Can’t go to Cannes? We have our own star-studded, red-carpet film festival right here, and it starts tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 16) when the 10th annual Twin Cities Film Fest begins.
Three things to know off the bat: It’s Fest, not Festival. It takes place at the Showplace ICON theaters in St. Louis Park. And it’s very different from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. So, yes, we need both festivals.
MSPIFF, which happens in the spring, brings in films from around the world. TCFF is about American films, including many with Minnesota ties, and it’s good at spotting Oscar contenders. Last year’s lineup included “Green Book,” “The Favourite,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “One Small Step” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” All were Oscar winners (“Green Book” took Best Picture) or nominees.
This year’s TCFF, the largest in its history, will premiere 120 feature films and shorts over the festival’s 11 days. Stars, directors and producers will be present. More than half of the films will have post-screening discussions. Among the celebrities scheduled to appear are Talia Shire and Peter Gerety (for “Working Man,” the opening night film), Eric Roberts (“Inside the Rain”) and René Auberjonois (“Raising Buchanan”). Speaking of Minnesota ties, Auberjonois’ son Remy is currently appearing in “The Glass Menagerie” at the Guthrie.
The hot films for 2019 are “The Aeronauts,” with Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne; Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” about a conscientious objector who refuses to fight for the Nazis in WWII; “Honey Boy,” written by and starring Shia LaBeouf and based on his own experiences (director Alma Har’el will be here). “Jo Jo Rabbit,” a World War II satire penned by writer-director Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok”) and starring Roman Griffin Davis and Scarlett Johansson; “Just Mercy,” the true story of a young lawyer and his battle for justice; “Marriage Story” from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach, starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver; “Motherless Brooklyn,” about a private detective with Tourette’s Syndrome, directed by Edward Norton; and “Waves,” a family drama from writer-director Trey Edward Shults (“It Comes at Night”).
More than half the films were directed or produced by women. Among the Fest’s several series is one for, about and by women. The six films include “A Perfect 14,” which explores the world of plus-size models; “Amplify Her,” about emerging female artists on the EDM music scene; “Seeing Is Believing: Women Direct,” which profiles women directors; and “Mary Janes: Women of Weed,” about women in the legal U.S. cannabis industry.
Each year, TCFF picks a social justice cause to zoom in on. This year it’s the environment, with films about the rise of the global youth climate movement (“Youth Unstoppable”), the power grid (“Current Revolution”) and the Park Slope coop in New York City (“Food Coop”).
On the list of features with Minnesota connections, these stand out: “International Falls,” filmed in northern Minnesota and starring comedian Rachel Harris; “Raising Buchanan,” with Auberjonois; “3-Day Weekend,” a thriller told from three points of view – and without dialogue; “The Truth About Marriage,” a new documentary from Roger Nygard (“Trekkies”); and “8 Seasons of Art,” a documentary that follows a group of individual artists in the Twin Cities.
At 6:45 next Wednesday, Oct. 23, TCFF will observe the 34th anniversary of “Purple Rain” with a screening of the film, a rare appearance by director Albert Magnoli and a Prince-themed afterparty. This event is free, but tickets are required.
Throughout the festival, visiting stars and filmmakers will walk the TCFF red carpet on the second floor near the escalators. Here’s the red carpet calendar if you want to plan accordingly. When the red carpet is not in use, you’re invited to take selfies.
TCFF opens tomorrow and closes Saturday, Oct. 26, with Rashaad Ernesto Green’s “Premature,” a coming-of-age drama set in New York City. In between, it’s jam-packed, with films running in two or three theaters simultaneously.
Visit the website for trailers, descriptions, passes and discounts on matinee films. Download a complete schedule here. If you’re not already a ShowPlace Icon Extras Program member, now is a good time to sign up. It’s free, and it gets you out of paying fees to reserve seats.
The picks: A week in jazz
This week is a parade of visiting jazz artists. On Wednesday, you’ll have to choose.
Tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 15) at Mindekirken: Mads Tolling and Jacob Fischer. As part of the Leif Eriksson International Festival, Danish violinist and two-time Grammy winner Tolling and Danish guitarist Fischer will play a concert at the Norwegian Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Discovered by Jean-Luc Ponty, Tolling toured and performed with Stanley Clarke, then played for many years with the Turtle Island Quartet. Fischer has been compared to the late, great Django Reinhardt. The two are touring behind their first album together “Celebrating Svend Asmussen,” a tribute to the Danish swing-style virtuoso. 7 p.m. Suggested donation: $20.
Wednesday at the Dakota: Fred Hersch and Julian Lage. A profoundly accomplished and prolific jazz pianist, Hersch rarely lands in Minneapolis. Brilliant young guitarist and former prodigy Lage comes around more often, but we’re not sure they have ever performed together in the Twin Cities. In 2013, they made an album together, “Free Flying,” and we expect they’ll dip into that at the Dakota. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($50/40/35).
Wednesday at Crooners: Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra. Instead of their regular Wednesday-night gig at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, Delfeayo (the trombone-playing Marsalis) and his band will crowd onto the main stage at Crooners in Fridley for an evening of New Orleans jazz, blues, and groove. This will be a guaranteed good time. Doors at 5:30 p.m., show at 7. FMI and tickets ($40-45).
Thursday at Icehouse: Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music. Most music fans first heard drummer Guiliana on David Bowie’s final album, “Blackstar,” which Bowie recorded with a jazz quartet. Guiliana has just made a new album, “Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music!” and that’s what we’ll hear at Icehouse. It’s electronic music played by humans, eschewing loops and programmed beats. TimeOut London wrote: “What happens when you add hard bop drum masters Elvin Jones and Art Blakey to a 1980s Roland 808 drum machine, divide the rest by J Dilla and then multiply to the power of Squarepusher?” We’ve been listening to the album a lot. Bassist and Minneapolis native Chris Morrissey is part of Guiliana’s Beat Music band; we hope that means we’ll see him at Icehouse. 9:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25).
Friday at the Walker: Makaya McCraven. When Rolling Stone asked him “Is jazz dead?” McCraven called it “a stupid question … When did it die?” About the notion that jazz needs saving, he said, “It’s like, gag me.” Like Kamasi Washington and Robert Glasper, who both performed at the Walker before him (Kamasi at Rock the Garden, Glasper in the McGuire), the Chicago drummer, producer and beat maker is not limited by genres or expectations. On Friday with a nine-piece group, he’ll perform a Walker commission, a multimedia mix of music (with strings) and video collage. 7 and 9:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($26/$20.80 Walker members).