TWIN CITIES FILM FEST GIVE TO THE MAX DAY + 2018 COVERAGE HIGHLIGHTS

November 15 is GIVE TO THE MAX day and so I feel that it’s only fitting that I post the highlights from the 2018 coverage of The Twin Cities Film Fest. This year is my ninth year covering this amazing organization and I’m thrilled and inspired to see how much this film fest has grown!

TCFF is SO much more than just a film fest! Yes it is by definition a film festival in the sense that it gives an organized, extended presentation of various films with live screenings in a single city… but festival director Jatin Setia and the outstanding TCFF team has created an organization that not only champion AND support indie filmmakers (MN-based and beyond) but also provide education to youth and emerging filmmakers through its FREE educational programs (Film Fellows, Free Day for Youth, and Filmmaker Academy)!

So click on the banner above and consider donating to this non-profit organization that give local film artists a national voice… by doing so, you’re supporting MN arts and championing indie filmmakers! Yay you!

FlixChatter and team have been busy with reviews and interviews since TCFF 2018 started in October 17. Special THANKS to our phenomenal blog contributors: Laura, Holly, Vitali and Andy, for all your tremendous work watching and reviewing movies! You just have to type TCFF2018 in the FlixChatter search box and voila! you’ll see all of our coverage.

Since the TCFF has wrapped two weeks ago, I think there’s no bad time to post highlights from the 2018 session… on the red carpet, around the fest and on the amazing TCFF Wonderlounge.

This year, FlixChatter also have not one but two great media correspondent interviewing talents on the red carpet!!

THANK YOU Holly Peterson (who’s also one of our talented reviewers!) for interviewing Jon Heder and Kendall Goldberg for When Jeff Tried to Save the World.


Also THANKS also to Nick Raja for interviewing the dynamic duo Tom Arnold and David Arquette for Saving Flora.

Nick also did a red carpet interview with Michael Driscoll, the filmmaker of the stunning b/w noir short TWO BLACK COFFEES. If you’ve missed it, I’ve interviewed Michael earlier this year that you can read here.

There’s some issues to the red carpet video, but you can take a listen to the audio interview below:


Pictures sometimes speak louder than words. So here are some pics from around the fest that give you an idea how much fun we had at the fest!

(click on gallery to see a larger version)

Now, every year TCFF always get some awesome sponsors (thank you!) either for the red carpet or for the lounge where the nightly after-parties happen. This year we had the wonderful people at Can Can Wonderland as our lounge sponsors, hence we named it TCFF WonderLounge this year!

Who doesn’t love Elvis 🙂 Hanging out w/ hubby Ivan & TCFF volunteer + composer Jesse Richardson

One of my all time favorite features at the WonderLounge this year is this fun and addictive SimpleBooth (thanks UptopFilms!) where people can create photo experiences in GIF format with their unique iPad photo booths (can’t you tell I’m having way too much fun w/ it) 😛


 

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2018 TCFF Red Carpet Interview + Review of ‘When Jeff Tried to Save the World’

Wow, can’t believe we’ve pretty much the halfway point of TCFF already! But hey, there are still five more days of film festivities… great movies to see, film stuff to learn and more filmmakers to meet!

Well, one of the highlights of TCFF coverage happened on Friday night, just before the festive INDUSTRY NIGHT began at the TCFF Can Can Wonder-Lounge. My dear friend and longtime FlixChatter contributor Holly Peterson was FC’s media correspondent for the night! She interviewed filmmaker Kendall Goldberg & actor Jon Heder (remember Napoleon Dynamite back in 2014?) about their new film When Jeff Tried to Save the World on the red carpet!


Here are some pics from Day 3 of TCFF – including INDUSTRY NIGHT

 

TCFF Lounge is sponsored by the fabulous Can Can Wonderland in St. Paul, MN.


When Jeff Tried to Save the World

It’s weird to call a movie about a grown man a coming of age film, but in a lot of ways, When Jeff Tried to Save the World feels like exactly that. Jeff (played very charmingly by Jon Heder) is a bowling alley manager who must come to terms with his future when the owner decides to sell the bowling alley. The stress of losing the one steady thing in his life is exacerbated by his sister’s unannounced visit – which might just wind up being exactly what he needed.

This is a fun movie. The writing is full of one-liners that had our entire theater giggling constantly. Steve Berg, Maya Erskine, and Brendan Meyer all had especially fun roles, which all three of them leaned into really well. Jim O’Heir was very miscast as the jerk owner who is closing down the bowling alley. There is too much Jerry Gergich in that man’s face for him to play the villain – no matter how tame that villain may be.

Taos Whittaker created some amazing visual effects for this film, which are most brilliantly showcased in one of Jeff’s dreams when he’s suddenly walking through a Tron themed version of the bowling alley. It is absolutely gorgeous. Whittaker also played a huge role in creating the underlying tone of anxiety in several scenes with nifty tricks like turning Heder’s hands yellow.

Personally, I disliked the romantic side-story. It was a little too “man and woman who have never met before cannot exist in the same room without falling in love for no reason” and, although it fit in with the general coming of age theme of the movie, it felt forced.

This is one of Kendall Goldberg’s first features, and it is a solid first. Goldberg has a strong comedic voice and the ability to reinvent an old trope in a new, relevant way. I think that as Goldberg grows as a storyteller the less neat elements (the fact that she caved in on that unnecessarily romantic side-story, the neat summary three quarters of the way through the movie that took place in a completely unnecessary argument, and her tendency to approach sentimental moments in the most conventional way possible) will likely improve as she continues to write and direct and is increasingly able to use her own voice. I’m excited to see what she makes next.


Thanks Holly for the review and interview,
and for TCFF + Allied Global Marketing for the opportunity!

TWIN CITIES FILM FEST announces a star-studded 2018 lineup!

TCFF announces a diverse and inspiring lineup of films for their 2018 festival, to be held October 17-27 at Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON Theatres at The Shops at West End with ICON•X. Coming off of a successful September Gala that honored Steve Zahn with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Rachel Mairose from Secondhand Hounds with the Changemaker Award, this year’s festival will officially open their ninth year with Peter Farrelly’s Green Book (November 21, Participant Media and DreamWorks Pictures).

When Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger—as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.

Green Book recently won the Toronto International Film Festival’s coveted People’s Choice Award this past week! Producer Jim Burke, Academy Award nominee for “The Descendants,” will be attending.

Opening night festivities will also include a screening of Time for Ilhan, a documentary about State Representative and Federal House candidate, Ilhan Omar, who will be in attendance along with director Norah Shapiro and cinematographer Chris Newberry.

The Centerpiece Highlight on Friday, October 19 is the Newport Beach Film Festival hit comedy When Jeff Tried to Save the World starring Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite). Heder and director Kendall Goldberg will be in attendance. United Skates, a documentary about roller skating and a community’s battle to save an underground subculture will close out the festival on October 27, with producer and Minnesota native Tiffany Fisher-Love in attendance.

Other visiting guests this year include David Arquette and Tom Arnold with the U.S. premiere of Saving Flora, the story of a 14-year-old girl who kidnaps an elephant from a circus to take it to a nature reserve, screening on October 22. Chef Andrew Zimmern will also be in attendance on Thursday, October 25 for the Midwest premiere of Chef Flynn, a documentary about a ten-year-old who transformed his living room into a supper club and achieved sudden fame.

TCFF is also thrilled to feature Widows (20th Century Fox) a modern-day thriller from Steve McQueen starring Viola Davis and Liam Neeson, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight Pictures) starring Melissa McCarthy, Boy Erased (Focus Features) starring Joel Edgerton and Nicole Kidman and The Favourite (Fox Searchlight Pictures) starring Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.

In addition to their regular programming this year, TCFF is pleased to collaborate with the Jewish Film Festival and the Northstar Science Film Festival, showing a slate of thought provoking films while launching a brand new initiative, TCFF Tech. TCFF Tech is a one-of-a-kind 3-day event spotlighting the impact of technology on social issues, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

I’ll post the complete schedule later with some of my most-anticipated selections!

Tickets are on-sale this weekend for TCFF Members and will be open to the public next week beginning Friday, September 28th, 2018. Ticket prices are $12 for General Admission & $20 for Gala Tickets.

Festival Passes can also be purchased as follows: 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); and the All Access Pass – $500 (Guaranteed seat in premiere row at ANY screening +more!).


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

 


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


So yeah, TCFF 2018 can’t come soon enough!