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The Challenge

Enliven and embolden a venerated arts institution's digital presence in a tight timeframe.

Milwaukee Film is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate, and engage the community though film and cinematic experiences. Although the organization and its Milwaukee Film Festival were well known in the local arts scene, the website needed some serious strategic, technical, and aesthetic facelifts. However, building a website for such an eminent arts institution didn't come without its challenges. In addition to a wildly short 6-month turnaround time, the new site required multiple integrations to handle ticketing, account management, film data and metadata, event calendars and finders, and more.

Bearing in mind Milwaukee Film's well-established visual and editorial brand standards, we ventured out to completely redesign and rebuild the arts institution's new online home in the Kentico CMS.

The Solution

From site/content audits, user research, and a digital strategy to UX design, visual design, copywriting, and some highly technical front- and back-end development—and with a remarkably short turnaround time—this project required everyone on our crew to dig deep and contribute wherever possible.

We started with the most immediate need: a fresh digital home for Milwaukee's most famous movie palace, The Oriental Theatre. Once that website-within-a-website was launched, we kept rolling on the Milwaukee Film site, polishing the ticketing and checkout experiences, integrating numerous APIs and third-party platforms, perfecting content-management processes, inserting tasteful movie references into site copy, refining the site architecture and navigation, and ensuring the site was as scalable and adaptable as possible for festival season and other points in the MKE Film lifecycle.

The Outcome

Milwaukee Film is the proud new owner of a gorgeous-to-look-at, delightful-to-peruse, and easy-to-use website that meets all its organizational needs and can grow as its membership base and service offerings grow. Since launch, film and festival tickets flown off the proverbial shelves, and membership signups have increased dramatically.

147% increase in site traffic
60% decrease in page load times
74% increase in organic search traffic

Lightburn was an incredible partner for us, at a time when we needed deep strategic knowledge to make our new web experience a valuable solution both beautiful and functionally elegant for internal stakeholders and customers alike. Not only are they knowledgeable, but they are also pleasant, thoughtful and proactive as partners. They showed interest and passion in our success and felt like a genuine extension of our team.


Sara Meaney
Chief Marketing Officer
Milwaukee Film

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