That’s a wrap!
Oh boy, what a thrilling, fun and exhilarating 10 days it’s been!! Pardon the late Closing Night recap, I stayed up pretty late last night at the Closing Night party, as I missed the past few years’ festivities. It’s so awesome that this year we’ve got a great spot for our Nightly Mixer at the Shops at West End, just a few doors down from The Showplace ICON Theatres! It’s definitely been a great success once again, woot woot!
— JeffroBazinga (@JeffroBazinga) October 26, 2014
This is the fifth year I’ve been covering TCFF and I have to say this is truly the BEST year I’ve had. Of course it seems that I say that every year but this year is absolutely amazing. I’m so glad I got the chance to chat with many great filmmakers and talents who are all gracious and friendly that made every interview such a joy. Special thanks to Haley Lu Richardson, Rik Swartzwelder, Drea Clark, Jonathan Ehlers, Patrick Ward-Perkins, Molly Ryman, Tyler Noble, George Finn & Bradley King for taking the time to chat with me during the Film Fest! I’ve always got butterflies in my stomach before I go into any interview, but my qualms/nervousness quickly disappear as soon as I met each talent. It’s been a blessing to be a part of this great organization, so Jatin, Bill, Steve, Dani, Naomi, etc. I really mean what I said in my tweet last night …
— FlixChatter (@FlixChatter) October 26, 2014
I also want to thank all the blogging contributors Sarah Johnson, Josh Petitt and Adam Wells. I wouldn’t have been able to do all those interviews AND do every single review, so MASSIVE THANKS for all your help, guys!
Twin Cities Film Fest 2014 Award Winners!
The Twin Cities Film Fest bestowed eight films, two artists and one local community leader with awards late Saturday evening during a star-studded ceremony in downtown St. Louis Park. Leading the roster of winners was The Imitation Game, the World War II espionage thriller starring Benedict Cumberbatch as mathematician Alan Turing that is widely considered to be a frontrunner for the year-end awards race. The film took home the festival’s trophy for Best Feature Film. (See the festival’s complete list of 2014 finalists, which were announced Oct. 23)
Also honored: Keira Knightley, winner of the TCFF North Star Award for Excellence for her performances in two official festival selections: Laggies and The Imitation Game. “When you see this body of work paired together, there’s no denying the acting force that is Keira Knightley,” said TCFF Artistic Director Steven Snyder. “There’s such a range of talent on display here – funny, heroic, vulnerable, defiant, haunted, and always compelling. She breathes life into personalities and perspectives that are worlds apart – and yet proves charming, charismatic and irresistible every time out.” Hear, hear!
The independent sci-fi thriller Time Lapse walked off with the festival’s Indie Vision: Breakthrough Film award [check out my interview with director Bradley King & cast member George Finn] Debra Granik’s Stray Dog – the director’s follow-up to her Oscar-nominated narrative film “Winter’s Bone” – won Best Documentary. And Andrew Kightlinger’s Destroyer was selected as the year’s best short film.
Local film industry legend Al Milgrom was also honored Saturday evening, bestowed with a star on the Minnesota Walk of Fame, in recognition of a career spent importing and celebrating world cinema for the Twin Cities film community. Milgrom founded Minneapolis’ University Film Society in 1962 and later launched the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival in 1983.
Saturday evening’s ceremony marked the culmination of the 10-day festival, which screened more than 75 titles – a mix of independent premieres and Hollywood sneak peeks – at the Showplace ICON Theatres. In addition to the annual October festival, the Minnesota-based non-profit organizes year-round programming, as well as industry networking events and educational opportunities. Learn more at twincitiesfilmfest.org.
The complete list of 2014 winners:
Best Feature Film: The Imitation Game (dir. Morten Tyldum)
Runner-Up: Ink & Steel (dir. Jonathan Ehlers and Patrick Ward-Perkins)
Audience Award – Feature: Solitude (dir. Taylor Scott Olson and Livingston Oden)
Runner-Up: The Last Time You Had Fun (dir. Mo Perkins)
Audience Award – Short: Sad Clown (dir. Jason P. Schumacher)
Runner-Up: My Last Breath (dir. Cy Dodson)
Audience Award – Documentary: Scouts Honor: Inside A Marching Brotherhood (dir. Mac Smith & Tom Tollefsen)
Runner-Up: The Syndrome (dir. Meryl Goldsmith)
Indie Vision Award – Breakthrough Film: Time Lapse (dir. Bradley King)
Runner-Up: BFFs (dir. Andrew Putschoegl)
Indie Vision Award – Breakthrough Performance: Haley Lu Richardson, Actress “The Well” and “The Young Kieslowski”
Runner-Up: Eliza Coupe, Actress, “The Last Time You Had Fun”
Best Short Film: Destroyer (dir. Andrew Kightlinger)
Runner-Up: My Last Breath (dir. Cy Dodson)
Best Documentary: Stray Dog (dir. Debra Granik)
Runner-Up: The Immortalists (dir. David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg)
TCFF North Star Award for Excellence: Keira Knightley, for performances in “The Laggies” and “The Imitation Game”
TCFF-Minnesota Walk of Fame Award: Filmmaker Al Milgrom
Twin Cities Community Change Maker Award: Vednita Carver, executive director of Breaking Free. (BreakingFree.net)
- TCFF 2014 Opening Night Festivities + ‘Men, Women & Children’ review
- TCFF 2014 Day 2 – Interview with Haley Lu Richardson
- TCFF 2014 Day 2 Reviews: Father-Like Son, The Last Time You Had Fun, V/H/S: Viral
- TCFF 2014 Day 3 Reviews: These Hopeless Savages, 3 Nights in the Desert, The Well and House of Manson
- TCFF 2014 Day 4: Wild Canaries, Just Before I Go & double reviews of The Young Kieslowski
- TCFF 2014 Interview with Rik Swartzwelder, Writer/Director/Star of ‘Old Fashioned’
- TCFF 2014 Day 5 & 6: Reviews of ‘Evil, Enemies & Aliens’ Shorts Block + Solitude
- TCFF 2014 Day 7: Romance Double Bill – Old Fashioned & Comet
- TCFF 2014 – Interview with Ink & Steel Filmmakers/Cast
- TCFF 2014 Interview with Bradley King & George Finn for sci-fi thriller ‘Time Lapse’
- TCFF 2014 Documentary Reviews: Stray Dog, Flying Paper, Where The Trail Ends & One Good Year
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
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
Benedict 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
A 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
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.
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.
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:
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:
How ‘Bout Now?!
The Cat’s Cradle
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
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
Wed – October 22
12:30PM: Flying Paper
2:15PM: Father-Like Son
4:30PM: Old Fashioned
6:00PM: Hunger In America
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
8:30PM: Time Lapse
TCFF’s Silver, Gold & Platinum Passes are now available!
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.