Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival 2014: New festival vibe and recommendations for the final weekend

The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival's vibe is different this year. I am not really sure how to describe it–maybe a veneer of professionalism. Less rough and tumble, more polish, less scrappy local flair, but still the clear commitment to the diversity of the film world. One thing remains, unlike big festivals, there are no press conferences with visiting filmmakers and actors, but rather a cozy Q&A in the cinema. They did however add the logo-laden backdrop common at big festivals to the area behind the  panelists.  As I chatted with the staff, one clear technical change this year is that there are no 35mm prints being shown. Last year there were six. The year before, I remember one filmmaker worried about the safe projection of his 16 mm film. Shipping of 35mm prints is extremely expensive, so a world of film options is open in this brave new world of technology. The world is officially 100% digital.

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Dan Schneidkra​ut's "Old Man" screens at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Fest

The power of filmmaking can sometimes take hold and lift us into an escapist retreat from our entire life, and other times it can be a wondrous experience of dealing with an emotional turbulence, strange melancholy, or a genuine belly laugh that can make your head hurt from laughter. One of those films I experienced all of these feelings were in local filmmaker, Dan Schenidkraut's newest film, Old Man, which screens Monday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Anthony Main Theater as part of the 2014 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF). Dan Schneidkraut's film opens with Andy Schneidkraut walking out of his record shop in Boulder, Col.—Albums on the Hill, the last standing record shop in Boulder today. The record store is the subject of the documentary, but it's also about Schneidkraut's relationship with his father.

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COMMUNITY VOICES | Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival off and running

With over 250 films from 65 countries, the Minneapolis St. Paul Film Festival runs through April 19. The event is a project of the Film Society of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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Minnesotans praise Cesar Chavez: The man and the movie

 “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate a person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate a person who feels pride.

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2014 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival features very long, but very good movies

Blue Ruin. Photo courtesy of Radius-TWC

The 2014 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF ), the biggest film festival in the Midwest, starts Thursday, April 3 and runs through Saturday, April 19. The festival is sure to bring in big crowds to the St. Anthony Main theaters, and this year will also include satellite venues at the Walker Art Center and the newly renovated Northrup Auditorium (called the Best Buy Theatre) on the University of Minnesota campus. There is still no Saint Paul venue however, leaving one wondering when the "S" in MSPIFF will finally disappear from its acronym (MPIFF, maybe) or if the Film Society of MSP will eventually find a venue across the river in our state's capital.

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The top films from the 2014 SXSW Film/Music/Interactive festival

Faults. Photo courtesy of Snoot Films.

AUSTIN, TEXAS – The 2014 SXSW Film/Music/Interactive festival has been over for two weeks now and while it was another year filled with great films, there is still an ominous feeling surrounding this year's festival. A drunk driver killed two people and injured 23 people on March 13th on Red River Street and 11th Avenue. The death toll is up to four now, and Rashad Owens, 21, is now facing capital murder charges with bail set at $3 million. While it was my first time attending SXSW, it will be hard to forget this tragic incident despite the good times I had seeing movies, catching up with old friends, and seeing live music. SXSW started a donation drive, "SXSW Cares" for the victims and within 24 hours they had raised $40,000. Totals are now up to $55,000. You can still to donate to help out the remaining victims still in the hospital.

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MSPIFF 2014: The final countdown

Spring in the Twin Cities comes with Minneapolis International Film Festival (MSPIFF) where over a hundred movies from all over the globe will be screened April 3-27. 

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Sharon Isbin to appear at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival

The regional premiere of Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, produced by Susan Dangel, will be screened as part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, and 1:45 p.m. Sunday, April 6 at the St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 S.E. Main St., Minneapolis. Isbin will appear at both screenings.

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6th Annual Italian Film Festival: Politics, history, and intimacy

The Twin Cities is blessed with a cornucopia of cultural and ethnic film festivals: Nordic, Black, International, Cuban, Polish, African, Latin, Asian. This past weekend, March 6 - March 9, the 6th Annual Italian Film Festival, organized by the Italian Cultural Center with the support of the MN Film Society, took place at the St. Anthony Main Cinema. Curated by Anna Bonavita, a local chocolatier and co-founder of the Cultural Center, this year’s selections went beyond the stylized Oscar-winning film The Great Beauty (incidentally not a particularly popular film among the Italians I spoke to opening night). Watching these films you go on a real journey—documentaries and independent films that go deeper into Italy.  Unlike travel films or American films, by attending international film festivals, moviegoers settle into a culture and see it as it is represented for that culture. You may not understand the nuances of some references in the films, but you will feel more inside the place than if you are standing somewhere on a piazza.  

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Jared Leto to media press room: Viva la revolution, baby

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA. One of the best reporting gigs of the Academy Awards is the backstage Interview Room, where the Oscar winner goes after receiving their award.

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