Twin Cities Film Fest

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The fifth annual Twin Cities Film Fest is here for the next 10 days! Stay tuned for daily coverage, including reviews, talent interviews & more!

TCFFChangemakerEvery year, TCFF highlights a social cause that affect our community. On the first year, the social theme in the spotlight was education, hence Waiting for Superman was the opening night film back in 2010. We’ve since introduced a CHANGEMAKER series, with the tagline ‘Watch. Learn. Act.’ Check out this FREE event on Friday, Oct 24 at 6:30 event, presenting Breaking Free from the Life documentary at 6:30 PM and followed by Survivor Panel at 7:15 PM

*Panelists:
Vednita Carter, Founder of Breaking Free
Survivors and Advocates Joy Friedman and Rowena Matthews
Senator Sandy Pappas
Sgt. Ray Gainey of the St. Paul Police Department Human Trafficking Unit.


Just Announced:
Twin Cities Film Fest 2014 Awards Finalists!

20 Nominees Vie For Top Honors, Including “The Imitation Game,” “Wild,” Eliza Coupe and Keira Knightley
St. Louis Park, Minnesota (October 23, 2014) – Organizers at the Twin Cities Film Fest today announced 20 finalists for its coveted slate of awards. The festival, which continues to screen films through Saturday evening at the Showplace ICON Theatres, will announce its nine award winners at a Closing Night Gala following the Saturday evening screenings of Wild, the critically acclaimed drama starring Reese Witherspoon, and Time Lapse, the festival’s official closing night selection that TCFF Artistic Director Steve Snyder hails as “one of the most ingeniously plotted thrillers in recent memory.” Rush line tickets remain available for both screenings.

The 2014 awards finalists include the The Imitation Game, a World War II thriller starring Benedict Cumberbatch that was a big winner at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and is widely considered to be a frontrunner for the year-end awards race; “Wild,” the heartfelt Reese Witherspoon drama, adapted from the bestselling memoir by Cheryl Strayed; The Last Time You Had Funthe hit comedy now touring the festival circuit starring Demetri Martin and Eliza Coupe; and “Stray Dog,” the award-winning war veteran documentary directed by “Winter’s Bone” filmmaker Debra Granik.

Previously announced by festival organizers, the winner of the 2014 TCFF North Star Award for Excellence is actress Keira Knightley, for the quality, complexity and dynamic range of her performances in two festival titles: The Imitation Game and Laggies, the new Lynn Shelton dramedy set to screen at TCFF Saturday afternoon.

The finalists for the 2014 TCFF Best Feature Film Award include: “The Heart Machine” (showing Friday), “The Imitation Game” (showing Friday), “Ink & Steel” (showing Saturday) and “Wild” (showing Saturday)

Finalists for the 2014 TCFF Indie Vision: Breakthrough Film Award include “BFFs,” “The Last Time You Had Fun” (showing Friday), “Old Fashioned” and “Time Lapse” (showing Saturday)

Finalists for the 2014 TCFF Indie Vision: Breakthrough Performance Award include Maria Isa (Actress, “Strike One”), Haley Lu Richardson (Actress, “The Well” and “The Young Kieslowski”), Alec Schwandt (Director and Cinematographer, “North,” “Sad Clown,” “Rosie” and “To Say Goodbye”) and Eliza Coupe (“The Last Time You Had Fun”).

Finalists for the 2014 TCFF Best Short Film Award include “Destroyer” (directed by Andrew Kightlinger, showing Friday), “My Last Breath” (directed by Cy Dodson), “One Armed Man” (directed by Tim Guinee) and “Rediscovering John Berryman” (directed by Al Milgrom).

Finalists for the 2014 TCFF Best Documentary Award include “Flying Paper,” “The Immortalists,” “Scouts Honor: Inside The Marching Brotherhood” (showing Saturday) and “Stray Dog.”

The festival will announce three additional awards Saturday evening: Two 2014 TCFF Audience Awards (Feature Film and Short Film) and the 2014 TCFF Changemaker Award.


2014 Recaps


 

Feature Films Highlights

Men, Women & Children (Thurs 10/16)

Director: Jason Reitman
Cast:  Emma Thompson, Jennifer Garner, Rosemary DeWitt, Judy Greer, Ansel Egort, Adam Sandler

MenWomenChildrenA group of high school teenagers and their parents attempt to navigate the many ways the Internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives.

This one definitely looks intriguing and what a great cast! Ok so I never in a million years thought I’d see Emma Thompson and Adam Sandler in a movie together, ahah. But hey maybe in a more serious role, Sandler could be bearable. The premise reminds me a bit of Disconnect which I saw last year, but hopefully not as bleak.

The Imitation Game (Fri, 10/24)

Director: Morten Tyldum
Cast:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Allen Leech

ImitationGameBenedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war, but was prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal.

I’m beyond thrilled to see we’ve got this film! As you know it’s on my most-anticipated Fall movies list, and the film’s been getting a ton of buzz lately. Seems like a shoo-in for the awards race from this year. I LOVE the cast [obviously] and it’s such an intriguing and important film, so I’m glad it’ll have a regional premiere at TCFF before it opens in November!
……

Wild (Sat, 10/25)

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Cast:
Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gabby Hoffman

WildMovieA self-destructive woman (Witherspoon) attempts to leave behind her years of drug abuse and reckless sex with a solo, 1,000-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, in this adaptation of Minnesota-native Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir from director Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”).

Given the success of Dallas Buyers Club last year, naturally people are curious if Vallee can continue his critical streak with this one. The premise doesn’t immediately grab me but when handled well, stories like this can be quite powerful.


Indie Narratives Highlights

There are a plethora of indie films this year, more than a dozen to be exact. There are a variety of genres featuring new and familiar faces. There’s even a directorial debut from Courtney Cox. Here are just a select few that piqued my interest:

The Last Time You Had Fun (10/17 & 10/24)

Director: Mo Perkins
Cast: 
Kyle Bornheimer, Eliza Coupe, Mary Elizabeth Ellis

When Clark and Will meet Alison and Ida in a wine bar, the foursome struggle to have the most fun that four, bickering, barely married, pre-middle-aged, decidedly dysfunctional adults are capable of having.

The Well (10/18 & 10/22)

Director: Thomas S. Hammock
Cast: 
Haley Lu Richardson, Booboo Stewart, Max Charles

At the edge of a barren valley, all that remains of the Wallace Farm for Wayward Youth is a few hollowed-out husks of buildings and the memories of Kendal, a seventeen-year-old girl who can barely recall when the valley was lush. It’s been a decade since the last rainfall, and society at large has dried up and blown away. Only Kendal and a few others remain, barely scraping by while dreaming of escape. When a gang leader named Carson lays claim to what little precious water remains underground, Kendal must decide whether to run and hide or bravely fight for what little she has left in this post-apocalyptic thriller. 

3 Nights in the Desert (Sat, 10/18)

Director: Gabriel Cowan
Cast:
Wes Bentley, Vincent Piazza, Amber Tamblyn

At a remote desert property, three estranged friends and former bandmates reunite to celebrate turning thirty. Travis, the wild man of the group, obsesses over producing revolutionary new music. So he has a plan in mind for his two friends: Barry, now a married lawyer, and Anna,back from years in Asia as a budding solo act. Travis leads his friends to a cave, promising that if they enter, it has the power to give them what they need. Barry and Anna laugh off Travis, still the mythmaker of the crew, but over the weekend unsettling desires rise to the surface. Soon the friends begin to wonder if it’s the power of suggestion that affects them or if the cave has a real power to threaten all they hold to be true.

House of Mansion (Sat, 10/18)

Director: Brandon Slagle
Cast: Ryan Kiser, Reid Warner, Chriss Anglin, Devanny Pinn, Tristan Risk, Suzi Lorraine

House of Mansion chronicles Charles Manson’s life from childhood up until his arrest following the raid on Barker Ranch months after the infamous Tate/LaBianca murders that sent a shockwave not just through Los Angeles, but throughout the entire world.

The Heart Machine (10/18 & 10/24)

Director: Zachary Wigon
Cast: 
John Gallagher Jr., Kate Lyn Sheil, David Call

This modern mystery tells the story of Cody (John Gallagher Jr., from TV’s “The Newsroom”) and Virginia, who start talking while he is in Brooklyn and she is in Berlin. It is a romance that could only happen online, and they’re happy together, though they’ve never physically met. Once Cody becomes suspicious that Virginia may not be in Berlin at all, he becomes obsessed with finding the truth. Tracking two parallel journeys that show how technology complicates modern love, “The Heart Machine” explores the evolving relationships among physical and emotional intimacy, isolation in the urban hive, and the seduction of hiding behind a screen.


Time Lapse (Sat, 10/25)

Director: Bradley King
Cast: 
Danielle Panabaker, Matt O’Leary, George Finn

Three friends discover a mysterious machine that takes pictures 24hrs into the future and conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop.

 

Just Before I Go* (Fri, 10/19)

Director: Courtney Cox
Cast: Seann William Scott, Kate Walsh, Olivia Thirby

Starring Minnesotan Seann William Scott, Directing debut of actress Courtney Cox. The story focuses on Ted, a man who decides to end his mediocre life. But before doing so, he returns to his home- town to revisit the demons of his past: the cruel school teacher; the relentless bully; the girl who got away. While staying with his brother and his dysfunctional family, he makes an unexpected connection with a girl who decides to document his last few days. A motley cast of characters helps Ted realize that life is complicated for everyone and the memories of the past can be reinterpreted.

* No trailer yet, so I will add that as soon as I have it


Documentaries

I always catch some intriguing docs during film festivals and this year is no different. I LOVE documentaries as they immerse you in a world that are often so different from your own. You’re likely entertained whilst you learn and experience something that’d make a lasting impression.

Hunger in America (10/22)

Minnesota filmmakers will again be featured among award contenders, including 2014 TCFF Centerpiece film Hunger in America, a powerful documentary tackling the hunger epidemic in the US. The film’s produced by Minneapolis’ own Tim VandeSteeg and narrated by James Denton. VandeSteeg and Denton will appear at the special benefit with partial proceeds being donated to ­­­­the St. Louis Park Foodshelf, an organization battling hunger in the Twin Cities Community. 

 

Stray Dog (10/20 & 10/23)

From the director of “Winter’s Bone” — Ron “Stray Dog” Hall lives in Southern Missouri where he owns and operates the At Ease RV Park. After seven years of living with four small dogs as his only companions, he is adjusting to life with his wife, Alicia, who is newly arrived from Mexico. Anchored by his small dogs and big bikes, Stray Dog seeks to strike a balance between his commitment to his family, neighbors, biker brotherhood, and fellow veterans. As part of the legacy of fighting in the Vietnam War, he wrestles with the everlasting puzzle of conscience, remorse, and forgiveness. With Stray Dog as our guide, we experience the restlessness of ex-warriors as he tries to make peace with what he can’t change and weathers the incomprehension of those who have never been to war.

 

Flying Paper (Mon, Oct 22)

Flying Paper is the uplifting story of Palestinian children in Gaza engaged in the fascinating culture of kite making and flying.

The film follows Musa, a charismatic teenaged kite-maker in the village of Seifa, and Abeer an aspiring young journalist in the Jabalya refugee camp. They join a remarkable quest, along with thousands of other children, to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown.

It showcases the creative resilience of these children making and flying kites despite the difficult realities they face in their daily lives. The film has been co-produced with young Palestinians in Gaza trained by the filmmakers through a youth media program called Voices Beyond Walls. Through the perspective of children and young people comes a story of determination and artistic expression as the youth in the film work together to achieve a shared goal.

 …


Shorts Block

I think it’s cool that TCFF gives a venue for shorts filmmaker to showcase their work. I saw a bunch of great ones last year, including one from Conor Holt who’s now part of TCFF staff called A Better Life. The short films are offered in a block of a half dozen or so, grouped together based on its themes.

WomenInChargeShortsWomen in Charge (Sat, 10/25)

Run Time: 77 Minutes
We celebrate the advancement and impact of women in this eclectic group of narrative shorts. All of these films in Women in Charge block are either produced or directed by a woman, have a strong lead female character, or both. Whether it’s a clever romance, ageless love, mystery, or a kick ass heroin, you’ll enjoy this diverse journey lead by women. Films Include:

Apartment 3
Carrot Cake
Run
The Contractor
Zugzwang
Inconscious
Beyond Surveillance
Escape

LoveLustLossShorts

Lust, Love and Lost (Fri, 10/24) 

From the first sparks of attraction to the depths of a long term relationship, Lust, Love, and Loss short block examines the complexities of the significant relationships in our lives with both ourselves and with others. How do we grieve? What is the truth? How often should a couple have sex? Films include:

Destroyer
Evergreen
How ‘Bout Now?!
The Cat’s Cradle
North
Sad Clown
What Cheer?

 


TCFF2014banner2014 FULL SCHEDULE

Thurs – October 16                       

7:30PM: Men, Women & Children

 

Fri – October 17

1:00PM:  The Immortalists

3:00PM: Big Significant Things

5:15PM: Father-Like Son

7:30PM: The Last Time You Had Fun

9:30PM: V/H/S: Viral

 

Sat – October 18                       

10:00AM: One Good Year

12:00PM: These Hopeless Savages

2:00PM: Old Fashioned

4:45PM: 3 Nights in the Desert

6:00PM: BFFs

7:00PM: The Heart Machine

8:30PM: The Well

9:00PM: House of Manson

 

Sun – October 19                       

10:30AM: Born to Fly

12:30PM: A Family Affair (Shorts Block)

3:00PM:  The Young Kieslowski

6:00PM:  Wild Canaries

8:30PM: Just Before I Go

 

Mon – October 20                       

6:00PM: Evil, Enemies, and Aliens (Shorts Block)

8:45PM: The Transylvania TV

 

Tues – October 21           

6:00PM: To Say Goodbye

8:45PM: Solitude

 

Wed – October 22                       

12:30PM:  Flying Paper

2:15PM: Father-Like Son

4:30PM:  Old Fashioned

6:00PM:  Hunger In America       

7:00PM: Comet

8:30PM:  The Control Group

9:30PM:  The Well

 

Thurs – October 23                       

11:30AM: Hoop Dreams

3:00PM: The Immortalists

5:00PM: Where the Trail Ends

5:45PM: The World Around Us (Shorts Block)

7:00PM: Stray Dog

8:30PM: Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter

9:30PM:  Strike One

 

Fri – October 24                       

11:00AM: The Syndrome

2:30PM: Big Significant Things

4:30PM: The Heart Machine

6:00PM:  Lust, Love & Loss (Shorts Block)

6:30PM:  Breaking Free From The Life

8:30PM:  The Imitation Game

9:00PM:  The Last Time You Had Fun

 

Sat – October 25                       

10:00AM: The Syndrome

12:30PM:  Women in Charge (Shorts Block)

3:00PM:  Scouts Honor

5:30PM:  Ink & Steel

6:00PM:  Wild

8:30PM:  Time Lapse


TCFF’s Silver, Gold & Platinum Passes are now available!

TCFFtickets

Silver $50 for 6 films; Gold $70 for 10 films; or Platinum $120 for 12 films + 2 tickets to Opening or Closing; Documentary Pass $45 for 8 select films; Gala Pass $80 for a 5 pack of tickets to one gala film of choice (Silver and Gold Packages do not include Opening or Closing Tickets).

GET THEM EARLY
(while supplies last)

Individual tickets will go on-sale at twincitiesfilmfest.org beginning October 3.

2014 Ticket Prices are as follows:  General Admission $10; Opening Gala $25 (proceeds going to local charities); Closing Gala $20.

 


Stay tuned for more updates for this year’s events.

Check out the TCFF Archives page for posts from the last three years.


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3 thoughts on “Twin Cities Film Fest

    • Hi Guy, welcome to FC! No unfortunately I couldn’t see Lambent Fuse as it was on the exact same time as Machine Gun Preacher. I’m connected to Matt Cici on Twitter and I talked to him at one of the panels. I’m hoping to get an interview with him also and will be featuring his film on my blog when it’s available at local theaters for the general public.

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