A guide to this year’s Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

See over 250 films from around the globe in about two weeks.

University alumnus Brady Knudson sells movie tickets at the St. Anthony Main Theatre on April 5, 2016. The theatre is one of the venues hosting the 37th annual Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival from April 12-28.

Image by Maddy Fox, Daily File Photo

University alumnus Brady Knudson sells movie tickets at the St. Anthony Main Theatre on April 5, 2016. The theatre is one of the venues hosting the 37th annual Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival from April 12-28.

by Maddy Folstein

The 37th Annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival opens tonight. The festival will screen over 250 works of film through April 28, including 150 features and 100 shorts. 

“The film festival really allows people to see movies from around the world and cultures in a way that only cinema can communicate,” said Peter Schilling, the publicity and outreach coordinator for the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

This year’s festival will also celebrate the work of women in film, with around 100 films directed by women screening throughout. “The opening and closing night films are also both directed by women,” Schilling said.

Do you have your festival schedule ready?

World Cinema

The festival’s focus on world cinema for 2018 is Chasms and Bridges: Cinema and the Search for Common Ground, which draws from films that examine global and ideological divides.

“[Over 70] countries are represented in these films [so] people can really experience what the world has to offer cinematically,” Schilling said. 

“Los Perros,” directed by Chilean filmmaker Marcela Said, examines the aftermath of the Pinochet regime in Chile. In the film, Mariana, a wealthy woman, becomes increasingly interested in her riding instructor Juan, but slowly uncovers the human rights abuses he participated in years ago. 

When: April 15 at 2:30 p.m., April 21 at 9:40 p.m. and April 24 at 4:40 p.m.

Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre

“Our New President” is a Russian documentary that covers how President Donald Trump is viewed in Russia. By combining clips from YouTube and Russian television, director Maxim Pozdorovkin tracks how propaganda influences the perception of reality. 

When: April 14 at 5 p.m., April 18 at 9:15 p.m. and April 23 at 9:30 p.m. 

Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre (April 14 and 18), Uptown Theatre (April 23)

Minnesota Made

Though the festival takes a global focus, it includes multiple screenings of films with a local connection. 

Directed by Kathy Swanson and Vince O’Connell, “Farmer of the Year” is a narrative feature about Hap Anderson, an elderly farmer from Minnesota. Drawing from both comedy and drama, the film follows Anderson and his granddaughter, Ashley, on a cross-country road trip to his World War II reunion.

When: April 13 at 7 p.m., April 24 at 9:30 p.m.

Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre

“Dodging Bullets” will be attended by directors Kathy Broere, Sarah Edstrom, Jonathan Thunder and Bob Trench who collaborated with Film North, a Twin Cities-based organization that supports media artists. The documentary feature examines how trauma throughout history influences Native Americans today. 

When: April 16 at 7:00 p.m., April 19 at 6:45 p.m.

Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre (April 16), Metro State University (April 19)

Short Films

The festival will also screen short films, including documentary, experimental, animated and narrative cinema. The shorts are screened in programs, which are grouped by themes like Art that Moves and Docs Unreal. Programmer Adam Loomis, who specializes in short films, is looking forward to works like the documentary short, “Standing Still | Still Standing.” 

“It’s about a paraplegic yoga instructor who instructs others who are experiencing disability for the first time and tries to help them feel their bodies … which is super inspiring and really powerful,” Loomis said. “It’s also really special that it’s a local film, and the subject of the film is going to be there.” 

When: April 21, 11:40 a.m. (showing in Art that Moves II)

Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre

Getting to the Festival

Screenings are held at the festival’s hub — the St. Anthony Main Theater — and across the Twin Cities, at the Capri Theater, the Uptown Theatre, Metro State University and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. 

The festival has partnered with Metro Transit this year to offer free transit tickets for festival audiences during the opening weekend. More information can be found at mspfilm.org. 

“We really want people from all around town to get here as best they can but also in ways that are sustainable,” Schilling said. “This year, it’s probably even more pressing because, last year, people could … take a bike. But I have a feeling that won’t be the case on Thursday.” 

The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul also offers an app, which hosts the full festival schedule and additional information — search “Film Society of MSP” on the App Store or Google Play Store. 

Engaging with the Festival

With such a wide variety of films to view at this year’s festival, programmers suggest exploring new genres throughout the two weeks of screenings.

“It’s such a huge list of films, but we have only four programmers working on the bulk of those,” Loomis said. “I can vouch for everybody that we all really care about what screens, and we are honestly looking for the best stuff we can find for this year. I’m confident that no matter what you choose, it will be interesting.” 

What: Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

When: April 12-28

Cost: $8-14 for single tickets ($8 student tickets available at box office only)