36th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film FestivalMN Made Feature Narrative Competition
Representative of the abundance of and diversity in local filmmaking, Minnesota Made returns with a slate of must-see new films from Minnesota-based and Minnesota-native filmmakers. For our home-grown juried competitions, awards are given for films that exemplify standout achievements in feature length narrative filmmaking.
Nicole Brending’s films have screened at over 50 festivals worldwide, garnering awards at Academy-qualifying festivals such as the "Prix de Varti" at Ann Arbor, "Best of the Fest" at Palm Springs, and a Student Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. As a screenwriter she has worked with Nicole Kidman, Catherine Hardwicke, and Robert Evans among others and most recently she was selected for the 2015 Nantucket Screenwriters Colony. Her work has received support from the Jerome Foundation (2007, 2008, 2012), the McKnight Foundation (2009), the Milos Foreman Finishing Fund, and her feature project Preservation was an official selection to the 2011 Berlinale Co-Production Market. Brending is currently in pre-production on a film starring Olafur Darri Olafsson with Beech Hill Films, as well as a music video for Haley Bonar. She received her MFA from the Film Program at Columbia University.
Christina Ham’s plays have been developed and produced both nationally and internationally with the Kennedy Center, The Guthrie Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Goodman Theater, Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, SteppingStone Theatre, Arielle Tepper Madover off-Broadway at Theater Row with the Summer Play Festival, and the Tokyo International Arts Festival among others. Her play Four Little Girls was directed by Phylicia Rashad at the Kennedy Center to a sold-out audience to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. It was simultaneously presented/and or produced in 47 states across the country on the same day with Condoleezza Rice and Eric Holder conducting the talk back in Birmingham. Ham is a two-time recipient of a McKnight Fellowship for Playwrights and a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, the Marianne Murphy Women & Philanthropy Award in Playwriting, and a MacDowell Colony Residency. Most recently she was a nominee for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and was nominated for Center Theater Group’s Richard E. Sherwood Award for Distinguished Emerging Theater Artist. She has received commissions from The Guthrie Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Park Square Theatre for Nina Simone: Four Women that will have its World Premiere in March 2016. Her feature 626 Broadway was a semi-finalist for Paramount Pictures’ Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project and her feature Booker was a finalist for Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access program. Her plays are published by Dramatic Publishing, Heinemann, PlayScripts, Inc., and Smith and Kraus.
Rob Nilsson has made over 35 feature films and has won awards including the Camera d’Or, Cannes Film Festival for Northern Lights, the Grand Prize at Sundance for Heat and Sunlight and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Marlon Riggs Award for the 9 @ Night Film Cycle. Film festival Lifetime Achievement Awards and Retrospectives include Moscow, Varna (Bulgaria), Armenia, Syracuse, St. Louis, Kansas City, Mill Valley, Hong Kong and New Dehli. He has won the Neil Simon Award for screenwriting, a Rockefeller Grant, the Milley Award for Artistic Achievement from the city of Mill Valley, and is the creator of the Direct Action system of actor preparation and production used in feature films he has produced in America, Europe, Africa and Asia. He was also a pioneer in video to film transfer, with the history making SignalL 7 (1986) just restored by the Pacific Film Archives, the first feature film transferred from small format video to 35mm for international theatrical distribution. His films are currently being collected by IndieCollect to be archived in the Sundance Collection at the UCLA Film Archives. His newest film Permission to Touch premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival in 2015. Next Year in Bologna, produced with the International Film Academy in Bologna, Italy, Love Twice and Divorced are Direct Action feature films in post production. Children Born of the Water, now in development, depicts the encounter of two couples separated by 1500 years of time who meet on a deserted island after an environmental disaster seeking a different way to begin again.