"Milwaukee 53206" film premiere kicks off before film festival

Film fest begins Sept. 22 and runs 15 days
"Milwaukee 53206" film screened ahead of fest
Posted at 4:07 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 23:48:04-04

A national movie premiere happened in Milwaukee. The focus of the film, a zip code in the city that has the highest incarceration of African-American males in the country, 53206. That zip code is on Milwaukee's north side. 

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It's what brought director/producer Keith McQuirter into the city to make the film Milwaukee 53206.

"Sixty-two percent of adult males have been in prison or jail," says McQuirter. "Being the most incarcerated is not a badge of honor."

McQuirter says locking people up ruins families and neighborhoods. The man at the center of the documentary is serving a nearly a 60 year sentence for a nonviolent crime. His sister says her brother finally has a voice for what he is living through.

"I want them to exactly how he feels and he has changed tremendously," says Monica Harris.

"I think they did a phenomenal job capturing the real lives of individuals who are living with family members who are incarcerated unfairly with long, long sentences," says State Senator Nikiya Dodd.

But others say this movie also focuses a lot of negative about a neighborhood working on transforming.

"I think that people should watch the movie and recognize that may potentially not address how many assets are really there and if they are going to judge anything they should come and meet the people that live in 53206," says Lashawndra Vernon, nearby resident.

And even those people wonder what is next for their community.

"My issue is I think a lot of the information is known, the question becomes what are we going to do about it," says Quan Caston, lives in 53206.

The film screening received financial support from Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. He also serves as co-founder and board member of the festival.

“In my new term as County Executive, my highest priority is reducing the racial disparities that exist in jobs, housing, education, and health care throughout this city, and especially in the 53206 area,” Abele. said in a written statement.

The movie now will be available for community screenings throughout the nation later this year.

Milwaukee Film officially kicks of its eighth annual film festival Sept. 22. The event runs 15 days, ending Oct. 6. 

More information is available, by clicking here.