Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Free Range Film Festival Celebrates 13th Season This Weekend

When Richard Hansen brought the DuSu Film Festival to the the Twin Ports several years back he wasn't the first game in town for alternative film. The Free Range Film Festival is now in its 13th year out there in the Wrenshall boondocks. "The Barn" is turning 100 this year so it will be an extra special time to show your face, settle in and enjoy out of the mainstream programming.

Nearly all of us have grown up on cinema and a large percentage of us will admit privately that more often than not the films Hollywood has been producing are all too often less than satisfying. For this reason Indie films and off-the-beaten-path film festivals have become so popular among film buffs.

This particular film festival has been dubbed “a farm fresh alternative to stale cinema” since it started screening films in 2003. To celebrate the barn’s important anniversary the festival has expanded the number of films it is screening to almost 40 as well as presenting a live improvised score with the Band “Portrait of a Drowned Man”. (I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds interesting.)

Annie Dugan, director of the Duluth Art Institute, is also the force behind this event, its chief organizer and advocate. “This year’s crop of films is particularly peculiar and delightful” says Dugan. “We have such a mix with lots of shorts so there's always going to be something that will capture as well as challenge our audiences. I feel like that is what watching movies together should be about.” This year’s lineup features a mix of animated shorts, narrative shorts and plenty of documentaries including a 10 minute short about a 90-year-old woman who tries bacon for the first time.

One thing that has happened after a baker's dozen festivals is that the event has gained a reputation as being fun and quirky. As a result, Dugan notes, they have been able to leverage this to acquire some really amazing work. “This year we were able to secure a film that made a big splash at Sundance called ‘Nuts!’ It tells the story of John Brinkley who tried to cure impotence with goat testicle implants and ended up inventing modern radio along the way. And a lot of it is done in animation!”

The festival features local filmmakers alongside national headliners. Brian Barber is returning to screen work that he and Paul Lundgreen from Perfect Duluth Day directed together: “Honeycomb Hideout” interviews Duluthian Rob Berry whose collection of cereal boxes is truly tremendous.

Showtimes
Friday, July 29th 7pm – 11pm
Saturday, July 30th, 2pm – 5:30pm and 7pm – 11pm

The two-day event is held in the barn at 909 County Road 4 just outside of Wrenshall, MN. You'll find the full schedule, driving directions and more at the Free Range Film festival website:
www.freerangefilm.com

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