The highest-profile movies at this year’s hybrid Twin Cities Film Fest require patrons to venture into a theater, but you can also catch titles on your computer.
Earlier 2020 film festivals such as Cannes and Toronto have been canceled or online only, respectively, but the Twin Cities fest (Oct. 22-31) has monitored those efforts and adjusted plans accordingly, said executive director Jatin Setia. He added that a festival climate that was altered by the COVID-19 pandemic has made it easier to make some plans.
“Instead of waiting until the last frame at Toronto International Film Festival to say, ‘We’re going to go with this marketing plan, based on audience reactions there,’ the studios were more open to finding other ways to distribute their films,” Setia said. “They’re like, ‘If you’re going to happen and you’re going to be socially distant, we’re happy to consider it.’ ”
Under those restrictions (plus a $100 membership to be “invited”), the festival will include masked, 25% capacity screenings of several movies that are already building Oscar steam: Frances McDormand in “Nomadland,” playing a woman who travels the U.S. learning about a growing culture of people without permanent homes; Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal,” as a drummer who is going deaf; “Uncle Frank,” the latest from “American Beauty” and “Six Feet Under” screenwriter Alan Ball; “Sylvie’s Love,” a romance set in 1950s Harlem; and the opening night documentary “Black Boys,” in which sports and media figures, including former Viking Cris Carter, discuss Black men and identity. The in-person movies all are at Showplace Icon Theatres in St. Louis Park.
Most, not all, streaming movies are available for the 10-day duration of the event. Setia said it’s a strong year for documentaries, including “Women in Blue,” about female officers on the Minneapolis police force; “Coded Bias,” about how inequity is baked into the future of technology, and “Burren Girl,” in which a Minnesotan travels to Ireland in search of her family’s story.
A handful of other titles share Minnesota ties, including “Fulfillment,” a short written and directed by Minneapolis-reared actor Marisa Coughlan (“Super Troopers”) and the doc “Sold Out: Affordable Housing at Risk.”
If you’re thinking of streaming, heed the details on the festival’s website. Some titles are only streaming at specific times, including “Hollywood Fringe,” a sardonic comedy starring Justin Kirk and codirected by Minnesota filmmakers Wyatt McDill and Megan Huber. It can be seen only at 7 p.m. Oct. 27.