Milwaukee Film helps companies like Kohl’s and the Brewers understand diversity by building empathy through movies

When Geraud Blanks was a kid, he didn’t know what he wanted to do when he grew up. Blanks — who is now chief innovation officer at Milwaukee Film — just knew he loved movies.

“When I was growing up, it was me and my mother going to the movies every weekend. It was our thing,” said Blanks. “Whatever the last movie I saw, if it was about karate or firefighters or whatever, that’s what I wanted to do with my life. Every week I changed my dream.”

The power of film to inspire through storytelling stuck with Blanks, and he said it perfectly aligns with the mission of Milwaukee Film, including its work with businesses such as Kohl’s. 

In addition to screening films at Oriental Theatre and hosting the annual Milwaukee Film Festival, the organization’s Cultures and Communities initiative focuses on using film to share the stories of historically underrepresented communities, including members of the Black, Latinx and LGBTQ communities.  

Using film to create conversations

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed down movie theaters and canceled events in 2020, staff at Milwaukee Film had to figure out how to continue sharing stories through movies. And the death of George Floyd and resulting civil rights marches made the Cultures and Communities mission to build empathy through sharing other people’s perspectives even more urgent. MORE >