TCFF Final Day: Stan Lee Doc & Closing Thoughts

The TCFF concluded its 6-day film festival with a wonderful family event Parade of Superheroes where kids get to dress up as their favorite superheroes, which is a great tie-in to the Stan Lee documentary playing mid afternoon.

In the last six days, I saw a total of eight films and attended four panels. I got to interview a pair of Hollywood young talents Drake Doremus & Anton Yelchin, as well as seeing an awesome character actor Tom Sizemore in person! I also got to talk to amazing people and make new friends with fellow bloggers Mitch, June and Matt.

On Sunday, I was able to attend the Women and Filmmaking panel right after church. Minnesota Women in Film and Television Board Member Meighan McGuire mediated a panel of three women filmmakers, Elise Plakke (director of 14 Minutes shorts), Barbara Allen (director of Signing On documentary), Tracie Laymon (on of Girls Girls Girls directors).

From left: Megan, me, Tracy, June, Barbara & Elise

It was an insightful panel as each woman discuss their journey to make their films and the challenges/breakthroughs they made along the way. During the Q&A, I asked them what they think of the state of women filmmakers in Hollywood today as I personally feel there should be more of them in the movie biz. Megan responded that sometimes life choices could be a factor in getting a female filmmaker established, for example if they get married or have kids, they might have to dip out of the business which may affect their career. Elise however thinks that women filmmakers are on the up swing today with easier access to technology and perhaps wider acceptance in the industry. After that question, one of TCFF Board of Directors Bill Cooper shared that the percentage of films made by women shown at TCFF this year is 26%, I sure hope that number will continue to rise in the coming years.

The last film I saw was…

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story

I’m a huge fan of superhero movies, so as I said in this post, this is the one doc I was looking forward to the most.

It’s snappy documentary about the life of the world’s greatest comic-book creator, done in a lively style as fascinating as Stan Lee himself. Born Stanley Martin Lieber of Romanian-Jewish immigrants, he split his first name into two to save his real name for when his dream career of being a novelist. Using archival photos and panels from various time period, the filmmakers showed his journey from growing up in the Great Depression, joining the Army during WWII (he was categorized as “playwright,”), and how he ended up working in the comic industry. It was at Timely Comics when he met Jack Kirby who ended up illustrating most of his comic creations. It’s clear Stan Lee admired Jack very much, as he numerously paid tribute to him and credit him for being one of his greatest influence.

Stan & Joan Lee – then and now

The documentary also include interviews from various directors and actors who have brought his Marvel characters to life. My favorite part is the segments about Lee’s longtime wife Joan (they’ve been married for over six decades), and to this day they have such a healthy and warm relationship. Apparently, it was Joan who urged him to do one last comic book that Stan has always wanted to do during the slowest period of the comic business, which was supposed to be his last one before he has to explore other career options. The result is Fantastic Four, which ended up being really successful. That comics then propel Stan to create more characters such as Spider-Man and X-Men.

Stan Lee’s characters resonated with people as they had real problems and angst that people can relate to. X-Men for example, deal with a message for tolerance for outcasts, real-life themes that are still pertinent to this day that elevate the comic-book stories to be more than simply entertainment.

I really admire Stan Lee so I really enjoy this documentary. Yes it can be seen as a ‘praise fest’ to some but that is fine by me, I think he deserves it and he was humble enough to give credits where it’s due. I highly recommend this documentary to anyone who appreciates comics and/or comic-book movies.

Click to see who won awards at TCFF

It’s definitely been a blast covering the film fest. It’s much bigger and better this year with the addition of the gaming initiatives, panel additions and a lineup of 70+ films, which is impressive considering its only our second year! I know it’ll only get better from here!

Congratulations to Jatin Setia and co. for another amazing year at TCFF! It was truly a feat to transform your vision into reality. Of course it helps to have such a great staff alongside you: Bill Cooper, Naomi Dahlgren, Amanda Day, John Mellesmoen, and the rest of the staff. I also want to thank lead programmer Steve Snyder for selecting such wonderful movies and Katie Stroup from Allied Integrated Marketing for inviting me to the Like Crazy interview.

Great job everyone, I’m sure you all deserve the much-needed sleep by now!


Thanks everyone who’ve stayed with me throughout my TCFF coverage. I really appreciate your comments on my reviews, posts, etc. I hope one day you get to experience a film festival on your own, whether a local or international one. It definitely makes me appreciate films more as I get insights into how they get made.

Long live cinema!