TWIN CITIES FILM FEST 2018 tickets on sale today! 20 of My Most-Anticipated Selections

October is already here! And most of you know it’s always an exciting month for me thanks to TCFF!

Well, TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW… so if you haven’t looked at the diverse and inspiring lineup yet, you better get them asap before they sell out!

Check out the full lineup »
Click on the Buy Tickets button on its individual film page.

Once again, the 11-day film festivities runs from October 17-27 at Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON Theatres at The Shops at West End with ICON•X. Click the handy schedule grid below in PDF format.

Now, it’s hard to pick just a few to get excited about as there are simply too many great ones premiering at this year’s fest. So I come up with twenty of must-see movies, broken down by two categories. I’ve also posted the list of the daily schedules below. Films by female filmmakers are marked with an asterisk (*).

Indie and MN-connected Features:

Time For Ilhan*

Director: Norah Shapiro
An eye-opening documentary that follows the 2016 Minnesota House of Representatives campaign of Ilhan Omar, a Somalian immigrant who sets out to unseat a 43-year incumbent and other challengers.

As an immigrant living in Minnesota, this film obviously resonates with me. It’s a film by women AND about women. But surely this is an important film regardless of your background, and I’m thrilled to see this documentary be a part of this year’s TCFF!!

Inventing Tomorrow*

Director: Laura Nix
“Inventing Tomorrow” follows six young scientists from Indonesia, Hawaii, India and Mexico as they tackle some of the most complex environmental issues facing humanity today – right in their own backyards. Each student is preparing original scientific research that he or she will defend at ISEF, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Framed against the backdrop of the severe environmental threats we now face, the audience is immersed in a global view of the planetary crisis, through the eyes of the generation that will be affected by it most.

I love docs that highlights young people, especially young people of color! Yes the fact that I’m from Indonesia and there’s a student from my homeland immediately appeals to me but really, this sounds like an inspiring doc that would make us hopeful about our future.

Rich Kids*

Director: Laura Somers
A group of troubled teens from a low-income community break into “Los Ricos”, the local mansion with a border fence, and spend the day pretending to be rich in order to forget their difficult lives.

It’s another film by a female filmmaker which subject matter intrigues me. Who hasn’t tried to escape from difficult circumstances in our lives? But for these kids, that escape seems more elusive than most.

Noah Wise

Director: Ben Zuckert
As a saxophonist’s quartet comes to an end, he meets a singer-songwriter whose career is just beginning.

I love indie movies that deals with music/musicians. The preview just looks like something I’d enjoy. It reminds me a bit of the indie romance Dust Storm from a years ago that premiered at TCFF, and the storyline also has a bit of that A Star Is Born vibe to it.

Origin Story*

Director: Kulap Vilaysack
Twenty years after learning about her biological father, Kulap Vilaysack finally asks the questions that will lead her to him.

As someone who grew up without a dad, I feel fortunate that at least I knew who my dad was even if he didn’t raise me. I can’t imagine the intricate and likely painful journey of those trying to track down their biological parent. This sounds like a heart-warming tale that’ll sure to linger after the end credits roll.

Lez Bomb*

Director: Jenna Laurenzo
A comedy about a young woman who struggles telling her overbearing mother that the friend she brought home for Thanksgiving is actually her girlfriend.

Thanksgiving with family can be a wonderful as well as stressful time, and that’s why it always makes for an intriguing subject matter. This comedy will sure resonate with anyone who’s ever had a trepidation about sharing a secret with a family member, especially during the holidays.

Sadie*

Director: Megan Griffiths
“Sadie” is the story of a girl who will stop at nothing to preserve her father’s place on the home front. Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss) is the daughter of a soldier and models herself after his military example. When her mom (Melanie Lynskey) begins dating a new man (John Gallagher, Jr.), Sadie vows to drive him out by whatever means necessary. He is the enemy, and if she’s learned anything from the world she inhabits, it’s that the enemy deserves no mercy. Also starring Tony Hale, Danielle Brooks, Tee Dennard and Keith L. Williams.

I LOVE Melanie Lynskey and so I’m glad to see her in a film in this year’s fest! But sounds like Sophia Mitri Schloss is the breakout star here in this emotional family drama.

Humor Me

Director: Sam Hoffman
“Humor Me” is a heartfelt father-son comedy about a struggling playwright who is forced to move in with his joke-telling dad in a New Jersey retirement community and learns, as his father often says, “life’s going to happen, whether you smile or not.”

I feel like this ‘down on his luck guy moving back in with his parents’ story has been told many time before, but it instantly feels fresh with Jemaine Clement, one of the awesome musical duo of Flight of the Concords and of course, my all time fave vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows!

American Tender

Director: C.J. Renner
It was never just a date.

I’ve become a fan of MN filmmaker CJ Renner since I saw his innovative noir GUNN (see my interview last year with him here). He said this one sort of ‘sneaked up on him’ as he seemed to have shot this film fairly quickly. I was immediately hooked by the cool, mysterious trailer!

When Jeff Tried to Save the World*

Director: Kendall Goldberg
Starring Jon Heder in attendance (Napoleon Dynamite) & Jim O’Heir (Parks & Recreation): When the manager of an old-school bowling alley discovers the owner’s plans to sell, saving Winky’s World means pulling himself out of the gutter, too.

Can you believe ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ was 14 years ago?? I really enjoyed that one when I first saw it. Well, Jon Heder is back and he’ll actually be in attendance in October!! This sounds like another comedic winner that sure to warm the hearts.

Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Director: Sam Pollard
The first major film documentary to examine Sammy Davis, Jr.’s vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.

I love Sammy Davis Jr.’s voice and music but I don’t know anything about his life. Given the era when he grew up, this sure to be a fascinating documentary not to be missed!

Point of No Return

Director: Noel Dockstader and Quinn Kanaly
Two pilots attempt to fly their fragile, experimental solar airplane – Solar Impulse – around the world to prove the potential of clean energy.

I love docs about innovative technology and this looks amazing visually plus the idea of solar plane is just so darn cool! 

 

Studio Features:

Green Book

Director: Peter Farrelly

A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali is a cinematic duo I didn’t think I need but now I can’t imagine living without. Last time I saw Ali was in the phenomenal Oscar-winner Moonlight (which I also saw at TCFF!) and Viggo was in the excellent family drama Captain Fantastic. Together they’d surely electrify the screen!

A Private War

Director: Matthew Heineman
One of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time, Marie Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontline of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless.

I’ve been a long admirer of Rosamund Pike, long before she starred in career-turning Gone Girl. This sounds like an Oscar-worthy performance from the versatile and talented Brit.

The Favourite

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne (Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Weisz) governs the country in her stead. When a new servant Abigail (Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.

Whenever Yorgos Lanthimos directs something, it seems to always get tongue wagging. ‘The Lobster’ is one of those bizarrely-wonderful movie that makes you go ‘just what the heck is going on?’ This time he seems to apply that same strange sensibilities to a royal family period drama.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?*

Director: Marielle Heller
Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee is no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (Richard E. Grant). An adaptation of the memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the true story of best-selling celebrity biographer (and friend to cats).

Melissa McCarthy is tackling a dramatic role in this biopic that’s originally supposed to star Julianne Moore. I’m even more intrigued the fact that she’s the lead here, and for me, I’m always intrigued by films about writers.

Widows

Director: Steve McQueen

“Widows” is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

When I first saw this trailer, I knew I had to see it!! I mean Viola Davis going full bad-ass mode a la Liam Neeson in ‘Taken’, and hey he actually played her husband!! Then I saw Steve McQueen directing… so yeah, bring. it. on!!

If Beale Street Could Talk

Director: Barry Jenkins
“Widows” is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

I mentioned one of TCFF’s gala films ‘Moonlight’ earlier. Well glad to see Barry Jenkins’ follow-up feature made it to TCFF this year. This looks like a tear-jerker and absolutely heart-wrenching. I was instantly smitten by the two young leads KiKi Layne and Stephan James.

Saving Flora

Director: Mark Taylor
An unbreakable bond between an elephant and girl is put to the test, How far will you go to save a friend?

A family drama about a kid bonding with an elephant? Well this looks like a heart-warming and less-fantastical version of ‘Dumbo’ that’s out next year. Glad to hear David Arquette and Tom Arnold might attend the premiere on October 22!

Chef Flynn

Director: Cameron Yates
Ten-year-old Flynn transforms his living room into a supper club using his classmates as line cooks. With sudden fame, Flynn outgrows his bedroom kitchen, and sets out to challenge the hierarchy of the culinary world.

This doc about young culinary whiz will sure wet our appetite and wish you had even an iota of his talents around the kitchen! So interesting that he even involves his classmates as cooks. Renowned chef Andrew Zimmern who’s now based in MN is scheduled to make an appearance on Thursday, Oct. 25’s premiere!

Films directed by women


Great things come in small packages! Don’t forget about the wonderful short films selections. Check out what’s playing in the seven SHORT BLOCKS that’s been curated by TCFF programmers!


…..

2018 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST DAILY SCHEDULE

Wed – October 17

5:45p.m.: Time for Ilhan, Noah Shapiro*

8:15p.m.: Green Book, Peter Farrelly*

Thurs – October 18

1:30p.m.: The Eyes of ThailandWindy Borman

2:00p.m.: Lez BombJenna Laurenzo

3:30p.m.: After Hours TradingFredrick Johnson

4:00p.m.: Inventing TomorrowLaura Nix

6:15p.m.: Point of No ReturnNoel Dockstader and Quinn Kanaly

7:00p.m.: American TenderC.J. Renner*

8:40p.m.: Time TrapMark Dennis & Ben Foster

9:15p.m.: Laugh ’til You DIE ShortsVarious

Fri – October 19

2:15p.m.: Nor Any Drop to Drink, Cedric Taylor

3:00p.m.: Coby, Christian Sonderegger

5:00p.m.: The Shingle Life, Peter Marcy

5:15p.m.: One Bedroom, Darien Sills-Evans

7:20p.m.: When Jeff Tried to Save the World, Kendall Goldberg

9:35p.m.: Strange Nature, Jim Ojala

9:45p.m.: In This Gray Place, R.D. Womack II 

Sat – October 20

10:00a.m.: Through the Windmill, Amanda Kulkoski

11:45a.m.: Kids Incorporated Shorts, Various

12:00p.m.: F.R.E.D.I, Sean Olson

1:45p.m.: Not in My Lifetime, Pam Colby

2:30p.m.: Chasing the Thunder, Mark Benjamin Rhino ShieldBilly Ward

3:45p.m.: Noah Wise, Ben Zuckert*

5:10p.m.: Summer ’03, Becca Gleason

6:15p.m.: Widows, Steve McQueen*

7:30p.m.: Black, David J. Buchanan

7:30p.m.: Humor Me, Sam Hoffman

9:10p.m.: Long Lost, Erik Bloomquist

9:45p.m.: Gags, Adam Krause

Sun – October 21

10:10a.m.: Rich Kids, Laura Somers*

11:00a.m.: Belong to Us, Patrick Rea

12:30p.m.: Regarding the Case of Joan of Arc, Matthew D. Wilder

1:30p.m.: Life in the Doghouse, Ron Davis

3:00p.m.: Operation Wedding, Anat Zalmanson Kuznetsov

5:00p.m.: The Testament, Amichai Greenberg

7:00p.m.: Homeward Bound – Shorts, Various

7:30p.m.: 93Queen, Paula Eiselt

9:30p.m.: Two in the Bush: A Love Story, Laura Madalinski

Mon – October 22

3:45p.m.: The Push, Grant Korgan and Brian Niles

4:00p.m.: Special Ed, Frank Anderson

6:00p.m.: Saving Flora, Mark Taylor

6:30p.m.: The Lumber Baron, Barry Anderson

7:00p.m.: Sadie, Megan Griffiths

9:15p.m.: We Can Relate – Shorts, Various

9:20p.m.: All Square, John Hyams 

Tues – October 23

2:45p.m.: Fire on the Hill, Brett Fallentine

5:00p.m.: The Skin of the Teeth, Matthew Wollin

5:10p.m.: Finding Hygge, Rocky Walls

7:00p.m.: Can You Ever Forgive Me? Marielle Heller

7:30p.m.: Across the Water, Nicolo Donato

9:30p.m.: Wunderland, Steven Luke

9:40p.m.: JackRabbit 29, Kyle Klubal

Wed – October 24

2:45p.m.: American Tender, C.J. Renner

3:15p.m.: Sadie, Megan Griffiths

3:45p.m.: The Lumber Baron, Barry Anderson

5:00p.m.: The Prodigal Dad, Robert Wenzek

5:45p.m: Big Dream, Kelly Cox

6:30p.m.: Legend of Cambria, Alexei Tylevich

7:10p.m.: Passionate Voices – Shorts, Various

8:00p.m.: Who Will Write our History, Roberta Grossman

8:15p.m.: The Best People, Dan Levy Dagerman

9:25p.m.: Witch, Vanessa Magowan Horrocks Powers 

Thurs – October 25

2:45p.m.: Chasing the Thunder, Mark Benjamin

5:00p.m.: Song of Back and Neck, Paul Lieberstein

5:10p.m.: Artistic Expressions – Shorts, Various

7:05p.m.: Chef Flynn, Cameron Yates

7:15p.m.: Shoelaces, Jacob Goldwasser

9:15p.m.: Thrilling, Tingling Tales – Shorts, Various

9:25p.m.: Newly Single, Adam Christian Clark 

Fri – October 26

10:00a.m.: Noah Wise, Ben Zuckert

10:30a.m.: Time Trap, Mark Dennis & Ben Foster

12:15p.m.: In This Gray Place, R.D. Womack II

12:45p.m.: The Prodigal Dad, Robert Wenzek

5:00p.m.: Electric LoveAaron Fradkin

5:30p.m.: Generation StartUp, Cynthia Wade, Cheryl Miller Houser

7:00p.m.: Boy Erased, Joel Edgerton

7:45p.m.: Lez Bomb, Jenna Laurenzo

9:45p.m.: Muse, John Burr 

Sat – October 27

10:00a.m.: Origin Story, Kulap Vilaysack

10:10a.m.: The Push, Grant Korgan and Brian Niles

12:20p.m.: In a Relationship, Sam Boyd

12:30p.m.: DocuMNtary: The Story of Tech in MInnesota, Nick Roseth

2:00p.m.: Zeroes, Charles St. John Smith III

2:45p.m.: The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos

4:30p.m.: A Private War, Matthew Heineman

5:30p.m: If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins

7:00p.m.: United Skates, Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler

8:15p.m.: Doubtful, Eliran Elya



Festival Passes breakdown:

  • Silver Pass – $50 (5 pack of non-Gala tickets)
  • Gold Pass – $80 (10 pack of non-Gala tickets)
  • Platinum Pass – $120 (12 pack of non-Gala tickets + 2 Gala tickets)
  • Gala Pass – $100 (6 tickets to any Gala Film)
  • All Access Pass – $500 (Guaranteed seat in premiere row at ANY screening +more!).

Oh and as if great films aren’t enough for the 11-day festivities, check out the amazing lineup of FREE EDUCATIONAL events!!


So which of these film(s) are YOU most excited about?

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14 thoughts on “TWIN CITIES FILM FEST 2018 tickets on sale today! 20 of My Most-Anticipated Selections

  1. I hope you manage to see some good films during the festival Ruth! Thanks for sharing the Sammy Davis Jr documentary info as I had not heard about it before. I’m cinterested in If Beale Street Could Talk based on the strength of Moonlight. Same with The Favorite as Lanthimos impressed me previously.

    1. I hope so too Chris!! Life is super busy for me right now but hoping I can fit in as many movies as I could. That Sammy Davis doc looks so good, and yes I’m intrigued by If Beale Street Could Talk because of what Barry Jenkins did w/ Moonlight.

      1. PrairieGirl

        Well, since you’ve already seen TBC streaming (because you have insider access, and helped in its selection, good for you!) I bet you’re looking forward to it at TCFF. Do you know yet whether the director from London will make it to the screening?

        And the Sammy Davis Jr. story is what I really want to see. I got to know about him by watching him on TV in the 60s when I was just pre-teen. Some may call me crazy, but in some ways I’m sure he was an inspiration for Prince. He can sing, dance, act, play piano, and do uncanny impressions. He was true entertainer. About time someone made a great documentary about him. Thanks fo highlighting it in your picks.

      1. The Adobe conference is actually in Los Angeles which i believe you were there recently. I’m looking forward it to since I haven’t been back in LA for many years.

        Any film made by Yorgos Lanthimos won’t be your normal fare and that’s why I want to see it. Also, he’s channeling Kubrick’s style in his films, especially has last one, The Killing of a Sacred Deer. This one looks like his version of Kubrick’s Barry Landon. We should meet up before the showings of Widows and this film!

  2. Hey Ruth, it’s been a loooooong time but I’m still around, even if not entirely present in the blogosphere. Hope you still remember me hehe

    This is a nice and interesting collection of films you have shared. From the small docs and tiny dramatic productions, to the big stars in indie movies that cost a few million dollars to make. I’m very anxious to watch If Beale Street Could Talk based entirely on the fact that it’s Barry Jenkin’s follow-up to Moonlight. I can say a similar thing about The Favourite, with the always surprising and never timid Yorgos Lanthimos at the helm. Widows is another interesting one. Steve McQueen’s films tend to be hard and heavy dramas and with his latest he seems to have stepped out of his comfort zone a bit. Judging from the trailer, it seems Widows is more of an thriller/drama that is also filled to the brim with A-list actors. I can’t wait to see it.

    On the lesser known side of things, the trailer for Sadie looks intriguing even if the premise is not entirely original. I was also taken by Point of No Return. I’m also a sucker for documentaries about advances in science and technology and this one seems right up my alley.

    Good to see you’re still hard at work with your blogging and active participation in the MN film community.

    1. HI Niels! Of course I remember you! I never forget my blog friends 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and checking out the list. I forgot where you’re based again, it’d be cool if you come to Minneapolis to check out TCFF someday!

      I’m with you about If Beale Street Could Talk, The Favourite and Widows that I am excited to see them based on the previous work of the directors. They’re all non-white Americans too, always nice to see diverse filmmakers represented. I also try to include as many female-directed features. Yeah the selections this year is superb, it’ll be a great month for movie watching, esp since it gets so cold here already.

      Well I’m not able to blog as much anymore because of my film stuff now, but I do try once in a while, in fact I just finished writing my review of A Star Is Born.

  3. Wow, that’s a great line-up. I really want to see Green Book, The Favorite, Widows and Boy Erased, especially Green Book, it looks like a great film with strong performances (I love Viggo Mortensen! I wish my local film festivals were as cool as this one!

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