What: Twin Cities Black Film Festival
When: Oct. 15-17
Where: AMC Theatres at Block E
There is a hunger for film in the Twin Cities. While the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival satisfies the international and domestic art-house cravings for the early portion of the year, there is a gap in the later calendar pages.
This year’s Twin Cities Film Fest offered a similar but lighter schedule of international fare for the cinephiles. But the plight of central American protagonists or the bizarre abstraction of eastern European endeavors is only so relatable for the Minnesotan palate. Now in its eighth year, the Twin Cities Black Film Festival continues to add local flare to the area’s offerings.
With 18 films over three days, the festival prides itself on diversity in both style and vision. Although this year’s schedule is largely comprised of black voice, the event has a history of functioning on a multicultural plane.
“One year was a lot of Native American filmmakers. The last year was a lot of Asian filmmakers,” festival director Natalie Morrow said.
At this point in the festival’s tenure, the submitted works are substantially local. Only the festival opener and closer are national productions. Yet, the festival’s opener, a slave vengeance horror flick called “The Inheritance,” was shot entirely in Stillwater with local crews — an experience that led to its position on this weekend’s film roster.
As a festival opener, it is a bit of an odd choice. The story surrounds a well-established African-American family that arrived at the status through an ancestral slave’s bargain for freedom — a deal that proves deadly centuries later. On the surface, the work appears a bit exploitative, and it’s a stark contrast from the weekends’ more challenging works such as documentaries “We Turned The Page” or “The Science Of Race.” The film’s producer, Effie Brown, does assure that her slasher flick has brains.
“We didn’t have a Michael Meyers. We didn’t have a Freddy Krueger,” Brown said, “So we were like ‘let’s make a cool horror movie that is smart.’ ”
There is also something awfully communal about the horror film experience, something that will likely act as a primer for those sharing a weekend together absorbed in cinema.
“It is a great common denominator,” Brown said. “You can get a bunch of different people all together from all walks of life in one room and they will all have a common experience.”
And that is where the Twin Cities Black Festival stands out among the others. While it is always great to see what is happening across the pond or south of the border, it never hurts to see what’s happening in the community at home.
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