From locally-grown and Minnesota-made music videos to a feature-length documentary about Japanese punk rock performance artists, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival offers an eclectic mix for local music lovers. The festival kicked off last night, April 7, and will continue through April 23 with events and screenings at venues around the Twin Cities. Here are five highlights. (Click the name of each film to see its listing with ticketing information.)
From punk bandleader to freestyle rap-battle champion, breakdancer to guitarist, performer and poet Micheal Larsen — also known as Eyedea — wore many hats in the local music and arts scene. With Larsen’s unexpected death in October of 2010, there was a hole left in the communities he touched. This film is a celebration of his life and work. Directed by Brandon Crowson, it aims to “tell the real story behind this unique underground artist.”
Wednesday, April 13 8:45 p.m. @ St. Anthony Main Theatre
Friday, April 22 2:40 p.m. @ St. Anthony Main Theatre
Samantha Montgomery is a caretaker for the elderly in New Orleans. Off duty, Montgomery transforms into Princess Shaw — posting video of her own songs on YouTube to a following that happens to include artist Ophir Kuiel. Located on the other side of the world, in Israel, Kuiel makes mixes of amateur musicians on YouTube, one of which included an original by Princess Shaw. This documentary unfolds as a tale of a rise of a viral video that changes lives thanks to an unlikely collaboration. As a special bonus, Montgomery herself is visiting Minneapolis for the festival.
Monday, April 11 7:10 p.m. @ St. Anthony Main Theatre
Tuesday, April 12 7:00 p.m. @ Uptown Theatre
“Where the heck is THE BIG WU?” You’ve seen the bumper sticker, now see the movie. A rock-doc in the classic mode, The Big Wu Way tells the story of jam band the Big Wu rising out of Minnesota in the 90s. It’s a tale of a group of guys, in your favorite state, pursuing what they love, and continuing to chase their dream. This film is to be premiered at MSPIFF on Saturday, April 9, at 7:00 p.m. at McNally Smith and will be followed by a live performance by the Big Wu at Amsterdam Bar and Hall.
Saturday, April 9 7:00 p.m. @ McNally Smith Auditorium
Tuesday, April 12 9:35 p.m. @ St. Anthony Main Theatre
Bandmates Yellow (Kengo Hioki) and Red (Kotaro Tsukada) have spent most of their adult life as Japanese punk-rock performance art outfit Peelander-Z. This story begins when Red announces he’s leaving the group. Mad Tiger is not trying to convince you that this is the best music group ever, nor is not a Peelander-Z highlight reel. The film’s appeal reaches far beyond the main characters’ fan base: it explores more than a lifestyle and amplifies what it’s like when a deep partnership ends. This is a top recommendation for musical lovers, or just plain humans.
Thursday, April 14 10:00 p.m. @ Uptown Theatre
Monday, April 18 9:50 p.m. @ St. Anthony Main Theatre
Since MTV doesn’t play them anymore, somebody has to. MSPIFF will be featuring some of Minnesota’s favorite musical and visual artists with a showing of a collection of selected music videos including cuts by Sean Anonymous and Rogue Valley. The screening of videos will be followed by a Q&A with some of the directors and musicians. This event is part of the 2016 Minnesota Music Summit and is free to the public.
Saturday, April 9 4:30 p.m. @ McNally Smith Auditorium
Bridget Bennett is a student at the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities.