The 2018 Whiskey Creek Film Festival has a simple rule: screen critically recognized films in current theatrical release not usually shown in theaters in rural Minnesota. So far that's been a successful formula for the Wadena event.
That's what you can expect out of the 14th annual festival running Sept. 14-20 at the historic Cozy Theatre in downtown Wadena.
The festival includes eight films: "BlacKkKlansman," "Blindspotting," "Eighth Grade," "The Rider," "Won't You Be My Neighbor?," "Leave No Trace," "Alpha" and "Farmer of the Year."
New this year is a hospitality tent across from the theatre on the Pemberton Law lawn with food provided by Oma's Bread Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the shows. One of the festival organizers, Jamie Robertson, said the hospitality tent is a way to generate community among the theater goers. They can gather there before or after the show to eat, get T-shirts, fill out a survey on the festival and chat about the films.
"It's really a chance for people who love movies to gather," Robertson said.
Attendees can even find out how to get involved in the festival.
"Anyone who wishes is welcome to participate," Robertson said.
The committee of six members are always looking to make the festival a better experience for attendees.
The committee typically tries to get a documentary film, this year that's "Won't you be my Neighbor?" They also pull in at least one film that was filmed in the region, that's "Farmer of the Year," and "The Rider." Festival organizer and owner of Cozy Theatre, Dave Quincer said he looks forward to seeing how the audiences react.
"I look forward to hearing what people have to say about the films," Quincer said. "It's some affirmation that we are on the right track."
He personally looks forward to "BlackkKlansman," and "The Rider," and feels "Farmer of the Year" will be a big hit with the region. The festival typically brings in audiences from surrounding areas including Brainerd, Alexandria and Detroit Lakes, organizers say.
The only film showing during the festival that also appeared at the Cozy is "Alpha," which was showing in August. That happens to be the free family movie showing during the festival.
The following is a short look at some of the other films showing during the festival.
Leave No Trace
Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Ore. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland. The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini.
Rated PG, this film was in theaters June 2018 and has a runtime of 109 minutes.
See this film at 7:10 p.m. Friday, Sunday and Tuesday; and 1:15 p.m. Saturday.
From filmmaker Spike Lee comes the true story of an American hero. It's the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.
This R rated film is directed by Spike Lee and written by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee. It appeared in theaters August 2018 and has a runtime of 135 minutes.
See this film at 9:15 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school—the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year before she begins high school.
Directed and written by Bo Burnham, this R rated film appeared in theaters August 2018 and has a runtime of 94 minutes.
See this film at 3:15 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. Saturday; 1:15 p.m. Sunday; and 7:10 p.m. Monday.
Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. He and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), work as movers, and when Collin witnesses a police shooting, the two men's friendship is tested as they grapple with identity and their changed realities in the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood they grew up in. "Blindspotting," directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada in his feature film debut, is a provocative hometown love letter that glistens with humanity.
This R rated film is written by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. It appeared In theaters July 2018 and has a runtime of 95 minutes.
See this film at 9:25 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and 7:10 p.m. Wednesday.
Based on a true story, "The Rider" stars Brady Jandreau as a once rising star of the rodeo circuit warned that his competition days are over after a tragic riding accident. Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.
The film is written and directed by Chloe Zhao. Rated R, it appeared in theaters April 2018 and has a runtime of 104 minutes.
See this film at 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and 7:10 p.m. Thursday.
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" takes an intimate look at America's favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers. A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.
The documentary is directed by Morgan Neville and is rated PG-13. It appeared in theaters June 2018 and has a runtime of 94 minutes.
See this film at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday; and 7 p.m. Monday.
Farmer of the Year
After selling his farm, an aging farmer struggles to maintain his youth by road tripping across the country in a '73 Winnebago.
When Hap Anderson, a widowed 83-year-old Minnesota farmer that thinks he's still quite the ladies' man, sells his family farm, he finds himself adrift and staring a short future in the face. Driven by the possibility of showing up with an old flame and impressing his old army buddies, he sets out to attend his 65th WWII reunion in California. With typical understated Midwestern humor and restraint, "Farmer of the Year" delicately blends the comedy and drama of life.
Directed by Vince O'Connell and Kathy Swanson, this film was in theaters in April 2018 and has a runtime of 103 minutes.
See this film at 7 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
This year's free family movie is "Alpha." This show is an epic adventure set in the last Ice Age. Alpha tells a story that shines a light on the origins of man's best friend. While on his first hunt with his tribe's most elite group, a young man is injured and must learn to survive alone in the wilderness. Reluctantly taming a lone wolf abandoned by its pack, the pair learn to rely on each other and become unlikely allies, enduring countless dangers and overwhelming odds in order to find their way home before winter arrives.
The film is directed by Albert Hughes and written by Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt. It's rated PG-13 and appeared in theaters August 2018 with a runtime of 97 minutes.
See this film at 4:30 p.m. Friday; 1:30 p.m. Saturday; and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
If you go
You can see all eight movies by buying a $35 pass. Single adult ticket is $7; single youth ticket is $5; and single senior ticket is $6. Tickets are for sale at Oma's Bread, Cozy Theatre, New York Mills Cultural Center, Beagle and Wolf Books in Park Rapids and the Staples World office.
Get all the details on their website, www.whiskeycreekfilmfestival.org.