The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival presents a number of programs and special film focuses that highlight the diversity of worldwide filmmaking, that hone in on an important aspect of current events, or that highlight a piece of history that deserves remembrance. This spring, these special categories include:
World Cinema, Documentary and American Independents programs make up the main slate of the MSP International Film Festival. World Cinema feature a lineup of new narrative films from more than 60 countries, the Documentary program presents a lineup of non-fiction feature-length films from around the world, and American Independents highlights new works from emerging and veteran US filmmakers.
In 1981 the “Minneapolis Film Festival” launched the international film festival tradition in the region. Founded by the current day Festival's Senior Programmer Tim Grady, the first Festival presented over 80 films, and brought many international and Hollywood filmmakers to the local scene. Grady has since started and run several successful business ventures, all driven by film. His most recent, the New York based distribution company Adopt Films, is getting considerable attention due to its acquisition of most of the prize winning films at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival. As a Film Society board member, Grady has generously supported the Festival since 2005, including establishing the Tom Grady Visiting Filmmakers Fund in memory of his late twin brother. His inspired vision and programming contributions are key to the Festival’s current growth and expansion.
This selection of documentary and narrative features centers around the topic of displacement-- whether voluntary or imposed--and the disruptive physical, psychological or cultural consequences that may follow. Fear not, although the series rubric may sound lugubrious, the line up is far from it.
On the documentary side, check out the playful Finnish Blood, Swedish Heart, where a father and son road trip morphs into a musical journey examining the fraught history of Finnish immigration in Sweden.
Fans of Are You Somebody? by the peripatetic Irish author/TV producer/columnist/cultural commentator Nuala O'Faolain won’t want to miss Nuala, a vivid picture of her remarkable life, bountiful talent and uncompromising death.
Journey to Lombardy to meet The Last Shepherd and his flock or track the journey of an old American school bus repurposed to carry commuters in Guatemala in La Camioneta.
Moving to fiction features, family-friendly Allez, Eddy! Is a heartwarming, comic, coming-of-age tale about an isolated 11-year-old and the arrival of modernity in a Belgian village circa 1975.
Clandestine Childhood shows what growing up in 1970s Argentina meant for 12-year-old Juan, the son of radical freedom fighters.
A Palestinian ‘tween and a downed Israeli pilot reluctantly bond in order to escape Lebanon in Zaytoun, while Inch’allah also offers an unflinching look at the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians chafing under Israeli occupation, but from the perspective of a young Quebecoise obstetrician.
Kuma is a cleverly scripted tale about two traditional Turkish women in Austria who are married to the same man. Meanwhile, Made in Ash offers a gritty look at a Slovak Romany girl’s sad trajectory from textile factory novice to sex worker.
Told from the p.o.v. of West Africans in Italy, La-bas: A Criminal Education shows how exploited illegal immigrants are often coerced to the wrong side of the law.
In The Repentant, a young Algerian Jihadist takes advantage of a national amnesty to rejoin civil society. Another story of lives devastated by war, Columbian suspense drama The Towrope centers on 19-year-old Alicia, who arrives at her uncle’s house after fighting decimates her village.
About the Programmer:
A film curator for more than 25 years, Alissa Simon was named a 1999 Chicagoan of the Year for her innovative work as Associate Director/ Programming at the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute. Simon began her career at the Film Department of Walker Art Center and the International Museum of George Eastman House. In addition to her current work as Senior Programmer for the Palm Springs International Film Festival, she writes about films and filmmakers for Variety and has served on numerous international film festival juries.
Programmed in conjunction with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts exhibition ‘More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness’(March 21-June 9, 2013), this special series focuses on documentary and narrative films that creatively blur boundaries between fact and fiction. 'More REEL' is framed by a pair of Werner Herzog’s pioneering ‘directed documentaries’ and includes recent features and shorts that similarly deploy fabrication and imagination in a quest for ‘ecstatic truth.’ The series was co-programmed by former Walker film/video curator Bruce Jenkins.
An audience favorite, MINNESOTA-Made returns with a slate of new films with local connections. Programmed by filmmaker and musician Craig Rice, with Shelli Ainsworth and Susan Marks as advisors, along with other filmmakers and industry notables.
About the Programmer: Craig Laurence Rice is an award-winning producer and director who is nationally recognized for his distinguished career in music video, commercial, television and film industry. His work has been nominated for four Emmy Awards, An NAACP Award along with several other honors and received a Grand Effie for his commercial work. Rice previous credits include Producer for the 90-minute PBS variety show special, A Prairie Home Companion 30th, Executive Producer on the nationally syndicated series Million Dollar Idea, and Executive Producer as well as Director for the feature length documentary Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks for HBO, which was nominated for three Emmy Awards, and an NAACP Image Award. The documentary was also selected to the Museum of Television and Radio in the year 2000, and won the Tree of Life Award form The Friends of the Motion Picture Academy. He has recently completed a television documentary on DJ Spooky at MCAD and 2-hour concert film entitled Loops and Time, with the musical group Story City and hip-hop artist Toki Wright.
2013 marks the eighth year of Childish Films at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. Curators Deborah Girdwood and Isabelle Harder (who also program a free monthly Childish Films series for the Friends of the Hennepin County Libraries) are dedicated to providing ongoing opportunities for families to experience a vital international film culture in the Twin Cities. Every Spring since 2005, Childish Films at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival showcases some of the best international shorts and feature films for kids in current circulation. By serving this young audience, Childish Films extends the festival’s reach to welcome the next generation.
About the Programmers:
Childish Films programmers Deborah Girdwood and Isabelle Harder have been collaborating since they met through the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival in 2005. Both got their start working for art house cinemas (Girdwood as programmer for Seattle's Grand Illusion Cinema and The Little Theatre; Harder as projectionist at LUX cinema in the Netherlands and the Red Eye Cinema in Minneapolis), and behind the scenes on film productions. Childish Films presents arts and cinema for young audiences monthly with the Friends of Hennepin County Libraries and annually at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival.
A slate of new and groundbreaking films hailing from one of the oldest worlds are highlighted in this sidebar curated by longtime Festival programmer by Al Milgrom.
About the Programmer:
Al Milgrom's legendary and ongoing contributions to cinema in the Twin Cities include founding the groundbreaking U Film Society, which introduced international film and filmmakers to Twin Cities' audiences more than 50 years ago, and developing and programming the MSP International Film Festival for nearly three decades.
What could be more crowd pleasing than watching a baby explode? Cuban zombie-exterminator for hire? A passionate love-affair with a literal straw-man? Late Nights at the MSP International Film Festival goes there, and so much further, this spring with a catalogue of camp, horror, comedy, and suspense that will leave you haunted and positively thrilled. Our most daring program to date will also be the most unforgettable, so make sure to bring a friend and hold on tight, because it’s gonna be a wild ride.
About the Programmers:
This year's Late Nights program curated by Jesse Bishop, who for more than four years has ensured that The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul has films to play, year round and during every festival.