Local film enthusiasts are preparing to unite with other cinema lovers from coast to coast for the Annual St. Cloud Film Fest, happening November 3-10 in three area theaters. This celebration of cinema is screening films selected out of hundreds of submissions from an impressive 50+ countries around the world.
Since the event’s one-show beginning in 2011, the Fest and the local production community has grown exponentially. Now, in its 8th year, it’s prepared to serve over 1,500 attendees, comprised of filmmakers and cinephiles from all over the state as well as Mexico City, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, New York and beyond.
Also up from last year is the number of showings and films. This year, Fest-goers can chose from 18 unique showings featuring short and feature films, 35 of which were made in Minnesota, plus another 70 national/international films, across three venues: Black Box Theater, St. Cloud State University and Brick House Cinema in Foley.
Newbies to the film festival format should know that each screening time shows multiple films, unlike the traditional movie theatre experience where a single ticket is purchased for one film. Some sort films can be 20-30 minutes, but most are 7-8 minutes in length. Feature films are usually 60+ minutes. St. Cloud Film Fest will screen six features in 2018, while the remaining 100 or so films will be shorts.
Bringing high-quality, independent cinema to central Minnesota has always been the Fest’s objective. Local cinema buffs saw a need in this region to provide an opportunity for others to experience global culture while also giving local filmmakers a chance to screen their films for feedback. This mission has become more attainable with a grant from the Central MN Arts Board and partnerships with the three aforementioned venues.
In addition to creating a platform for film exposure, Fest organizers continually explore ways to deliver an event theme that’s as memorable as it is thought-provoking. Typically, the theme emerges organically from the storytellers’ perspectives, as the Festival director seeks out cutting-edge projects and cultivates relationships amongst the creators. This year’s themes are: diversity and community.
As true industry professionals, festival leaders are in-tune with which pieces are timely for key inclusion and which ones will entertain the casual movie observer, yet engage those who love film that challenges current perceptions of media for all audiences.
This year, organizers are expecting to continue a four-year tradition of programming Oscar qualifying films. One of these predictions includes SHOPLIFTERS, which also won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival and will be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2019 Academy Awards. Other official selections like SCIENCE FAIR, HAL, and FREE SOLO all will be considered for Best Documentary Feature Film. At least seven of the Festival’s animated shorts are still alive in the Best Animated Short category.
Families can experience eight of those short animated films (each one is 7-8 minutes on average) grouped together in kid-friendly fashion on Sunday, November 4th (1 PM) at The Black Box Theater. Appropriate for all ages, this Family Program is free of charge and one of the event’s longest running traditions. Fun fact: In 2014, the Fest screened A BEAR STORY during the Family Program and a few months later it won an Oscar for Best Animated Short.
Attendees can expect the festival to open with fantastic films, many accompanied by filmmakers, with open forum Q & A sessions. The Fest will close with its annual award show celebrating the best of the festival featuring judge and audience favorites.
Click HERE to purchase your festival pass for only $30 (Includes your ticket to all 18 shows, priority seating, etc.). Single Tickets ($5) will be available starting one hour before the show at the box office.
Continue to check the St. Cloud Film Fest website for the official schedule release happening toward the end of October.