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The history around us

Posted at 5:54 PM on October 13, 2008 by Euan Kerr

Melody Gilbert and Randal Dietrich (above) dropped by today to talk about the goings-on at the upcoming Moving Pictures Festival at the Minnesota Historical Society,

The festival opens Thursday with a screening of Melody's new film "Fritz" which examines the life and times of Walter Mondale. Originally she set out to document a class at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs which Mondale was teaching. He was using his own papers from his time in the White House to examine the role of the Vice-President.

However Gilbert says the subject matter was so interesting that it bloomed into a full-fledged doc about Mondale and the values of public service. She says when she set out to make the film she had no idea that the topic of the vice-presidency would be such an issue of interest as it has now become in the campaign, but she stresses the film isn't political.

She says the Minnesota Historical Society's Dietrich approached her about six months ago about the possibility of opening the Moving Pictures Festival. He says it's a perfect fit given the festival's focus on the Greatest Generation.

The festival will, as in years past, feature entries from this years short competition where film makers of all shapes and sizes enter films about Minnesota history. This year's focus was on the 1950's and Dietrich says there is an incredible breadth of subject matter. He says he was surprised by how many of the films focus on the civil rights struggles which were coming to the fore at the time.

The films will be shown both at the Historical Society, the Riverview and at the Mall of America theaters. Details and times are at the Moving Pictures web site. The "Fritz" premier screening is already sold out but a second showing has been added on Friday the 17th. The film will also be shown by TPT2 in November.

Dietrich says the Historical society will mount an exhibit in 2009 which will draw on the films made about the Greatest Generation over the past few years.

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