From around the world to a theater near you

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival returns this month with a focus on diversity in international filmmaking

Photo by Andrew Lussenhop

For 36 years running, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival has brought the best new cinema in the world to Minnesota’s doorstep.

More than 70 countries are represented in this year’s lineup of independent and international films curated by the MSP Film Society, with offerings spanning Oscar submissions to sleeper hits.

This year’s festival emphasizes diversity, spotlighting a wide range of LGBTQ films, films by women filmmakers, black cinema and documentaries highlighting global shifts in populations, politics, identity and social change.

The 2017 festival runs April 13–29, with screenings at St. Anthony Main Theatre, Uptown Theatre and the Capri Theater in Minneapolis and Metropolitan State University’s Film Space in St. Paul.


Opening Night Presentation: “The Lost City of Z”

This American action-adventure film is inspired by the true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett and his attempts to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon before disappearing on an expedition. Based on David Grann’s novel of the same name, the acclaimed film features some major marquee names, including Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett, Sienna Miller as his wife Nina and Robert Pattinson as fellow explorer Henry Costin. The screening will be followed by an opening night party at Jefe Urban Hacienda.

Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. SE

When: Thursday, April 13 at 7:20 p.m.

Cost: $60 for film and party ($45 for MSP Film Society members)

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“Virtual and Augmented Reality”

A new addition to this year’s MSPIFF lineup is an exhibition of nine virtual and augmented reality projects. While primarily associated with gaming, this new technology has recently been utilized by artists and filmmakers to create participatory cinematic experiences, with subjects ranging from a 360-degree interactive dance experience set to David Bowie’s song “Heroes” to the chance to virtually walk a plank 80 stories above the ground.

Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. SE

When: Friday, April 21, 5 p.m.–7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23, 1 p.m.–9 p.m.; Monday, April 24, 4 p.m.–9 p.m.; Tuesday, April 25, 4 p.m.–8 p.m.

Cost: Free


“Childish Films”

This series aimed at moviegoers of all ages includes seven feature films and a program of short films culled from around the world, including France, Germany, South Korea, Vietnam and the Netherlands. A highlight is “Kojo,” a short documentary about 12-year-old jazz drummer Kojo Odu Roney, winner of the “Most Remarkable Young Person on Screen” at the 2016 Harlem International Film Festival.

Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. SE

When: Various times

Cost: $13 general admission, $11 MSP Film Society members, $8 kids and students


“Black Cinema: Under the Skin”

Funded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, “Black Cinema: Under the Skin” is a special selection of new films by black and African filmmakers that explores black culture and experience. The collection of seven feature films and four short films includes the crime thriller “Wùlu,” the acclaimed debut film by Malian-French director Daouda Coulibaly and “Whose Streets?”, a documentary made in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s killing by St. Louis police and the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. SE and Capri Theater, 2027 W. Broadway Ave.

When: Various times

Cost: $13 general admission, $6 early bird, $11 MSP Film Society members, $8 kids and students


Minnesota Cinematic Arts Award: Sarah Pillsbury

Oscar-winning producer Sarah Pillsbury is being honored with MSPIFF’s first Minnesota Cinematic Arts Award for her contributions in film. The Minnesota-born filmmaker will be on hand for screenings of her films “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “River’s Edge” and “And the Band Played on,” as well as for a panel discussion in which she’ll discuss her career beginnings, current endeavors and the importance of film today.

Where: Screenings at St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. SE; discussion at A-Mill Artist Lofts, 315 Main St. SE

When: Screenings at various times; discussion is Saturday, April 22 at 3 p.m.

Cost: $13 general admission, $11 MSP Film Society members, $8 kids and students for screenings; free discussion


“The Gateway Bug” screening and banquet

By 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has warned, current global food production needs to double in order to sustain the growing world population. This documentary offers a unique solution to the coming crisis: Eat crickets. The film’s stars, including celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, and its filmmakers will preside over the film’s Minnesota premiere, followed by a four-course insect-tasting event paired with wine at Gyst Fermentation Bar.

Where: Screening at St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. SE; dinner at Gyst Fermentation Bar, 25 E. 26th St.

When: Saturday, April 22 with 5 p.m. screening, 8 p.m. dinner

Cost: $13 general admission, $11 MSP Film Society members, $8 kids and students for screening only; $55 for dinner


For more on the festival’s films, go to