Slamdance Film Festival 2015: Lackluster at best

Sitting on its prime location at the top of the hill of historic Main Street in Park City, Utah, it has been weeks since the 21st annual Slamdance Film Festival ended. The excitement in the Treasure Mountain Inn (where Slamdance operates out of) was felt every time I walked into the building meeting with old friends and being introduced to new folks. Truth be told, I did not get the opportunity to see any of the films at the festival, but thankfully, I was sent plenty of DVDs and links to view as part of my planned coverage on Slamdance. The biggest surprise and best film was by MN filmmaker, Britni West, where she premiered her absolute delightful indie drama, Tired Moonlight, which took home the Narrative Jury prize. (I also interviewed her for Vita.mn.)

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Sundance Film Festival 2015: Top 10 of 27 films viewed

PARK CITY, UTAH—With my bags packed and ready to head to the airport at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning the day before the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, there was a feeling of uncertainty heading to Park City, Utah for my eighth year in a row. Maybe I was a bit unprepared this go round compared to years past. The chatter and reports were everywhere on the most vital film industry websites (IndiewireDeadlineVarietythe Hollywood Reporter, etc.) on all the most anticipated films—who will be the breakout stars, what films will be bought, etc. I took very little notice until I arrived at the Salt Lake City airport and made my way into Park City. It was harder than ever to chart a list or map or films to see at Sundance, not to mention Slamdance too, as they had a nice slate of independent/foreign films screening concurrently over Sundance dates. Getting bombarded with emails, interview requests daily, even hourly from publicists and PR companies on coverage for seeing this film, and interviewing this star or director, became nonsensical and frankly, draining, yet I managed to see 27 films.

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First-time promoter brings indie film "Amira and Sam" to Minnesota

In November of 2014 Kim Flynn made a trip to Austin, Texas to watch the Forever Film Fest. Forever Fest grew out of “Girlie Night” at the Drafthouse Cinema.

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Satanic Rituals and Tiki Bars at The Trylon

On Thursday, March 12, The Trylon will present two feature films from opposite ends of my twenty-year filmmaking career here in Hollywood, Minnesota.

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Those We Leave Behind

Sitting in the theater at the beginning “Selma”, I watched the little girls in their Sunday School dresses walking down the spiral stairs of the churc

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Top Ten Films of 2014

At the beginning of 2014, my life began looming in different directions right around the time I took my annual trip to the Sundance Film Festival in mid-January. I vowed to begin looking for work outside of the arts, or particularly film, where I had spent a decade working in, once I returned to Minnesota. And then a funny thing happened—I found myself back in our rented condo at Sundance alone as I had retreated back dealing with some nasty altitude sickness. Rather than going to bed, I started looking at different job postings and to my amazement, I saw a listing for a film Program Director position in Austin, Texas. While I did not realize it at time this posting was something of a revelation. A few days earlier, I had seen a magical life-affirming film by longtime Austin resident and founder of the Austin Film Society, writer/director Richard Linklater’s Boyhood.

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'The Whole Gritty City' promotes dialogue on youth engagement

(Photo courtesy of http://thewholegrittycity.com) Scene from Whole Gritty City

Young people still need encouragement, especially during turbulent times. This was the impetus behind last week’s free screening of a documentary about New Orleans at Oak Park Youth and Family Center.

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Local filmmaker's video tackles police brutality

(Photo courtesy Cathy Kostova) L to R, Mark Wojahn, producer; Cathy Kostova, editor; Jeff Schell, art department; Jon Jon Scott, producer; Deanna Johnson, make up; Muja Messiah, artist; and David Schnack, director of photography.

In the wake of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., filmmaker Mark Wojahn wanted to bring more attention to racial profiling and police brutality on a local level so he teamed up with rapper Muja Messiah to direct a video for Messiah’s song “It Goes Down,” off his new album, “God Kissed It, the Devil Missed It.”

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Minnesota's Hot Tub Time Machine in Breezy Point

(Image by Magic Marc)

In the blockbuster movie Hot Tub Time Machine, four friends are transported back in time to a ski resort in 1986. Teen time traveler Clark Duke wonders: “Do I really gotta be the asshole who says we got in this thing and went back in time?” And Craig Robinson confirms: “It must be some kinda….hot tub time machine.” The concept has been so popular with moviegoers, that the sequel hits theatres in February 2015. And it’s so fun for us, that we thought we would use the hot tub time machine to transport us to some of the most fascinating place and times in Minnesota history.

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The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra Minnesota melds classical training with a love of silent film

The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra Minnesota is one of the newest bands to join the community of musicians performing silent film scores in the Twin Cities. Lately, the group has also been among the busiest. 

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