Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) – April 11-28

MSPIFFlogo I’m so glad to live in a city where arts & culture thrive and are celebrated year round. Well, the biggest film event of the state, The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival today or MSPIFF for short, opens today! I’ll be picking up my Press Pass later this afternoon. Thanks to the Festival Coordinator (Eric) for the prompt response in approving my application! 😀 Check out the official website for the full lineup selections for the 2013 Festival, which features regional premieres of international and local independent feature-length and short films representing over 60 countries. The Festival, presented by the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, runs April 11 through 28 on all five screens of the St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 SE Main Street, Minneapolis. Here’s what will be showing for their Special Presentations:

Opening Night: The Angels’ Share • UK Closing Night: In a World… • USA Centerpiece Special Presentation: Caesar Must Die • Italy Centerpiece Special Presentation: Midnight’s Children • India Disconnect • USA The East • USA The Kings of Summer • USA Kon-Tiki • Norway/Denmark/UK Low Movie (How to Quit Smoking) • USA Mud • USA The Reluctant Fundamentalist • India/Pakistan/USA Twenty Feet from Stardom • USA Unfinished Song [Song For Marion] • UK What Maisie Knew • USA

MSPIFF_scheduleWow, quite a lineup, isn’t it? Some of them have won film festival awards from around the country, for example, Ken Loach’s The Angels’ Share won the Jury Prize at Cannes and Caesar Must Die won the Golden Bear at 2012 Berlinale. I’ve just downloaded the schedule which is quite handy. You can download the Block Schedule here. I’ve perused the schedule and I’m definitely going to try to see at least 10 films in the next three weeks, here are some I’m hoping to catch:

  • I, Anna
  • Caesar Must Die
  • Mud
  • Unfinished Song (Song for Marion)
  • Disconnect
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist
  • The East
  • Kon-Tiki
  • The Hunt
  • In a World…

I’m sure there’ll be more that caught my eye as I go through the film descriptions on their massive FILMS page. Well, last night, I had the pleasure of watching Ken Loach’s latest feature film The Angels’ Share ahead of my interview with its screenwriter Paul Laverty this afternoon. Here’s the premise of the film:

Narrowly avoiding jail, new dad Robbie vows to turn over a new leaf. A visit to a whisky distillery inspires him and his mates to seek a way out of their hopeless lives.

AngelsSharePoster My friend Mark wrote a beautiful review of this film and I love what he wrote about it…

Loach still has the power of gritty authenticity and on a few occasions he displays that but like the beverage they are concerned about in the film, it has a nice balance; it manages to be both rough and smooth… A slight change of pace from Ken Loach and more upbeat than fans of his will be accustomed to but he manages the understatement very well and delivers one of his most feel-good films to date.

I absolutely agree with Mark that The Angels’ Share has a nice balance of being rough and smooth, it’s a feel-good film without being unnecessarily over-sentimental. The dialog is witty and hilarious at times, and the acting by mostly-unknown young actors are very natural and convincing. Suffice to say, it’s a GREAT pick for an opening film for MSPIFF! Hope you’ll check it out when it’s playing in an indie theater near you.

Paul Laverty [right] with Ken Loach on the set of The Angels’ Share
I’m so looking forward to my 10-minute chat with Mr. Laverty later this afternoon, though I wish I had seen more of his films. He has done some fantastic work, mostly with Loach, most notably The Wind that Shakes The Barley and Looking for Eric, both of which have won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and also the British Independent Film Award. I sure hope the thunderstorm—yep you read it correctly, we’ve got lightning AND snow last night and this morning, [sigh]—dies down a bit in the afternoon, but this snow ain’t gonna stop me!! I’ll definitely be blogging about the interview, so stay tuned 😀

Have you seen any of these… or does any of these films interest you?