In upcoming film fest, 40+ movies have Minnesota connections

Alcon Entertainment
“The 33,” starring Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche, is featured in the Twin Cities Film Fest.

Truly, we live in a land of 10,000 film festivals. Although the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) won’t come back around until April 2016 (for you calendar markers, that’s April 7-23), plenty of other FFs are on the way.

The sixth annual Twin Cities Film Fest (TCFF) rolls into the ShowPlace ICON in St. Louis Park for 11 days starting Oct. 21 with 120 films, a theme (to support homeless youth) and ample Minnesota connections.

While MSPIFF is more about indie and art-house films, TCFF leans toward studios and stars. Among last year’s films were “The Imitation Game” (with Benedict Cumberbatch) and “Wild” (Reese Witherspoon). This year promises several blockbusters including “The 33,” starring Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche, based on the true story of the 2010 Chilean mining disaster, and “Anomalisa,” the first stop-motion film by Charlie Kaufman of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Being John Malkovich” fame.

Look for James Franco in “The Adderall Diaries,” Katie Holmes in “Touched with Fire,” Christopher Plummer in “Remember,” Michael Caine in “Youth” and Brie Larson, Joan Allen and William H. Macy in “Room,” based on the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue.

Alexandria, Minnesota, native John Hawkes will be on hand to introduce the festival’s official centerpiece film, “Too Late,” about a troubled private investigator. Producer and Litchfield native Justin Mickelson’s “The Dust Storm” will have its premiere at TCFF, as will writer, director and Plymouth native Nicholaus Swedlund’s “All the Time in the World.” Dave Ash’s “2021,” about two lost souls searching for love, was filmed and produced entirely in Minnesota, with many local actors. More than 40 films in TCFF have Minnesota connections. Here’s the complete list.

The festival opener, “A New High,” is a documentary feature about a group of homeless people who literally climb out of homelessness on a mountain climbing expedition. Bring Kleenex. The closer is another documentary, “Thank You for Playing,” about a video game developer whose son has terminal cancer. More Kleenex.

Foe Killer Films
John Hawkes in “Too Late”

TCFF is a festival, after all, so it’s more than just screenings. Other events include live music, Red Carpet galas, mixers, panel discussions and educational events. Through Oct. 31. Here’s the whole lineup and everything else you need to know.

Meanwhile, TCFF is looking to expand. Last week it won a $30,000 Knight Arts Challenge Grant to expand its footprint through year-round events and screenings in St. Paul venues.

Simultaneous with TCFF, and shorter, the 22nd annual Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival (TCJFF) runs Oct. 22 – Nov. 1 at the Sabes JCC, the St. Paul JCC, the St. Anthony Main Theatre and the Science Museum’s IMAX theater, where the closing film is the Nat Geo documentary “Jerusalem” with director, writer and producer Daniel Ferguson attending.

The Oct. 22 opener is “To Life (A La Vie),” a uplifting film by French director Jean-Jacques Zilbermann about the friendship among three Holocaust survivors. From Israeli director Rani Saar, “Sabena” tells the true story of the 1972 hijacking of a Vienna-to-Tel Aviv flight by four armed members of a Palestinian terrorist group. It’s a finalist for the 2015 Ophir Awards (Israel’s Oscars).

Albert Maysles’s “Iris” profiles the flamboyantly dressed, 93-year-old style maven Iris Apfel, a presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. (This screening will be followed by an Iris-inspired fashion show.) “His Wife’s Lover” is a restored and newly subtitled version of the “first Jewish musical comedy talking picture,” a 1931 film starring popular Yiddish theater comedian Ludwig Satz in one of his only surviving film performances.

The dozen screenings in this year’s festival also include pre-fest films and an evening of shorts. Here’s the whole lineup and all the deets.

Four words for the Bow Wow Film Festival at the Parkway on Oct. 24: It’s about barking time. After years of Internet Cat Video festivals, we’re finally getting a dog film festival.

Well, sort of. It’s actually just one film on one evening. So it’s kind of stubby, like a bulldog’s tail. Still, we want to give the Parkway a cookie and take it for a walk.

“Bow Wow” is a series of dog-themed short films, leashed together to raise money for animal rescue groups. The film is touring nationally, and here it will benefit Wags & Whispers Animal Rescue and Twin Cities Pet Rescue. The film shows at 7 p.m. Advance tickets $12/$7 ages 12 and under; day-of tickets are $15/$7.

The picks

Tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 13) at the Merriam Park Library: “Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.” The first in a series of women’s history lectures by Professor Jill Zahniser, known for her approachable, non-wonky style, explores the fascinating life of Tubman, conductor of the Underground Railroad. 7 p.m. Free.

Tonight at the U’s Ferguson Hall: Tuesdays with Bach: Ann Marie Morgan, Viola da Gamba. Love Bach? Want to dig in? The U’s School of Music and Center for German and European Studies is co-sponsoring a five-week lecture series featuring renowned Bach scholars and performers. All start at 7:30 p.m. and end with a post-lecture reception. All are free and open to the public. Coming up: Tuesday, Oct. 20: Barthold Kuijken, Baroque flute. Oct. 27: James Taylor, tenor and early music specialist. Nov. 30: Dr. Robin A. Leaver, Bach scholar and theologian. Nov. 10: Liv Heym, Baroque violinist. Nov. 7: Christoph Wolff, Bach scholar and musicologist. FMI.

This week at the Playwrights’ Center: 32nd Annual PlayLabs Festival. The Center’s annual showcase of new plays includes staged readings, full plays and panel discussions. In Ken Weitzman’s “Halftime with Don,” tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 13) and Saturday afternoon, actor Brian Anthony Wilson (“The Wire”) is a former NFL player struggling with neurological disease. On Wednesday and Saturday nights, Joe Waechter’s “The Hidden People” tells a magical tale about the world’s first family and their 47 children, with puppets. On Friday, Kathryn Walat’s “Small Town Values” explores the passage of time and what happens when you let go of old rules. Tracey Maloney, Jim Lichtscheidl, Sara Marsh and Sun Mee Chomet are among the cast members. All at 7 p.m. (except “Halftime with Don,” also Saturday at 1 p.m.), all free. FMI and reservations. PlayLabs ends Oct. 18.

Wednesday at Creation Audio: Red Planet Invites Bill Carrothers. Pianist Carrothers and Red Planet (guitarist Dean Magraw, bassist Chris Bates and drummer Jay Epstein) have just finished recording a new album at Creation. They’re celebrating with a live performance at the studio. You’ll not only hear a wonderful evening of music in a serious listening room, you’ll also received a signed copy of the album when it’s available in spring or summer 2016.  At 2543 Nicollet Ave. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $25. Please buy in advance. Seating is limited to 40-50.

Wednesday at Common Good Books: B.J. Carpenter discusses “Come, You Taste: Family Recipes from the Iron Range.” Finns, Swedes, Slovenes, Italians and people from many other places came to the Range in the early 20th century. While the men mined ore, the women cooked: potica, porketta and pasties; sarma, braciole and baccala; fattigman, lefse and lutefisk. A second-generation Ranger, Carpenter has collected stories and recipes, updating the latter for today’s cooks. 7 p.m. Free.

Thursday through Saturday at the Walker: Dean Moss: johnbrown. Choreography, visual design, video, theater, sound, music, and narrative come together in a dark meditation on the legacy of white 19th-century abolitionist John Brown. Moss is a Guggenheim Choreography Fellow and recipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award in Theatre. Part of the Walker’s 2015-16 Performing Arts season, co-presented with the Givens Foundation. FMI and tickets ($25/$22/$18).

Photo by Lynn Goldsmith
Lise de la Salle

Sunday at Macalester’s Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center: Lise de la Salle. The Chopin Society opens its 2015-16 season with the 27-year-old Cherbourg-born piano prodigy who gave her first concert at nine on a live broadcast on Radio-France, received special permission to enter the Paris Conservatory at 11, and made her concerto debut in Avignon at 13 with Beethoven’s No. 2. The New York Times called her “eminently musical.” She’ll play Beethoven, Ligeti and Brahms’ Handel variations. FMI and tickets ($25/$20/$15).

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