It’s Showtime~

It’s cold. I know – the kind of cold 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 movie – we watch about 40 of them. We celebrate our coldness. Heck, we named a festival after it. Stay tuned, and you can come celebrate too, because I’m going to give away tickets.

Oh, “films” you say? *yawn* That’s just for intellectuals and students.

Well not so fast, Danielson (that’s a Karate Kid reference for all you movie buffs). If you had never been to this film festival then you might think that. You’d be wrong, but I understand the stereotype.

Yes, these are mostly documentaries, but definitely not the kind of stuff you fell asleep to 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 that might be taking it too far.

Like action flicks? Then you’ll love Wild Bill’s Run, a real life Arctic adventure movie about group of guys who tried to snowmobile over the top of the world in the early ’70s. There is crime. There is suspense. There is danger. Move over, Tom Cruise. Or if you’re an adrenalin junkie, Wednesday and Thursday nights’ film set has extreme skiing, highlining, backpacking, and even the guy who slacklined in on Madonna’s Superbowl half-time show.

There are films about all kinds of things that people are doing all over the world – like the girl who spent a year adventure volunteering, environmentalists who are crawling across glaciers, and traumatized soldiers who find healing on fly fishing streams in Montana. Education, health care, why the lady at McDonalds sued over hot coffee… it’s all there.

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 people like Penélope Cruz and Mickey Rooney hang out – though probably not together. And some of the films being shown this week are narrated by some of those famous people, and some have even been nominated for Academy Awards. We’re not kidding around here, folks.

And you can get a free massage or some acupuncture this weekend, take in a yoga class, or just decompress in the Rejuvenation Station. Oh yeah, and you can keep your kids busy just about all day for free with the kids film set, craft center, and outdoor obstacle course. This festival is seriously the coolest thing that will happen for 100 miles this winter, 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:

If I seem a little fired up, it’s because I just came home from a volunteer meeting for the festival – you’ll find me at the door ushering this weekend and introducing a film or two. And in exchange, they gave me a fist full of tickets, and I’m going to share them with you, because that’s how I am.

This will be a short contest because the time is near for the festival, so I will draw two (count them, TWO!) winners at 5 p.m. Tuesday, January 22, who will each get four tickets that can be used for any film sets, presentations, or workshops you want to attend. Use them all at once and bring friends, or keep them to yourself and attend four different things – it doesn’t matter. To enter the drawing, you have to leave a comment and tell me what film you’d like to see at the Frozen River Film Festival (hint, the schedule is on their website). You can only enter once, and the drawing will be via my very official method of cutting up the entries and putting them in a hat. I will announce your name here and on Visit Winona’s Facebook page Tuesday evening by 6 p.m., and you can swing by the Visit Winona office to pick them up starting Wednesday.

See you at the festival!

It may be frozen, but it's still beautiful down here in our scenic corner of the state.
It may be frozen, but it’s still beautiful down here in our scenic corner of the state.


21 thoughts on “It’s Showtime~

  1. Beth Moe says:

    We can’t wait for this weekend! We are looking forward to some amazing films. Bill has been to many more of the events than I have over the years, but we both plan to attend much the weekend’s festivities. The coolest thing that the festival is right here in our own backyard! We don’t have to travel, pay for a hotel, find dog sitters, etc. See this weekend!

  2. Mandy Weilandt says:

    I would love to see all of the films, but The Price of Sand would be at the top if my list along with Race to Nowhere.

  3. Kristin Thomas says:

    I heard chasing ice was terrific…want to see last light, moonwalk, numb, the price of sand…too many good ones!

  4. Robyn says:

    May I use your beautiful photo of the bench on the lake? As a member of the Exchange Club, we just repainted those benches.

    If so, would you send me the file?

    The photo would be used in our Exchange club records. We don’t print very many things.


  5. amber woodmansee says:

    I want to see Queen if The Sun since paying close attention to the bees is clearly very important to what is happening to our enviroment around us
    And I want to see Venus of Mars!!!
    I’m broke and love this festival 🙂

  6. Jade Fang says:

    The festival is just awesome. There were some incredible action movies last year. And just of incredible thought provoking ones in general. Check it out!

  7. Bob Tolson says:

    “Sketchy Andy” and “Hot Coffee” look interesting, but “My Home” definitely looks like it has the ability to hit home with me. The schedule looks great as usual this year!

  8. Cynthya says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen – we have winners!

    Sorry I’m late, but I couldn’t find any scissors. True story.

    Anyway – I also have a little surprise for you.

    I drew winners, but I didn’t draw two winners. I drew six!! I drew two big winners who get four tickets each, and four winners who get two tickets each! See, a little ticket fairy reminded me that I have some more volunteer tickets coming my way, so I’m giving away all the tickets I have.

    Our four-ticket winners are:
    Jack Wera
    Amber Woodmansee

    And our two-ticket winners are:
    Bob Tolson
    Alexandria Fisher
    Kristin Troska
    Rebecca (hey Rebecca, you need to give me your last name)

    YAY winners!!

    I will put your tickets in envelopes with your names and drop them at the Winona County History Center, 160 Johnson Street, in the morning. That’s where the Visit Winona office is, but I think the main receptionist will probably hold onto them at her desk.

    THANK YOU everyone for your comments – I hope I see you at the festival!

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