Ben Balcom (b. 1986, Massachusetts) is a filmmaker currently living, working, and teaching in Milwaukee, WI. He received his MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and his bachelor’s degree in Film-Video Production from Hampshire College. Balcom’s work investigates the relationship between cinematic artifice and ordinary experiences of desire, memory, and understanding. His films have been exhibited at the European Media Festival, Media City Film Festival, Anti-Matter Media Arts, Alchemy Film, Ann Arbor Film Festival and Slamdance. His work received the Black Bear Award for Best Use of Sound at the 2016 Athens International Film & Video Festival, and the Niagara Award for Best Cinematography at the 2015 Ann Arbor Film Festival.In 2015 he was selected for a Mary L. Nohl Individual Artist Fellowship.Ben currently teaches film production at UWM and is the technical director for the Milwaukee Film Festival. He is also a co-founder and programmer of Microlights Cinema. Since 2013, Microlights has hosted nearly 30 film and video artists from around the world.
Jesse McLean was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. She received her BA in Studio Arts from Oberlin College and her MFA in Moving Image from University of Illinois at Chicago. She is based in Milwaukee, WI, where she is as Assistant Professor of Film/Video/Animation/New Genres at Peck School of the Arts, UW-Milwaukee.
She has presented her work at museums, galleries, and film festivals worldwide, including Projections at New York Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Mumok Cinema in Vienna, CPH:DOX, Kassel Dokfest, and Impakt. She was the recipient of an International Critics Prize, (FIPRESCI Prize) at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen and a Jury Prize in the International Competition at the 2013 Videoex Festival. She was a featured artist at the 2014 Flaherty Seminar and a MacDowell Fellow in 2016. In 2016 she was selected for a Mary L. Nohl Individual Artist Fellowship. She is also a programmer of Microlights Cinema.
Her video work is distributed through the Video Data Bank.
Microlights is pop-up cinema based in Milwaukee specializing in the presentation of contemporary film and video art. Since 2013 Microlights has hosted a diverse range of film/video artists in Milwaukee.
Microlights is one of many small cinemas across the country that platform independent film and video artists. Our vision is on the pursuit of critical and non-conventional modes of the moving image arts. What Microlights offers our community is a space to seek out movies that are made with artistic intention and that provide critical and socially productive insight into our contemporary media ecology.