Organizers prepare for big turnout at Milwaukee Film Festival

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Since its creation six years ago, Milwaukee Film Festival organizers say the event has grown immensely. This year, they're expecting an even bigger turnout.

In the projector booth at the Oriental Theatre, there's equipment to check, things to inspect and fine tuning to be done before the Milwaukee Film Festival can kick off.

"Right now, we wouldn't be able to show the film, but I guarantee you at 7:00 we will be able to," Jonathan Jackson, Artist and Executive Director of Milwaukee Film said.

The Oriental Theatre is what organizers call "home base" for the festival, and where the 15-day event kicks off.

"There are great comedies, there are documentaries, there are American films, as well as all the great international films," Jackson said.

And this year, visitors will get to experience a special attraction that took almost two years to make happen.

"It was literally just two days ago we were able to secure John Ridley. He`s a hometown native. His career is absolutely sky rocketing right now with the Oscar win this past year, "Jackson said.

Oscar-winning screenwriter and Mequon native John Ridley is the screenwriter and filmmaker who won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for “12 Years A Slave.”

He will attend the screening of "Jimi: All is By My Side,” which he wrote and directed. The movie is a portrait of rock legend Jimi Hendrix.

"Milwaukee is going to be one of the few places in the country to experience the film with him there presenting it," Jackson said.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele was instrumental in securing the award-winning director this year.

"When I heard he said yes, I said, really, he did ? That`s awesome,'" Abele said.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Milwaukee Film Festival.