Films with Impact


As the Republican National Convention begins to take over Minnesota, many people will be attending and exploring different political activities around the Twin Cities area. An opportunity to give your tired feet and cheering/protesting voice—if not your conscience—a rest is the Impact Film Festival, which will be screening eight new films at the Landmark Center and the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. IFF features documentaries and narrative films from various film festivals (Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, L.A. Film Festival) from over the past year. The films’ topics range from our rising debt to women in politics to water.

Many of the films are Minnesota premieres. After several of the screenings, there will be Q&A sessions with many of the filmmakers and other politicians in attendance. All the films will screen at the Landmark Center except 14 Women, which screens at the Minnesota History Center. All the films are free, but RSVP is required. For details and to reserve seats, see

Battle in Seattle—Monday, September 1, 11 a.m.

Director Stuart Townsend’s take on the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle will be a reminder to anyone who has every taken a stance on an important issue. When the protestors get out of hand, the police seem to lose control of their city; Seattle is forever changed by these disturbing events. The all-star cast includes Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, Ray Liotta, Michelle Rodriguez and André Benjamin.

The Black List—Monday, September 1, 1:30 p.m.

Former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell and director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders examine and interview 20 of the most influential African-Americans—including comedian Chris Rock, author Toni Morrison, athlete Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the reverend Al Sharpton. The results are insightful, humorous, moving, tragic, and inspirational.

I.O.U.S.A.—Tuesday, September 2, 11 a.m.

From Patrick Creadon, the director of the highly entertaining documentary Wordplay, comes a film about a puzzle harder than any crossword: our national debt. Creadon turns his camera on U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, a man whose job you probably don’t want. As he travels across America, Walker addresses the questions: what is happening to our ever-increasing debt, and what can we do to make it stop?

Flow: For Love of Water—Tuesday, September 2, 1:30 p.m.

Director Irena Salina examines our evaporating water supply and conducts interviews with activists and scientists for a political and environmental perspective on what is left for us to do with this natural resource.

The Accidental Advocate—Tuesday, September 2, 4 p.m.

When Claude Gerstle, a surgeon and athlete, suffers a tragic bicycle accident that leaves him paralyzed from the neck down, he and his daughter, director Jessica Gerstle, embark on a journey through our justice system looking for a cure.

14 Women—Tuesday, September 2, 12:30 p.m.

Narrated by actress Annette Bening, 14 Women follows female senators on the road, in their office, and even at home as we see how these women juggle their personal life along their career. The senators profiled include Barbara Boxer, Elizabeth Dole and Hillary Rodham Clinton. There is a reception and discussion following the screening, which is presented in partnership with the White House Project, Best Buy, and Women’s Leadership Forum at the Minnesota History Center. (For more info and to RSVP to this event contact

Trouble the Water—Wednesday, September 3, 11 a.m.

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Trouble the Water incorporates home video footage by Kimberly Rivers Roberts, taken when she was trapped with her husband in the midst of Hurricane Katrina. When the hurricane passes, we follow these two remarkable people who survived this devastating tragedy as they begin to start a new life for themselves. Directors Tia Lessin and Carl Deal take us further into the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by capturing some of the most harrowing footage of this tragic event.

Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story—Wednesday, September 3, 2 p.m.

Boogie Man is a comprehensive look at Lee Atwater, who has mentored everyone from Karl Rove to George W. Bush while leading the Republican Party to historic victories and helping campaign for Reagan and the Bushes. Through the memories and opinions of those who knew him as colleague, a political enemy, or both, Boogie Man reveals a charismatic man with an indefatigable drive to win.

Jim Brunzell III writes on film for the Daily Planet and hosts KFAI’s Movie Talk.