Posted at 4:43 PM on March 26, 2008
by Euan Kerr
So there was Minnesota Film Art elder statesman Al Milgrom standing behind the popcorn stand at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis last evening, preparing for his shot. The Riverview foyer was covered in the lights, cables, gels, clamps, weights and all the other detritus of a shoot.
The occasion was the shooting of the Minneapolis St Paul International Film festival trailer, a short film which runs before the screening of each feature. Al's role was to serve popcorn to a walking box, and then look exasperated.
He had that last part down.
As the crew took a meal break, Milgrom chatted about how he reckons they have 90-95 percent of the movies booked for this years festival, which runs April 17th through May 3rd. He says there will be between 120 and 130 films this year, up from last years 80. Most of the films will be screened at the St Anthony Main theatres, although there will be some shows at the Oak Street and maybe some others not yet finalized.
He said just a few hours before a local film maker had pitched a documentary about this years primary and caucus season. He had also just heard about a new film looking at the Hmong people's involvement in the war in Laos, the second such film he's been offered this year.
In both cases he says he's trying to find spots on the schedule.
Milgrom admits they are still looking for an opening night film, but he's pleased at the line-up for the rest of the festival. He's very excited about "Traveling with Pets" from Russia and the documentary "Young@Heart."
They will also screen the Oscar nominated israeli film "Beaufort" and the Polish Oscar nominee "Katyn." It's the great director Andrzej Wajda's telling of the massacre of thousands of Polish intellectuals early in World war II.
There is also the return of Mirek Janeck, once a regular on the Twin Cities art scene who returned home to the Czech Republic a few years ago. Now he returns with a film "Citizen Havel" a warts and all portrait of Vaclav Havel, which Milgrom describes as very amusing.
Milgrom points out that this years schedule will also include multiple screenings of many of the films which should help people who find they have to chose between two films showing at the same time.
The MSPIFF website is beginning to fill out with some of the details, and is worth a few visits.