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2017 Milwaukee Film Festival kicks off with film that highlights importance of organ donation

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Film Festival is now underway. It includes screenings from around the world. 

CBS 58 sat down with the director and subject of one of the highly anticipated films. It's a film that portrays the life of a man after losing his arms and legs.

The screening is happening at the Oriental Theatre. While the film shows the story of Will Lautzenheiser adjusting to his life as a quadriplegic, he and the director hope to send a specific message about the importance of becoming an organ donor.

"Hands are instruments of communication. I just thought that was all gone. To have it restored seems beyond belief," said William Lautzenheiser.

Lautzenheiser had all four limbs amputated after a bacterial infection in 2012. A few years later, he was approved for an arm transplant.

"Organ donation has certainly transformed my life and given me incredible abilities that I never thought I would have again."

Becoming an organ donor is the message that Lautzenheiser and the director Robin Berghaus hope to send to viewers.

"People will learn something new about experimental science. I think people will really love the subjects who have been very generous to share their stories," Robin Berghaus said.

As a filmmaker himself, Lautzenheiser found it important to document his journey. 

"I thought what was happening to me was interesting as a story, even abstractly I might have preferred that it not be happening to me," Lautzenheiser said.

A shorter version of the film aired at the festival a few years back. Thursday night, the full-length film kicked off the 2017 season. 

"It's an honor to be able to be here," Berghaus said.

"It's a real privilege to be able to be here and share that with the audience, and hear their reactions as the movie is going on," Lautzenheiser said. 

Stumped is just one of 300 films that will be shown this year.

There are other subjects and producers who will be in town for Q & A's as well. 

For more information on the festival click here

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