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Minnesota filmmakers shine at film festival

The 35th annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival kicks off in Minneapolis this week, running from Apr. 7 to Apr. 23.

The+35th+annual+Minneapolis+St.+Paul+International+Film+Festival+begins+on+April+7+and+ends+on+April+23.+Ticket+prices+and+packages+vary.+Over+200+films+from+72+countries+are+being+shown+at+this+year%E2%80%99s+festival.+For+a+full+list+of+films+and+additional+information%2C+visit+mspfilm.org.
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Minnesota filmmakers shine at film festival

The 35th annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival begins on April 7 and ends on April 23. Ticket prices and packages vary. Over 200 films from 72 countries are being shown at this year’s festival. For a full list of films and additional information, visit mspfilm.org.

The 35th annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival begins on April 7 and ends on April 23. Ticket prices and packages vary. Over 200 films from 72 countries are being shown at this year’s festival. For a full list of films and additional information, visit mspfilm.org.

Courtesy of Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

The 35th annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival begins on April 7 and ends on April 23. Ticket prices and packages vary. Over 200 films from 72 countries are being shown at this year’s festival. For a full list of films and additional information, visit mspfilm.org.

Courtesy of Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Courtesy of Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

The 35th annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival begins on April 7 and ends on April 23. Ticket prices and packages vary. Over 200 films from 72 countries are being shown at this year’s festival. For a full list of films and additional information, visit mspfilm.org.

Justin Christensen, Senior Reporter

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Do you love films and filmmaking? Do you live in Minneapolis/St. Paul or nearby? Are you going to be around during the month of April? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, be sure to mark the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) on your calendar.

With over 200 films from 72 countries, the festival is the place to be for hardcore film buffs and casual film-lovers alike.

Festival Director Eric Wilson talked about the diverse range in this large selection of films.

“I think an important thing that people need to know… [is that] there is something for everyone,” he said.

The films are divided up into categories with a varied range of voices represented. Some of the categories include LGBTQ Currents, Cine Latino, Images of Africa, New American Visions and World Cinema.

Wilson has several personal recommendations, including “They Will Have to Kill Us First,” a feature-length documentary about musicians in Mali who fought back against a jihadist takeover. In addition to the premiere of this film, Songhoy Blues, one of the musicians featured in the documentary, is playing at Icehouse on Apr. 8 at 10 p.m.

Another recommendation that Wilson has is “Chevalier,” a film from Greece that puts the lens on masculinity.

Wilson suggested that seeing a film at MSPIFF is a unique experience, distinct from seeing a single film at a movie theatre.

“The film festival is an entirely different beast,” he said.

Wilson went on to communicate how the after parties, panels, conversations and premieres make the festival a rare and interesting experience.

Other than being a unique and engaging occurrence, the film festival also has a lot to offer attendees interested in local filmmakers: about 15 Minnesota-made films will be showing at the festival.

One of these films is “Dragonfly,” a movie about struggling artist Anna, who returns home to be with her ailing mother as she tries to unpack her past. The film, shot almost entirely in Minnesota, features local music and a mostly local cast and crew.

Cara Greene Epstein, writer and co-director of the film, touched on the Midwest ties that the movie has.

“‘Dragonfly’ is such a love letter to the Midwest and specifically to the Twin Cities,” she said. “We are really proud of the job we do representing the city and all of its many facets.”

Besides being so intertwined with the Twin Cities, “Dragonfly” has another unconventional element going for it: it is women who are primarily responsible for the creation of the film, something that differs greatly from many of the features released by Hollywood.

Epstein, unaware of this fact at first, shared how she first became conscious of it.

“Once Maribeth, Mim and I were all making the film we looked around at each other and we were like ‘oh my gosh, we are three women helming a feature film’, and that almost never happens,” she said.

As well as standout narrative films like “Dragonfly,” there will be many documentaries showing at MSPIFF, including the Minnesota-made documentary “The Big Wu Way,” about the Minnesota jam band The Big Wu.

Mark Joseph, producer of the documentary and current member of the band, followed The Big Wu since their early years in Northfield. He spoke about the amount of time and effort it took to make this documentary.

“When you care about something so much you put everything you got into it,” he said. “We put our heart and soul into these things.”

Joseph also mentioned that MSPIFF is somewhat responsible for the excitement surrounding the premiere.

“Part of the excitement for us too is obviously being involved with the international film festival,” he said.

It seems that both Epstein and Joseph share the excitement of having their films shown at a major local film festival.

There are also many other Minnesota-made films, as well as films premiering from all over the world. Although wading through so many films may seem daunting, the MSPIFF website has a handy guide to help with navigating the many features.

 
The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival runs from Apr. 7 to Apr. 23, with films being shown every day within that range. Ticket prices for individual films are $13, or $7 if you have your student ID. There are also many packages available if you want to see more than one film. For the film festival guide, ticket purchasing and a full schedule, visit mspfilm.org.

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Minnesota filmmakers shine at film festival