The Opening Night of the 2012 Twin Cities Film Fest was fun, but day 2 promised more films, with a full schedule that kicked off at 10:25am and didn’t conclude until the last screening at 9:30pm. I was in attendance for two of the six films showing and I stuck around after to talk with fellow movie-goers as the festival slowly kicked into gear sometime early in the afternoon.
The first film I attended was the musical drama The Sapphires, starring Chris O’Dowd, Deborah Mailman and Jessica Mauboy. The film shows the relationship between four Australian Aboriginal girls in 1968 as they connect with a drunken manger to go on the road and perform for US troops in Vietnam. The film works really well as a drama, mainly because of the performances given by the entire cast. Chris O’Dowd shows that he can shine doing his usual comedy, but also when given more dramatic roles. The actresses that played the four girls each gave their own unique blend of heart and soul.
The Weinstein Company picked up the film not too long ago, so don’t be surprised if they try for an Oscar push later this year, because the film is a remarkable tale that rarely has a misstep.
Several other films played after The Sapphires, but I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend any of them. The Fest did pickup pretty quickly though, with the screening of It’s A Disaster completely selling out. By the time I returned for the screening of Bro’ the entire lobby was packed with people discussing film over drinks, food and even video games! I really wish I would have taken a couple pictures, because the entire lobby of the ICON was full!
Bro’ was the final film slated for the night. Unlike most of the Fest’s films, Bro’ promised a gritty and authentic take on the lifestyle of one college student that gets caught up in motocross, drugs, women and crime. It’s a slow-burn descent into darkness as director Nick Parada steers his characters into some low and desperate areas. The film’s shining moments were in the acting and how the mostly unknown performers turned in some convincing and spot-on performances that managed to top known actor Danny Trejo‘s brief appearance.
The film also had a crisp big-budget look to it that was most likely the direct result of shooting on RED cameras. It’s really great seeing independent stuff like Bro’ get a chance to screen next to the usual festival documentaries and Oscar contenders, because it allows the audience to see how much the indie filmmaking scene has changed.
Co-writer Kim MacKenzie and Executive Producer Shaoky Taraman led an in-depth Q and A after the screening that really shined a better light on how one constructs an independent film in a world where studios are so bent on funding remakes and comic book movies. Both discuss their work on the film, with MacKenzie talking about how the script sort of mixed with the performers and really became something unique for each character during some of the table reads. Taraman tackled the subjects of getting names like Danny Trejo involved in such a small film and how important film festivals like the Twin Cities Film Fest are to indie filmmakers when it comes to building connections that could later lead to easier funding or casting.
The opening night was a fun way to dip my toes into the festival world, but day 2 was where I discovered films that I probably would have never seen had it not been for the Fest and that’s really what it’s all about. I had a blast soaking in two very different films and I really enjoyed being able to discuss the films with other passionate movie-goers.
Day 3 of the fest kicks off with a more family-oriented slate of films. Here’s a list of what’s showing:
Crazy & Thief (10:40am)
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (12:15pm)
We Are Wisconsin (2:45pm)
Dead Man’s Burden (9:50pm)
I’ll be at E.T. and Stag! I really wish I could be at Dead Man’s Burden, but there’s just not enough time in the world. If anyone catches that one please make sure to let me know how it turned out!
The Sapphires should be getting a US push sometime soon, but in case you haven’t heard of the film I’ve embedded a trailer below:
My full reviews for the films will run as soon as I’m allowed to post them, so keep checking back!