Central Standard begins Oct. 14
There are 36,000 movie screens in America and 220 million television sets, and at any given moment, many if not most of them are showing mainstream fare by and about one of two places: Hollywood and New York. If you are wealthy, gorgeous and live in one of these two locales, you will see yourself in the movies.
If you want to see stories about the rest of America—black fishermen in North
Carolina, public housing teens, Mexican immigrants, struggling students— you should
come to the third annual Central Standard Film Festival, playing this weekend
in the Twin Cities.
belief is that the next wave of American filmmaking is by people outside of New
York and L.A., and that they can truly represent the stories of their regions,”
said Todd Hanson, organizer of the festival. “We want to authentically broaden
the spectrum of American cinema, rather than have all the talent feel like they
have to move to one of two places to tell stories.”
The festival features 23 independent filmmakers from 14 states —documentaries
and features, avant-garde art and silent-film revivals. The event is a project
of IFP Minneapolis/St. Paul, a Twin-Cities-based nonprofit to support independent
filmmakers and photographers. While many cities have their own IFP organizations,
all similar in mission and loosely affiliated, the Twin Cities boasts the only
chapter to start its own film festival.
While the festival has grown each year, co-director William Kruse said he wants
the emphasis to remain on the filmmakers.
“With some festivals, as it grows its gets to be more about the festival’s
identity, more about the sponsors and the hype,” Kruse said. “We
want to continue to be about the filmmakers; we try to get the filmmakers to
come and introduce their films, and to be about getting them more attention.
We also had one day of seminars where filmmakers can share their experiences
about financing and making movies.”
Films scheduled this year include:
Frank’s recent book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” shows how the Great Plains
have been transformed from a populist stronghold into a Republican one by culture
wars. For his textbook example, he could just as easily have gone one state
to the north, as this documentary does in showing Nebraska’s war over gay marriage.
Jim Fields’ documentary begins with that state’s Initiative 416 to ban same-sex
marriage—a referendum that passed with a 71 percent approval. After briefly
describing the political fight, the film then moves into an overview of the
controversy, as religious leaders and legal scholars on both sides discuss biblical
interpretations, the history of marriage and the strange experience of being
gay in rural America.
In contrast to the gangsters and victims that populate the inner city in most
movies, the characters in “The Other America” are normal teenagers, just with
the added burdens of poverty.
Writer/director Eugene Martin slowly draws us into these characters in glimpses—skipping
school, flirting, narrating pages from their diaries. Even coming out of abusive
homes and relationships, they retain a certain idealism, and talk about local
politics and the desire to make a difference, as well as their dreams of being
artists and actors and musicians in a world of crumbling buildings.
“Security and the Constitution”
many Americans are angered by the Patriot Act, few have actually read it or
explain how it changed the fine print of freedom.
The reason, of course, is that the minutiae of legal restrictions is boring—except
when explained by St. Paul resident Matt Ehling in his new documentary, “Security
and the Constitution.” Ehling draws on a dream team of experts, including many
Twin Cities luminaries like former president of the National Lawyers’ Guild
Peter Erlinder, University of St. Thomas professor Michael Andregg and former
Minneapolis police chief Tony Bouza, as well as nationally known figures like
FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley.
Ehling first offers an overview of civil liberties in our history—from John
Adams to COINTELPRO— before moving to the last few decades. The film makes clear
the Patriot Act’s dangerous precedence but also puts it in historical context,
showing how it is the latest twist in a 200-year war over civil liberties. ||
For a full list of
films at the Central Standard Film Festival, visit
IFP MINNEAPOLIS / ST PAUL, or
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-338-0871.