THE CURTAIN CLOSES ON MSPIFF 2016 WITH CELEBRATION OF RECORD SUCCESSES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Festival at heart of Twin Cities’ thriving film culture marks 35th year — Announces new major Academy grant for 2017 Festival
MINNEAPOLIS – May 24, 2016 – That’s a wrap for the 35th annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF). 2016 was a banner year for the festival, with increased attendance, a bumper crop of new films, an expanded country list, and features including new categories and a new Tribute honoree program.
“We’re thrilled at the reception from the public for this year’s festival,” said Susan Smoluchowski, executive director of the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, organizer of MSPIFF. “We saw a 10 percent growth in ticket sales and revenue for 2016 over last year, keeping pace with a double-digit growth trend we’ve experienced the last five years. This is a great sign for the health of our organization and it speaks to the love of international film we’ve helped cultivate in our community.”
The festival broke exciting new ground this year with several fresh-for-2016 offerings. The first honoree for the festival’s new “Tribute” series was named: pioneering female Canadian-Indian director Deepa Mehta made her first-ever trip to the Twin Cities to present her newest film Beeba Boys, the Mid-Fest Special Presentation, along with a retrospective of her earlier work, and participate in several panel discussions. The fest also reached into parts of Minnesota culture that are too often unseen by the mainstream: the MN Made Narrative Feature Award-winner, A Stray, by Musa Syeed, shot entirely in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood, and the closing night presentation and the first feature-length documentary from director Jack Pettibone Riccobono, The Seventh Fire, which tells the story of two Ojibwe men who live on Minnesota’s own White Earth Indian Reservation.
“Our 400+ screenings, unique events, probing discussions, and festive parties drew an estimated 45,000 film lovers this year,” said Smoluchowski, “with more countries represented than ever before, more appearances from visiting filmmakers and producers, and new participating venues, including the A-Mill Artists Residences and the Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis, and Metropolitan State University and McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul. We worked to assemble an illuminating, diverse, inclusive program, and the response we’ve received indicates that next year will bring even more success for MSPIFF.”
The Film Society is also pleased to announce that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has chosen to support MSPIFF’s Black Cinema: Under the Skin with a special grant. Black Cinema: Under the Skin, one of 37 proposals selected for funding out of a field of 190, will be presented by the Film Society as a monthly series at the St. Anthony Main Theatre and at the Capri Theatre in North Minneapolis, and as a Spotlight of the 2017 MSPIFF.
MSPIFF is supported by Legacy Amendment Funding through the Minnesota State Arts Board, Cedarwoods Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, The Star Tribune, US Bank Wealth Management, with special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and numerous international Consulates and generous members of the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, among many others. For details, visit mspfilm.org/festivals/mspiff.