Some of the top awards contenders from the festival circuit will be showcased at the 2019 Twin Cities Film Fest (TCFF) set to take place October 16-26 at the Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON Theatres at The Shops at West End. TCFF 2019 marks the organization’s 10th anniversary and arrives with a special focus on both female filmmakers and films that advance this year’s social justice cause: environmental sustainability.
Films include Taika Waititi’s Holocaust dramedy Jojo Rabbit which last weekend took home the top prize at the Toronto International Film Festival — often considered an early harbinger of what could contend for Best Picture in the winter — as well as Noah Baumbach’s marital drama Marriage Story, headlined by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson and recognized as this year’s TCFF Breakthrough Vision, and Trey Edward Shults’s lauded family drama Waves, starring Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Lucas Hedges and honored as this year’s Virtuoso Selection.
Other notable studio entries include the new Eddie Redmayne-Felicity Jones hot air balloon adventure The Aeronauts; Terrence Malick’s war epic A Hidden Life (Oct. 20); the star-studded Edward Norton-directed crime drama Motherless Brooklyn; and the stunning Shia LaBeouf-penned biopic Honey Boy with Director Alma Har’el in attendance (Oct. 21).
This year’s kickoff double feature on October 16 will spotlight both the lauded Jojo Rabbit and Robert Jury’s Working Man, the official 2019 Opening Night Selection. A humble and heartfelt independent feature about a Rust Belt town coping with the closure of its last factory and the emergence of an unlikely hero who partners with his neighbors to break his way back into the shuttered shop, the film stars Peter Gerety from The Wire and two-time Academy Award nominee Talia Shire (The Godfather: Part II and Rocky), who will both be in attendance. TCFF’s 2019 Centerpiece is Inside the Rain, Aaron Fisher’s autobiographical directing debut about a bipolar college student facing expulsion over conduct violations who hatches a madcap scheme to prove his innocence. The film co-stars Rosie Perez and Eric Roberts. Both Roberts and Fisher will be in attendance Oct. 18.
The festival closes October 26 with Premature, Rashaad Ernesto Green’s electrifying coming-of-age drama about a teenager in New York City navigating her last summer — and an unexpected romance — before heading to college. The film has earned rave reviews on the festival circuit, particularly for its vulnerable and hypnotic lead performance from Zora Howard; the Hollywood Reporter hailed the film as “a stirring coming-of-ager with a knockout lead turn.”
Howard will be present for the closing night festivities, marking the culmination of a program that has prioritized projects made by female filmmakers. More than 60 percent of this year’s TCFF selections were directed or produced by women, continuing the organization’s push to create a home for works from a more diverse range of artists.
“When I founded this festival, I said it would be a home for all visions, all audiences and all artists — and to see us cross the mark in our tenth year, of having the majority of our selections created by female filmmakers, is to see our original mission fulfilled,” said Jatin Setia, TCFF’s Executive Director. “What’s even more powerful, and what has kept us going through the decade, is hearing how our big tent of filmmakers has inspired and motivated the next generation of Minnesota artists, who tell us that they thought a film career might be impossible. To now see those high schoolers come of age, and to see them return to our festival as debut directors…it’s everything an arts organization can hope for. It fills my soul.”
October 23 will feature Purple Rain night at the festival, with a special free 35th anniversary screening of the Prince rock musical and a Prince-themed afterparty to follow. Albert Magnoli, the director of the 1984 hit, will be making a rare appearance after the screening to discuss the film. Although the screening is free, tickets are still required for the reserved seats and can be obtained at ShowplaceIcon.
Every year Twin Cities Film Fest identifies a Social Justice Cause and programs a special series of films to call attention to a specific social issue. This year’s cause is “environmental responsibility” and the film series kicks off Oct. 17 with Roger Sorkin’s documentary Current Revolution, which envisions the next generation of America’s aging electrical grid. The series continues with Juice: How Electricity Explains the World; Youth Unstoppable; Food Coop; Salvage; and Sustainable Nation. TCFF Changemaker Partner for 2019 is the St. Louis Park Non Profit, Matter.
Among this year’s slate of “Minnesota-connected” premieres are International Falls, a look at the fragile life of a touring comic and his chance connection with a hotel worker in a dead-end marriage. The film was shot in northern Minnesota and stars comedienne Rachel Harris (Natural Selection, Suits). On the lighter side, Raising Buchanan is a caper-driven comedy about two working women trying to profit from stealing the dead body of President Buchanan, played by notable character actor Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek, Madame Secretary). Rounding out the 18 titles in this year’s Minnesota-connected program is The Truth About Marriage, the latest thought-provoking documentary from director Roger Nygard (Trekkies).