The Twin Cities Film Fest opens tonight for its fifth year. But with a lineup that includes 50-plus screenings over 10 days at the ShowPlace ICON Theatre in St. Louis Park, how do you pick what to see? Do you go for Wild, the Reese Witherspoon Oscar contender based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir? Or is the grab-bag of short films titled Evil, Enemies, and Aliens for you?
In the spirit of camaraderie, the directors of the more established Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival each chose three films that they think you should check out at the TCFF. Their events have been running for a combined total of 40 years, so they know their stuff.
Men, Women & Children
(Gala screening, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 16)
"I am attending the Twin Cities Film Fest's opening night film, Men, Women & Children. The film was at this year's TIFF [Toronto International Film Festival]. I've not seen it yet, and will be interested to see what Minnesota audiences think."
Rediscovering John Berryman
(5:45 p.m. Thursday, October 23)
"Al Milgrom's work in progress is in the TCFF lineup as a special screening in parallel with the Berryman Centennial Conference at the University of Minnesota. Al is a legend on the local film scene, and is the founder emeritus of our organization, the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul. We are extremely pleased for Al that TCFF has chosen to showcase his Berryman project, one which he has been working on for many years."
(11:30 a.m. Thursday, October 23)
"As Roger Ebert said: 'A film like Hoop Dreams is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and makes us think in new ways about the world around us.' At the Film Society, we are huge proponents of the power of the documentary to move and motivate. No one does this better than Steve James, whose other films, including The Interrupters, we have been proud to screen over the years at our annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival."
Mark Hanson, director and senior programmer of the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival
(Gala screening, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, October 25)
"It's an exceptional modern thriller with sci-fi elements about a group of friends who discover that their neighbor has a massive machine that takes Polaroid pictures 24 hours in the future. Time Lapse is well written, acted, and is an overall strong film."
Women in Charge
(Short film block, 12:30 p.m. Saturday, October 25)
"Having programmed various women directors and producers over the years at M.U.F.F., it's great to see another festival highlighting talented female directors and producers. I've seen Carrot Cake, directed by Sandra Capra, and Run. These shorts couldn't be more different but highlight the range of films you will see during this block."
A Family Affair
(Short film block, 12:30 p.m. Sunday, October 19)
"These are family-friendly short films, but that doesn't mean you're going to get watered-down films. It's great to see another film festival programming dynamic films for their family-friendly shorts. There's Sebastian, the psychedelic animation; Rosie, about a lawyer who is changed by a case; and Pet World, following a father who bonds with his son after his pet snake mysteriously dies. A Family Affair offers films that everyone will enjoy. Viewing with relatives is not necessary."
IF YOU GO:
Twin Cities Film Fest
Kerasotes Showplace ICON Theatre at West End
$10; $45-$120 for festival pass
Daily through October 25