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2013 Whiskey Creek Film Festival shows promise

I really look forward to the Whiskey Creek Film Festival, put on every year at the Cozy Theatre. This year's festival will run from Sept. 13 to 19. I have been stalking the festival's website for weeks, waiting to see the list of films. When the film names were finally posted, I immediately watched every single trailer, which only added to my anticipation.

A special treat for me was to watch one of the films early and write a review. I had the pleasure of viewing Blue Jasmine, the newest Woody Allen film starring Cate Blanchett and Alec

Baldwin. Blanchett plays Jasmine French, a woman of privilege who has a spectacular fall from grace when her philandering husband Hal, affably portrayed by Baldwin, has been thrown in prison for stealing millions a la Bernie Madoff. Jasmine runs to live in relative seclusion with her sister, whom she previously had little to do with. There is a certain amount of culture shock

for Jasmine, long-accustomed to the high life and blissful ignorance of her husband's wrong-doings, now living in squalor in a San Francisco apartment with her sister and two nephews. The film follows Jasmine's path into a mental breakdown, with achingly genuine moments of Xanax popping, binge drinking, and Jasmine talking to herself, when it is apparent that she thinks she is talking to her husband. Blanchett plays crazy pretty fantastically.

I have never been a huge Woody Allen fan, but this film might have made me a convert. Viewers will both delight in the downfall of the astonishingly rich and sympathize with the woman blindsided and struggling to find a new path. I was thrilled to get a small taste of the festival's offerings and am now plotting my schedule to view the other films.

The Whiskey Creek Film Festival shows several films every year, from the best in current cinema to films produced by Minnesota filmmakers. 2013's offerings include Fruitvale Station, based on the true story of Oscar Grant and his tragic death on New Year's Eve. Also featured will be Still Mine, a love story about an old man racing time to build his ailing wife a more suitable home while battling bureaucracy. The Way, Way Back is a coming of age film about a boy dealing with a less than stellar mother and her bully boyfriend, when he meets a man who will become a mentor. 20 Feet From Stardom is a documentary about the nameless, unknown backup singers to the stars. The Kings of Summer is another coming of age film about three boys, fed up with their helicopter parents, who run away to build their own home in the woods.

This year's Minnesota film is Girl From Birch Creek by filmmaker Emily Haddad, who tells the story of Rosalie Wahl, the first woman to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court. The hour-long film will inspire other women to stand up and fight for gender equality. There will also be 6 short films shown with a total running time of 35 minutes.

Part of the appeal of the festival is that every year, a free film for the family is shown. This year's free film is Standing Up, a achingly poignant look at two victims of bullying who decide not to be victims any longer. This film should be required material in our schools.

The Whiskey Creek Film Festival is produced by the Whiskey Creek Film Festival Association and sponsored by the Five Wings Arts Council and the Wadena Convention and Visitors Bureau, among others. Cost for the festival is $7.00 per film or $30 for a six-film pass. More information on film schedules, trailers and tickets can be found at the Whiskey Creek Film Festival website,

I hope many people will come out and support this wonderful arts festival. I am determined to see all the films this year and I know I won't be disappointed.