#7 – PD Bootcamp | Mentorship Morning

Chief Innovation Officer, MKE Film +
Dissertator in Communication Studies, Northwestern University

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Geraud Blanks leverages the power of connection to attract new, untapped audiences to the Milwaukee Film Festival, an annual, multi-day cinematic experience that is to Milwaukee what Tribeca is to New York City. Event goers enjoy the glitz and glamour that is layered into every Milwaukee film experience – but for Blanks programming is also about making room for everyone’s story.

Since he’s joined the team in 2014, Milwaukee Film has launched or grown several new series under Blanks’ direction, including Black Lens, Cine Sin Fronteras and GenreQueer – all part of an inclusive, multicultural strategy to give voice to the arts, experiences, and perspectives of every lover (and potential lover) of cinema. His work has had such an impact, that he is the first staffer to receive the Milwaukee Film Festival’s Abele Catalyst Award, celebrating those who “think big, aim high, and understand we can always do better.”

Join us as we get into the details of Blanks’ career, his work with Milwaukee Film, and his ideas about what we all can do better for Milwaukee.

Geraud Blanks is currently Milwaukee Film’s Chief Innovation Officer and a dissertator in Communication Studies at Northwestern University, where he teaches public speaking.  As Chief Innovation Officer, Blanks is responsible for leading Milwaukee Film’s audience, brand, and content development. In 2019, Blanks created Milwaukee Film’s Cultures & Communities initiative to showcase diverse cultural experiences, perspectives, and representations through film and event programming.

Blanks has committed much of his life to community service, starting his career as community organizer for Milwaukee anti-crime imitative Safe & Sound–a part of his tenure with the AmeriCorps program Public Allies. Blanks later served as an outreach coordinator for Waukesha homeless shelter Hebron House, where he specialized in assisting people with mental health disorders find transitional or supportive housing. He also served as a domestic violence caseworker for Sojourner–Wisconsin’s largest anti-domestic violence agency.

Blanks has earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Media Studies from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has recently earned his Doctorate in Philosophy in Communication Studies from Northwestern University.

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