MINNEAPOLIS ST. PAUL INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL opens this week!!

MSP Film Society announces the complete line-up of films in the 40th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF), running Thursday, May 13 through Sunday, May 23 as a hybrid festival. MSPIFF is Minnesota’s largest film festival and, at 40 years running, a Minnesota cultural institution. MSPIFF40 will present 180+ films by both veteran and emerging filmmakers from around the world, available virtually to audiences throughout Minnesota—and over half available throughout the US!—at MSPfilm.org, plus a selection of special outdoor screenings in

MSPIFF40 opens with a special outdoor screening of SUMMER OF SOUL. Directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, SUMMER OF SOUL presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record—created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion.

summer-of-soul-mspiff

The film will also be available to screen virtually for 48 hours, beginning at 7pm on Opening Night, at MSPfilm.org. SUMMER OF SOUL premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award.

MSPIFF40’s CLOSING PRESENTATION on SATURDAY MAY 22 is AFTER ANTARCTICA, directed by Tasha Van Zandt.

after-antartica-mspiff40

In 1989, Will Steger traversed Antarctica, the longest and most treacherous crossing of the continent in history. Now, over 30 years later, director Tasha Van Zandt follows him again across the continent, which is slowly coming apart due to the global warming crisis.


The Milgrom Tribute (named after the founder of the Minneapolis St. Paul Film Society, Al Milgrom) recognizes the eminent, politically-minded, multi-award winning Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland. Ms. Holland is known as a trailblazing artist whose storytelling often elevates outsider perspectives and whose work as an auteur in the cinematic world is widely recognized as deeply personal and historically significant.

Ms. Holland is known as a trailblazing artist whose storytelling often elevates outsider perspectives and whose work as an auteur in the cinematic world is widely recognized as deeply personal and historically significant. I’ve reviewed one of her films, Mr. Jones, about the Holodomor, that is the man-made famine-genocide in Ukraine in early 1930s, and I look forward to seeing her other films screening at the festival: Europa Europa and Charlatan.

Here’s the trailer for EUROPA, EUROPA with Holland explaining her lighter approach to the holocaust story:
I’ve signed up for the FREE discussion featuring Holland and film critic David D’Arcy live via Zoom this Sunday, May 16 at 2:00pm CDT. 
Minnesota Made Films

MSP Film Society continues our commitment of year-round support to Minnesota filmmakers in multiple ways, from waiving submission fees to MSPIFF, to highlighting the selected films in MSPIFF’s publicity efforts, and offering weeklong theatrical runs and one-off screening opportunities at St. Anthony Main Theatre for festival favorites. Most recently, we have begun to offer our virtual platform so filmmakers can securely screen their films to audiences throughout Minnesota.

One of the feature films screening this year is SAY HIS NAME: FIVE DAYS FOR GEORGE FLOYD.

The incomprehensible police murder of George Floyd on May 25th, sparked a global uprising, the epicenter in Director Cy Dodson’s Minneapolis neighborhood, revealing an immersive observation of unrest in the days between the killing of George Floyd and the charges filed against police officer Derek Chauvin.


You can browse the entire MINNESOTA-MADE lineup here, which includes narrative features, documentaries and short films. Speaking of short films, one of the shorts that I had the privilege to produce is screening at the festival as well!

Written and directed by Julie Koehnen, MASTER SERVANT centers on an ambitious, young railroad executive comes face to face with his own moral decay in his blind pursuit of wealth and status. You can watch the trailer on its official website

Master-Servant_MSPIFF40

Julie’s follow-up to Master Servant, AWAKENING, which is also set in the Gilded Age, is also screening at the festival. Glad to see fellow MN filmmakers and actors I’ve become acquainted with whose short films made it to the festival, such as AWAY WE GO, THE LAST STATION and PIT STOP.

women and films

Naturally I’m always excited to see women-directed films, and there’s a special Women & Films program you can filter on MSPIFF online schedule!

I’ve already mentioned two films by Agnieszka Holland above, so here are just a few other titles I’m excited about:

  • Holler
  • My Donkey, My Lover & I
  • I Was, I Am, I Will Be
  • The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet
  • Love, It Was Not (doc)
  • The Translator
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit*
  • Women is Losers
  • Dream Horse

Holler has been making waves in various film festivals and its director Nicole Riegel was named one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch in 2020. Check out the trailer:

I actually got an early screener of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and I absolutely love it. Stay tuned for my review of it sometime next week!

In the documentary category, there’s LOVE, IT WAS NOT which centers on a taboo romance between a Jewish prisoner and an Austrian SS officer at Auschwitz.


There are a few films starring big-name actors who were recently nominated for Oscars (Riz Ahmed) or stars in a film that won an Oscar this year (Mads Mikkelsen).

MOGUL MOWGLI

MC Zed (Riz Ahmed) is a talented and angry young man, a British-Pakistani rapper seemingly at odds with the world and his family in equal measure. He’s channeled that anger into music, but on the cusp of stardom, his own body betrays him.

RIDERS OF JUSTICE

Military man Markus (Mads Mikkelsen), returns home to care for his teenage daughter after his wife is killed in a tragic train accident. But when a survivor of the wrecked train surfaces claiming foul play, Markus begins to suspect his wife was murdered.

UNDINE

Lastly, I’ve been a huge fan of German writer/director Christian Petzold ever since Phoenix and Transit. Here he collaborates again with Transit’s Franz Rogowski and Paula Beer once again. I like both actors and this story looks intriguing!

Undine works as a historian lecturing on Berlin’s urban development. But when the man she loves leaves her, the ancient myth catches up with her. Undine has to kill the man who betrays her and return to the water.


MSPIFF lineup

Which of these MSPIFF movies are you looking forward to?

TCFF 2020 Review: ‘The Horror Crowd’

THE HORROR CROWD

One of the things I love most about the horror genre is how tight-knit the community seems to be. From familiar actors appearing in a variety of horror films to seeing them interact with each other on Twitter, it feels like the people involved in horror movies are all part of one big family. The documentary The Horror Crowd makes it feel like that even more.

In The Horror Crowd, Ruben Pla interviews a variety of horror actors and filmmakers, from indie to iconic, on their experience in the horror industry- from their childhood introductions to the genre, to their humble beginnings in filmmaking, to how their personal lives are connected to the horror community. The documentary shows how many of them share common experiences, such as feeling like they didn’t fit in growing up, interest in classic horror literature and film at a young age, and an enthusiasm for Halloween costumes.

My biggest critique is that it feels a little disorganized; there seems to be an attempt to break the documentary into different sections for different topics, but it’s doesn’t always stick to them. I would love this a lot more as a TV series focusing on different aspects of the horror community members’ lives and careers rather than trying to hastily fit it all into an hour and a half documentary.

Overall, though, The Horror Crowd is a fun, geeky, heartwarming documentary that you don’t have to be a horror fan to appreciate.


Horrors & Thrillers For Halloween!

Check out all the movies that’s perfect for your Halloween weekend – just go to TCFF Website and pick a movie. You can still watch ’em tonight AND tomorrow, see below for the special deal to the streaming pass. Enjoy your Halloween weekend!


SPECIAL DEAL
50% off – STREAMING PASS

Enjoy the final 3 day of TCFF for half price! 70+ Online Films Available Until October 31st.

Narratives, Documentaries, Short Films, Minnesota Connected Films
CODE: 2020TCFFpass50
To learn more about how to attend these screenings, please visit www.twincitiesfilmfest.org.


To learn more about TCFF, events, film submissions or to donate, visit twincitiesfilmfest.org

TWIN CITIES FILM FEST announces 2020 Awards Finalists

Nomadland, Sound of Metal, Take Out Girl lead this year’s class of nominees; first-ever hybrid event continues to screen and stream through Saturday


St. Louis Park, MN (October 29, 2020) – The Twin Cities Film Fest, presented by VumaTV, unveiled more than 25 finalists for its top awards Thursday morning, many of which can still be streamed during the event’s final weekend. Among the 2020 contenders for the top Best Feature Film Award are Darius Marder’s electrifying drummer drama Sound of Metal, Hisonni Johnson’s gritty urban thriller Take Out Girl and Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland, which follows the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, Nomadland features real nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West. Winner of the 2020 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion and Toronto International Film Festival 2020 People’s Choice Award.

Frances McDormand in NOMADLAND

Nomadland screens Saturday evening as the official closing night film of TCFF 2020.

Other notable finalists this year include Lanie Zipoy’s The Subject, which stars Jason Biggs in a captivating performance as a white documentary filmmaker dealing with the fallout of a film that captured the murder of a Black teen on tape; Loira Limbal’s Through the Night, a verité documentary that goes inside the world of single mothers working multiple jobs and the 24-hour daycare centers helping them make ends meet; and Sonia Lowman’s Black Boys, which illuminates the reality facing Black males today through intimate, intergenerational conversations addressing such key issues as education, sports and criminal justice.

Actor Bill Murray is again serving as a special guest judge for this year’s Comedy Shorts Award. Murray will be choosing his favorite comedic short from the three finalists listed below.


2020 TCFF FINALISTS

Best Feature Film Award: Gossamer Folds, directed by Lisa Donato; Nomadland, directed by Chloé Zhao; Sound of Metal, directed by Darius Marder; The Subject, directed by Lanie Zipoy; and Take Out Girl, directed by Hisonni Johnson.

The Robert Byrd Best Documentary Film Award: Black Boys, directed by Sonia Lowman; The Falconer, directed by Annie Kaempfer; Normie, directed by Kurt Neale; The Reunited States, directed by Ben Rekhi; and Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal.

Best Short Film Award: Dame, directed by Foster Wilson; Long Ride Home, directed by Dame Pierre; and Vision — Seeing Is Believing, directed by Mark Anderson.

TCFF’s Indie Vision Award — Breakthrough Performance: Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal; Grace Kendall in Dame; Frances McDormand in Nomadland; Lili Taylor in Paper Spiders; and Hedy Wong in Take Out Girl.

Hedy Wong in ‘Take Out Girl’

TCFF’s Indie Vision Award — Breakthrough Achievement: Hisonni Johnson and Alberto Triana for their cinematography in Take Out Girl; Abraham and Darius Marder for their screenplay of Sound of Metal; Adam Mervis for his direction of The Last Days of Capitalism; Ahamefule J. Oluo for his music and score in Thin Skin; Malika Zouhali-Worrall for her editing in Through the Night

 Fun Is Good Bill Murray Comedy Shorts Award: Men Among Men, directed by Savannah Reich; Pappy Hour, directed by Nell Teare; and Sugar Blasters, directed by Sean A. Skinner.

The TCFF 2020 Changemaker Award: Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, for her work in advancing the cause of affordable living across the state


SPECIAL DEAL – 50% off – STREAMING PASS

Enjoy the final 3 day of TCFF for half price! 70+ Online Films Available Until October 31st.

Narratives, Documentaries, Short Films, Minnesota Connected Films
CODE: 2020TCFFpass50
To learn more about how to attend these screenings, please visit www.twincitiesfilmfest.org.


2020 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST SCHEDULE

In Theater Films:  ICON Theaters

(Only Available to Sponsors, Donors and Members – Reservation Required)

Friday Oct 30th
Herself,
Phyllida Lloyd – 6:30pm
Uncle Frank, Alan Ball – 8:30pm

Saturday Oct 31st
Nomadland
, Chloé Zhao – 6pm and 8:30pm

————————

Special Streaming Events on TCFF Website

Wednesday Oct 28th
Through The Night,
Loira Limbal – 7pm

Thursday Oct 29th
Women In Blue
, Deirdre Fishel – 7pm

Saturday Oct 31st
Black Boys
, Sonia Lowman – 5pm


To learn more about TCFF, events, film submissions or to donate, visit twincitiesfilmfest.org


TCFF 2020 Reviews: ‘Normie’ | ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us’ Mockumentary

NORMIE

The documentary Normie stars Annemarie Carrigan, who is a girl…no, rather, she is a young woman who is starting to come to terms with her Down Syndrome. Director Kurt Neale takes us behind the scenes in Annamerie’s life, as we learn that she is a big coffee lover and admires the Warner Bros. Television hit Gilmore Girls. But Annamerie also expresses her feelings of loneliness, and shares with us that she wants to be in love and have children. We see her talking with a magician, a pastor and a physician, who all share with her their own stories and help her understand that she’s not alone in feeling lonely or doesn’t belong because they’ve all felt it at some point in their lives.

We also meet other families with children (of various ages) who have Down Syndrome and learn about their hopes and fears for them. There are also interviews with random strangers in the park about what it means to be “normal” and if they think they fit that category. We’re also shown the solar eclipse back in 2017, and Annamarie watching it and wishing that the light fights the darkness to overcome the eclipse, foreshadowing her evolving view of her place in life.

This is a very heartwarming and poignant film that anyone can relate to. The struggles that Annamarie faces are real human emotions that almost everyone I know, including myself, have experienced. It also makes those who live their lives with Down Syndrome seem much more “normal” than even those who don’t have that genetic disorder.

I would highly recommend everyone stream this documentary from the Twin Cities Film Fest website!


WHAT DOESN’T KILL US

If you’re looking for something fun to watch this Halloween season but are a huge chicken when it comes to horror, What Doesn’t Kill Us is perfect for you. It’s definitely more on the comedy side of horror comedy, but there’s still some fun and unique zombie makeup to keep you in the spooky mood. The mockumentary follows a few rehabilitated zombies (or necro sapiens-the more politically correct term) in their daily struggles to succeed professionally and personally in a world where they are not yet seen as equal to non-zombies.

What Doesn’t Kill Us is an incredibly fun movie. It has plenty of laugh-out-loud funny dialogue while still illiciting genuine sympathy for its characters and does a good job paralleling real life prejudice without being too heavy-handed. The script is handled excellently by a great cast; all of the acting is solid, with a couple stand-out performances from Tevia Loeser as necro sapien activist Bridget Cooper and Richard Scott as up-and-coming necro sapien baseball pro Jeremy Holland.

My only critique is that the zombie makeup looks a little underwhelming in some places. You can do plenty with just grease paint and liquid latex, and there are several creative and gross-looking wound effects throughout the movie, but there are also a lot of instances where it looks like the makeup was hastily applied and seems more like a cheap Halloween costume.

Overall, though, What Doesn’t Kill Us is an immensely enjoyable comedy and an awesome addition to the TCFF lineup. I would absolutely recommend checking it out.


2020 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST SCHEDULE

(Only Available to Sponsors, Donors and Members – Reservation Required)

Thursday Oct 22nd
Black Boys,
Sonia Lowman – 6pm and 8pm

Friday Oct 23rd
Sound of Metal,
Darius Marder – 6pm and 8:45pm

Saturday Oct 24th
Sylvie’s Love,
Eugene Ashe – 6pm and 8:45pm

Friday Oct 30th
Herself,
Phyllida Lloyd – 6:30pm
Uncle Frank, Alan Ball – 8:30pm

Saturday Oct 31st
Nomadland
, Chloé Zhao – 6pm and 8:30pm


To learn more about TCFF, events, film submissions or to donate, visit twincitiesfilmfest.org

TCFF 2020 Reviews: The Sound of Metal

It was only my second time back inside a theater since March, but I caught one of the Twin Cities Film Fest in-person screenings yesterday. The Sound of Metal, a film distributed by Amazon Studios, is set to be released theatrically on November 20th, and will stream on Prime Video in December 2020. The film stars Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke as Ruben, a drummer and his girlfriend Lou, a singer in the punk metal band Blackgammon. They live in their airstream trailer between gigs and make a living while on tour of metal bands. Ruben, a former heroin addict and metal head, starts out in euphoria as he furiously jams out on his drums as Lou screams the lyrics to their songs. Soon thereafter, Reuben gets a slight ring in his ears, which turns into a full blown dull roar. It leaves him only able to hear all surrounding noises muffled beyond recognition.

The situation that Ruben and Lou are in leaves them no choice but to put their tour on hold as Ruben seeks help for his newly diagnosed hearing loss. When Lou leaves in a cab to catch a flight, Ruben heads to a deaf community, headed by the calm and cool Joe (Paul Raci), who tells Ruben that he reads lips. Joe, a former addict himself, also tells Ruben that he lost his hearing in Vietnam War but he insists that he and everyone living at the deaf community believe that their deafness is not a handicap, but rather a tool to build community around. Soon enough, Ruben is immersed in this deaf community and even learns sign language and makes friends with others around his age and even some deaf kids, who are supervised and taught in the classroom by Diane (Lauren Ridloff – a deaf actress who I remember with fondness from AMC’s post-apocalyptic series The Walking Dead).

Ruben is determined to return to “being inside the sound” and is found at odds with Joe, who is a religious man. Ruben, a self-proclaimed atheist, doesn’t understand when Joe tells him “those moments of stillness, that place, that’s the kingdom of God. And that place will never abandon you.” He acts on his desires and tries to reconnect with Lou, but by that time, his ability to grasp his life-altering change has completely changed the kind of person he is. Even when he is given the chance of some hearing, he is much more at peace and relishes the stillness of his new-found life. Riz Ahmed brings inspiration and passion to his performance, but his ability to showcase the character’s vulnerabilities make this portrayal very real and believable. Olivia Cooke brings a sense of loss to her character (we learn something about her mother in the movie) and how singing in a punk rock band helps her cope with her circumstances. Director Darius Marder also does a great job putting his audience in Ruben’s head, hearing — or not hearing — everything as it happens.

The film features closed captioning throughout the film which helps us as viewers understand everything happening from start to finish. I can see The Sound of Metal competing for some awards this year, especially for Riz Ahmed’s performance as the confounded punk metal band drummer. This film adds to a growing list of strong films from Amazon Studio that will have limited theatrical releases and also stream on Prime Video in late 2020 or early 2021, including other Twin Cities Film Fest titles Herself, Uncle Frank and Sylvie’s Love.


The 2020 Twin Cities Film Fest has ONE pass available for purchase that you won’t want to miss out on. The All Access STREAMING Pass will give you access to all of our 70 films for only $50, that’s less than $1 per movie! This pass can be used as many times as you would like during the 10 days of the festival (October 22nd-31st) on our streaming platform and website.


2020 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST SCHEDULE

(Only Available to Sponsors, Donors and Members – Reservation Required)

Friday Oct 30th
Herself,
Phyllida Lloyd – 6:30pm
Uncle Frank, Alan Ball – 8:30pm

Saturday Oct 31st
Nomadland
, Chloé Zhao – 6pm and 8:30pm


To learn more about TCFF, events, film submissions or to donate, visit twincitiesfilmfest.org

TCFF 2020 Reviews: Hollywood Fringe | Born Just Now documentary

It’s already Day 2 of Twin Cities Film Fest!! For the 11th year, TCFF is certainly alive and kickin’ with 70 online films that are available to stream from October 22nd-31st, as well as in-theater films (scroll down below for more info).

In fact, I’ll be seeing SYLVIE’S LOVE, starring Tessa Thompson tonight!

HOLLYWOOD FRINGE

Fringe

/frinj/
N
ot part of the mainstream; unconventional, peripheral, or extreme. 

Nice when a film perfectly describes the premise just from its title alone. This indie dramedy centers on two married, down-on-their-luck, actors who decided to put on a site-specific play about their unsuccessful life in Hollywood. All the world’s a stage – as Shakespeare would say, and the title of the film also played on the term ‘Fringe theatre,’ that is stage performances that are produced outside of the main theatre institutions, and that is often small-scale and unconventional in style or subject matter.

Well, Hollywood Fringe is certainly unconventional storytelling, fusing in surrealistic elements that blur the lines between fiction and reality. Certain scenes where a couple, Samantha (Jennifer Prediger) and Travis (Justin Kirk) are having a conversation in bed about their future, seem conventional. But then at the end of it, I heard people clapping in their room and realized what I’ve just watched is part of a play.

Many scenes are deliberately set up this way and it took some time for me to figure out which one is real and which one could be a staged performance. Filmmakers Megan Huber and Wyatt McDill leave hints to the audience if you pay close attention, but I think they wanted the audience to get lost in the narrative that we don’t really care about what’s real or not. I have to say that while I commend their vision and innovative storytelling style, it took a bit of time for me to grasp what it is they’re trying to do and to get into the characters’ head.

I do sympathize with Prediger’s character right away, who’s dealing with ageism in Tinseltown where 40 is considered ancient. There’s a certain Tina Fey’s vibe about her and it’s not because she has dark hair & wears glasses. The project she and Travis had worked on for years, called Rainbow Farm has finally been green-lit, but with one condition–a younger actress plays Samantha’s role. She copes with this heartbreak by putting together an alien-themed fringe play which creates some of the most absurd moments in the film. Some are more comedic than others, and the rehearsal process does try to deal with hefty subjects such as identity, privilege and racism that at times feel on the nose (whether deliberate or not). I have to mention Rainbow Underhill who plays Chakra is quite hilarious.

I realized later that both filmmakers have a Minnesota connection. Even a Google search took me to their fiscal sponsor, FilmNorth’s website. I feel that at times the film seems to have an idealized vision of Minneapolis’ arts scene, but obviously when compared to the cutthroat showbiz of  Hollywood, Twin Cities is much ‘nicer.’ One character actually said the clichéd-but-true quip ‘in Hollywood, show business is not about the ‘shows’ it’s all business.’

As someone who loves films that mixes film and live-theater aspects, I enjoy this movie quite a bit. The pacing could be improved and some performances from the supporting cast seem amateurish, but overall it’s a well-crafted indie film that delivers a thought-provoking message through comedy. Sometimes we just have to laugh at life’s harsh reality, which is perhaps the whole point of the movie.


BORN JUST NOW

This is the first TCFF 2020 film I decided to stream. I was immediately intrigued by the premise of Belgrade-based artist, Marta Jovanović, seen through the lens of Los Angeles-born, Miami-based filmmaker Robert Adanto. I have actually never heard of either of them, and what I love about documentaries is that it takes you to a world you don’t know anything about, and this film certainly gives me that.

Jovanović is a visionary artist who struggles to cope with the abuse and violence that ended an eight-year marriage, using art, at times provocatively, to explore heavy subjects such as intimacy, motherhood and the trauma of the Balkan wars. As many artists would say, the freedom to expressing oneself through art can be a liberating, therapeutic experience. I love that Adanto presents such an intimate portrait of  Jovanović, with his camera often shows close-ups of her beautiful, yet world-weary face as she talks about her struggles in perfect, albeit heavily-accented English. She lamented that the work of female artists remains largely under-represented and underpaid in comparison to their male counterparts, and later in the film she reflected on her painful, abusive marriage… and there’s a certain defiance in her eyes and perhaps even shock that someone as strong as her could end up in an abusive relationship.

There is a mesmerizing quality about Jovanović that makes her a perfect documentary subject. She is brilliant, charismatic, daring non-comformist, but not as cold as she seems to be on screen. Some of her performance arts are really bizarre and out there. The Motherhood installation where she stuff eggs inside pantyhose and dangle them from the ceiling is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Then she proceeds to smash each egg with a hammer and she’s drenched in eggshells. Many of her art, whether it’s video installations, sculptures, or performance art are always unusual and thought-provoking.

I highly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates creativity and innovative self-expression. I’m certainly inspired by Jovanović and by Adanto’s work. I should definitely check out his other documentaries that explore other eccentric, unconventional artists from different parts of the world.


The 2020 Twin Cities Film Fest has ONE pass available for purchase that you won’t want to miss out on. The All Access STREAMING Pass will give you access to all of our 70 films for only $50, that’s less than $1 per movie! This pass can be used as many times as you would like during the 10 days of the festival (October 22nd-31st) on our streaming platform and website.


2020 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST SCHEDULE

(Only Available to Sponsors, Donors and Members – Reservation Required)

Thursday Oct 22nd
Black Boys,
Sonia Lowman – 6pm and 8pm

Friday Oct 23rd
Sound of Metal,
Darius Marder – 6pm and 8:45pm

Saturday Oct 24th
Sylvie’s Love,
Eugene Ashe – 6pm and 8:45pm

Friday Oct 30th
Herself,
Phyllida Lloyd – 6:30pm
Uncle Frank, Alan Ball – 8:30pm

Saturday Oct 31st
Nomadland
, Chloé Zhao – 6pm and 8:30pm


To learn more about TCFF, events, film submissions or to donate, visit twincitiesfilmfest.org

TCFF 2020 Reviews: Gossamer Folds | The Father | Thank You 5

Twin Cities Film Fest officially kicks off today!!

For the 11th year, the film fest is going with a hybrid concept of online and in-theater screenings. There are 70 films that are available to stream during the fest, October 22nd-31st (scroll down below for more info).

Thanks to FC’s loyal contributor Vitali Gueron for these reviews!

GOSSAMER FOLDS

Lisa Donato follows up on the success of her first feature film Signature Move, which she co-wrote with Fawzia Mirza, with her feature length directorial debut of the indie film Gossamer Folds. This is smaller budget but very charming film, is set in the warm 1968 summer in a suburb in Kansas City, Missouri. The movie begins as we meet the Millikin family – the father Billy Millikin (Shane West), the mother Frannie Millikin (Sprague Grayden) and ten-year-old Tate Millikin (Jackson Robert Scott) – all trying to start a fresh life after a conflict-ridden past of city life behind them. They move into a small but quiet new home, which Tate isn’t a big fan of at first. Living next door to them is their transgender neighbor Gossamer (Alexandra Grey), who lives with her father Edward (Franklin Ojeda-Smith).

One day, while playing by himself in the front yard, Tate ends up meeting and befriending his new neighbor Gossamer, angering his father who calls Gossamer “the deviant next door.” It starts slowly, but sure enough Gossamer and Tate’s friendship starts to bloom as Tate’s own family dynamics fall apart. We learn that Billy was having an extramarital affair in the city before the family left for the suburbs. Unsurprisingly, Billy is quick to leave his wife Frannie and son Tate alone, while he goes to pursue his own desires. Thankfully, this leaves more time for Tate to spend with his new friend Gossamer, and not only does their friendship deepen but it also expands both of their horizons.

Gossamer shares with Tate that she has to deal with her own retired father, a former English professor, who is not only transphobic but also struggling to deal with Gossamer’s own sexual identity and freedoms. She has to deal with the constant fear of violence for the trans community, and even though she portrays a calm and cool manner, she is aware of these and other trans issues that are discussed in the movie. Tate’s ability to reject the hate that he’s been taught by his family and Gossamer’s ability to connect with others and accept them for who they are makes their friendship even stronger. Both Jackson Robert Scott (you might remember his as Georgie in the 2017 remake of Stephen King’s It) and Alexandra Gray (known from Amazon’s award-winning show Transparent and FOX’s hit drama Empire) are fantastic in their roles. Jackson is charming yet very level-headed and Alexandra is heartfelt, but also exudes strength and stability.

Gossamer Folds is one of those films that will embolden your will for acceptance of others, no matter what gender they identify with or whom they love. These issues are even more relevant today, with the current presidential election and ramifications of the judicial appointment to the Supreme Court.


THE FATHER

The Father is a very real and current story that can impact any one of us on a moment’s notice. Written and directed by Jonathan Oster and starring Kelechi Jaavaid and Lee Evans, The Father is a slow burn, but full of mystery and contemplation. The premise is basic and straightforward; suddenly having to cope with the trauma of the sudden death of his son, a father kidnaps and interrogates the man he knows is responsible. Kelechi Jaavaid is haunting and unnerving as the father, and Lee Evans is cold and unapologetic as a man who doesn’t take responsibility for his own actions.

It was fun to see many familiar places in the film, as it was shot in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One of my favorite scenes comes towards the end, where the father is sitting on a street bench overlooking the Mississippi River, opposite downtown Minneapolis, on a snowy winter day. The father is joined there by someone who’s been on his mind during the entire movie. Who is that? Well, you’ll just have to watch The Father, streaming online during the 10 days of the 2020 Twin Cities Film Fest.


THANK YOU 5

Thank you 5, directed by Reid Estreicher and Michael Barnard, is a comedic movie but it felt more like watching a comedy improvisation troop. The Chicago-based actors including Meghan Murphy, Richard Kallus, Theo Koppel, Timmy Carroll, John T. O’Brien, Stevie Shale, Jason Amplo, Jodie Meis and the directors themselves Reid Estreicher and Michael Barnard.

The film begins on the first day of rehearsal for the production of ‘Prelude to a Tradition,’ an original work by playwright and director Kurt McAbbott. Each cast member has their own quirk, tick, and backstory. During the film, we follow the cast through their tech rehearsal, then their dress rehearsal and finally into the play’s opening night and after party.

Some of the actors obviously know each other and some are even in serious relationships together. Others are quick to pick fights with each other and/or with their play director. Each story is as unique as the unsung artists who endure so much, specifically each other, to create something memorable for audiences. My favorite scene comes towards the end, where one character forgets a fake gun in the dressing room, and has to run back to get it. She drops the blank bullets and doesn’t have time to load them before she’s due up on stage. What follows is a true comical moment that had me laughing out loud. To see this moment and others, you’ll just have to watch Thank you 5, streaming online during the 10 days of the 2020 Twin Cities Film Fest.


The 2020 Twin Cities Film Fest has ONE pass available for purchase that you won’t want to miss out on. The All Access STREAMING Pass will give you access to all of our 70 films for only $50, that’s less than $1 per movie! This pass can be used as many times as you would like during the 10 days of the festival (October 22nd-31st) on our streaming platform and website.


2020 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST SCHEDULE

(Only Available to Sponsors, Donors and Members – Reservation Required)

Thursday Oct 22nd
Black Boys,
Sonia Lowman – 6pm and 8pm

Friday Oct 23rd
Sound of Metal,
Darius Marder – 6pm and 8:45pm

Saturday Oct 24th
Sylvie’s Love,
Eugene Ashe – 6pm and 8:45pm

Friday Oct 30th
Herself,
Phyllida Lloyd – 6:30pm
Uncle Frank, Alan Ball – 8:30pm

Saturday Oct 31st
Nomadland
, Chloé Zhao – 6pm and 8:30pm


To learn more about TCFF, events, film submissions or to donate, visit twincitiesfilmfest.org