SAVE THE DATE for 2016 TCFF!!
Festivities touch down on OCTOBER 19TH – 29TH
In the meantime, do join us for a TCFF preview!
Celebrate with us as we officially release our 2016 Twin Cities Film Fest schedule! We will also announce our 2016 Changemaker series AND a surprise keynote speaker will help get everyone pumped for this years fest!
TCFF PREVIEW GALA
Thursday, September 22, 2016
St. Paul Athletic Club Ballroom
$40 General Admission
$150 Individual Dinner*
$1000 VIP Table (Up to 8 guests)
$1500 VIP Grand Table (Up to 8 guests w/prime seating)
5:30pm: Cocktails & Live Music
7:00pm: Dinner*, Program, Previews and Keynote
*Dinner options are Butternut Squash Ravioli (vegetarian) -OR- Roasted Airline Chicken Breast. You will be able to select your meal upon completing registration.
Please note General Admission ticketing level does not include dinner and is standing room only. No membership discounts apply on this fundraising event.
SyFy film “400 Days” Premieres at the Theatres of Mall of America
On Friday, January 15th, 2016 at 7:00 PM, the highly anticipated Minnesota premiere screening of the independent feature film, “400 Days”, will take place at the Theatres of Mall of America (401 S Broadway Bloomington MN 55425) as a part of the Twin Cities Film Fest Insider Series.
Written and Directed by Twin Cities resident, Matt Osterman, “400 Days” is a psychological sci-fi film centering on four astronauts who are sent on a simulated mission to a distant planet to test the psychological effects of deep space travel. Locked away for 400 days, the crew’s mental state begins to deteriorate when they lose all communication with the outside world. Forced to exit the ship, they discover that this mission may not have been a simulation after all.
“400 Days” will have a total of three screenings at the Theatres of Mall of America. The second and third screenings will take place on Saturday, January 16th, 2016 at 6:00 PM and Sunday, January, 17, 2016 at 3:00 PM. There will be an informative Q&A panel discussion with the director immediately following the screenings. Learn about local events leading up to the premiere such as school visits, panels, and parties by visiting our Facebook page: facebook.com/400DaysMovie or blog:mattosterman.com
Released as the first film in SyFy’s new movie slate, the film features a superstar cast including Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Dane Cook (Good Luck Chuck), Caity Lotz (Arrow, Mad Men), Ben Feldman (Mad Men), Tom Cavanagh (Ed, Flash), and Grant Bowler (True Blood, Defiance).
Matt Osterman, who makes his home in Roseville, is incredibly excited to bring his film back to Minnesota during the international release. He shares, “I’m beyond thrilled to share the film with all the great folks back in Minnesota. This film was a labor of love and will absolutely inspire fun conversations after the screenings.”
Stay tuned for my interview with Matt Osterman next week!
It’s a Wrap!!
“Room,” “Brooklyn” and “Too Late” Win Top Awards at 2015 Twin Cities Film Fest
Post by TCFF executive director Jatin Setia
Concluding a star-studded showcase that featured more than 100 films over 11 nights, the largest-ever Twin Cities Film Fest unveiled its 2015 award winners Saturday night at a ceremony held in downtown St. Louis Park.
Top awards went to the critically-acclaimed mother-son drama Room, which just last month earned standing ovations at the Toronto International Film Festival, Brooklyn, the sweeping, much buzzed-about period immigrant drama starring Saoirse Ronan, and Too Late, the daring independent noir thriller starring Minnesota native John Hawkes who appeared in person to receive the festival’s Northstar Award.
“You look at daring stories like Room and these are the kinds of journeys and characters that stick with you for a lifetime,” said Twin Cities Film Fest Executive Director Jatin Setia. “Leaps of faith like that are why film festivals are so essential – the chance to discover great films before the rest of the world sees them, the chance to champion independent projects that deserve extra attention and the chance to talk about the art and the craft with the very artists who are making the next great movie.”
Awards were handed out in nine categories Saturday night. Each category also officially recognized three standout honorable mentions. “Room,” directed by Lenny Abrahamson, took home the trophy for best feature film; Thank You For Playing, the festival’s official closing night documentary directed by David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, won best documentary; and Skunk, a short film by Annie Silverstein, won the 2015 award for best short.
Minnesota audiences who attended the festival were invited to cast ballots for the 2015 audience award. John Crowley’s “Brooklyn” took home the feature film trophy (honorable mentions included : “The Dust Storm,” directed by Ryan Lacen & Anthony Baldino; “The Polar Bear Club,” directed by Brett Wayne Price; and “Shut In,” directed by Adam Schindler). Sarah Smith’s “D.Asian” took the top audience prize for short films (honorable mentions included Adam Burke’s “Boardroom,” Matthew G. Anderson’s “The Caper” and Bruce Southerland’s “The Last Vanish”)
“This year’s ballots were noteworthy, because they recognized projects both big and small, and celebrated such a wide and eclectic range of tones and topics,” said Steve Snyder, the festival’s artistic director. “I think the diversity of the voting this year reflected the wider diversity of the Twin Cities filmgoing —and filmmaking — communities. And maybe in that regard it shouldn’t be surprising at all. Year in and year out, we hear from filmmakers and studios alike that it’s the sophistication of Minnesota movie audiences that make them want to debut and premiere here. We know good movies when we see them, we know how to celebrate art that deserves recognition, and I think filmmakers across the country know that.”
As always, the festival culminated with two “Indie Vision” awards, recognizing standout independent productions released over the last year that broke new creative ground. The 2015 Indie Vision Breakthrough Film Award went to the Dennis Hauck thriller Too Late, in recognition of its immersive storytelling techniques. (The film was composed of five unbroken and carefully choreographed 20-minute “acts”) The 2015 Indie Vision Breakthrough Performance Award went to Rosa Salazar, actress in the notable Charles Hood’s romance Night Owls, in recognition of a raw, brilliant and pitch-perfect character arc and a performance that required hitting notes across the emotional spectrum.
Here’s the full slate of 2015 award winners, as well as honorable mentions:
Best Feature Film
“Room,” directed by Lenny Abrahamson.
“It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong,” directed by Emily Ting; “Brooklyn,” directed by John Crowley; and “The Quiet Hour,” directed by Stephanie Joalland.
“Thank You For Playing,” directed by David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall.
“Man Vs. Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler, directed by Tim Kinzy and Andrew Seklir; “A New High,” directed by Samuel Miron and Stephen Scott Scarpulla; and “Out in the Cold,” directed by J.D. O’Brien.
Best Short Film
“Skunk,” directed by Annie Silverstein.
“D.Asian,” directed by Sarah Smith; “Even the Walls,” directed by Sarah Kuck and Saman Maydani; and “Myrna the Monster,” directed by Ian Samuels.
Audience Award, Feature Film
“Brooklyn,” directed by John Crowley.
“The Dust Storm,” directed by Ryan Lacen & Anthony Baldino; “The Polar Bear Club,” directed by Brett Wayne Price; “Shut In,” directed by Adam Schindler.
Audience Award, Short Film
“D.Asian,” directed by Sarah Smith.
“Boardroom,” directed by Adam Burke; “The Caper,” directed by Matthew G. Anderson; and “The Last Vanish,” directed by Bruce Southerland
Indie Vision, Breakthrough Film
Winner: “Too Late,” directed by Dennis Hauck.
“Anomalisa,” directed by Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman; “Thugs: The Musical,” directed by Greg Bro; and “Out in the Cold,” directed by J.D. O’Brien
Indie Vision, Breakthrough Performance
Winner: Rosa Salazar, “Night Owls.”
Brie Larson, “Room;” Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn;” Nathan Tymoshuk, “Snail Mail” and “The Writer.”
2015 Changemaker Award:
Dr. Heather Huseby, executive director of YouthLink.
2015 Northstar Award for Excellence:
TCFF 2015 coverage highlights
In three days, the film festivities at Twin Cities Film Festival will commence! Eleven days, 120+ films including shorts and documentaries. This year’s festival features top films from celebrated national and international filmmakers as well as new faces and Minnesota talent.
I love that there’s something for everyone in the lineup. Whatever your favorite genre is, you’ll find something you want to see at TCFF this year. The full schedule is up on the TCFF official site, and you can see all the MN-connected films in its own category. Check out the promo video featuring 2015 Minnesota feature films:
I’ve had the privilege of chatting with some of those fine MN-based filmmakers, producers and talents about their projects, so be on the lookout for those interviews that’ll be posted later this month. In the meantime, here are some of the MN-connected films I can’t wait to see!
[in alphabetical order]
I love sci-fi romance and there just isn’t enough films made in this genre. 2021 is the story of two lost souls searching for a shadow of love in an increasingly alienating modern world. John is a computer programming genius who starts working on a project to reverse engineer human intelligence using a map of the human genome, while Emily is a shy, bohemian novelist that is unable to find emotional sustenance outside of the world of her own writing. I’m curious to see how these two lives collide and witness this unconventional romance.
THE DUST STORM
Films about musicians intrigue me. I’m not talking about a musical but films that somehow can incorporate music and its interwoven in the story. The Dust Storm is such a film, set in Nashville and feature two talented, attractive actors who can actually sing!
Once Upon A Time‘s Colin O’Donoghue plays Brennan, a broken musician now working for a soul sucking corporation, who’s reunited with the girl who crushed his heart a decade prior. I love the premise of long lost love and I like the chemistry he has with Kristen Gutoskie who plays Nora. Set in the backdrop of an intoxicating world of the Nashville’s music scene, I’m looking forward to being swept away.
JUG BAND HOKUM
I love the idea for this music documentary by Emmy Award winning director and musician Jack Norton. I got the chance to chat with Jack about a month ago and it was such a blast [stay tuned for my interview with him]. Filmed in Minnesota, it follows the eccentric lives of band members competing for a broken waffle iron in the 33rd Annual Minneapolis Battle of the Jug Bands. This just sounds so entertaining and as I’ve never been to a the jug band contest, I’m definitely intrigued and perhaps I will attend the next February! The film includes appearances by: Garrison Keillor (of Prairie Home Companion fame), rap legends Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Charlie Parr, Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Baby Gramps among others.
The trailer promises fun bizarrity and well, pure hokum.
This is one of the dramatic features I’m looking forward to for two reasons: filmmaker Vanessa Magowan Horrocks is so fun to talk when I interviewed her last month and I had seen the male lead Casey Hoeksta in Guthrie’s production of Midsummer Night’s Dream earlier this year.
Set in Minnesota, the film focuses on a young woman, Riley, who visits the place she once called home and is forced to confront the traumas of her past. There’s a sense of belonging theme about this story that I think is a universal as well as a personal one. I think it’s something I definitely can relate to and that’s one of the reasons I can’t wait to see this one.
I have a personal connection with this movie because it’s set in my alma mater St. Cloud State University, about an hour northwest of Minneapolis. I had the fortune of chatting with the funny and witty filmmaker C.B. Jacobson who’s also one of the three leads in the film. A graduate from SCSU, I think it’s cool that he gets to realize his dream of making his film, stay tuned for my interview with C.B. on how he brought this project to life.
This Loneliness is a comedy about arrested adolescence and who can’t relate with the feeling of alienation in our college days?
OUT IN THE COLD
The social theme of this year’s festival is about homelessness. One Minnesota filmmaker took it upon himself to actually walk in the shoes of some unfortunate people who find themselves without a home. In Out in the Cold, director J.D. O’Brien and his friend John Koepke leave the comfort of their own homes to spend a week of Minnesota winter sleeping either on the streets or in homeless shelters as an opportunity to create experiential empathy with those who truly have to live without stable housing. If you’ve been here during the Winter months, you’ll know that it can be quite a challenging and dangerous endeavor. This film is for anyone who is willing to strip away their stereotypes about homelessness, and anyone who has struggled to find hope in challenging times.
THE OLD, OLD STORY
Now, who hasn’t asked or grappled with the basic human questions of the meaning of life? Filmmaker Samuel Hathaway makes his feature film debut about a young woman (Tiffany Cornwell) who, on the morning of her engagement, ends up debating those very questions with a mysterious stranger. The mysterious stranger is played by acclaimed MN actor Charles Hubbell, who also has a supporting role in 2021.
I had the privilege to chat with Sam as well during my TCFF interview roundup and has some interesting discussion about the idea for the film and his film inspirations.
THE POLAR BEAR CLUB
Have you ever jumped into a frozen lake during Winter or even thought about attempting that? No? Though I’ve lived in Minnesota for over twenty years, I’ve never once even thought about doing that but such a daring outing certainly fascinates me. The Polar Bear Club is the story of an elderly man, Harold, who leads a group of friends once a week out across the frozen lake behind his home in order to do one thing – jump in. The freezing water and painful cold brings each man a renewed feeling of youth and adventure, a feeling they wouldn’t give up for anything. The scenery and lake-jumping scenes alone made me want to see this, but the film also promises a story that would make us reflect on life and the defining moments of our lives.
THE QUIET HOUR
Post-apocalyptic sci-fis always intrigue me and sometimes, a smaller budget films actually have more to say than Hollywood big-budget blockbusters. The Quiet Hour is set in the aftermath of an alien invasion, where a feisty teenage girl sets out to protect her farm from human scavengers who will stop at nothing in order to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The film promises more character development than human-alien fight scenes, which suits me just fine. I’d rather see a strong narrative structure and intriguing characters than a CGI fest and this film looks promising on that front. This is Stéphanie Joalland’s feature film debut, I’m certainly glad to see more female filmmakers represented in TCFF lineup this year!
2015 TCFF Full Lineup Announced!
The 6th annual film festival runs October 21 – 31
Twin Cities Film Fest (TCFF) is thrilled to announce its captivating line up for the 2015 festival. The eleven (11) day festival, running October 21 – October 31, will be held at the Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON at The Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. This year’s festival features top films from celebrated national and international filmmakers as well as new faces and Minnesota talent.
Other highlights include live musical performances, Red Carpet galas, cocktail mixers, panel discussions and special events! TCFF members receive additional benefits such as access to members-only screenings and events, discounts on TCFF Merchandise, Early-Bird ticket purchasing, and more. Details on tickets and TCFF membership can be found on TCFF Membership page.
Special features will include:
In keeping with the festival’s 2015 mission to support Homeless Youth, the Festival will open with the adventure documentary, A New High, which received critical acclaim from the Los Angeles Film Festival. The film features a group of men and women who come together to climb out of homelessness and drug addiction through a recovering program that uses mountain climbing as a means of rehabilitation. The storyline and stunning photography are sure to wow our audience.
The festival will also feature Too Late (see trailer below) as the official Centerpiece Film welcoming Minnesota native and Oscar nominee John Hawkes to the festival to accept the Northstar Award for Excellence. To commemorate his illustrious career, the festival will include a retrospective of his previous films including Winter’s Bone, Me and You and Everyone We Know, and an encore showing of Too Late.
Closing the festival will be Thank You For Playing, a Family Documentary, dubbed by critics as the “most important film ever made about video games.” A graphic designer turns to creating a new video game when his 1-year-old is diagnosed with a brain tumor, creating a one-of-a-kind immersive experience that aims to bring players into his family’s experience with grief and fear.
Twin Cities Film Fest is also excited to include Room in this year’s programming, having recently won the Audience Award at Toronto International Film Festival. The film, based on the best-selling novel Emma Donoghue, features breakout performances from Brie Larson and 8-year-old Jacob Tremblay as a mother and son who plan a heroic escape from captivity.
Other highly anticipated special features include The 33, a biopic starring Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche about the Chilean miners who were trapped under ground for 2 months; Charlie Kaufman’s new stop-motion film Anomalisa, which can credit its success in part to the 100,000+ people who crowdfunded the movie; and Brooklyn, a historical drama starring Saorise Ronan as a woman who jumps between 1950s Ireland and New York forced to choose between two different men, two different countries, and two very different ways of life.
Additional films include The Adderall Diaries, a biopic and drama starring James Franco, Touched With Fire, a romantic drama starring Katie Holmes, Remember, a historical thriller starring Christopher Plummer, and Youth, an art house drama starring Michael Caine.
For a full list of films playing at this year’s festival, visit tcfilmfest.org
Digital Program Guide Coming Soon. In the meantime, you can view the schedule in a GRID format.
That’s a wrap!
Oh boy, what a thrilling, fun and exhilarating 10 days it’s been!! Pardon the late Closing Night recap, I stayed up pretty late last night at the Closing Night party, as I missed the past few years’ festivities. It’s so awesome that this year we’ve got a great spot for our Nightly Mixer at the Shops at West End, just a few doors down from The Showplace ICON Theatres! It’s definitely been a great success once again, woot woot!
— JeffroBazinga (@JeffroBazinga) October 26, 2014
This is the fifth year I’ve been covering TCFF and I have to say this is truly the BEST year I’ve had. Of course it seems that I say that every year but this year is absolutely amazing. I’m so glad I got the chance to chat with many great filmmakers and talents who are all gracious and friendly that made every interview such a joy. Special thanks to Haley Lu Richardson, Rik Swartzwelder, Drea Clark, Jonathan Ehlers, Patrick Ward-Perkins, Molly Ryman, Tyler Noble, George Finn & Bradley King for taking the time to chat with me during the Film Fest! I’ve always got butterflies in my stomach before I go into any interview, but my qualms/nervousness quickly disappear as soon as I met each talent. It’s been a blessing to be a part of this great organization, so Jatin, Bill, Steve, Dani, Naomi, etc. I really mean what I said in my tweet last night …
— FlixChatter (@FlixChatter) October 26, 2014
I also want to thank all the blogging contributors Sarah Johnson, Josh Petitt and Adam Wells. I wouldn’t have been able to do all those interviews AND do every single review, so MASSIVE THANKS for all your help, guys!
Twin Cities Film Fest 2014 Award Winners!
The Twin Cities Film Fest bestowed eight films, two artists and one local community leader with awards late Saturday evening during a star-studded ceremony in downtown St. Louis Park. Leading the roster of winners was The Imitation Game, the World War II espionage thriller starring Benedict Cumberbatch as mathematician Alan Turing that is widely considered to be a frontrunner for the year-end awards race. The film took home the festival’s trophy for Best Feature Film. (See the festival’s complete list of 2014 finalists, which were announced Oct. 23)
Also honored: Keira Knightley, winner of the TCFF North Star Award for Excellence for her performances in two official festival selections: Laggies and The Imitation Game. “When you see this body of work paired together, there’s no denying the acting force that is Keira Knightley,” said TCFF Artistic Director Steven Snyder. “There’s such a range of talent on display here – funny, heroic, vulnerable, defiant, haunted, and always compelling. She breathes life into personalities and perspectives that are worlds apart – and yet proves charming, charismatic and irresistible every time out.” Hear, hear!
The independent sci-fi thriller Time Lapse walked off with the festival’s Indie Vision: Breakthrough Film award [check out my interview with director Bradley King & cast member George Finn] Debra Granik’s Stray Dog – the director’s follow-up to her Oscar-nominated narrative film “Winter’s Bone” – won Best Documentary. And Andrew Kightlinger’s Destroyer was selected as the year’s best short film.
Local film industry legend Al Milgrom was also honored Saturday evening, bestowed with a star on the Minnesota Walk of Fame, in recognition of a career spent importing and celebrating world cinema for the Twin Cities film community. Milgrom founded Minneapolis’ University Film Society in 1962 and later launched the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival in 1983.
Saturday evening’s ceremony marked the culmination of the 10-day festival, which screened more than 75 titles – a mix of independent premieres and Hollywood sneak peeks – at the Showplace ICON Theatres. In addition to the annual October festival, the Minnesota-based non-profit organizes year-round programming, as well as industry networking events and educational opportunities. Learn more at twincitiesfilmfest.org.
The complete list of 2014 winners:
Best Feature Film: The Imitation Game (dir. Morten Tyldum)
Runner-Up: Ink & Steel (dir. Jonathan Ehlers and Patrick Ward-Perkins)
Audience Award – Feature: Solitude (dir. Taylor Scott Olson and Livingston Oden)
Runner-Up: The Last Time You Had Fun (dir. Mo Perkins)
Audience Award – Short: Sad Clown (dir. Jason P. Schumacher)
Runner-Up: My Last Breath (dir. Cy Dodson)
Audience Award – Documentary: Scouts Honor: Inside A Marching Brotherhood (dir. Mac Smith & Tom Tollefsen)
Runner-Up: The Syndrome (dir. Meryl Goldsmith)
Indie Vision Award – Breakthrough Film: Time Lapse (dir. Bradley King)
Runner-Up: BFFs (dir. Andrew Putschoegl)
Indie Vision Award – Breakthrough Performance: Haley Lu Richardson, Actress “The Well” and “The Young Kieslowski”
Runner-Up: Eliza Coupe, Actress, “The Last Time You Had Fun”
Best Short Film: Destroyer (dir. Andrew Kightlinger)
Runner-Up: My Last Breath (dir. Cy Dodson)
Best Documentary: Stray Dog (dir. Debra Granik)
Runner-Up: The Immortalists (dir. David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg)
TCFF North Star Award for Excellence: Keira Knightley, for performances in “The Laggies” and “The Imitation Game”
TCFF-Minnesota Walk of Fame Award: Filmmaker Al Milgrom
Twin Cities Community Change Maker Award: Vednita Carver, executive director of Breaking Free. (BreakingFree.net)
- TCFF 2014 Opening Night Festivities + ‘Men, Women & Children’ review
- TCFF 2014 Day 2 – Interview with Haley Lu Richardson
- TCFF 2014 Day 2 Reviews: Father-Like Son, The Last Time You Had Fun, V/H/S: Viral
- TCFF 2014 Day 3 Reviews: These Hopeless Savages, 3 Nights in the Desert, The Well and House of Manson
- TCFF 2014 Day 4: Wild Canaries, Just Before I Go & double reviews of The Young Kieslowski
- TCFF 2014 Interview with Rik Swartzwelder, Writer/Director/Star of ‘Old Fashioned’
- TCFF 2014 Day 5 & 6: Reviews of ‘Evil, Enemies & Aliens’ Shorts Block + Solitude
- TCFF 2014 Day 7: Romance Double Bill – Old Fashioned & Comet
- TCFF 2014 – Interview with Ink & Steel Filmmakers/Cast
- TCFF 2014 Interview with Bradley King & George Finn for sci-fi thriller ‘Time Lapse’
- TCFF 2014 Documentary Reviews: Stray Dog, Flying Paper, Where The Trail Ends & One Good Year
Feature Films Highlights
Men, Women & Children (Thurs 10/16)
Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: Emma Thompson, Jennifer Garner, Rosemary DeWitt, Judy Greer, Ansel Egort, Adam Sandler
This one definitely looks intriguing and what a great cast! Ok so I never in a million years thought I’d see Emma Thompson and Adam Sandler in a movie together, ahah. But hey maybe in a more serious role, Sandler could be bearable. The premise reminds me a bit of Disconnect which I saw last year, but hopefully not as bleak.
The Imitation Game (Fri, 10/24)
Director: Morten Tyldum
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Allen Leech
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war, but was prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal.
I’m beyond thrilled to see we’ve got this film! As you know it’s on my most-anticipated Fall movies list, and the film’s been getting a ton of buzz lately. Seems like a shoo-in for the awards race from this year. I LOVE the cast [obviously] and it’s such an intriguing and important film, so I’m glad it’ll have a regional premiere at TCFF before it opens in November!
Wild (Sat, 10/25)
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gabby Hoffman
A self-destructive woman (Witherspoon) attempts to leave behind her years of drug abuse and reckless sex with a solo, 1,000-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, in this adaptation of Minnesota-native Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir from director Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”).
Given the success of Dallas Buyers Club last year, naturally people are curious if Vallee can continue his critical streak with this one. The premise doesn’t immediately grab me but when handled well, stories like this can be quite powerful.
Indie Narratives Highlights
There are a plethora of indie films this year, more than a dozen to be exact. There are a variety of genres featuring new and familiar faces. There’s even a directorial debut from Courtney Cox. Here are just a select few that piqued my interest:
The Last Time You Had Fun (10/17 & 10/24)
Director: Mo Perkins
Cast: Kyle Bornheimer, Eliza Coupe, Mary Elizabeth Ellis
When Clark and Will meet Alison and Ida in a wine bar, the foursome struggle to have the most fun that four, bickering, barely married, pre-middle-aged, decidedly dysfunctional adults are capable of having.
The Well (10/18 & 10/22)
Director: Thomas S. Hammock
Cast: Haley Lu Richardson, Booboo Stewart, Max Charles
At the edge of a barren valley, all that remains of the Wallace Farm for Wayward Youth is a few hollowed-out husks of buildings and the memories of Kendal, a seventeen-year-old girl who can barely recall when the valley was lush. It’s been a decade since the last rainfall, and society at large has dried up and blown away. Only Kendal and a few others remain, barely scraping by while dreaming of escape. When a gang leader named Carson lays claim to what little precious water remains underground, Kendal must decide whether to run and hide or bravely fight for what little she has left in this post-apocalyptic thriller.
3 Nights in the Desert (Sat, 10/18)
Director: Gabriel Cowan
Cast: Wes Bentley, Vincent Piazza, Amber Tamblyn
At a remote desert property, three estranged friends and former bandmates reunite to celebrate turning thirty. Travis, the wild man of the group, obsesses over producing revolutionary new music. So he has a plan in mind for his two friends: Barry, now a married lawyer, and Anna,back from years in Asia as a budding solo act. Travis leads his friends to a cave, promising that if they enter, it has the power to give them what they need. Barry and Anna laugh off Travis, still the mythmaker of the crew, but over the weekend unsettling desires rise to the surface. Soon the friends begin to wonder if it’s the power of suggestion that affects them or if the cave has a real power to threaten all they hold to be true.
House of Mansion (Sat, 10/18)
Director: Brandon Slagle
Cast: Ryan Kiser, Reid Warner, Chriss Anglin, Devanny Pinn, Tristan Risk, Suzi Lorraine
House of Mansion chronicles Charles Manson’s life from childhood up until his arrest following the raid on Barker Ranch months after the infamous Tate/LaBianca murders that sent a shockwave not just through Los Angeles, but throughout the entire world.
The Heart Machine (10/18 & 10/24)
Director: Zachary Wigon
Cast: John Gallagher Jr., Kate Lyn Sheil, David Call
This modern mystery tells the story of Cody (John Gallagher Jr., from TV’s “The Newsroom”) and Virginia, who start talking while he is in Brooklyn and she is in Berlin. It is a romance that could only happen online, and they’re happy together, though they’ve never physically met. Once Cody becomes suspicious that Virginia may not be in Berlin at all, he becomes obsessed with finding the truth. Tracking two parallel journeys that show how technology complicates modern love, “The Heart Machine” explores the evolving relationships among physical and emotional intimacy, isolation in the urban hive, and the seduction of hiding behind a screen.
Time Lapse (Sat, 10/25)
Director: Bradley King
Cast: Danielle Panabaker, Matt O’Leary, George Finn
Three friends discover a mysterious machine that takes pictures 24hrs into the future and conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop.
Just Before I Go* (Fri, 10/19)
Director: Courtney Cox
Cast: Seann William Scott, Kate Walsh, Olivia Thirby
Starring Minnesotan Seann William Scott, Directing debut of actress Courtney Cox. The story focuses on Ted, a man who decides to end his mediocre life. But before doing so, he returns to his home- town to revisit the demons of his past: the cruel school teacher; the relentless bully; the girl who got away. While staying with his brother and his dysfunctional family, he makes an unexpected connection with a girl who decides to document his last few days. A motley cast of characters helps Ted realize that life is complicated for everyone and the memories of the past can be reinterpreted.
* No trailer yet, so I will add that as soon as I have it
I always catch some intriguing docs during film festivals and this year is no different. I LOVE documentaries as they immerse you in a world that are often so different from your own. You’re likely entertained whilst you learn and experience something that’d make a lasting impression.
Hunger in America (10/22)
Minnesota filmmakers will again be featured among award contenders, including 2014 TCFF Centerpiece film Hunger in America, a powerful documentary tackling the hunger epidemic in the US. The film’s produced by Minneapolis’ own Tim VandeSteeg and narrated by James Denton. VandeSteeg and Denton will appear at the special benefit with partial proceeds being donated to the St. Louis Park Foodshelf, an organization battling hunger in the Twin Cities Community.
Stray Dog (10/20 & 10/23)
From the director of “Winter’s Bone” — Ron “Stray Dog” Hall lives in Southern Missouri where he owns and operates the At Ease RV Park. After seven years of living with four small dogs as his only companions, he is adjusting to life with his wife, Alicia, who is newly arrived from Mexico. Anchored by his small dogs and big bikes, Stray Dog seeks to strike a balance between his commitment to his family, neighbors, biker brotherhood, and fellow veterans. As part of the legacy of fighting in the Vietnam War, he wrestles with the everlasting puzzle of conscience, remorse, and forgiveness. With Stray Dog as our guide, we experience the restlessness of ex-warriors as he tries to make peace with what he can’t change and weathers the incomprehension of those who have never been to war.
Flying Paper (Mon, Oct 22)
Flying Paper is the uplifting story of Palestinian children in Gaza engaged in the fascinating culture of kite making and flying.
The film follows Musa, a charismatic teenaged kite-maker in the village of Seifa, and Abeer an aspiring young journalist in the Jabalya refugee camp. They join a remarkable quest, along with thousands of other children, to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown.
It showcases the creative resilience of these children making and flying kites despite the difficult realities they face in their daily lives. The film has been co-produced with young Palestinians in Gaza trained by the filmmakers through a youth media program called Voices Beyond Walls. Through the perspective of children and young people comes a story of determination and artistic expression as the youth in the film work together to achieve a shared goal.
I think it’s cool that TCFF gives a venue for shorts filmmaker to showcase their work. I saw a bunch of great ones last year, including one from Conor Holt who’s now part of TCFF staff called A Better Life. The short films are offered in a block of a half dozen or so, grouped together based on its themes.
Run Time: 77 Minutes
We celebrate the advancement and impact of women in this eclectic group of narrative shorts. All of these films in Women in Charge block are either produced or directed by a woman, have a strong lead female character, or both. Whether it’s a clever romance, ageless love, mystery, or a kick ass heroin, you’ll enjoy this diverse journey lead by women. Films Include:
Lust, Love and Lost (Fri, 10/24)
From the first sparks of attraction to the depths of a long term relationship, Lust, Love, and Loss short block examines the complexities of the significant relationships in our lives with both ourselves and with others. How do we grieve? What is the truth? How often should a couple have sex? Films include:
How ‘Bout Now?!
The Cat’s Cradle
Thurs – October 16
7:30PM: Men, Women & Children
Fri – October 17
1:00PM: The Immortalists
3:00PM: Big Significant Things
5:15PM: Father-Like Son
7:30PM: The Last Time You Had Fun
9:30PM: V/H/S: Viral
Sat – October 18
10:00AM: One Good Year
12:00PM: These Hopeless Savages
2:00PM: Old Fashioned
4:45PM: 3 Nights in the Desert
7:00PM: The Heart Machine
8:30PM: The Well
9:00PM: House of Manson
Sun – October 19
10:30AM: Born to Fly
12:30PM: A Family Affair (Shorts Block)
3:00PM: The Young Kieslowski
6:00PM: Wild Canaries
8:30PM: Just Before I Go
Mon – October 20
6:00PM: Evil, Enemies, and Aliens (Shorts Block)
8:45PM: The Transylvania TV
Tues – October 21
6:00PM: To Say Goodbye
Wed – October 22
12:30PM: Flying Paper
2:15PM: Father-Like Son
4:30PM: Old Fashioned
6:00PM: Hunger In America
8:30PM: The Control Group
9:30PM: The Well
Thurs – October 23
11:30AM: Hoop Dreams
3:00PM: The Immortalists
5:00PM: Where the Trail Ends
5:45PM: The World Around Us (Shorts Block)
7:00PM: Stray Dog
8:30PM: Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter
9:30PM: Strike One
Fri – October 24
11:00AM: The Syndrome
2:30PM: Big Significant Things
4:30PM: The Heart Machine
6:00PM: Lust, Love & Loss (Shorts Block)
6:30PM: Breaking Free From The Life
8:30PM: The Imitation Game
9:00PM: The Last Time You Had Fun
Sat – October 25
10:00AM: The Syndrome
12:30PM: Women in Charge (Shorts Block)
3:00PM: Scouts Honor
5:30PM: Ink & Steel
8:30PM: Time Lapse
TCFF’s Silver, Gold & Platinum Passes are now available!
Silver $50 for 6 films; Gold $70 for 10 films; or Platinum $120 for 12 films + 2 tickets to Opening or Closing; Documentary Pass $45 for 8 select films; Gala Pass $80 for a 5 pack of tickets to one gala film of choice (Silver and Gold Packages do not include Opening or Closing Tickets).
GET THEM EARLY
(while supplies last)
Individual tickets will go on-sale at twincitiesfilmfest.org beginning October 3.
2014 Ticket Prices are as follows: General Admission $10; Opening Gala $25 (proceeds going to local charities); Closing Gala $20.
Stay tuned for more updates for this year’s events.
Check out the TCFF Archives page for posts from the last three years.