We’ve passed the halfway mark! That means it’s been a week of fun-filled film festivities… but also an extremely hectic one for me wearing multiple hats juggling my day job, film watching, reviewing, interviewing, blogging, etc. as I basically makes Showplace ICON a second home during the 11-day of TCFF.
The first screening of my short film Hearts Want was last Friday. It was nerve-wracking to be sure, but I was so grateful to have some of my friends and co-workers’ there at the screening. We even got a few minutes to pose at the red carpet w/ my lovely friends 🙂
If you’ve missed the daily TCFF posts, well here’s a handy list:
- Highlights from TCFF 2017 Opening Night… BREATHE, THE FLORIDA PROJECT & THE YEAR OF SPECTACULAR MEN
- TCFF 2017 Day 2 – ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and silent MN-made b&w film ‘If Memory Serves’
- TCFF 2017 Interviews: Lea Thompson, Madelyn + Zoey Deutch AND filmmakers/ musicians Jack & Kitty
- TCFF 2017 Interview: VICTOR’S LAST CLASS’ Director/Producer Brendan Brandt
- TCFF 2017 Day 3 – ‘Hearts Want’ first screening in the ‘Ties That Bind Us’ short block and ‘A Gray State’ documentary
- TCFF 2017 Day 4 – Two great film panels + Reviews of ‘Beauty Mark’ and MN-made drama ‘Cold November’
- TCFF 2017 Indie Film Spotlight: BUTTERFLY CAUGHT & interview w/ filmmakers/cast
- TCFF Indie Film Spotlight: Laura Gets A Cat + Interview with writer/director/star Michael Ferrell
- TCFF Reviews – ‘Legends of the Road’ doc + various short films in Comedy, Thriller, Global Perspective & Documentary short blocks
- TCFF 2017 Interviews: TWIN CITIES’ writer/director David Ash and RUIN ME’s actor Alex Galick
I’m so used to interviewing people, but it’s fun to be on the other side once in a while. THANK YOU Paul from Paul’s Trip to The Movies’ Blog for interviewing me…
This year’s festival theme is A Year of Spectacular Women… which is as timely as ever and it’s also a play on this year’s Opening Night film, A Year of Spectacular Men, a directorial debut of Minnesota native Lea Thompson and stars her daughters Zoey Deutch and Madelyn Deutch. The upcoming drama-comedy will make its world premiere at TCFF on Oct. 18 with both Lea Thompson and Zoey Deutch in attendance. Click image below for tickets!
We don’t have a trailer yet but here’s a clip from the film:
The official 2017 Centerpiece film will be the inspirational documentary Purple Dreams, which follows lives of inner-city, at-risk students who succeed at their passion while embracing the transformative power of their arts education. The true-life adventure screens Oct. 23.
TCFF will continue its tradition of honoring a Social Cause this year by putting a spotlight on ‘Addiction.’ To highlight addiction TCFF will screen three documentaries (Chasing the Dragon, Addicted to Porn and Screenagers) and a drama called Tatertot and Patton which showcases alcohol addiction.
Some of Fall’s most-anticipated films are also amongst the lineup…
Acclaimed director Sean Baker’s The Florida Project starring Willem Dafoe:
Dramedy Last Flag Flying starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell and Laurence Fishburne:
WWII drama The Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
It’s a year of debuts it seems. Motion capture virtuoso Andy Serkis’ directorial debut Breathe, starring Andrew Garfield as a young man struck down with polio looks like a heart-warming tearjerker.
Those are just the studio films. There are plenty of indie features to be excited about…
The Bachelors stars J.K. Simmons dealing with an early death of his wife with his teenage son.
A grizzled, rugged looking Matt Bomer stars in Walking Out, where he plays an estranged father who faces a brutal encounter in the heart of Montana wilderness with his teenage son.
Little Pink House stars Catherine Keener and Jeanne Tripplehorn about a working-class neighborhood struggling to save their homes from political and corporate interests bent on seizing the land and handing it over to Pfizer Corporation.
I gotta give a shout out to Minnesota-made indie feature Twin Cities, produced by the filmmaker who directed my short film, Jason P. Schumacher. Hearts Want‘s lead actor Peter Christian Hansen also has a supporting role in the film. Directed by David Ash, its prequel 2021 actually premiered at TCFF in 2015.
The festival will close with writer and director Colette Burson’s Permanent, a film centering on a story of a hairstyle gone incredibly wrong and a young girl’s fight to fit in while encountering bullies at a new school. Burson will be in attendance for the red carpet and hosting a Q&A following the film.
Check out the TCFF Archives page for posts from the last seven years.
It’s a wrap!
The 2016 TCFF has concluded Saturday night with a festive closing night party.
I saw four films Saturday night. Starting with two great documentaries Actors Of Sound and Free Cece, followed by two powerful emotional dramas, Lion and Moonlight.
I had been crying so much watching Lion, a wonderful depiction of an incredible true story, and Moonlight was an even more emotional experience. It was a well-written, well-acted and simply powerful film about Black sexuality, featuring the kind of deep emotional intimacy I haven’t seen in many films, regardless of race and gender.
— FlixChatter (@FlixChatter) October 31, 2016
I also enjoyed the short film that preceded Actors of Sound called Boom Up!, it was hilarious! I won’t have the reviews of the films I saw in last two days of TCFF until later in November, but let’s just say I recommend all the four films I saw on closing night!
Concluding a star-studded showcase that featured more than 100 films spanned over 11 days, this is perhaps the largest-ever Twin Cities Film Fest ever with over 130 films, including shorts and documentaries! Top awards went to the critically-acclaimed coming of age drama Moonlight, which had been hailed by critics as the best film of the year and will hopefully gain more traction until the Oscars next year. Just like Room and Brooklyn last year, TCFF continues tradition in screening critical darlings that went on to win accolades at the Oscars.
Here are the winners from Twin Cities Film Fest 2016:
Best Short Film: Lend a Hand For Love, directed by John and Amy Thompson
Audience Award – Short: Waabooz, directed by Molly Katagiri
Best Documentary: I Do? directed by Joe Brandmeier
Audience Award – Documentary: Iron Will, directed by Sergio Valenzuela
Indie Vision — Breakthrough Non-Fiction Film: They Call Us Monsters, directed by Ben Lear
Indie Vision — Breakthrough Feature Film: No Light and No Land Anywhere, directed by Amber Sealey
Indie Vision — Breakthrough Performance: Kate Nowlin (Blood Stripe)
Best Feature Film: Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins
Audience Award – Feature Film: Blood Stripe
I’m so thrilled for Remy Auberjonois and Kate Nowlin who won the Audience Award in the Feature Film category. As you know from my review of Blood Stripe, I was so impressed with this film. It’s so well-written, well-directed AND phenomenally-acted by Kate Nowlin, who deservedly also won Best Breakthrough Performance this weekend. I certainly think Kate’s performance is Oscar worthy!
Another well-deserved award, that is the TCFF North Star Award goes to the massively talented indie actor Dominic Rains. You may not know who he is yet folks, but mark my words, you will! He’s already won Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film at Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year for his performance in Burn Country (originally named The Fixer), which also screened at TCFF, along with two others, Funeral Day and The Loner.
I have seen two of the three films he’s in and was really impressed by his strong screen presence and versatility as his role in the thriller/drama Burn Country (as a former Afghan journalist) and the comedy Funeral Day (as a rather obnoxious American realtor) couldn’t be more different from each other, but yet he pulls off both roles effortlessly. Stay tuned for my in-depth interview with Dominic on his career, as well as with Funeral Day‘s director Jon Weinberg!
As I’ve mentioned in this post, I’m glad to see quite a few female filmmakers as well as female-driven films represented at TCFF! One of the finalists for Breakthrough Feature Film that I was really impressed with was Claire In Motion, which was directed by a pair of female filmmakers, featuring a terrific performance by Betsy Brandt.
It was already close to 11pm by the time I came out of the Moonlight screening, TCFF’s final film, but I couldn’t miss the award ceremony at TCFF lounge. I was only there for an hour or so and I had a blast hanging out with my friends, Kirsten Gregerson and Emmylou Barden.
I don’t know how long the party went on but clearly everyone had a great time! I’m glad I got a chance to congratulate Kate Nowlin for her award, my interview with her and her husband/collaborator Remy Auberjonois are certainly one of the highlights of covering TCFF, not just this year but of all seven years I’ve been with the film fest! Just before I left for the night, I even got a chance to chat with Remy about the enigmatic ending of Blood Stripe. Once you see it, I think you’ll know what I mean!
Thanks to my darling hubby for taking pictures of the closing party festivities! Check out his Instagram for his awesome travel photography (and I’m not just saying that ’cause I’m his wife) 🙂
It was so gratifying to be a part of TCFF once again… watching, discussing & celebrating indie films and the art of filmmaking.
The 11-day cinematic marathon, runs from October 19 – October 29, which will showcase 100+ films. It’s definitely great to be a film lover living in Minneapolis!
I’ve blogged about some of the films I’m super excited about, but year after year TCFF has always featured great documentaries that are both insightful and entertaining. Before I get to the list, check out the TCFF documentary promo:
Get your tickets soon!
Click on each documentary title that’ll take you to its respective page on TCFF site.
Here they are in alphabetical order:
- October 29, 2016 10:15 am
- Runtime: 112 min
Director/Producer: Lalo Molina
ACTORS OF SOUND: From footsteps to bone cracks, Foley artists bring films to life with their imaginative sound effects.
I always love learning about the various aspects of filmmaking and foley artists are one of the unsung heroes in the filmmaking process. This sounds like a fun insights into a world we rarely see, but one we’d definitely notice if not done properly.
- October 24, 2016 5:15 pm
- Runtime: 76 min
Director: Jason P. Schumacher
Skydiving isn’t just a hobby, but a sport and a lifestyle. These unique athletes compete in the relatively unknown world of competitive skydiving. The Unrelenting Charlie Davies: Charlie Davies was the most promising young striker in professional American soccer until a fatal car accident in October 2009 derailed his career and threatened his life.
I’m afraid of heights so skydiving is one of those bucket-list type of activities I wish I could do one day. But I always get a kick out of living vicariously through people who dared to do these kinds of extreme sports. This one offers something inspiring beyond just the thrill of the sport, and that’s what a great documentary should be about.
- October 24, 2016 6:15 pm
Director: Otto Bell
Runtime: 101 min
The Eagle Huntress follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter. Narrated by Daisy Ridley.
I didn’t know there is such a thing as an eagle huntress, so this film immediately intrigues me. Per IMDb, Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Daisy Ridley saw an early cut of this film and loved it so much that she wanted to be a part of it. She is now credited as an executive producer on the film. No doubt this will be an eye-opening and awe-inspiring glimpse into an exotic part of world we rarely see.
- October 29, 2016 2:45 pm
- October 29, 2016 3:15 pm
Director: Jacqueline Gares
Runtime: 87 min
CeCe McDonald survived a brutal attack, only to be incarcerated for defending her life. After an international movement to free her, CeCe emerges as a leader to interrogate the prison industrial complex and inspire women to fight back when attacked.
The title isn’t just a name of the film but also the call to action for a movement sparked by the incarceration of CeCe McDonald. Following her release, McDonald became an activist for prison reform and against transphobia. Orange Is the New Black star and activist Laverne Cox is the executive producer of the film and she’ll be attending TCFF and participates in the A Q&A session following the two screenings at 2:45 and 3:15 p.m. on 10/29. As timely as ever, the film highlights the struggles trans women face in prison, a topic I’m not familiar with but an important one to learn and support.
- October 26, 2016 8:45 pm
- October 26, 2016 4:20 pm
A light-hearted documentary on the “crazy” concept of marriage.
As someone who’s been happily married for over a decade, I don’t know if I’d call the concept of marriage as ‘crazy.’ But of course not every marriage is alike and some of the stories would likely resonate with people, no matter what their definition of marriage is. It’s interesting to note that the filmmaker Joe Brandmeier was inspired by his own marriage to former Minneapolis Kare 11 anchor Joan Steffend to make this doc (per Star Tribune).
- October 22, 2016 10:30 am
- Director: Patrick Shen
Runtime: 81 min
In our race towards modernity, amidst all the technological innovation and the rapid growth of our cities, silence is now quickly passing into legend. Beginning with an ode to John Cages seminal silent composition 433, the sights and sounds of this film delicately interweave with silence to create a contemplative and cinematic experience that works its way through frantic minds and into the quiet spaces of hearts. As much a work of devotion as it is a documentary, In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound, and the impact of noise on our lives.
It’s so true that silence has become a lost art in our increasingly noisy and bustling world. I know I find myself struggle to just be still and turn off all the ‘chatter,’ so this is a film that I know will challenge me to look at silence and how it impacts my own life.
- October 22, 2016 7:15 pm
- October 22, 2016 7:30 pm
Director: Sergio Valenzuela
Runtime: 120 min
IRON WILL is a journey into the minds and lives of Veterans suffering with some form of (PTSD). Narrated by Billy Bob Thornton.
I’m glad that TCFF’s social cause this year is in support of veteran health as it’s such an important issue that impact so many people who’ve given their lives to keep our country safe. PTSD is another topic I’m not familiar with, so I always welcome the opportunity to learn a bit more about it.
- October 28, 2016 12:45 pm
- Director: John Dower
Runtime: 99 min
Louis documents his investigation into what goes on behind the scenes of the infamous church of scientology.
One of the documentaries on scientology I still need to see is Alex Gibney’s Going Clear, but I’m curious about the unconventional approach of this one. British documentarian/ broadcaster Louis Theroux features young actors “auditioning” for parts playing high-profile Scientologists. I’d imagine it’d be a hoot to watch the recreation of accounts from ex-members about incidents involving senior church management. It’s certainly a wacky way to get people to understand the way this religious practice operates.
- October 26, 2016 2:30 pm
- Director: Perri Peltz and Geeta Gandbhir
Runtime: 72 min
A story of love, loss, and redemption; Prison Dogs focuses on the impact of a unique dog training program that gives two of the most marginalized populations in our society, prison inmates and veterans, a second chance.
I love the idea of giving incarcerated people find a path to a second chance at life through their love and care of a puppy. The powerful relationship between humans and animals have proven to help restore the lives of those deemed impossible to save, no doubt it’ll be a heart-wrenching and moving film to experience. I have to remember to bring tissues to this one!
- October 23, 2016 3:45 pm
Director: Kiersten Dunbar Chace
Runtime: 73 min
A documentary film that gives voice to a community questioning the future of their mixed-race/indigenous identity in the new South Africa. Blending poetry, landscape imagery, and rare archive footage with a collection of powerful, indigenous voices, Word of Honour is an introspective look into South Africa’s young democracy as well as a meditation on what may be looming on the horizon. (All South African cast and crew)
This is a rare documentary in that it’s a sequel to the filmmaker’s 2009 film I’m Not Black, I’m Coloured: Identity Crisis at the Cape of Good Hope, which explores the legacy of Apartheid from the viewpoint of the Cape Coloured people and their struggle as a mixed-race people to fit into the ‘new’ South Africa. Once again I look forward to learning more about the racial issue that people in the western world (including me who’ve lived in the US for more than half of my lifetime) have known so little about. We mostly hear about the Black/White struggle in South Africa, but nothing about the minority Coloured community.
Those who’ve been reading my blog for a while knows I’ve been covering TCFF since its inception seven years ago. It was only a 5-day festival and it was split between two different locations in Minneapolis. Well now TCFF has made its home at Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON Theatres in St. Louis Park, and this year TCFF will also feature a second screening series at the IFP Theater in St. Paul.
I’ve finalized the movies I’ll be watching during the 11-day film fest. I’m just thrilled that there’s quite an eclectic lineup we’ve got this year, practically there’s something from every genre.
Before we get to that though, here’s TCFF’s Preview Video highlighting some of the studio films showing this year …
The perk of blogging for the film fest is that I could watch as many films as I could (yay!). Of course it’d still not be possible for me to see every single film, but I have my pal Sarah Johnson to help me review stuff again this year which allows me to do interviews and support indie filmmakers!
So here are the list of films I can’t wait to see… I’m going to start with the Opening Night film and then list it alphabetically:
- October 28, 2016 3:00 pm
Director: Remy Auberjonois
Runtime: 87 min
A female Marine veteran, battling unseen wounds from her recent service in Afghanistan, flees her suburban life in search of solace and escape in the North Woods.
I’m thrilled that I’ll be going to the 5:30pm screening of this film. I had been looking forward to this since my friend Kirsten Gregerson (who has a supporting role in the film) told me about it a year ago. As you know, I always champion female-driven films and Blood Stripe is co-written by its star Kate Nowlin, and the film won the U.S. Fiction Award from L.A. Film Festival. The film is filmed locally in MN at Lake Vermilion!
Stay tuned for my interview w/ the husband/wife team Remy Auberjonois and Kate Nowlin next week!
Check out the clip below:
- October 28, 2016 2:30 pm
Director: David Anderson
Runtime: 87 min
A contestant on a Bachelorette style reality show is thrown into turmoil when the sudden death of his father forces him to quit the series prematurely and reconnect with his estranged sister at the family cabin.
This sounds like an intriguing comedy drama, featuring a Glee reunion of sort w/ Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch!
- October 26, 2016 6:15 pm
Director: Jonathan Parker
Runtime: 95 min
When a couple sets out to build their dream house, they enlist the services of an uncompromising modernist architect who proceeds to build HIS dream house, instead of theirs.
I have to say I was immediately intrigued by this when I saw James Frain in the cast! He’s a terrific character actor from Yorkshire UK who’s been in countless of TV shows and films, including the latest obsession of mine The White Queen as Lord Warwick. I also love the two great comedians Parker Posey and Eric McCormack, so I can’t wait to see this!
- October 28, 2016 5:10 pm
Director: Bailey Kobe
Runtime: 99 min
In the adventure-comedy The Babymoon, a husband in a fragile relationship tries to impress his pregnant wife with a luxurious and romantic babymoon vacation to the most beautiful and exotic country imaginable, which places the couple in the middle of a poorly-planned political revolution!
From its press release: This star studded and well-known cast brings a multitude of talent and relatable emotion to the big screen. The Babymoon features Shaun Sipos (Vampire Diaries, Melrose Place), Julie McNiven (Mad Men, Supernatural), Jessica Camacho (Sleepy Hollow, Dexter), Michael Steger (90210), Mark DeCarlo (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, Jimmy Neutron), Phillip Garcia (Telenovela, Fuller House), and Kelly Perine (Drew Carey, The Parent ‘Hood).
The premise sounds really intriguing too! Sounds like a perfect date night movie for anyone in the mood for some fun adventure at the movies.
- October 29, 2016 8:20 pm
Director: Ian Olds
Runtime: 103 min
As a former fixer for journalists in Afghanistan, Osman (Dominic Rains) finds asylum in a small California town. Promised a job as a crime reporter for the local paper, and a home with his best friends mother, the town sheriff (Melissa Leo), Osman is ready to settle in. But, when the job falls through, Osman finds himself restless and looking for action.
His attempts to get to know the area lead him to develop friendships with an elusive local actress, Sandra (Rachel Brosnahan), and a charming local troublemaker named Lindsay (James Franco). But, when a dead body turns up and Lindsay goes missing, Osman must face the possible evil lurking just beneath the surface and the depths of his new homes darkness.
One of my fave films at TCFF last year also featured James Franco: The Adderal Diaries. The premise of this one really intrigues me, and I’m looking forward to seeing Dominic Rains‘ performance, as he won Best Actor in US Narrative Feature (then called The Fixer) at Tribeca earlier this Spring (per Variety). Melissa Leo also has a supporting role here and she’s a terrific actress!
- October 28, 2016 4:45 pm
- Alternate Screening at IFP (10/21 8pm)
Director: LISA ROBINSON & ANNIE J. HOWELL
Runtime: 84 min
When Claires (Breaking Bad‘s Betsy Brandt) search for her missing husband leads her to an alluring and manipulative graduate student, she uncovers a world of secrets that threatens to shatter her family.
Here’s another female-driven film (written & directed by a pair of female directors too!) I’m excited about. The film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and recently Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired North American rights to the mystery drama. (per Indiewire)
- October 29, 2016 10:30 am
Director: Jon Weinberg
Runtime: 79 min
Scott thinks he might be dying. Not at all an uncommon thought for Scott, but today the lump he believes he found “down there” might actually be real. Today also happens to be the day of his friend Kens funeral. Funeral Day is a darkly funny movie about a man who skips his friends funeral in an attempt to start living his own life to the fullest.
Now this sounds like a dark comedy that serves as a male health PSA! The filmmaker raises awareness in collaboration with the Testicular Cancer Society.
From its press release: A full cast of experienced and recognizable talent include: Tyler Labine (Deadbeat, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil), Tygh Runyan (The upcoming Versailles, Stargate Universe), Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Horrible Bosses 2), Dominic Rains (Best Actor award winner at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival for his role in Burn Country, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, The Loner) and many more. Funeral Day is written by Kris Elgstrand, an award winning screenwriter, whose most recent film, Songs She Wrote About People She Knows, premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
- October 28, 2016 7:25 pm
Director: Rebecca Weaver
Runtime: 115 min
A young woman returns home to Wisconsin for her best friend’s wedding – one year after her father’s death.
This sounds like a personal and heartfelt story about loss and friendship that everyone can relate to. As someone who’s lost a parent early in my life, the story certainly appeals to me.
From its press release: June Falling Down was made primarily by a two-person crew – one of whom was the writer-director-lead actress. What begins as a quirky, homespun movie with a mixture of local Door County, Wisconsin actors and non-actors, reminiscent of Richard Linklater’s Slacker, over time reveals itself to be a film of surprising depth and poignancy, a meditation on grief and growing up.
Stay tuned to my interview w/ Rebecca Weaver!
- October 23, 2016 12:00 pm
Director: Andrew Hunt
Runtime: 91 min
A father and daughter who have been estranged by divorce for twelve years find themselves on a trip across the country that becomes a more complicated journey than they imagined. It’s a story of pain, hope, healing, and redemption.
I had the pleasure of chatting with the lead actor Dariush Moslemi during the filmmakers interview taping a few weeks ago. I was so inspired by his conversation that it made me look forward to his film even more. I enjoy faith-based stories where the spiritual aspect is organic to the story and that it’s not about spewing a certain agenda. Sounds like a great film to take your whole family to.
- October 27, 2016 1:50 pm
- October 29, 2016 1:10 pm
Director: Amber Sealey
Runtime: 75 min
Grieving her mothers death and her own failing marriage, Lexi (Gemma Brockis) boards a plane from London to Los Angeles in search of the estranged father who abandoned her when she was three-years-old. Based out of a seedy Hollywood motel, she follows a tenuous trail of breadcrumbs, beginning with his aging former in-laws, collecting numbers and addresses in the hopes that one will lead to her father. Along the way, she establishes other unexpected connections: her father’s ailing former second wife (Deborah Dopp), her bitter half-sister Tanya (Jennifer Lafleur) and her caregiver girlfriend (Jade Sealey), and two local barflies (David Sullivan and Kent Osborne). A stranger in the City of Angels, Lexis reckless searching leads to cautious discoveries in this atmospheric and introspective quest.
Another film screened at L.A. Film Festival that won some accolades! This film won The LA Muse Jury Special Mention award. Written and directed by Amber Sealey, it also featured a large female ensemble cast, always a plus in my book!
- October 25, 2016 7:30 pm
Director: Dan Glaser
Runtime: 93 min
Three estranged foster brothers rediscover the ruins of their childhood kingdom “Oxenfree”…and face down the monster living within.
There’s something about this comedy fantasy about three brothers that immediately appeals to me. I grew up w/ two brothers and let’s just say we have a rather unusual childhood, so I think I can relate to this story.
- October 27, 2016 8:00 pm
Director: Adam Smith
Runtime: 100 min
Trespass Against Us is set across three generations of the Cutler family who live as outlaws in their own anarchic corner of Britain’s richest countryside. Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is heir apparent to his bruising criminal father, Colby (Brendan Gleeson) and has been groomed to spend his life hunting, thieving and tormenting the police. But with his own son, Tyson (Georgie Smith) coming of age, Chad soon finds himself locked in a battle with his father for the future of his young family.
I almost didn’t mention this film when I initially published this article as I didn’t think it was an independent film. Well it certainly falls under the category of British indie, which was recently acquired by A24 for its US rights. It’s definitely one of my most-anticipated films at TCFF. The pairing of two Irish thespians Brendan Gleeson and Michael Fassbender gets my attention straight away, and it looks like a gripping family gangster flick set in a British countryside.
For Horror/Thriller Fans…
Now, most of you know I have too feeble nerves to handle horror, but since is close to Halloween, naturally there are quite a few horror films playing at TCFF! Here’s a sampling that you should check out, click on the link below the posters for more info!
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.
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.
Twin Cities Film Fest will again feature several studio Award contenders including Nebraska, the 2013 TCFF Opening Film and latest from celebrated filmmaker Alexander Payne; the captivating TCFF Centerpiece The Armstrong Lie by Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side); and star-studded Gala Films Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom & August: Osage County. TCFF will also showcase several Hollywood Sneak Peeks including One Chance, Last Vegas & We Are What We Are.
TCFF also celebrates extraordinary Minnesota talent and connections, spotlighting more than 20 world premieres of locally-produced features and short films! The critically-acclaimed Pollywogs was filmed in the north country by Minnesotan Karl Jacob. The horror film Delivery, a hit on the festival circuit, was created, scripted and directed by Minnesota natives Brian Netto and Adam Schindler.
TCFF will conclude on Saturday, October 26 with the Midwest Premiere of Nothing Without You, featuring a fearless performance by Emily Fradenburg. Fradenburg, based out of the Midwest and a well-known presence in the Twin Cities filmmaking community will be in attendance for this red carpet Premiere. Check out the Film Highlights video featuring TCFF hosts Doug Sidney and Ingrid Moss:
Tickets are on-sale now for EXTRAS Club Members and will be open to the public beginning Friday, October 4. 2013.
Ticket Prices are as follows:
General Admission $10; Opening/Closing Gala $20; Centerpiece Gala $20; Sneak Preview Galas $20. Festival Passes can also be purchased: Silver $50 for 6 films; Gold $70 for 10 films; or Platinum $120 for 12 films + 2 tickets to Opening, Closing or Gala. (Silver and Gold Packages do not include Opening, Closing or Gala Tickets).
For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.twincitiesfilmfest.org.
2013 TCFF Daily Journal:
- TCFF Opening Night: Featuring Alexander Payne’s NEBRASKA
- TCFF Day 2 Film Highlights: The Search for Simon, Gladiators Football doc, Trust Greed Bullets and Bourbon & more!
- TCFF Day 2 reviews: ‘Gladiators: The Uncertain Future of American Football documentary, We Are What We Are and Honeymoon Suite shorts
- TCFF Day 3: Women in Film panel & film highlights: Forev, Winter in the Blood, Truth or Dare & More!
- TCFF Day 3 Interviews: Forev’s director Molly Green, Winter in the Blood’s Chaske-Spencer, & Bahamian Son’s director Andrew Melby
- TCFF Day 4 recap + reviews: Family-themed Shorts, Cafeteria Man, Farah Goes Bang, Diamond on Vinyl
See below for more info and trailers on some films premiering at TCFF:
After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Bruce Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America. NEBRASKA is written by Bob Nelson and directed by Alexander Payne, which last film The Descendants won Best Adapted Screenplay.
Dern won Best Actor award at Cannes in this comedy drama, and in this interview with Filmmaker Magazine, Dern “…considered Alexander Payne to be a “genius” and why he “wouldn’t dare” to deviate from Payne’s script because “he’s too good.” Check out the this clip from Cannes:
From the director of The Devil Wears Prada, ONE CHANCE is a comedy based on the remarkable and inspirational true story of Paul Potts, a shy, bullied shop assistant by day and an amateur opera singer by night. Paul became an instant YouTube phenomenon after being chosen by Simon Cowell for ‘Britain’s Got Talent.’
Fresh from celebrating his Tony Award-winning Broadway run in One Man, Two Guvnors, BAFTA winner James Corden (The History Boys) stars as Paul Potts and is supported by an acclaimed ensemble cast that includes Julie Walters (Mamma Mia!, Calendar Girls, Billy Elliot), Colm Meaney (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa ), Jemima Rooper (Kinky Boots, Lost in Austen) and Alexandra Roach (The Iron Lady). Directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Hope Springs) and written by Justin Zackham (The Bucket List).
Check out the trailer below:
TCFF’s Silver, Gold and Platinum Passes are now available!
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(while supplies last)
MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM
The film is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, Prometheus) stars as Nelson Mandela, Naomie Harris (Skyfall) stars as Winnie Mandela, with Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) directing.
I LOVE this cast! I’m a huge fan of Elba, who I think would make a fine Bond (if the producers are brave enough for a Black Bond) and Naomi was a sassy Bond girl in Skyfall so what a perfect pairing! I’ve seen about three Nelson Mandela films so far, with actors of various built and height portraying the titular world leader. I must say that Elba seems too big physically (not to mention hunky!) to play Mandela, but hey, it sounds like a meaty role for the talented actor, so I’m definitely looking forward to this!
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
This is one of those movies I’d watch just for the cast. I mean, just look at the names in that poster! This film is based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name made its Broadway debut in December 2007. It continued with a successful international run and was the winner of five Tony Awards in 2008, including Best Play.
It tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is directed by John Wells (The Company Men) and features an all-star cast, including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Sam Shepard and Misty Upham.
This is one of my most-anticipated Fall movies so I’m thrilled TCFF’s got it! There’s already Oscar buzz on Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in the Best Supporting Actress category. Now, I’m particularly curious about Cumberbatch’s role in this, who along with McGregor are the only two Brits in this star-studded cast.
Check out the full SPECIAL EVENTS schedule that include Screenwriters Showcase, FIAT Drive-in, as well as after parties/mixers held at the West End. Free admissions with Same Day Ticket Stub or Specialty Pass.
- TCFF Day 1: Preview Night of A Place At The Table
- TCFF Day 2: Reviews of The Sapphires & The Eyes of Thailand
and It’s A Disaster & Bro
- TCFF Day 3: Reviews of Quartet and We Are Wisconsin
- TCFF Day 4: Review of Minnesota Feature Finding Home
- TCFF Day 5: Review of The Sessions
- TCFF Day 6: Review of Nobody Walks
- TCFF Day 7: Review of Silver Linings Playbook
- Interview with Things I Don’t Understand’s director David Spaltro
- TCFF Recaps: Part I and Part II (Top 5 Favorite TCFF Films!)
Counting Down to TCFF:
- Question One Documentary
- Bikes Over Baghdad Special Screening
- Ruby Sparks Advanced Screening + Q&A with filmmaker/cast
- TCFF Full Line-up
Highlights from 2011:
Twin Cities Film Fest is celebrating the summer with a block party at The Shops at WestEnd on July 16. Join us for this FREE event featuring live music, fashion and art. Visit the TCFF Official page for details.
- Opening and Closing Night Films
- The Full lineup is here! Check out what’s showing at TCFF this year
- Counting Down to TCFF 2011
- Five buzz-worthy documentaries
- TCFF Day 1: The Bully Project
- TCFF Day 2: 50/50 Mini Review | Interview with Steve Snyder
- TCFF Day 3: Tom Sizemore & White Knight review
Highlights from 2010:
This will be the dedicated page for all blog posts/info related to the Twin Cities Film Fest.
- Check out the introduction post
- Counting down to TCFF – Interview with director Jatin Setia
- Five buzz-worthy documentaries you can’t miss
- Counting down to TCFF: Watch the films, meet the filmmakers
- TCFF kicks off: Five Films I’d like to see
- TCFF Day 1: Waiting for Superman Premiere
- TCFF Day 2: Nowhere Boy Review
- TCFF Day 3: Another based-on-a-true-story Conviction
- TCFF Day 4: Secretariat, Flourtown, Nature of Existence
- TCFF Day 5: Fair Game concluded the 5-day event
View the line-up of films premiering at the 5-day event.