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Film fest brings unique cinema to Wadena

Captain Fantastic, one of the six main films of the festival, was the most highly anticipated by the author.1 / 5
A tent set up on the lawn of Pemberton Sorlie Rufer provided seating for moviegoers to enjoy a meal during the Whiskey Creek Film Festival. 2 / 5
The Cozy sign beckoned large crowds to the festival this weekend. Photo by Heather Bullock/Wadena Pioneer Journal3 / 5
New the the festival this year was a food truck outside for patrons to enjoy before or after they attended a movie. 4 / 5
Like previous years, there was a stack of surveys waiting for feedback on the festival. The festival committee uses the surveys to determine what to keep and change for the net festival.5 / 5

The 12th annual Whiskey Creek Film festival was once again a huge success.

This year's lineup had quite the variety of movies, including the six mainstream films, a Minnesota film and a free family film. The Minnesota film, "The 7th Fire," is a documentary about the White Earth reservation gang activity and drug addiction. With drug abuse being prevalent in the area, this film will resonate with many and make the viewer think about big issues.

The free family film, "Kubo and The Two Strings," is a cute animated film set in Japan. Jubo accidentally calls down a spirit that wreaks havoc on Kubo's village. Kubo must battle gods and monsters to save the day.

The six mainstream films include: "The Hunt for Wilderpeople," "Cafe Society," "Captain Fantastic," "Don't Think Twice," "Little Men" and "The Music of Strangers." I had the opportunity to watch "The Hunt for Wilderpeople," "Little Men" and "Captain Fantastic" before press time. "The Hunt For Wilderpeople" is startlingly hilarious and heartwarming. Perhaps it is because my own children were adopted from the foster system, but this film really touched me. It is set on a lonely farm in New Zealand where an older, childless couple choose to foster a troubled teenaged boy. The boy has a history of violence, theft, arson and running away. It is really the woman who wants the boy and when she passes away, the boy and the widower must learn to either love each other or be left alone. A series of miscommunication, misconceptions and mishaps causes a manhunt of epic proportions. There are no real surprises here, but the film is very well-down and pulls at the heartstrings.

"Little Men" follows the evolution of friendship between two opposite young men and their families, who become embroiled in a legal battle that strains the boys' friendship. What follows is how each person deals with their relationships and a question if these relationships can survive.

"Captain Fantastic" is a film about a father and his children who live in the woods and have an alternative lifestyle. When his wife passes away, the father, played by Viggo Mortensen, is pitted against his in-laws in a custody battle over his children. The film will challenge the viewers' ideas of traditional parenting, schooling, and what a normal family looks like. It was truly the film I was most anxious to see and it did not disappoint.

"Cafe Society" is a Woody Allen film set in the 1930s about romance, mob activity and making it big in Hollywood.

"Don't Think Twice" is about the friendships among a group of improv comedians and the dreams of being a star. At press time, I did not see this yet, but it is on my list of must-watch films.

"Music of Strangers" is a documentary about Yo-Yo Ma's musings about what would happen if musicians from all walks of life and different styles got together to explore the power of music. Will they be a disaster or a success?

New to the festival this year was Jonny's Food Truck, which was located in the parking lot of Pemberton Law Firm across from the theatre. Moviegoers could sit under the tent on the law firm's lawn and enjoy some awesome sandwiches and sides before or after attending the festival Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Larry's family Pizza, The Cyber Cafe and Pizza Ranch also had specials during the festival.

The Whiskey Creek Film Festival is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Additional support has been provided by the following organizations and businesses: Wadena Hide & Fur; Arvig; Kennedy, Carlson & Van Bruggen; Pemberton Law Office; Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank; Wadena State Bank; Hometown Crafts and Fabrics of Wadena & Detroit Lakes; Tri-County Health Care; First National Bank in Wadena; Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative; Craig & Associates Ameriprise Financial in Wadena; the Wadena Convention and Visitor's Bureau; Partners for a Healthy Wadena; the Cozy Theatre; Friendly Rider; Harry & Judy Taves.

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