‘Slenderman’ among Milwaukee festival’s films

By: TOM JOZWIK - TimeOut Film Critic

September 22, 2016


Submitted photo

BewareTheSlenderman: The notorious 2014 Waukesha stabbing is the subject of “Beware the Slenderman.”

“Beware the Slenderman,” about the two Waukesha girls who allegedly nearly killed a schoolmate in order to appease a mythical figure, will be among the movies shown at this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival.

Being billed as “the local story that horrified the nation,” the new film has been directed by St. Louis-born documentarian Irene Taylor Brodsky.

The eighth annual MFF will run today through Oct. 6 at five Milwaukee metro area locations: the Landmark Downer and Landmark Oriental Theatres, both on Milwaukee’s east side; the Avalon in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood; the Times Cinema on the city’s west side; and the Fox-Bay Cinema Grill in suburban Whitefish Bay. The venues are the same as last year’s.

Submitted Photo:

Kasuboski: Missionary priest Wally Kasuboski, from Ripon, in a scene in the documentary “From Mass to the Mountain.”


Below, a closer look at one score - 20 entries - among the many scores of movies slated to be shown at this year’s MFF.

  •  “Behind the Pearl Earrings,” profiling Milwaukee-born female war correspondent Dickey Chapelle, who died in Vietnam.

  •  “Christopher Darling,” a feature-length dark comedy about a rock band’s flawed lead singer.

  •  “From Mass to the Mountain,” a feature-length documentary focusing on Wally Kasuboski (aka Padre Pablo), a missionary from Ripon who’s toiled for decades to provide water for rural Panamanians.

  •  “Girl Asleep,” advertised as “a coming-of-age tale perfect for fans of ‘Napoleon Dynamite’”; an Australian film.

  •  “Kedi,” which considers the enormous cat population of Istanbul - and the citizens/felines relationship.     

  •  “Under the Shadow,” a horror story from Iran with a war backdrop.

  •  “City of Gold,” about Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold, who’s reviewed not only exclusive restaurants on the West Coast but also seemingly insignificant eateries and even food trucks.


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    Raiders: Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” starring Harrison Ford, returns to the big screen during the 2016 Milwaukee Film Festival.

  •  Disney’s animated “Beauty and the Beast” and David Lynch’s offbeat mystery “Blue Velvet,” each celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

  •  The Steven Spielberg/George Lucas classic “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” starring Harrison Ford, in conjunction with its 35th jubilee.

  •  “Metropolis,” the celebrated German sci-fi silent by Fritz Lang from 1927.

  •  “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise,” a doc spotlighting the presidential inauguration poet who ascended from dire poverty to prominence.

  •  “Fastball,” a film in the MFF’s new “Sportsball!” set - one of whose programmers is big league baseball pitcher John Axford, formerly of the Milwaukee Brewers.

  •  “Sonita,” about an aspiring rapper by that name in Tehran, whose mother plans to dash her aspirations by selling her as a bride.

  •  “Untouchable,” dealing with our nation’s sex offender laws.

  •  “A Song for You: The Austin City Limits Story,” concerning history’s longest-running TV music show.

  •  “Tolkien & Lewis: Myth, Imagination & The Quest For Meaning,” recalling the 1930s debate between literary lions that turned an atheist (C.S. Lewis) into a Christian.

  •  “Yarn,” a flick considering artists’ creative uses of  yarn, of course!

  •  “Obit,” examining the New York Times’ coverage of what some have jocularly called “the dead beat.”

  •  “The Violin Teacher,” from Brazil and reality-based, about a concert violinist-turned-teacher of slum children.  

For more information, go to

Submitted photo  

“Behind the Pearl Earrings” profiles Milwaukee-born female war correspondent Dickey Chapelle.


Documentary tells ‘gutsy’ female journalist’s unfamiliar story    

Maryann Lazarski says she’s “humbled” that her documentary “Behind the Pearl Earrings” will be running “among so many great films” at the eighth annual Milwaukee Film Festival, which begins this week.  

A Wauwatosa resident employed by Milwaukee Pubic Television, Lazarski  is producer-director-screenwriter of “Behind,” scheduled for two screenings during the Sept. 22-Oct. 6 MFF. “Behind” profiles photojournalist Dickey Chapelle, born Georgette Meyer in Milwaukee and raised primarily in suburban Shorewood.  

In 1965, at age 46, Chapelle became America’s first female war correspondent ever killed in combat. The movie’s title has to do with what its narrator, longtime Milwaukee newscaster Kathy Mykleby, refers to onscreen as Chapelle’s “signature uniform” as a combat journalist; that ensemble included a small pair of earrings, the subject’s nod to her own femininity in a decidedly unfeminine environment.  

In a scenario not at all unusual for film festival entries, “Behind” won’t have its original screening at the MFF. The 56-minute MPTV documentary debuted last fall. It was shown at Shorewood High School, Chapelle’s alma mater (she graduated, as valedictorian, at just 16), and - you guessed it - on MPTV. The movie will be returning to television at an undetermined date and can be viewed on YouTube.  

Chapelle, Mykleby informs “Behind’s” audience, was “perhaps lost in the shadows” cast by trailblazing women journalists such as Marguerite Higgins of the New York Herald Tribune.  

“People have not heard about (Chapelle),” Lazarski noted in a recent telephone interview. “This is a local woman who was a pioneer. What she stood for is worth remembering.”  

Arguably one of the main things Chapelle stood for was gender equality among journalists. Remembered by commentators in the movie as a “quirky, precocious tomboy” who, “way ahead of her time” (say, during World War II) became a “tough-as-nails” journalist, she can be considered, Lazarski said, a role model for young females. The documentarian labeled Dickey Chapelle - whose nickname the journalist just might have chosen to honor one of her heroes, Admiral Richard Byrd, and whose surname was assumed through an ill-fated marriage - “gutsy.” Lazarski explained, “She really wanted to tell the stories as they were, not clouded by government or anything like that.”  

Coincidentally 25-year journalist and Emmy honoree Lazarski said of herself, “I love telling stories. I like interviewing people and doing research, but I love telling stories.” She said telling the Chapelle story was “a fun project” for which research, interviewing and production consumed about six months. A considerable amount of the work was local, but the project also took Lazarski to New Mexico, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.  

“I didn’t produce it alone,” Lazarski said over the phone of the documentary. “I’m very collaborative when I work. It really is a team effort.” She went on to cite a handful of “Behind” teammates: Jeff Janca, lead videographer/associate producer; Darin Malkowski, lead editor/associate producer; Raul Galvan, executive producer/research assistant; Gail Grzybowski, post-audio editor, field audio; and Matt DeKeyser, graphic designer.  

Lazarski expressed one regret when interviewed. It wasn’t about the Chapelle project, but rather about Chapelle. “I wish I could’ve met her,” the documentarian mused.  


“Behind the Pearl Earrings” will be shown at the Milwaukee Film Festival on Tuesday and Oct. 3. The earlier screening is slated for 3:45 p.m. at the Landmark Downer Theatre, 2589 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee; the latter is set for 6:15 p.m. at the Fox-Bay Grill, 334 E. Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay. Each showing will be part of a double feature arrangement with “Tolkien & Lewis,” a documentary running just under an hour about the effects of a 1931 debate between two famed British authors.  

Director Maryann Lazarski will attend each screening, along with at least one of her production “teammates” mentioned in the accompanying story.  

For ticket and other information regarding the MFF, visit