The opening night feature of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival will be “Belle,” a costume production with a stranger-than-fiction plot. It’s based on the true story of Dido Belle, an 18th century English-African girl adopted into an aristocratic family during the dying days of British slave trade. She’s introduced to society where she encounters prejudice but has the singular advantage of tremendous wealth.  As she blossoms into a young woman, she develops a relationship with a vicar's son, an advocate for slave emancipation.

The entertainment trade paper Variety praised the film’s “polished craftsmanship and disarming comedy-of-manners approach, [and] its fascinating insights into the conflicted mindset of British society, particularly in response to the poised and exquisite dark-skinned woman who suddenly appears in their midst.” It stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Miranda Richardson, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Tom Felton, and Matthew Goode.

MSPIFF will screen “Belle” Thursday, April 3 at 9 p.m. Opening night festivities include entertainment, music, celebrities, drink specials, food by Create Catering, raffle items, and more at the Festival Pavilion, under the Third Avenue Bridge. Tickets for the event are $75 for members and $65 for students, including food, entertainment, open bar privileges and admission to the opening night screening.

The festival, running through April 19, also announced a score of last-minute additions as well. Among the new features are Richard Linklater's 12-years-in-the-making "Boyhood," the locally filmes race-clash comedy "Dear White People" and "Blue Ruin," a character-driven, offbeat suspense thriller.

Ticketing, mambership and schedule information is at .

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Previews of coming attractions at MSPIFF 2014