Documentaries always plays a big part of Twin Cities Film Fest and we’re all the better for it. It’s always fun to learn something new by watching an insightful, fascinating doc. There are a plethora of subject matters, from environmental sustainability (TCFF’s social justice cause this year), films about art/culture, and inspirational journey of a son and his father conquering the Appalachian Trail in record-breaking fashion.
Check out the reviews below, thanks to our doc reviewer Kelly Lamplear-Dash, an award-winning screenwriter known for producing documentary films on historical figures, like Isaac Asimov and John Berryman, and historical moments, like The Dinkytown Uprising.
For more film fest coverage, reviews and interviews, type TCFF2019 in the Search box for ALL of the posts we’ve done so far this year.
Like Harvey Like Son
Stunning first documentary feature from Rudy Harris Jr. As if the gorgeous landscape wasn’t enough, there is a wonderful unfolding of the lives of both Harvey Lewis Jr. and III. Being an amateur hiker that journeyed on a seven day hike, I appreciate the style he presented for Harvey’s quest to break the record running the Appalachian Trail. The way he interwove the personal revelations and reflections along Harvey’s path is reminiscent of the actual experience of being on the trail: you’re focused on the needs of the day, but then there’s something that brings back an old memory, or there’s a moment of thought that creates introspection, and, of course, simply enjoying the surroundings. He beautifully captures these interweaving moments in the way he edited the film.
My only criticism was the use of music was a little too much. I liked the choices of musical score; however, I felt it was a little too much. It seemed like there was never a moment to breathe and enjoy the ambient sound of the beautiful surroundings. I especially appreciated the comments by Harvey Lewis III about his definition of “success” from his quest. Is it defined by what society dictates, or what personally enriches us? Great reminder.
8 Seasons of Art: A Black Arts Story
Artivists. Twin Cities art activists share their art, poetry, and music, along with their personal stories of purpose and struggle in our community. Raw and edgy footage carries the tone for the critical dialogue that is at the heart of this documentary. Intentional imagery underscores the artistry and performances that were shared. It is a fantastic glimpse into the local black culture that isn’t always readily accessible. This film is a great platform to help these underserved voices be heard.
Juice: How Electricity Explains The World
Thought provoking. I really consider myself educated on the issues of clean energy and energy conservation; however, this film brought up some engaging important global perspectives on energy use. What energy means in a broader sense of existence is a truly critical discussion. There is no easy answer or quick fix approach to this film. It is about broadening our concepts and realizing our interconnectedness over this issue. A great source for starting important conversations.
We’ve past the halfway point of the film fest… but we still have three full days filled with GREAT films! S0 here are the Daily Schedule for the rest of the film fest, but before that, here’s a fun recap video from yesterday:
Thursday, October 24
12:15p.m.: Science Fair, Cristina Costantini & Darren Foster
Nine high school students from disparate corners of the globe navigate rivalries, setbacks, and hormones on their quest to win the international science fair. Only one can be named “Best in Fair.”
Our man receives a mis-delivered package that tears open old wounds sending him down a dark path that will change his life forever.
2:45p.m.: The Truth About Marriage, Roger Nygaard
Why is marriage so difficult? Filmmaker Roger Nygard (TREKKIES) seeks to answer that question as he follows three unusual couples, who were filmed at their weddings, then many years later to see what happened after the honeymoon stage.
“Leona” is an intimate, insightful, and moving film that tells the story of a young Jewish woman from Mexico City who finds herself torn between her family and her forbidden love. Ripe with all the drama and interpersonal conflicts of a Jane Austen novel, watching her negotiate the labyrinth of familial pressure, religious precedent, and her own burgeoning sentiment is both painful and beautiful there are no easy choices to be made and the viewer travels back and forth with her as she struggles with her heart to take the best path.
Ed Norton’s directing debut. Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, Motherless Brooklyn follows Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna.
Wide-eyed Midwest transplant Stan (Chace Crawford) agrees to play wingman to his calculating and privileged roommate Chad (Kevin Zegers) as they embark upon an exploration of glittering New York nightlife, whose darkest secrets are held captive by an elite band of millennials known as Nighthawks.
Amplify Her explores the rise of female artists against the backdrop of the global electronic music festival scene from Burning Man (Nevada) to Rainbow Serpent (Australia). Imagined and brought to life by more than 21 female creators across North America, this lush and visually dynamic world blurs the line between fiction and reality while demonstrating the power of letting women tell their own stories.
In suburban Phoenix, 40-year-old Ruth Kiesling is not exactly living the dream. She’s a donut shop employee with anger issues. Ever the opportunist and desperate for money, she “steals” the body of President James Buchanan hoping to ransom him for a nice windfall but she’s surprised to discover that no one seems particularly interested in getting him back.
In the highly exclusive Athlete Village at the Olympic Winter Games, Penelope (Alexi Pappas, “Tracktown”), a young cross-country skier, befriends Ezra (Nick Kroll, “The League,” “Kroll Show,” “I Love You, Man”), a volunteer dentist, after a disappointing finish in her competition. Penelope and Ezra share a special but limited time together.
Faye (Sarah French), a former actress that lost her vision due to botched laser eye, struggles to put her life back together while living alone in her dream house in the Hollywood Hills. Supported by her friend Sophia (Caroline Williams), she starts opening up to Luke (Tyler Gallant), a personal trainer who is mute and can only communicate through his cell phone. When a masked stranger named “Pretty Boy” (Jed Rowen) shows up, Faye will realize that she isn`t as alone as she thinks.
When groom-to-be Ben’s wild ex-girlfriend Jules bursts into his home to declare her love for him on the eve of his wedding to Lisa, Ben is suddenly faced with a decision he didn’t realize he had to make. What appears to be an easy choice on the surface is anything but, as Ben grapples with the fact that this night will determine the course of his life.
In 2016, June and Edward are in the midst of an argument when Edward suddenly falls into a wormhole created by David Bowie’s death. In 2040, June continues to mourn the loss of Edward while facing the dark reality of being locked away along with the rest of society’s senior citizens. Unwilling to disappear, June begins to plan her escape when Edward suddenly reappears in her life.
WELL GROOMED travels a year in the humorous and visually stunning world of competitive creative dog grooming alongside the women transforming their beloved poodles into living sculptures. Check out our review.
In a small town in Mexico, once a year, men transform into women and become the Chuntá. Follow two gender-bending gangs of dancers as they face off in a struggle between queer identity and powerful traditions.
On a summer night in Harlem during her last months at home before starting college, 17-year-old poet Ayanna (Zora Howard) meets Isaiah (Joshua Boone), a charming music producer who has just moved to the city. It’s not long before these two artistic souls are drawn together in a passionate summer romance. But as the highs of young love give way to jealousy, suspicion, and all-too-real consequences, Ayanna must confront the complexities of the adult world whether she is ready or not. Emotionally raw, intimate, and honest, “Premature” is at once timeless and bracingly contemporary in its portrait of a young woman navigating the difficult choices that can shape a life.
Hunter (Haley Bennett) is a newly pregnant woman, living an idyllic, stay-at-home life with her picture-perfect husband (Austin Stowell). But when she finds herself compelled to eat a small marble, she is catapulted down the path of a new obsession for consuming dangerous objects that threatens her seemingly have-it-all life. Her husband and his mother (Elizabeth Marvel) notice the change, and begin to tighten their control over Hunter, forcing her to confront the dark secret behind her strange compulsion.
A unique and unpredictable journey from Carlo Mirabella-Davis, “Swallow” is a compelling blend of domestic thriller, medical mystery, and satire. It plays as a warped fairy tale that uses its style and tension to pose real questions about womens bodies, guilt, repression, and agency.
Saturday, October 26th, 3-4pm FROM THE TRENCHES – Minnesota Film Ecosystem from Below-the-Line
Our local crew members work tirelessly to make our films into reality. Come hear from our MN-based crew members as they discuss the current landscape of filmmaking in Minnesota and present a positive and constructive way forward towards industry growth.