By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 26, 2022 at 10:01 AM

Back for its first in-person event in two years, The Milwaukee International Short Film Festival – hailed as the "Best Local Festival" by Moviemaker Magazine – is set for Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Avalon Theater, 2473 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

The event, which turns 24 this year, will screen 34 films.

“This year, our first in person event in two years focuses on Wisconsin,” according to founder and festival director Ross Bigley, who is also president of the Milwaukee Independent Film Society. “More and more local filmmakers are turning back to us. Seeking us out!

“Local film-making used to make up 25 percent of total submissions, this season it shot up to 85 percent. And that is reflected in our lineup of films! 75 percent of our films presented are by Wisconsin filmmakers.”

Bigley says that includes 32 Milwaukee premieres, as well as more diversity, including “an even larger emphasis on female filmmakers.” Half the films in this year’s festival were made by women.

The festival will also include the seventh installment of "Voices Heard," which focuses on work by local filmmakers of color.

“That is our goal, to give the largest representation of local talent that you'll ever see in this city,” according to Bigley.”

There will also be a panel discussion on Wisconsin film tax incentives, moderated by Michael Viers, and with panelists Melissa Musante, Jeff Olm and Jon Kline.

Thi year’s judges are filmmaker Eseoghene Obrimah, actress, producer and model Andrea Ivy, curator and art historian Annemarie Sawkins, visual effects artist Jeff Olm, former Fox 6 reporter Jeremy Ross, award winning filmmaker Immanuel Baldwin and educator and filmmaker Theophilus Jamal.

The juried films screen at 6:30 and 9:15 p.m. and Voices Heard screens at 4 p.m.

For more details, including the lineup and ticket information, visit

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.