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Adopt Films' new film may be its latest Oscar contender

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: February 27, 2015 - 1:51 PM
Laia Costa as "Victoria." Photo: Adopt Films

Laia Costa as "Victoria." Photo: Adopt Films

Since it started in 2011, Adopt Films has marketed four best foreign feature Oscar nominees in the U.S.

The New York/Twin Cities film distributor may soon be adopting a fifth.

Its new acquisition is the Berlin film festival prize-winner “Victoria.” Jury president Darren Aronofsky (director of “The Wrestler,” “Black Swan” and “Noah”) awarded the Silver Bear, saying “This film rocked my world.”

“Fly away, ‘Birdman,' there’s a new one-shot wonder in town,’” crowed Variety’s breathless review, calling it a “heart-in-mouth heist thriller … with a surprising degree of grace and emotional authenticity.”

Adopt founder Tim Grady calls “Victoria” a sort of updated “Run Lola Run” with a bravura technical breakthrough. Celebrated films like “Rope,” “Russian Ark” and “Birdman” have presented the illusion of one continuous take from start to finish, but “Victoria” truly delivers the goods. A single shot by Norwegian cameraman Sturla Brandth Grøvlen chases the cast across Berlin uninterrupted for two hours.

They race from a throbbing rave club to a botched bank robbery to a landslide of dangerous and funny consequences. The diverse international cast improvised their all-English dialog from a terse 12-page script by German actor turned director Sebastian Schipper.

“This is younger than a lot of our films,” Grady said. Adopt has acquired over 20 foreign language films since it began, mostly promoting mature fare like the 2014 Oscar nominee “Omar,” and last fall’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Winter Sleep.” “But there’s an audience for this,” he said, thanks to its creative verve. Its American release is planned for fall, the customary start of Oscar season.  

'American Sniper' widow to share her perspective at Beth El Synagogue

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: January 20, 2015 - 2:55 PM
Bradley Cooper received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in "American Sniper." Keith Bernstein/AP

Bradley Cooper received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in "American Sniper." Keith Bernstein/AP

Both "American Sniper," coming off a near-record breaking $90.2 million opening for the three-day weekend, and "Selma," which earned $26.4 million since opening wide three weeks earlier, are history-based films that deal in myths.

"Selma" triggered criticism for portraying President Lyndon Johnson as a slow supporter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s campaign for black voter rights. Similarly, "American Sniper" has made substantial alterations from its source material, the best-selling memoir by the late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. The film shows Kyle fighting a former Olympic marksman in a sharpshooters' battle to the death, though the two never encountered each other in real life. It also created a fictional Iraqi terrorist who murders children with electric drills. Film star, screenwriter and director Seth Rogen on Twitter said it reminded him of a fictional Nazi propaganda film.

Kyle's wife, Taya Kyle, who was interviewed extensively by screenwriter Jason Hall, will share her insights about her husband’s experiences in battle and on the home front, and about the film version of his life story, in an event Feb. 8 at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park.

Jim DeFelice, co-author of "American Sniper," will appear as well at the 7 p.m. event, a part of the synagogue's Heroes Among Us series. Admission is $18 for members of the military, $36 for the general public, $100 for reserved seating and $360 for a VIP meeting with the special guests.

A portion of the proceeds will help underwrite the synagogue’s Minnesota National Guard unit support initiative, benefiting the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, the 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter, and the 204th Area Support Medical Company.

Beth El Synagogue is located at 5225 Barry St. W., St. Louis Park.

Soap Factory in Minneapolis to celebrate 25th anniversary

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: November 12, 2014 - 1:22 PM

Alexa Horochowski's 2014 installation at The Soap Factory. Star Tribune photo by Tom Sweeney

A lot has changed in the 25 years since The Soap Factory art complex started life as No Name Exhibitions.The popoular outpost for Halloween fun and experimental art is celebrating its quarter century anniversary with a benefit  party from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Nov. 15 in its cavernous, brick-and-timber warehouse, a former soap factory,  at 514 S.E. Second St., Minneapolis.

The Factory's presence there has been a spur to development in what is now a fast-gentrifying neighborhood near the Mississippi River. Back in 1989, what is now a rough-hew home to avant garde art was still a functioning factory.

"There have been a lot of changes in this building," said Ben Heywood, executive director of The Soap Factory. "Back then they were literally melting down animals and turning them into fat and then throwing lye into it and turning it into soap."

Back then a group of local artists banded together and started No Name Exhibitions in another quasi derelict building known as the Skunk House. On the opposite side of the Mississippi and just west of Hennepin Av., the Skunk House was subsequently acquired by the Federal Reserve bank to house its air conditioning plant, Heywood said. No Name then moved into the bottling house of the former Grain Belt Brewery and from there to the Soap Factory in 1995.

"Our exhibition space went from 600 square feet to 50,000 square feet when we moved here, so that's a big change," Heywood said.

The Factory building is still pretty raw, but it too has changed over the years. Now, for example, it has bathrooms. And in January it will add heating and air conditioning for the basement and first floor. Previously the place closed in winter months when there was no heat.

Other improvements include the addition of a permanent staff, rather than volunteers who ran the place until 2002. With staff came a year-round exhibition and performance program. And the ever-popular Haunted Basement Halloween shindig. And now the 25th anniversary party. 

Billed as a "day of citywide fun," the anniversary committee may have overpromised a bit. There won't be hot air balloons or marching bands on Nicollet Mall, much as Heywood would love such stuff. By "city-wide" they mean art impressario and cultural gadabout Andy Sturdevant leading a Soap Factory History tour starting at 3 p.m. Saturday in a vintage bus that will roll past previous Factory locales.

"Andy is a city-wide celebration in himself," Heywood explained. Indeed.

The Factory invited 9,000 people to the shindig and expects a good turn out.

"We can hold 700 people on the first floor and we should have a full house," Heywood said.

Party goers can expect Beatrix* JAR and Solid Gold to kick off the event with DJs Diarrhea (Jackie Beckey) and Christopher Saint Christopher (Christopher Allen) commanding the dance floor and emcee Ian Rans running the show.

There will be complimentary cocktails by Bittercube, gourmet nibbles from Fabulous Catering and Common Roots catering, small plates from Tilia, Heyday, Haute Dish, Third Bird, and the University of MN College of Design. Plus art by Aaron Dysart and Andy DuCett. Performances by artist Jaime Carrera and theater company Live Action Set. Plus an auction, of course.

(Party 6 p.m. to midnight, Nov, 15, tickets $50 to $2,000. The Soap Factory, 514 Second St. S.E., Mpls. For tickets: www.soapfactory.org)


Garth Brooks adds Minneapolis concerts, 10 in all now

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: October 3, 2014 - 4:11 PM

Garth Brooks kicked off his Garth Brooks World Tour at the Allstate Arena on Sept. 4, 2014, in Rosemont, Ill. (Photo by Barry Breche isen/Invision/AP)  

Country star Garth Brooks has added more dates to his previously announced four November concerts at Target Center in Minneapolis. The current tally has Brooks doing 10 concerts in all. Five added shows will happen Nov. 6-8. The other shows will take place a bit later, Nov. 13-15.

Tickets went on sale Friday, Oct. 3 at 10 a.m. for $70.50 (that’s including fees) through AXS.com, the arena box office or by calling 1-855-411-4849. Brooks' opening act will be his wife, Trisha Yearwood.

Brooks last performed in Minneapolis in 1998, when he did nine concerts at Target Center.

As of Friday, tickets are available for all shows. No tickets sold at Target Center on Oct. 3. There is an eight-ticket limit. The full rundown of dates and times is as follows:

Thursday, November 6th, 7:30PM

Friday, November 7th, 6:30PM and10:30PM

Saturday, November 8th, 6:30PM and10:30PM

Thursday, November 13th, 7:30PM

Friday, November 14th, 6:30PM and 10:30PM

Saturday, November 15th, 6:30PM and 10:30PM

Beer and a movie on the bikeway

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: August 21, 2014 - 5:16 PM

Weather looks iffy, but the Bike-In Movie is on for Thursday night (Aug. 21) on the Midtown Greenway. The 4th annual event features food by Taco Cat, beer by Indeed Brewing Co. and a screening, about 9 p.m. or a bit earlier, of "Elemental," a documentary about three committed eco-activists in different parts of the world. In case of rain, the event will take place inside Freewheel Bike Shop.

A pre-movie mixer is scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. More Info: facebook.com/events/440636552743931
On Twitter: @aigamn #bikeinmovie


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