The 13th Annual Fargo Film Festival returns to The Fargo Theatre in downtown Fargo March 5 – 9, where it will bring industry professionals and film enthusiasts together to view films from 16 states and 13 countries. In addition to five days of film screenings, the comprehensive programming also includes luncheon panel discussions, a 2-Minute Movie Contest, nightly pre-parties at downtown destinations, on-stage interviews with filmmakers and performers and an exclusive sneak preview of the feature film “The Brass Teapot”.
The films that kick off the event on Tuesday evening have a decidedly local emphasis. Director Eli A. Kaufman won the Fargo Film Festival’s Prairie Spirit Award for his documentary “Hjemkomst: Thirty Years Later”, a tale that recalls the journey of the Hjemkomst Viking ship --the same one that’s featured in the Hjemkomst Center in nearby Moorhead, Minnesota -- in the years after its maiden journey. Local spots fans will enjoy Matt Olien’s “When They Were Kings: The NDSU-UND Rivalry”, which chronicles how the Bison and Sioux fought for dominance in Division II football and women’s basketball.
Wednesday is the first of four days that will feature morning, afternoon and evening sessions that include student films, documentaries, narrative shorts, experimental films, animation and full-length features. Wednesday’s highlights include a screening of Sam French’s Academy Award-nominated narrative short, “Buzkashi Boys” at 11:30 a.m. as well as an evening with Hal Hartley, the recipient of this year’s Ted M. Larson Award. Hartley will participate in an on-stage discussion following the screening of his film “Meanwhile” at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening.
Thursday will be focused on the art of documentary filmmaking. Programming includes a luncheon and panel discussion on the subject at Juano’s in Fargo at noon on Thursday, followed by an evening of documentaries, including “Informant”, Jamie Meltzer’s look at an activist turned FBI informant. The film won Fargo Film Festival honors, including Best Picture, Best Documentary Feature and The Bill Snyder Award for Documentary Filmmaking.
If ticket sales are any indication, local moviegoers are especially excited about the festival’s weekend programming.
“I think this year they’re really talking about “The Brass Teapot”, which has its premiere on Friday night,” said Operations Manager Nicole Larson, who also oversees festival operations for the event. “That’s what we’ve sold the most tickets for so far.”
The film, which stars Juno Temple, Michael Angarano, Alexis Bledel and Stephen Park, will debut in theatres across the US on April 5, but local audiences will have a chance to see it first on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. An on-stage interview with Director Ramaa Mosley, Producer Kirk Roos and actor Stephen Park will follow. The evening’s programming will conclude with the popular 2-Minute Movie Contest.
Movie fans will find plenty to cheer about on the festival’s closing day. “The Saturday night programming – The Best of the Fest – is always popular,” said Larson, referring to the festival’s tradition of honoring many of the Best in Show winners on Saturday evening.
Attendees will have a chance to enjoy another Oscar-nominated film – Tom Van Avermaet’s surreal “Dood van een Schaduw (Death of a Shadow)” – at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday. The film won top Fargo Film Festival honors, including Best Narrative Short and Best Director. This film is immediately followed by another award-winner, Eric Hayden’s “Astronaut: The Last Push”, which won the festival’s award for Best Narrative Feature and a Best Actor award for Khary Payton. Van Avermaet, Hayden and Payton will all be in attendance to promote their films on Saturday evening.