Door County Compass (2nd)

New Moon Productions |


Meet Janet Fitch… Milwaukee’s award-winning indie filmmaker

“Promise of America,” at the Compass Coffeehouse Saturday, April 2 at 6:30 PM

FISH CREEK, WI – While you may be concerned about the state of affairs on a global or a local level, finding a way to make a difference usually means learning to communicate your ideas… on a big scale. That’s been the goal of Milwaukee filmmaker Janet Fitch who founded New Moon Productions on the success of her first documentary: “Through One City’s Eyes: Race Relations In America’s Heartland.”

She grew this first documentary film into a Gabriel award winning project that included: a classroom series, a dedicated web site, a radio series, live call-in simulcast, and 10 community forums, the last of which was hosted by Congressman Tom Barrett. The documentary currently resides in the U.S. Library of Congress.

Her follow up effort with Brad Pruitt documents women and their families traveling from Milwaukee to the Million Mom March against gun violence in Washington, D.C.. A compelling documentary, “Promise of America,” will show at the Compass Coffeehouse on Saturday, April 2 at 6:30 PM and filmmaker Janet Finch will be there in person to discuss her work.

In 2003 Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express Newspaper voted Janet Fitch the Best Local Activist. Last year the Association for Women in Communications presented her with the 2004 Professional Communicator of the Year award.

Her activist strategy uses the genre of independent films to promote discussion and community action. “Promise of America” is the second film in a trilogy on gun violence that she hopes will be seen in venues like the Compass where follow up discussions take place. The first film in the series, “Dear Rita,” documents the stray-bullet killing of an eleven-year old Milwaukee girl. It was shown at the Compass last Saturday to a predominantly local audience.

The general reaction was one of distant concern, since nothing quite like this happens very often in Door County. Then, two vacationers in the audience, Michelle De Brabant and her mother described what it was like to live in the city at 27th and Mitchell Boulevard.

“We used to go to bed each night to the sounds of regular gunfire and sirens,” she explained. “We finally moved to get away from it.” Suddenly the discussion became relevant.

You may not be the next Werner Herzog planning to send a film to Sundance but there are lots of ways to focus attention on a cause worth fighting for. Learn how Janet Fitch is making a difference by talking with the artist in person this Saturday at the Compass Coffeehouse in Fish Creek at 6:30 PM. The final film in her series, “The Right to Bear Arms: One State’s Perspectives” is currently in post-production. There is no charge to attend the screening, but any contributions to help fund her work are encouraged.

Saturday, April 9 you can see Deborah Koons Garcia’s film documenting, “The Future of Food,” a documentary about how GMO (genetically modified organism) foods are being slipped into the supply chain.

Saturday April 16 the Compass Coffeehouse features the work of Philadelphia filmmaker, Bernadine Mellis. “The Forest for the Trees: Judi Bari v. the FBI” is a documentary film made by the daughter of the attorney who successfully defended environmentalist Judi Bari in a civil suit against the FBI that few believed she could win.

Located in unit B-18 of the Top of the Hill Shops at the north end of Fish Creek, the Compass Coffeehouse is open daily the year ’round and features all Fair Trade and Organic coffee, tea, chocolate and an Internet Café with high speed cable and wifi access. Find a detailed map and further information on-line.


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