The director of the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival is expecting attendance to double this year.
But bigger crowds and increased publicity won’t bring the festival into the mainstream.
“It’s more about the content of the films,” festival director and lead programmer Mark Hanson said.
“The films deal with topics you wouldn’t find in mainstream movies,” he said. “And there are a lot of subcultures featured, too.”
The festival is open to everyone from hardcore cinephiles to festival newbies, he said.
It’s an event where an audience member might wind up sitting next to a filmmaker.
“They’re really approachable,” Hanson said. “They’re just people who are passionate about film and just want to talk about it.”
‘A magical experience’
The festival will include 48 shorts, 19 features and 10 music videos festival goers can watch at St. Anthony Main Theater.
Hanson said he will make 30 to 40 additional films available to watch online during the festival.
But local filmmaker John Ervin said watching a movie on a computer screen at home isn’t as exciting as having the theatrical experience.
“The Internet is great for movie trailers, but it takes away the magic of going to the theater,” he said.
The festival attracted more than 300 applicants, but less than half made it as an official festival selection.
Hanson said the two main themes for this year are subcultures and music. He said he also looked for Minnesota-made films, particularly features.
If a film didn’t make it into the festival, Hanson said it was because it didn’t quite fit the broad themes.
Film subjects range from gender-bending European rockers (“And You Belong”) to cannibal serial killers (“Angst, Piss & Shit”) with a depressed office employee in between (“Connected”).
Breaking from the norm
Local filmmaker Adam Jacobs produced the film “Weekend Hat” with classmates as part of a senior project at Perpich Center Arts High School.
“The fact that it worked out was amazing,” he said. “But it’s almost a little misleading to call it a high school production because of the quality of the work people put into it.”
Ervin’s film “Citizen ‘Caine” portrays the dark side of a middle-class businessman’s life.
He said the film “might remind you of your parents if your parents were swingers, had hot tub parties and did drugs.”
In “The Demon’s Rook,” a man and his childhood friend battle an ancient race of demons from a foggy cavernous underworld.
Director and makeup artist James Sizemore used only practical effects to create the gory fantasyland.
He said filmmakers made a lot of movies like his in the ’80s, but now everyone follows a formula that is old and has lost its charm.
“It’s important to have movies that are just kind of bonkers and take you away from the norm,” he said.
What: Minneapolis Underground Film Festival
Where: St. Anthony Main Theater; 115 Main St. S.E., Minneapolis
When: Oct. 3-6; films start at 1 p.m. and the last films start at 10 p.m. every day
Cost: $6 for students; $9 general admission; $49 to attend all screenings