By Ross Terrell
Moviegoers turned out for the Milwaukee Film Festival this year at an historic rate. The 76,899 people that attended led to an 8 percent increase from the prior year’s attendance. Member support has been strong, but an emphasis on attracting other people paid off and helped with the boost in numbers, Megan Benedict, the film festival’s communications manager, said.
“This year it was one of our goals to bring in new attendees to the festival,” Benedict said. “To get tickets into the hands of people who have never been to the festival before.”
The two-week festival featured 283 films from 51 countries. Eighty-seven screenings sold out compared to 77 screenings last year.
Some people can feel overwhelmed by the amount of films the festival offers, but festival organizers find people tend to turn into regular attendees after their first year, Benedict said.
Visit Milwaukee’s director of communications, Kristin Settle, said the festival’s attendance benefits nearby businesses.
“Restaurants are full, attractions are full, and theaters are full,” Settle said. “It’s a really good opportunity to experience the city in a new way.”
The festival draws people from regional and out-of-state markets, Settle said, and a lasting impact is felt because people who may have never visited the city may decide to return after their film festival experience.
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