It’s winter. I know — it’s the kind of season that makes you want to hunker down under a blanket to watch a good movie. Well, here in Winona, we like to hunker down too, but we do it together at the Frozen River Film Festival, and we don’t just watch one move — we watch dozens. We celebrate our coldness. Heck, we named a festival after it. And it’s right around the corner on February 24-28.
Oh, “films?” you say with a yawn? Maybe it sounds like a film festival would just be a bunch of droll documentaries for intellectuals and students.
Well not so fast, Danielson (that’s a Karate Kid reference for all you movie buffs). If you have never been to this film festival, then you might think that. You’d be wrong, but I understand the stereotype, because I used to think it myself before I actually attended the event.
Yes, these are mostly documentaries, but definitely not the kind of stuff you fell asleep watching in 10th grade social studies (social studies teachers, don’t call me. Some of those films are really boring). These are films about action and adventure and life and the world, and they make you happy and sad and inspired and smarter. I wish I could say richer and more successful too, but I’d be taking it too far.
Are you an adrenaline junkie? Then you’ll love the action set Thursday that includes short films on extreme skateboarding, glacier snowboarding, mountain climbing, LED lit skiing, and so on. This stuff is nail-biting cool, and, as someone famously coined for monster truck rallies, they’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge. If social issues pique your interest, this festival is full of contemplative pieces from around the world that examine religion, heritage, the planet, and a skateboarding cat. No, really. There is a kids’ film set too for the little ones, or, er, the big ones if you like that kind of thing. And if your taste is for westerns, how about “Unbranded,” a docudrama about a group of young men riding border to border across the United States on wild mustangs? This list goes on and on and on. Not so droll, right?
This event has films about all kinds of things that people are doing all over the world — brave things, important things, unforgettable things, funny things — and if you can’t find something that you like in this lineup, then it’s because you’re not trying. Trust me on this.
Frozen River Film Festival brings in some of the very same films that packed the house at the Telluride and Sundance film festivals — you know, where big stars hang out and tickets cost half of your IRA. But this unique festival is on the Mississippi River, and a few bucks will get you in. And films that have come to Winona with this festival in the past have been nominated for Academy Awards and Emmys – and won them. We’re not kidding around here, folks — Winona is known far and wide as the City of Festivals, and we are definitely living up to our fame with this event.
I have been blown away every time I went to this festival – I met interesting people and saw some pretty amazing things and – and I’m not just saying this — it is seriously the coolest thing that will happen for 100 miles this winter for tourists and locals alike, and you should be here. Quit hunkering down at home alone and come watch movies with us. You can even bring your blanket. Everything you need to know is here: www.frff.org