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2017 Whiskey Creek Film Festival as good as ever

Bel Snyder helped a customer at the concession counter Saturday before the showing of "Sweetland," one of the films featured in this year's Whiskey Creek Film Festival. Heather Bullock/Wadena Pioneer Journal.1 / 4
New to the festival this year were t-shirts available for purchase. Heather Bullock/Wadena Pioneer Journal.2 / 4
Patrons line up to watch films in the 2017 Whiskey Creek Film Festival over the weekend. Heather Bullock/Wadena Pioneer Journal.3 / 4
Surveys were available in the lobby of the Cosy Theatre to allow festival visitors to rate the movies and the festival. Heather Bullock/Wadena Pioneer Journal.4 / 4

The annual Whiskey Creek Film Festival opened Friday to huge crowds. The line was out the door and around the block for the festival, which features six "Best in Cinema" current films, a film from and about Minnesota and a free film for families. This year's lineup included Step, Maudie, The Big Sick, The Hero, Lost in Paris, Beatriz At Dinner, Sweetland and Neither Wolf Nor Dog.

Step is a documentary about a girls dance team in inner-city Baltimore. Each girl tries to become the first in their families to attend college, while facing social unrest in a troubled city.

Maudie, based on a true story, follows the life of Maude, a crippled woman hired as a housekeeper for reclusive Everett Lewis. The two unexpectedly fall in love while Maude becomes a well-known folk painter.

The Big Sick tells the story of actor Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani-American actor whose parents expect him to marry a muslim woman. Nanjiani falls in love with Emily, a white woman, but breaks up with her in the face of his parents expectations. Emily becomes ill and is placed in a medically-induced coma. Nanjiani, who plays himself, struggles with being there for his ex-girlfriend, meeting her parents and the tug of war between his family and love.

The Hero is about an aging actor known for one Western movie. A medical diagnosis makes him try to reconnect with his estranged daughter even as he begins a romantic relationship with a much younger woman.

Lost In Paris is about Fiona, a Canadian librarian who receives a letter from her grandmother. Fiona flies to Paris only to find her grandmother is missing. As Fiona searches for her grandmother, she encounters Dom, a homeless man who won't leave her alone.

Beatriz At Dinner stars Salma Hayek as Beatriz, a Mexican immigrant who builds a career as a healthcare worker in Los Angeles. She attends a dinner at the home of a wealthy client, where she clashes with another wealthy guest, played by John Lithgow, a cutthroat, egotistical billionaire.

This year's free film, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, is about a white author summoned to write a book for a Lakota native about his perspective. When the first attempt is a disaster, the author is virtually kidnapped and taken on a road trip through the heart of Lakota country.

Sweetland, originally released in 2006, is a Minnesota story about love and immigration based on Bemidji write Will Weaver's short story Gravestone Made of Wheat. Inge Ottenberg, a German exile, comes to Minnesota as a mail order bride to Olaf Torvig. Their plans to marry are foiled when the minister learns she is German. Sweetland tells the tale of how Inge wins over the minister and her neighbors while she and Olaf fall in love with each other.

A welcome reception was held Friday at the Cyber Cafe, one of the sponsors of the film festival.

Lunch was available on the lawn of Pemberton Law Firm over the weekend by Los Jalapenos and Larry's Family Pizza.

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. The festival is produced by the Whiskey Creek Film Festival Committee. Local sponsors, including 5 Wings Arts Council and the Wadena Convention and Visitors Bureau, help support the festival.

The festival runs through Sept. 14. Tickets are available at the box office.