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!”
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: