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Students and professors screen films at F-M film festival


The Fargo Film Festival continues today through Saturday at the Fargo Theatre. Among the many films from around the world, several films screening are from the students and faculty of MSUM’s Film Department.

“Beautiful. Thank You.”


•Directed by Kate Enge
•Official Selection: Student Category
•Screening: Thursday, March 3 at 2:15 p.m.

“Beautiful. Thank You.” is about a young man in a park experiencing a beautiful moment. The film is a part of “{the moment after}” series, a collection of short films directed by Enge that focus on critical moments of realization. The films are shot very quickly, often with improvised dialogue and shot choices. Enge likes the organic, imperfect feel that the filming style brings. This is Enge’s first film at the festival as director; she was the cinematographer on the 2009 film “ae.”

“The Cleaning Lady”


•Directed by Tom Brandau
•Invited Film
•Screening: Saturday, March 5 at 10:10 a.m.

“The Cleaning Lady” is the most recent film by film professor Tom Brandau. Filmed last summer, “The Cleaning Lady” is a semi-autobiographical story about a family, including an African-American cleaning lady, dealing with the turmoil after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4th, 1968. The film premiered at the 1968 Film Competition in St. Paul last September. Brandau enjoys making films set in historical contexts, such as his film “Mr. Brown,” which was set in the 1930s and ’40s. Brandau is a member of the Fargo Theatre board the Fargo Film Festival board, and is also a co-director of the festival.

“Dragon’s Breath”
•Directed by Ben Pimlott
•Official Selection: Student Category
•Screening: Saturday, March 5 at 10:20 a.m.

“Dragon’s Breath” is about mysterious man who uses the power of feng shui to help people and fight crime. It was Pimlott’s final film for intermediate film class, which works with 16 mm black and white film with sync sound. The film won Best Film at the film department’s juried film exhibition last fall. Pimlott enjoys researching relatively unknown topics, like feng shui, and using them to construct creative stories. With this project, he was also interested in using the “gritty” look of 16 mm film stock to tell a fast paced action film. This is his second film at the festival, after 2010’s “Folie Simultanee.”

“Between a Bridgerock”
•Directed by Josh Wallace
•Official Selection: Student Category
•Screening: Saturday, March 5 at 10:45 a.m.

“Between a Bridgerock” is a comedy about an average guy with the unfortunate luck of having the exact same name as a hugely popular film star. The film was his final project for the intermediate film class, and won Best Screenplay and Best Actor at the film department’s juried film exhibition last fall. The script came out of group brainstorming between Wallace and fellow students Kevin Ackley, Adam Brant and Kalib Kliniske, with the main idea being society’s obsession with celebrities. Shooting the comedy scenes were a challenge because no one could stop laughing. One shot took 25 takes because someone always cracked up.

“A Lutefisk Western”


•Directed by Eric Carlson
•Honorable Mention: Student Category
•Winner of the Rusty Casselton Award
•Screening: Saturday, March 5 at 11:30 a.m.

“A Lutefisk Western” was the senior capstone project for Carlson, producer Andrew Neill and writer Maxwell Heesch for their degree in film studies at MSUM. The film is a modern day western involving gun fights, treasure and poking fun at Canadians. Heesch came up with the idea of a western, and together the three students molded it into an action comedy. This was a very large shoot for a student film, so Carlson had to plan out every shot and location meticulously. The film won Best Capstone Project at the juried film screenings in the film department last spring.

“The Years”


•Directed by Kristen Conaty
•Invited Film
•Screening: Saturday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m.

“The Years” is a drama about two college students coming to the end of their college education and their relationship. It is the senior capstone project for Conaty, who is graduating this year with a degree in Film Studies. The film was funded through the Minnesota Film and TV Board Grant, which she won last spring. The film was shot last fall in Rhode Island. Conaty developed the idea herself, and worked with three separate screenwriters to finalize the script before shooting.

“Northern Pains: The Story of the Fargo-Moorhead Derby Girls”
•Directed by Ray Rea
•Invited Film
•Screening: Saturday, March 5 at 3:05 p.m.

“Northern Pains” is a short documentary by film professor Ray Rea about the recently formed F-M Derby Girls team. Rea heard about the team when it was just starting in the fall of 2009, and thought it would be an excellent subject for a documentary. To prepare for filming, Rea watched other films and documentaries on derby teams, so as not copy or repeat their styles or themes. This will be the film’s premiere, which is fitting for a film so locally connected. Rea is the chair of the experimental film committee for the second year in a row. This is his first film at the festival.

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