The Oscars may be over, but for Fargo-Moorhead film buffs, the awards season is just beginning.
Tuesday through Saturday, the iconic Fargo Theatre will be hosting the 15th annual Fargo Film Festival. This year’s agenda is packed with unique flicks for all tastes, including some exciting full-length features that are sure to garner crowds.
Executive director and producer Emily Beck said 4,000 people attended last year. But this year the theater is working to make it even better in hopes of record-breaking attendance.
“We try really hard to have something for everybody,” she said.
Beck, her colleagues and about 60 volunteers have spent almost a year preparing, sorting through online film submissions as early as last spring. This year there are 101 films featured during the four-day festival, and Beck has seen every single one.
“I have about five favorites this year, but I think the one that I’m most excited about is there is a new horror film, ‘It Follows,’” she said. “It’s really top-notch stuff.”
Out nation-wide on March 13, “It Follows” premiers locally at the festival at 7 p.m. Friday. It debuted at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and has since received much critical acclaim.
The story follows 19-year-old Jay, played by Maika Monroe, who gets the feeling she is being followed after an innocent sexual encounter. It is being praised as “one of the most striking American horror films in years” by the film review website The Dissolve.
If horror is not your thing, there are plenty of other choices. At 7 p.m. Thursday, the Williston, N.D.-based documentary “The Overnighters” tells the story of a pastor who opens his church’s doors to job-seekers with checkered pasts, to the chagrin of some community members. This film won the festival’s Bill Snyder Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Another big film set in the area is “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter,” which is based on a local legend about a misguided Japanese woman seeking treasure buried in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. Shot in both Japan and Minnesota, this movie will screen at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and has received substantial praise.
Each day of the festival has a morning, afternoon and evening screening. There are a lot of sessions to choose from, but Beck said which session she would pick to get a feel for this event.
“On Thursday at 7 p.m., there’s a session of short films,” she said. “That’s wonderful because it’s a variety … so if you just kind of want to dip your toe in the water, that Thursday show would be a great opportunity.”
At 7 p.m. Saturday, film artist John Waters closes the festival with his live show “This Filthy World: Filthier and Dirtier.” Afterward, he will stay for a Q&A session and book signing. Tickets for this show are sold separately at $34.50 per person. All sessions are $5 for students with ID.
Follow up on this story with Linda Norland’s review of “The Overnighters” out Thursday and her festival recap next Monday.
WHERE: Fargo Theatre, 314 Broadway N.
PRICE: $5 for students with ID
MORE INFO: www.fargofilmfestival.org/