NEW LONDON, Wis. (WFRV) – A New London native and his wife are looking to amplify the voices of those with an important message. Sean Kafer and Madeleine Schweitzer are the brains behind Bullhorn Films, a new production company based in Milwaukee.
Formed shortly after George Floyd’s death in May of last year, the two have documented over 250 protests across Southeast Wisconsin.
“In the first 200 days of People’s Revolution’s protest, we were there every single day. We tried to be there for the entire marches, which were usually around 5-6 hours a day, says Schweitzer.
The People’s Revolution is a Milwaukee-based justice group that fights for the safety and accountability of people of color.
“We went out early on and talking to the protestors, there was always this idea their stories weren’t being covered right,” says Kafer. “They felt that their stories were taken out of context and we thought we could do something to help.”
That’s how Bullhorn Films was born.
“Our documentary filmmaking is really kind of an organic shoot from the hip kind of style, ” says Kafer. “There’s so much happening and so much walking and talking going on that we’re always moving.”
The events they are documenting played a role in how the production company got its name.
“Being out in the protests, a lot of times the leaders or activists have bullhorns or megaphones they would use to amplify their voices to reach more people and we liked that analogy,” says Schweitzer. “If we can be sort of an amplifier or an uplifter to these stories so more people can hear and see them then I think we will have done our jobs.”
Filmmaking has always been an interest of Kafer, who is an associate lecturer at UW-Milwaukee in doc|UWM, the university’s documentary media center, but it is sort of a newfound passion for Schweitzer.
“I saw a need when Sean was out filming the protest that I could lend my hands, my artistic eye to the process, and there was so much to film.”
One event Kafer and Schweitzer covered was a die-in in Wauwatosa, which is a protest or demonstration in which a group of people gather and lie down as if they were dead. Protesters gathered to honor 17-year-old Alvin Cole, who was fatally shot last year by former Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah at Mayfair mall.
“That was really a powerful experience,” says Schweitzer. “We hope we adequately express the magnitude of emotions that these people are bringing to the table.”
The production company is working on a couple of new projects, a larger documentary called Won’t Stop: The Story of the People’s Revolution. They are also working on a film adaptation of the young adult novel, Time and Place ‘In the life of B and K‘ with Milwaukee activist Khalil Coleman.