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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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).
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.
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.
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.