Film Festival offers fresh flicks
When was the last time you hung out in a hayloft? Maybe it's time you did. A barn built in 1916 near Wrenshall sets the stage this weekend for a film festival like none other. Now in its fourth year, the Free Range Film Festival will screen 38 to...
When was the last time you hung out in a hayloft? Maybe it's time you did. A barn built in 1916 near Wrenshall sets the stage this weekend for a film festival like none other. Now in its fourth year, the Free Range Film Festival will screen 38 top local and international movies starting Friday, July 27, at 7:30 p.m. and continuing Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
"About 115 films from all over the world were submitted for this year's festival," said Anne Dugan, a festival coordinator. "Of those, we chose our favorites which included films from Brazil, Mexico and right next door in Thomson."
On Friday, the event kicks off with an animated short film, "Tyger," directed by Guilherme Marcondes. Described on the film festival Web site as inspired by William Blake's poem, "Tyger," and every Godzilla film ever made, it depicts a giant tiger prowling through a cardboard city and is rich with color and special effects. It's followed by more short films including local filmmaker Hansi Johnson's 15-minute documentary called "Cross Country with the Snakes," (see page C1 for a full story on Johnson) and then a feature-length documentary called "Urban Explorers," directed by Melody Gilbert.
On Saturday, July 28, shows run from 2-5 p.m. and then after a break, start up again at 7:30 p.m. The finale, which starts at 9:40 p.m., is another documentary, "The Unforeseen," and is described on the film festival Web site as "environmentalists vs. developers in Austin, Texas - with a special guest appearance by Robert Redford."
There are many film genres in addition to documentaries, from narratives to experimental films to comedies. The films range in length from two minutes to over an hour.
On Saturday evening, one action adventure, "Ski Boys," directed by Benny Zenga, documents the Ski Boys' experiments with bicycles, mattresses and gravity. A locally-produced six-minute narrative, "Naked Abe," also screens Saturday evening. The film is directed by Mike Scholtz, who happens to be one of the festival coordinators. Dugan acts in the film and portions of it were filmed at the Carlton County Historical Society. Scholtz and crew made the film to enter in The 48 Hour Film Project in Minneapolis, a competition in which filmmakers have only 48 hours to make a film with very specific guidelines. In "Naked Abe," a time traveler is sent from the future to prevent the theft of a rare historical photo.
"We had a great time doing it," Dugan said.
"I'd like to think the film would make the cut in our festival even if we weren't the ones doing the selecting," Scholtz said with a grin.
In the contest, the movie won an award for best use of prop and was also chosen as an audience award winner.
In the barn, movies will be shown on a main 24-foot wide screen located in the hayloft and seating is compliments of the now demolished Central High School in Superior, Wis. Two smaller screens in different areas of the barn will also show films simultaneously. Seating is first-come first-served and Dugan recommends arriving early to get a seat in the hayloft.
Movie goers can purchase candy, beverages and popcorn popped in the vintage Chief Theater popper from Cloquet. Local 4-H members will sell bars and lemonade.
A suggested $10 donation goes toward maintenance of the theater and festival organization.
Find the barn at the junction of County Roads 1 and 4, just a few miles south of Wrenshall. Check the Web site for a complete list of show times at www.freerangefilm.com/07schedule.html