I haven’t seen any of the films being shown in the 27th annual Mpls/St.Paul International Film Festival over the next two weeks, and that’s pretty much the point. I know from past experience that if I don’t take the opportunity to see at least a few of the 150 or so movies and documentaries long-time festival coordinator Al Milgrom has brought to town, chances are I’m never going to get a chance to see them again—ever.
This is the cruel reality of independent film-making: There aren’t many places to show them, and getting audiences to watch, let alone embrace, a film that hasn’t gotten thumbed-up by Roger Ebert or pre-approved by Blockbuster, is damn near impossible. Luckily, our local film evangelist Al Milgrom lives in the gap between “near” and “impossible,” and has assembled, according to his own highly critical self, “the strongest slate in our 27-year history.”
This year’s international slate is especially impressive. There are films from Ireland, Israel, Denmark, Norway, France, China, Finland, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Macedonia, South Africa, Sweden, Russia, Palestine—and many other countries. There are nine films from Africa alone.
Documentaries are another strong category. There are 33 documentaries in this year’s festival, including Red Tail , about the 444-day Northwest airlines strike; Tyson , about boxer Mike Tyson; and Last Cup: The Road to the World Series of Beer Pong , which is precisely what it sounds like—a sports documentary about Beer Pong (left). Another Minnesota-made entry: Unconvention , about the clash between citizens and police at the Republican National Convention last summer (below).
For you festival whores, there are plenty of films that have traveled the Sundance, Berlin, SXSW circuit, including tonight’s opener, a romantic comedy by director Marc Webb called 500 Days of Summer (above), and Surveillance , a thriller set in Santa Fe directed by David Lynch’s daughter, Jennifer Lynch. Heck, there’s even a zombie flick— ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction —for people who just can’t go to a movie unless heads are rolling and guts are spilling.
The festival runs from Apr. 16-30, at the St. Anthony Main theaters, Oak St. Cinema, and Block E. For more info and tickets, click here, or check out the full festival program here: