In the last few years, two of the most contentious debates in Wisconsin have been over a proposed iron mine in northern Wisconsin and over the future of organized labor across the state. 

It’s a century-old story involving mining and labor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that is the focal point of a documentary by Milwaukee filmmaker Suzanne Jurva called Yoopera!  But there’s a twist – her film centers on an effort to produce an opera about this often-forgotten piece of history.

One of the many features of this year's Milwaukee Film Festival is the Cream City Cinema series, which features films by and/or about Milwaukeeans. 

Peace it Together . / Flickr

The 2015 Milwaukee Film Festival opens tomorrow evening at several locations around town. 303 total films will be shown between opening night and October 8.

There will be more than 100 special guests participating in panel discussions, talk back and the annual keynote address. Chicago Tribune film critic, and Kenosha and Racine native, Michael Phillips will be delivering the keynote address on the state of cinema today.

Thanks to the efforts of contemporary veterans and medical experts, public awareness of combat related post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is far more prevalent than it once was. Being diagnosed with it no longer carries the stigma it once did either in or out of the military. However, it was a different story for veterans like Tim "Naneek" Keenan.

Bots High / Flickr

Besides passion and drive, filmmakers need money to finish, and even start, projects.

Milwaukee Film recently announced its Brico Forward Fund. The idea behind the fund is to encourage local filmmakers to submit story treatments for new movies. As many as five treatments will then be chosen and awarded a significant financial jumpstart.

Getty Images, Kevin Winter

There was an internet sensation briefly this month when it was discovered by baseball researchers that Ferris Bueller’s day off occurred exactly 30 years ago. Meanwhile, another 1980's staple, The Breakfast Club, also turned 30.

Marcelo Acosta / Flickr

The movie industry has two especially busy times – there is the flurry of activity towards the end of the year, when holiday movies and potential award-winners come out, and then there is the highly anticipated summer movie season as well. Lake Effect film contributor Dave Luhrssen gives a preview of what's to come and his recommendations:

University Press of Mississippi

Singer and actress Madeline Kahn is often remembered for her roles in Blazing Saddles, Paper Moon and in the Mel Brooks classic, Young Frankenstein. To this day, the late Kahn is thought of as both a comedic genius and something of a pioneer.

But 15 years after her death, new generations of film, musical theater and comedy enthusiasts are still discovering and learning from her work. 

"It's a measure of her gift...of her legacy that you don't have to have grown up on her to take delight in what she did," says biographer William V. Madison.

Illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren

Many fairy tales have resurfaced in various forms on film, stage, musicals and even operas to appeal to large audience of all ages.

However, the classic fairy tales originally written by Brothers Grimm were gruesome, sexual and slightly violent - a far cry from the sanitized versions of today. The 2015 Cinderella film by Disney excludes pigeons pecking out the stepsister's eyes, and the sisters cutting off their toes and heels in attempt to fit into the glass slipper.

From Fat To Finish Line /

Milwaukeean Rik Akey and New Yorker Jennifer Roe are among a dozen people around the country who have essentially reinvented themselves, turning their struggles with weight into lives as fit, dedicated runners.

And the latest chapter in their lives is a film they’re making on the journey the dozen runners are sharing – metaphorically and literally, as they prepare to run in the Ragnar Relay race from Miami to Key West next month.