The International Film Festival is amazing for America because we have a habit of only paying to see American made work, and a mental illusion that the worlds most progressive and important films are being made here in the US. I recently went to a couple screenings at the St Anthony Main Theater in Minneapolis with no expectations about this years festival. I learned that sometimes, going to see a random film based on the convenience of its showing time rather than the subject of its content can be life changing
There was a shit ton of films at the fest, but the sessions I made it to were dope.
First of all, everyone on earth should bring every friend they have to go see the Australian made ‘That Sugar Film’, starring and directed by Damon Gameau. I’m sayin this is some Food Inc. Blackfish status kinda shit. This is everything you need to know about why you should eat less sugar. I mean, I’ve been thoroughly convinced of the benefits of buying local, eating organic, and going vegan, but I now feel that its been sugar all along that keeps any of these things from becoming dogma.
This hyped Australian genius of a documentarian, who had already cut excess sugar from his life, decided to take on the sugar diet of the average, while only consuming perceived ‘healthy’ foods (no candy, soda, etc.). By doing this he exposed sugar from a lot of interesting perspectives. For example instead of adding pasta sauce to his meal, he might put the equivelant portion of raw sugar in his bowl and eat it. While extensively monitoring his body, he traveled around Australia and the US investigating the ways in which sugar is destroying humanity. After watching it, I feel comfortable describing sugars role as ‘destroying humanity’. I want every last one of you to watch it.
After That Sugar Film, I felt a calling to see at least one more thing before the fest was over. Minnesota finally seemed to have had enough of the winter season, and this Saturday afternoon was blessed with the warmth of Jah. A friend and I skated down a hill along the Mississippi that carried us directly in to a Holi color festival, which on a college campus looks a lot like an EDM rave. I knew it was the last day for the MSPIFF, and as we were kickin back in the sun with color and laughter all around us, I got that feeling that Filmmakers sometimes get, so I stood up and made my way to cold dark theater.
I came just in time to see the hour and a half long portion of the MSPIFF that was dedicated to short films that fit the theme ‘it takes a village (to raise a child)’. I am so glad that I chose to attend that day, because those five films were emotional roller-coasters, and they all had to do with children, education, and empathy. There was one that stood out to me, the one that I voted for, that was about a female soldier on her first active day of deployment in Iraq. First she faces some tuff gender inequalities before leaving camp, and then struggles to keep up during a long walk. Suddenly a landmine kills a passing civilian, and the soldiers find explosives at near by families home. Being the only woman, she is able to calm down and talk to a little girl, who confirms that the weapons are their fathers. This creates comotion, which causes person covered entirely by their clothes to come out from hiding. The soldiers tackle the person out of fear, revealing that she was not an armed attacker but the pregnant wife of the man housing the explosives. Now her baby is stuck with one arm outside of the mothers body, and it is up to the only other woman to assist her. In an extremely high tension room she delivers the baby, which kills the mother, all while the father is holding his newborn dughter and dead wife. The woman soldier is told to care for the young girl and infant as their father is put in captivity immediatly after his wife dies. The shot zooms out as the movies title ‘Day One’ appears on screen. The audiences tear ducts were soaked at that moment.
What I learned from these experiences, besides that I should eat less sugar, is that one does not need a local connection to a film to be forever changed by it. What a joy it must be for a film maker on one side of the globe to know that their work inspired and brought tears to the eyes of someone on the other side.
Contributors to several of the short films answered questions from the audience after the show.