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Film festivals around the country are known for showing independently made productions, both in short films and features. One film in particular showing at the Milwaukee Film Festival has had the unique history of being both a short and now, a full length film.

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Milwaukee documentarian Chip Duncan has profiled presidents, football coaches and humanitarian crises.  For his latest project, he returns to another subject he's visited in the past – the English author C.S. Lewis, known especially for his Chronicles of Narnia. 

Wisconsin Historical Society

Last year, Lake Effect introduced you to John Garofolo, the editor of a collection of photos by the late war photographer and Shorewood native, Dickey Chapelle. Chapelle was the first US female war correspondent killed in action. But before her death in the early days of the Vietnam War, Chapelle lived an extraordinary life, taking distinctive pictures that showed both the cost of war, and the personal side of it.

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The Milwaukee Short Film Festival is the city's longest running film festival - 18 years thus far. It was the brainchild of Ross Bigley, who began by showing films at a local café with a projector.

The festival has grown a bit since then, but its focus is still on short films (15 minutes or less), which often don't get mainstream distribution.

Sony Pictures Classics

There have been many movies about Wall Street over the years.  “Wall Street,” for one.  But the new film, “Equity,” sees it through a different lens – that of women, and not just women who are the wives, girlfriends, or mistresses of high-powered men.

Courtesy of Attention Era Media

The World Health Organization predicts that within this century a billion people will die from smoking. Despite rising taxes on tobacco and legal victories against tobacco companies in the late 20th Century, millions of people worldwide continue to start and, in turn, get addicted to, smoking.

Hopper Stone / Columbia Pictures

Ghostbusters has held a place in our film-loving hearts since the movie’s release in 1984.  It even holds the title of number 28 on the list of 100 best comedies, according to the American Film Institute. So, naturally public sentiment ranged from the cautiously optimistic to the downright negative leading up the all-female cast remake of the classic that opened last week in Milwaukee.

Film contributor Duane Dudek's initial thoughts were not as negative as some online comments, but he still came out of the theater with oddly mixed feelings.

Twelve months, twelve acts of kindness over 48 states: that's what documentary filmmaker Sue Vicory set out to do on January 1st of 2016.

Universal Studios

In cinema history, there have been 37 video game adaptations. But yet, the only one has grasped at success -- Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie in 2001 with a box office record of $131 million.

In a time where a movie about LEGO is vastly successful, it is proven that a movie’s content based on toys or games will not alienate viewers. Yet, the video game to movie genre can’t seem to quite get the recipe right.

marvel.com

Documentarian Ken Burns attracted millions of fan with his landmark public television series on the Civil War.  But many more millions of people are flocking to movie theaters for another civil war film…

Captain America: Civil War is open, and while it’s fallen to number 2 at the box office, don’t feel too sorry for it – it has already grossed $347 million for Disney. 

sonyclassics.com

There have been plenty of influential musicians portrayed in biographies on the silver screen. Award-winning depictions from that of Mozart in Amadeus, Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter, and Ray Charles in Ray.

The makers of I Saw the Light hope it follows in those substantial footsteps. Tom Hiddleston sheds his natural English accent to portray country star Hank Williams and all the pain Williams endured in his life.

Son of Saul Press Kit / Mongrel Media

Son of Saul tells a harrowing Holocaust story like you’ve never seen before. The movie follows Saul Auslander, a Hungarian that is part of a group of isolated Jewish prisoners forced to assist the Nazis in their large-scale extermination. 

While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the body of a boy he takes for his son, and it becomes his mission to find a rabbi to help give the boy a proper burial amidst the daily turmoil of the camp.

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And the Academy Award goes to: Jim Hourihan, Alan Trombla, and Seth Rosenthal.

If none of those names seem familiar, there could be a good reason for that. Although all three are 2016 Academy Award winners, they weren’t part of the televised broadcast.

In fact, they were given their awards in an entirely different ceremony dedicated to technical and scientific achievements in the motion picture industry. It’s called the Sci-Tech awards, also known as the “Nerd Oscars.”

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The Academy Awards are fast approaching. And aside from the controversy over the diversity – or lack thereof – among the award nominees, there are several films generating a great deal of Oscar buzz.

One of those movies is the latest Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Revenant, based on the 2002 Michael Punke book.  It’s received 12 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. 

starwars.com / Lucasfilm/Disney

It’s been a month since Star Wars: The Force Awakes first arrived on movie screens around the world, and it has been a force, indeed. 

The movie earned more than $500 million at the box office in its first weekend alone, and its earnings are now over a billion dollars, making it the highest-grossing Disney film ever. It has also surpassed the record once held by the James Cameron film Avatar for the highest grossing film of all time.

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