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Twin Cities Film Festival showcases power of film

TCFF offers ten days of film showings and events.
Image by Mary
The festival began on Oct. 19 and will end on Oct. 28.

The Twin Cities Film Festival (TCFF) is back this year with an intriguing selection of movies from all genres, as well as panel discussions and educational events. 

Taking place at the ShowPlace ICON Theatres in St. Louis Park, this festival has grown to be a local cinematic tradition by continuously providing a varied selection of films for a broad audience. The festival began on Oct. 19 and will end on Oct. 28.

With captivating stories and thought-provoking documentaries, TCFF honors both up-and-coming and seasoned filmmakers. It also provides a platform for attendees to interact with filmmakers and industry experts through workshops, panel discussions and Q&A sessions, in addition to film screenings. Discussions on subjects include the state of independent film, the influence of technology on the film industry and the process of producing a movie.

One short film shown at the festival was titled “Happy New Year, Jamie Morgenstern,” a film about a moody teenage girl who got fired from her job for throwing a chicken thigh at her manager after he called her a slur. She finds herself at a Chinese restaurant on New Year’s Day with an eclectic group of misfits. The funny coming-of-age story is directed by Ben Wang.

Actress Kiara Artley, who played the title character, met Wang in a high school theater production. 

“The film was shot in four days on location in Ben’s hometown of Northfield, Minnesota,” Artley said. “It was very cold, oh my gosh, it was really fun getting to shoot in his hometown.” 

Another short film, titled “Mendo’s Carousel,” is about a troubled woman who, after the death of her father, robs a dry cleaner to make ends meet. The owner of the dry cleaner, who knew her father, finds her passed out in the back of the cleaner the next morning and reveals a secret about him and her father. 

The director of “Mendo’s Carousel,” David Michael Maurer, spoke on his inspiration for the film.

“Through ‘Mendo’s Carousel,’ I wanted to share my experience with the power of being honest and how it can lead to healing,” Maurer said. “When I keep secrets inside, I can feel disconnected, ashamed, or even resentful, but when I open up honestly, when I get vulnerable and let others in, there is a real opportunity for connection.”

Another interesting film at TCFF, “Aaron with 2 A’s,” is about a middle-aged actor named Aaron who is struggling to find work. It stars Steve Lichtenstein, who also wrote and produced the film, as Aaron. 

“This is the first film I’ve ever made. I did this because actors need to make their own stuff to get their work out there,” Lichtenstein said. “You go through your life with these voices in your head and when you have a dream, they tell you that you can’t, they tell you to be safe and to be cautious.”

At the festival, viewers can vote for their favorite movies; the most voted productions in several categories will be honored at the TCFF Audience Awards. It’s a chance for attendees to promote the pieces that resonate with them the most.

TCFF has made a name for itself as an occasion that moviegoers, filmmakers and business executives must attend. With a strong emphasis on diversity, inclusivity and local community involvement, it keeps developing and changing while presenting a wide range of perspectives and tales from all over the world.

TCFF inspires filmmakers throughout Minnesota with its ability to engage, educate and entertain. The schedule of events, tickets and additional details are available on

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