Yeo-haeng-ja's "A Brand New Life," and Robin Hessman's "My Perestroika," were the big winners at the 2010 Milwaukee Film Festival which just wrapped last Sunday, topping the Fiction Competition and Documentary Competition respectively. Each film walked away with a $2,500 cash prize.
The award ceremony marked the end of the 11-day event, presented by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. This year, the second edition of the festival, saw ticket sales increase fifty percent from its kick off in 2009.
"The turnout for and excitement about this year’s festival truly blew us away," said Jonathan Jackson, Executive and Artistic Director for Milwaukee Film. "We knew we were putting on an incredible festival, but to see the crowds and hear the applause night after night just helped drive it home that what we’re doing really means something to the people of this community. It’s both humbling and very exhilarating."
Contributing to this year's success were the sold-out three theater screenings of the closing night film "Buried," from director Rodrigo Cortes, and opening night film, Derek Cianfrance's "Blue Valentine."
Other highlights included a visit from Susan Sarandon, who came to accept a career achievement award, and to present a special screening of "Thelma and Louise;" a packed screening of Davis Guggenheim's "Waiting for Superman" (winner of the Best Feature Audience Award), which was followed by a panel discussion on the education system; several U.S. premieres, including Hans Petter's "A Somewhat Gentle Man," starring Stellan Skarsgard; and the second U.S. screening of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Palme d'Or winning "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives."
"We’re so proud of this year’s festival, and now we’re set to take a few deep breaths and jump right in getting plans started for the 2011 festival," said Jackson.