Spike Oak, Bell horror stories in recent papers, says local film guru

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As sure as the swallows return to Capistrano, the annual “Nightmare on Oak Street” stories surfaced again this year in the papers, not long before we launch the 26th Annual Mpls./St.Paul Int’l Film Fest Apr.17 – May 3, 2008

As per print, do we qualify for “arts whipping boy of the year” in this self-congratulatory arts-lauded Twin Cities? (Yours truly, with a near-50-year programming-track record, back in town for more than two weeks before certain articles and blogs appeared, missed being quoted in his own personal vernacular.)

Let me assure you faithful supporters and film friends, contrary to impressions left, both the Oak St. Cinema and Bell Aud. will be (and are) in business after the fest in May and who knows how long after? Expect programming to continue as before. Nothing is written in stone in this current real estate market, as you well know. (Yes, the Oak will eventually be sold. How else can we continue our mission given our current deficit?)

To switch to a positive note, the website is carrying some fest info now. We hope to have most of the program up around March 28, with more than l00 titles, over 40 countries. The venues include: Oak Street Cinema, St. Anthony Main’s five screens, (easy day-long & night parking for only 50 cents total), spot satellite screenings Kerasotes Block E, and the possibility of a screen at the Riverview and AMC Roseville.

The Festival is set to include Oscar nominees (Katyn, Beaufort, others); Sundance titles: (Nerakhoon, the Betrayal, an epic Hmong story, and more), other top fest pics, expected visiting directors: China, Africa, Russia, Canada, Czech Republic and U.S.

Thanks for your continuing faith in the organization and your support.

Al Milgrom,

MFA Artistic Director & one time east-city-editor, Washington Post

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