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?

41 thoughts on “Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) – April 11-28

  1. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is good. I caught it at a pre-Tribeca Film Fest screening. Hopefully will get to the write up next week!

    I did not realize your area has two big film fests – there is also the Twin Cities in the fall, right?

    1. Oh cool! Looking forward to that, looks gripping.

      Yes we have 2, TCFF is the one I’ve been covering the last 3 years which is fairly new. MSPIFF has been around for some time.

  2. You’re so incredibly fortunate! I live in a huge void when it comes to events like this. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the festival. I’m really excited about The Hunt. But of course Mud is the big one. It’s my most anticipated film of 2013!!!

    1. Yeah, I’m blessed to live in a pretty artsy town. Well perhaps you can start the first local film fest in Arkansas Keith 😉 But you live close to Dallas right, I think there’s a Dallas Film Fest? I do hope I get to see Mud and The Hunt!

  3. I live in Minnesota too, and was hoping I could possibly sneak away one day to drive to the cities, but judging by all of the snow we’re getting right now, that isn’t gonna happen for me. Enjoy it! I look forward to your reviews.

    1. Hi Brittani, where do you live in MN? I hope you can drive down to the Cities in the next 3 weeks, we can even do a meet-up if possible. Let’s hope the snow is not gonna continue past this weekend!!

  4. Can’t wait to hear how the Laverty interview goes Ruth. So glad to hear that you liked The Angels’ Share and thank you very much for te kind words and mention.

    1. I was quite nervous but Mr. Laverty was so friendly and gracious. I really enjoyed The Angels’ Share and I told him I really like the dialog which of course pleased him. Your review summed up how I feel about it, so I just had to include it here. THANKS for giving me the question about Celtics vs Rangers, he’s a Celtics fan btw 😀

  5. Ted S.

    I didn’t even know this festival has started, have fun and looking forward to reading your interviews and reviews.

    1. I’m jotting down the schedule right now, I really hope I can get to all on my list. Mud does look pretty good though I’m not exactly a big fan of Matthew.

  6. Enjoy those films, Ruth! Can’t wait to read your coverage of the festival. I’m really looking forward to Caesar Must Die, Mud, Kon-Tiki, and The Hunt.

    1. Will do Josh. I’ve just completed my schedule. I really hope I can see the 10 I’ve listed here and maybe more. I’ll be seeing Kon-Tiki this wknd! 😀

  7. Very strong lineup! Not to brag, but you asked, I’ve seen about half of them: The Angels’ Share, Caesar Must Die, Midnight’s Children, Kon-Tiki, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Hunt, I Anna.

    I’m most looking forward to MUD. THE EAST looks cool too.

    1. WOW, that’s incredible that you’ve seen most of them. Did you review them? I’ll look for ’em on your site but if you have links, please do leave ’em here so others can check ’em out as well. Thanks Bonjour!!

          1. LOL – just for continuity!! Like our little secret 🙂 BTW, your Desert Island choices arent too far away, got a couple more people then you. I’ll obviously let you know beforehand. Thanks Ruth 🙂

    1. Hey, there’s got to be a local film fest where you live too right? The theater of this one isn’t too convenient for me but hey I’m not gonna let that stop me! The lineup is pretty great, and I’ve missed out on other years when this film fest was playing. Yeah, hope there’ll be some gems too!

  8. I visited Minneapolis about 5-6 years ago and I very much enjoyed every minute I spent there. The thing keeping me far far away is the nasty/cold weather. I mean, it’s cold enough in Chicago to venture further north in hopes of freezing even more. The weather this year has been quite awful. When will the winter finally pass? I’m afraid we won’t have a decent Spring season at all.

    Anyway, the festival sounds like a great opportunity to get acquainted with some new promising films and I look forward to your reviews in the future. How did you manage to get the interview with Paul Laverty?

    1. Yeah, this Winter’s pretty nasty, I mean last year we’re already in the 60s and 70s and this time we’re lucky if we get 50 before month’s end 😦 Let’s hope we’ll still get ‘some’ Spring Niels, my ideal temp is 60s and 70s.

      I got my tickets to the 10 films so I’m all set. The PR company where I got my press pass for movies offered me the interview with Mr. Laverty and I just couldn’t pass it up!

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  10. I saw The Hunt, it’s pretty disturbing, but also very powerful. I’ve read mixed things about Kon Tiki and The East, though I am looking forward to Mud. Hope you do a round-up of which movies you enjoyed from the festival 🙂

    1. Looking forward to seeing The Hunt tomorrow night. Disturbing? Hmmm, I hope not too much so, I’m not too fond of disturbing films, ahah. I’m so bummed not being able to see MUD last week because of snow storm!! Yeah I’ll do a roundup after I get done reviewing all of them.

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