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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Filmmaking Milwaukee

The Local Filmmaking Scene in Milwaukee

Milwaukee and its surrounding areas were the birthplace and home to quite a number of famous filmmakers and directors, so it's a good backdrop to have when considering the film making scene today. The list includes Orson Welles (born in Kenosha), Howard Hawks (grew up in Neenah), Jerry and David Zucker along with Jim Abrahams (attended school together in Shorewood), Rob Marshall (born in Madison), Zack Snyder (born in Green Bay), Marc Webb (grew up in Madison), Terry Zwigoff (was born in Appleton). The list goes on, so it's no wonder there's plenty still going on today in the local Milwaukee filmmaking scene. Milwaukeeans also continue to make their mark both nationally and overseas.

Jack Turner is a co-producer of the locally-made story, 'Jeff', Chris James Thompson's story of individuals affected by murderer Jeffrey Dahmer. Turner was a studio acquisitions and production executive who helped oversee 'Capote', 'Bowling for Columbine' and 'Hotel Rwanda.' Behind the scenes, Dave Krummel of The Albion Group is a film art director and set designer, as well as an architect. He's developed set designs for 'Man of Steel' and 'Public Enemies.' Noted producer Ron Howard selected Milwaukeean Phil Koch in the 'Obstacle' category of Canon's recent 'Project Imaginat10n' for which five celebrity directors will direct short films based on consumer-submitted photographs. Michael Werwie of Whitefish Bay and now Los Angeles was a finalist for the Motion Picture Academy's Nicholl Fellowships in screenwriting. Werwie's script, 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile' was selected from 7,197 entries. There are many more Milwaukeans who've found these levels of success.

Andrew James Gralton has recently made a documentary about his mother, who was stricken with dementia at the age of 48, and also a short narrative - a condensed version of a feature-length script. He received his film degree from UW-Milwaukee whilst also caring for his mother part-time. "I’ve always loved film and harbored aspirations of becoming a maker, but wasn’t sure it was what I wanted to major in at first. My freshman year I took two film classes and realized what an incredible program I had access to and decided that it wasn’t just a pipe dream to work in film" he says. "I don't think it's necessary to leave Milwaukee in order to make a living as a filmmaker. Certainly there are far more jobs in film on the coasts, but I'm not interested in paying astronomical rent. So I can try to get an entry level position and work my way up the proverbial ladder." This is just one example of many, which shows there's much to look forward to from filmmaking Milwaukee.

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