What to Expect Out of the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival this Year

Bert Stern: Original Madman
Bert Stern: Original Madman

It’s the time of year when St. Anthony Main hosts the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. The three-week event runs through May 3 and features about 200 independent feature-length films and around 80 short films from all around the world. The festival also includes local “MINNESOTA-made” features, which were shot in Minnesota, or were created by hometown natives. Among the collection of over 200 selections from around the world, is a great array of GLBT-focused films. These features elaborate on a range of topics including self-acceptance, norm reform, and challenging stereotypes, all while brilliantly incorporating some films with quirky twists. From the experienced directors and docmentarians to the fresh new names in the industry, the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival has something for everyone.

Read more about the Festival here: http://www.mspfilmfest.org/2012/

Bert Stern: Original Madman

Bert Stern: Original Madman
Directed by Shannah Laumeister, USA

From the provocatively iconic photographs of Marilyn Monroe to the work he’s done for Stanley Kubrick, Bert Stern is undeniably one of the most reputable celebrity photographers of this generation. In director Shannah Laumeister’s first feature-length documentary, Stern’s reluctant on-screen appearances make way for the truth behind his work. Stern discusses the trials and tribulations he has faced over the years, as well as his reinvention. Bert Stern: Original Madman brings us through a rise, fall, and reincarnation of Bert Stern’s career, through a lens he hasn’t revealed before.

Friday, April 13, 7:30pm
Saturday, April 14 7:00pm


British Guide to Showing Off
Directed by Jes Benstock, UK
Noteworthy Cast: Andrew Logan, Brian Eno

This comically stimulating documentary gives audience to Andrew Logan, his tradition of the Alternative Miss World Show, and the planning leading up to his 2009 soiree.  The competition follows the recognized pageant format, with a twist. Since 1972, Logan has celebrated the evolution of ordinary to extraordinary by hosting contestants hailing from different backgrounds in a gender-bending contest with drag queens, brilliantly elaborate costumes, and the best show-offs, where anything can–and will–happen. Through the film, documentarian Jes Benstock invites us to explore and get acquainted with Andrew Logan’s ongoing party.

Friday, April 20, 9:00pm
Tuesday, April 24, 4:50pm

Rites of Passage
Directed by Jeff Roy, Thailand/USA
Noteworthy Cast: Maya (Mohammed) Jaffer

Rites of Passage revolves around a 42-year-old Indo-Muslim transgender woman, Maya Jafer, undergoing gender reassignment surgery in Bangkok. Director Jeff Roy captures Maya’s journey leading up to the procedure, including the emotional obstacles that appear. The film is shot in a way that acknowledges the presence of the camera, which allows truth to come through in its most raw form.

Saturday, April 21, 4:15pm
Thursday, April 26, 9:15pm


Wish Me Away

Wish Me Away
Directed by Bobbie Birleffi, Beverly Kopf, USA
Noteworthy Cast: Chely Wright

The documentary directed by Bobbue Birleffi and Beverly Knopf focuses on Chely Wright and her journey to revealing her true self to the world. In an upbringing that focuses heavily on conservative and religion-based values, gay country musician Chely Wright had been fighting an inner battle of self-acceptance and understanding. The film follows her as struggles to find peace with just being her self. Birleffi and Knopf bring us into Wright’s personal plans of coming out publicly, and the aftereffects of doing so. As the first country star to come out publicly, Chely Wright broke the stereotypical barriers of her religion and culture. Wish Me Away reveals the transformation of the pain that once limited her, and how it now empowers her.

Saturday, April 21, 4:36pm
Thursday, April 26, 9:36pm

Little Words
Directed by Ann Prim, USA

Little Words is featured in the MINNESOTA SHORTS Program #3.  It is the first story in The Vellum Trilogy, written by Prim. Little Words is set in the early 60’s, and focuses on a post-modernist gay woman writer, Rhys, as she tries to get her first novel published. She prefers solitude and her writing state-of-mind to everything and everyone else.

Part of Minnesota Shorts Program
Thursday, April 26, 7:00pm

Craft (Riscado)
Directed by Gustavo Pizzi, Brazil
Cast: Karine Teles, Camilo Pelegrini, Dany Roland, Otavio Muller

Bianca is a young and talented actress, aspiring to catch a break with a real part. She makes a living impersonating female celebrities, and smaller acting gigs while trying to break into the film industry. Bianca stumbles upon the opportunity of a lifetime to audition for a large motion picture. After speaking with the director, she becomes a lead in the film. Director Gustavo Pizzi creates a metaphoric narrative around the precarious career of an underbooked actress, and the insecurity in life that surrounds it.

Friday, April 20, 6:30pm
Sunday, April 29, 4:45pm

Raising Renee
Directed by Steven Asher and Jeanne Jordan, USA
Noteworthy Cast: Beverly McIver, Renee McIver

Beverly McIver’s career as an artist is just taking off, as an unforeseen turn of events takes away her mother’s life. Years prior, Beverly had made the promise to take care of her mentally disabled older sister. Jeanne Jordan and Steven Asher present the story of an unbroken promise, despite the obstacles and challenges our protagonist faces. Jordan and Asher will also be present during the screenings at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival this year.

Saturday, April 21, 4:45pm
Sunday, April 33, 5:00pm

The Rif Lover
Directed by Narjiss Nejjar, Morocco, Belgium, France
Noteworthy Cast: Nadia Kounda, Mourade Zeguendi

Director Narjiss Nejjar brings us into a world of naivete and the longing for love while incorporating the classic story of Bizet’s Carmen. Aya is a young 20-year old, with very little experience with the likes of love. After Aya and her friend see the story of Carmen, she longs to have the same sexual power as the story’s heroine. The story begins to parallel Carmen when Aya’s brother pimps her to a large hashish dealer, the Baron, in hopes of receiving his own cannabis field in return. Nejjar progresses the story through the narration of the heroine.

Saturday, April 14, 9:45pm
Sunday, April 22, 9:15pm


Turn Me On, Dammit

Turn Me On, Dammit! (Få Meg På, For Faen)
Directed by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, Norway
Noteworthy Cast: Helene Bergsholm, Malin Bjorhovde, Henriette Steenstrup

In this coming-of-age story of a sexually charged teenaged girl, Director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen puts a quirky twist on the conventional teen’s libido. After an awkward sexual awakening with her boyfriend, Artur, Alma turns to her friends, who ostracize her. Left alone, protagonist Alma becomes experimental when it comes to catering to her overactive libido. She openly gratifies herself with the help of adult hotlines, despite her mother’s discomfiture. This hilariously honest film brings light to the teenage libido and the awkwardness (or lack thereof) in becoming sexually inclined.

Saturday, April 28, 9:30pm
Wednesday, May 2, 7:45pm

Farewell, My Queen
Directed by Benoît Jacquot, France/Spain
Noteworthy Cast: Diane Kruger, Lea Seydoux

Set during the French Revolution, Farewell, My Queen focuses on Marie Antoinette and Sidonie Laborde, her lady-in-waiting. As people are just beginning to fight against the rulings of King Louis XVI, the monarchy and the inner circle devise a plan to avoid the chaos. The relationship between Sidonie Laborde and her mistress define the distinct divisions between class, power, and the interplay of politics through this historical drama.

Friday, April 27, 7:10pm

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