries, languages, and cultures while highlighting the common humanity among people of all races, ethnicities, and religious beliefs.