TWIN CITIES FILM FEST unveils 2021 lineup + my recommendations

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BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH HEADLINES OPENER THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN; KENNETH BRANAGH’S FESTIVAL HIT BELFAST NAMED 2021 CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION


October is always a special time of year for me. No, not because it’s Halloween season, but because Twin Cities Film Fest is upon us!

TCFF returns this year with a hybrid program showcasing a wide-ranging catalog of acclaimed studio award contenders, memorable shorts, thought-provoking documentaries and exhilarating independent feature films. The 2021 program will showcase Minnesota-connected productions, BIPOC voices, female filmmakers and includes a special “Changemaker Series” spotlight on projects that address mental wellness.

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More than 100 movies set to screen and stream in a hybrid format that will run Oct. 21-30. The festival’s in-person program will return to the Showplace ICON Theaters at The Shops at West End, with some 45 screenings set to take place at the St. Louis Park venue. More than 50 films will simultaneously debut online via the TCFF STREAMS platform at twincitiesfilmfest.org. 2021 marks the 12th anniversary for the nationally recognized non-profit, celebrating independent stories and diverse voices through film arts.

Amazon Studios’ The Electrical Life of Louis Wain starring Benedict Cumberbatch is set to open the festival on Oct. 21st, telling the story of the Victorian-era artist whose widely published drawings of anthropomorphized cats transformed them from mysterious to irresistible. Director Will Sharpe’s masterful visuals and creative use of color convey Louis’s complicated mind, immeasurable talent and consuming love and loss.

This year’s closing night gala will celebrate Belfast, Kenneth Branagh’s drama featuring Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Ciarán Hinds and newcomer Jude Hill. The film, which takes place during The Troubles, sectarian conflict between Protestants and Catholics in 1969 Ireland, is a page from Branagh’s own life and his most personal film to date. The film received the coveted people’s choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival, instantly catapulting it into the Oscar conversation.

Other notable entries:

Jesse Moss’s documentary Mayor Pete, which follows Secretary Pete Buttigieg during his 2020 run for president and has been chosen as TCFF’s official 2021 Centerpiece. C’mon C’mon, Mike Mills’s black-and-white production built around a heartfelt performance from Joaquin Phoenix and a notable debut from newcomer Woody Norman; The French Dispatch, Wes Anderson’s newest project featuring an all-star cast including Bill Murray, Timothée Chalamet and Tilda Swinton; Encounter, a sci-fi thriller directed by Michael Pearce and starring Riz Ahmed; The Humans, directed by Stephen Karam in his directorial debut, and based on his one-act play of the same name starring Richard Jenkins, Jayne Houdyshell, Amy Schumer, Beanie Feldstein, Steven Yeun and June Squibb; and Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, directed by Emily Kunstler & Sarah Kunstler and written by Jeffery Robinson.

TCFFstreams

TCFF STREAMS, the festival’s proprietary online platform at TwinCitiesFilmFest.org, will feature premieres of award-winning narratives, documentaries and shorts curated from all across the country in the HER Series (films by/for/about women), MN-Connected Series, EMPOWER Series (focused on BIPOC voices) and the OUT Series (LGBTQ community). Twin Cities Film Fest utilizes the power of film to spotlight a Social Cause each year through its Changemaker Series. In 2021, the focus will be on ‘mental wellness.’ The films in the series will bring attention to our collective emotional, psychological and social well-being.


MY TCFF 2021 RECOMMENDATIONS

I LOVE this year’s lineup! Out of the STUDIO FILMS, I highly anticipate Kenneth Branagh’s BELFAST. Not only does it look really heartfelt and intriguing, and the fact that it’s a personal true story from Branagh’s childhood makes me curious about it even more. At the other end of the spectrum is THE FRENCH DISPATCH, which is described as a love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional twentieth century French city. It’s been a while since I saw a Wes Anderson film, and this one just looks really, really good!

Belfast-FrenchDispatch

In addition to those, I’m going to choose 10 INDIE FILMS (7 features, 3 docs) that aren’t already mentioned above. I always like to pick out some lesser-known films and highlight those directed by women, I think off-the-beaten path films are why we go to film festivals for!

A Fire Within (doc)

A FIRE WITHIN chronicles the incredible true story of three Ethiopian women who immigrate to the U.S. after surviving torture in their home country, only to discover that the man responsible for their torture is living in America…and working at the same Atlanta hotel as one of the women.

A Hero

Rahim is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint against the payment of part of the sum. But things don’t go as planned.

Americanish*

Welcome to America: Where dreams come true…ish. A break from the traditional romantic comedy, Americanish highlights different layers of womanhood as they intersect with cultural and societal expectations. Americanish invites viewers into the home and lives of three marriage-aged women as they navigate the often turbulent waters of romance, culture, career, and family.

Broken Diamonds

After his father suddenly dies, Scott’s (Ben Platt) plans are put in jeopardy as he discovers his sister Cindy (Lola Kirke) is living in a halfway house for the mentally ill. Despite her wild and unpredictable behavior, Scott puts his life on hold to take her in. BROKEN DIAMONDS poignantly follows these characters as they come to understand the effects of shared childhood trauma on each of their mental health, culminating in life-altering realizations for them both.

Everything In The End*

Grieving from the recent death of his mother, Paulo has travelled from Portugal to Iceland, a trip they were supposed to do together. While there, news the world has been waiting for finally arrives. Earth will cease to exist in a matter of days. With only these last few days left and unable to get home he finds himself stranded in a small village where he spends his days wandering a delicate foreign land and encountering the people he will spend his final days with.

Land of My Father (doc)

A Korean farmer protests the Japanese government in Tokyo over its claims of the disputed island territory of Dokdo after he finds out his father was abducted and enslaved in a coal mine during the Japanese occupation of Korea. A Korean woman who lived on Dokdo with her father struggles to keep his legacy alive after the Korean government mysteriously erased their history of being pioneering residents.

Playing With Beethoven*

Dedicated classical piano student Josh (Aric Floyd), who rarely leaves the practice room, falls under the spell of a free-spirited beauty, Charlotte (Naomi Druskic). On the day before a life-changing competition, Josh goes against his better judgement, and the wishes of his stern teacher Victor Zabov (Patrick Gorman), and joins Charlotte for a night of music and adventure. Along the way, he meets Charlotte’s sister Bryn (Shannon Elizabeth), who is suspicious of Charlotte’s motives. To further complicate matters, Josh’s estranged father, Ted (Kadeem Hardison), shows up in town hoping to reconcile. Josh’s experiences on the journey teach him that life, like music, is all about taking risks.

The R-Word* (doc)

Filmmaker Amanda Lukoff has grown up advocating for her sister Gabrielle, especially whenever she hears the word retard(ed). The r-word is everywhere – in TV, movies, music, social media, and throughout our public and private communities. The R-Word is a purposeful look into the long-reaching history and lasting implications of the word retard(ed) and current attitudes and perceptions about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Sold Out

John Callahan has one dream — to make a living playing his music. Despite his best efforts and undeniable talent, he’s a down-on-his-luck construction worker who’s drowning in responsibilities. But one night, playing a dive bar in Minneapolis, he meets Kat Revere, a legendary music scout. Kat is edgy, beautiful and a star-maker. Kat sees potential in John and makes him an offer he can’t refuse, to take him under her wing and on the road with her. As they travel across the Midwest, they share their stories of heartbreak, write gut-wrenching songs, fight like hell, and find themselves in the middle of some wild adventures, all while falling hard for each other.

Waikiki

Escaping her abusive ex-boyfriend, KEA, a part-time Hawaiian teacher, hula dancer, and bar hostess temporarily lives out of her van to piece her life back together. One night after a violent beating, she speeds off into the night only to slam into WO, a mysterious homeless man crossing the street. Unwilling to leave him to die, she takes him into her van and life. Their developing friendship and illusions of safety are soon shattered when her van is towed. Her desperation triggers past trauma, driving her towards insanity.


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Tickets are already on-sale at www.twincitiesfilmfest.org. Ticket prices range from $9 online to $12 in-person. Opening/Centerpiece/Closing films will all be $20 with a handful of films available to view at no cost. A ‘Streaming Pass’ is available for $50 and a ‘Hybrid Pass’ for $150.

The passes are such an incredible deal!! Get it soon so you can order your tickets right away. Trust me, it’s SO worth it!!

COVID 2021 UPDATE

TCFF 2021 will be following health guidelines as put forth by the State and CDC. All TCFF employees/volunteers will be vaccinated. All guests/audience members are asked to wear a mask during any in person experiences (in the theater and TCFF lounge) regardless of vaccination status. TCFF wants to ensure and prioritize safety for all attendees and use film arts as a way to continue bringing our community together.

WEAR YOUR PARTY HATS!

There will be a Festival Lounge this year. The lounge is located only a few steps from the main doors of the ICON THEATERS on West End Blvd. Lounge will be open to all filmgoers to relaxation and networking. Regular hours will be 6:30pm-11pm (hours may vary).


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


So yeah, TCFF 2021. BRING. IT ON!

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

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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: 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

TWIN CITIES FILM FEST unveils 2020 lineup! 70+ Movies set to screen and stream online.

TCFF 2020

TORONTO STANDOUT NOMADLAND NAMED CLOSING NIGHT TITLE, CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED BLACK BOYS TO OPEN FEST OCT. 22

For first time ever, TCFF to showcase catalog of premieres, documentaries and Midwestern productions via hybrid model that includes physically-distanced screenings, live-stream exclusives as well as digital on-demand. 2020 program to include special series dedicated to technology, female filmmakers and BIPOC communities


Minneapolis, Minnesota (October 1, 2020) — The Twin Cities Film Fest, presented by VumaTV, announced its full 2020 film schedule Thursday, set to screen Oct. 22-31 via a ‘Hybrid’ format that will include online on-demand streaming through TwinCitiesFilmFest.org as well as select distanced screenings at the Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON Theatres at The Shops at West End. TCFF 2020 marks the organization’s 11th anniversary and arrives at a time where many visual arts organizations are struggling to stay open and continue providing their service of bringing communities together.

“There was never a doubt that TCFF was going to take place this year,” said Jatin Setia, TCFF’s Executive Director. “We know the positive impact that film arts, independent storytelling, and unique perspectives can have on the fabric of our culture and community.  We wanted to lean into the opportunities and hit ‘fast forward’ on what our organization could bring to the wider arts conversation during this most difficult year. I’m so proud of my team and our supporters in making sure that TCFF not only happens this unprecedented year, but it leaps forward and innovates new ways to bring a cinematic community together to share a vision — and a conversation.”

The festival opens Oct. 22 with the acclaimed documentary Black Boys, an intimate, inter-generational story that offers profound insight into black identity and opportunity at the nexus of sports, education and criminal justice. Director Sonia Lowman will appear in a pre-recorded conversation.

This year’s closing night selection is NomadlandChloe Zhao’s festival award-winning drama starring Frances McDormand as a displaced widow who chooses a nomadic lifestyle. The film won the coveted people’s choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival, instantly catapulting it into the Oscar conversation.


Editor (Ruth’s note): I’m beyond thrilled that NOMADLAND is one of TCFF’s lineup this year!! That’s the one film I’ve been hugely anticipating, as I absolutely loved Zhao’s sophomore feature The Rider.

Nomadland‘s synopsis: Following 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. Here’s the teaser:


Other notable 2020 selections: Sound of MetalDarius Marder’s directorial debut, which features a powerful performance from actor, rapper, and activist Riz Ahmed;

Sylvie’s LoveEugene Ashe’s new Harlem romance starring Tessa Thompson;

and Uncle Franka comedy by Alan Ball, the writer of American Beauty, True Blood and Six Feet Under, featuring an all-star cast including Paul Bettany, Steve Zahn and Sophia Lillis.

The majority of this year’s festival selections will be available via the TCFF STREAMS platform at TwinCitiesFilmFest.org, a new TCFF initiative that launched earlier this year to give a platform to MN Connected filmmakers.  The online platform will feature premieres of award winning narratives, documentaries and shorts curated from all across the country.  Several notable film categories include TECH Series, HER Series, MN Connected films, and the newly launched EMPOWER Series focused on BIPOC stories and storytellers.

Every year, the Twin Cities Film Fest identifies a Social Justice Cause and programs a special series of films to call attention to a specific social issue. This year’s cause is “affordable living” and the film series includes stories spotlighting housing, healthcare, childcare and eldercare.  Through the generosity of local companies (Spire Credit Union, Dominium Apartments, City of St. Louis Park and AARP Minnesota), all films in the Changemaker Series will be presented free to all viewers. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan is being presented with the 2020 TCFF Changemaker Award at the festivals’ Virtual Gala (Oct 2nd – 4th)  in recognition of her work towards affordability.


TCFF’s complete 2020 schedule is listed below.  Tickets are on-sale starting tomorrow, Oct 2nd. All of the In-Person theater screenings at the ICON Theaters will be reserved for TCFF Donors, Members and Sponsors on a first come first served limited capacity.  To learn more about how to attend these screenings, please visit www.twincitiesfilmfest.org.

For all of the ONLINE films, simply check out the lineup on the website and purchase the films.  All films will be available for purchase for $9/film with a few offered for free.

An ‘All Access STREAMING Pass’ is also available for $50 on the website providing access to ALL of the 70+ films online. Click on the banner above to purchase.

The passes are such an incredible deal!! Get it soon so you can order your tickets right away. Trust me, it’s SO worth it!!


2020 TWIN CITIES FILM FEST SCHEDULE

In Theater Films:  ICON Theaters

(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

————————

Special Streaming Events on TCFF Website

Sunday Oct 25th
Inside Lets Deal Live
, Steve Zahn/Rick Gomez – 5:30pm
The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel, Jennifer Abbott/Joel Bakan – 7pm

Monday Oct 26th
Definition Please,
Sujata Day – 7pm

Tuesday Oct 27th
Hollywood Fringe,
Megan Huber, Wyatt McDill – 7pm

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


So yeah, TCFF 2020. BRING. IT ON!