The Film is the Thing

Sam Elliott stars as Lee Hayden in Brett Haley’s “The Hero,” making its regional debut at the 2017 Fargo Film Festival.

This year, the 17th annual Fargo Film Festival has 100 films being screened from Tuesday, March 21 through Saturday, March 25, making it nearly an entire week event. However, only one of the 100 films was made by local talent.

“We’re an international festival, so we have films from literally all over the world,” Emily Beck, the executive director of the Fargo Film Festival and the Fargo Theatre, said. “We do get some submissions from local artists, but a vast majority of the films we show come from different places. We have a film from Australia and another one from London. We get a lot of great stuff from all over.”

The biggest film of the year, according to Beck, would have to be Brett Haley’s  “The Hero.” “The Hero” premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival with extreme success. It will reach theaters this summer, but Fargo will be the regional debut.

Screening on Friday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m., “The Hero” stars Sam Elliott as Lee Hayden, an aging Western film star who receives an unexpected cancer diagnosis. As he faces death, Hayden attempts to begin a relationship with comic Charlotte (played by Laura Prepon) and reconnect with his daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter). Throw in Nick Offerman playing Hayden’s former co-star and drug dealer, and this star-studded but gripping drama is an instant classic.

After the screening, producers Erik Rommesmo and Jeff Schlossman will have a question and answer session for attendants.

Q&As are a unique feature of this year’s Film Festival.

“It’s a chance to interact and let our audience interact with artists that come from all over,” Beck said. “You can see a movie kind of whenever you want … But this is a unique chance to see a movie and, if you have questions, interact with someone afterward, which is really cool.”

“With 100 films showings, obviously we’re not going to get someone for every screening,” Beck continued. “We try to focus on Saturday, our biggest night. But each evening there will always be at least one artist present.”

Other big names coming to the Fargo Film Festival include “The Other Kids,” a fictumentary directed by Chris Brown, and “My Life as a Zucchini,” an Academy Award-nominated animated film by director Claude Barras.

“Whatever your taste in films is — whether it’s drama or action or sci-fi — we really have something for everybody,” Beck said. “Just dip the toe in. If you love movies, you will probably fall in love with the festival.”

The Festival opens on March 21 at 2:00 p.m. with the screening of “24-Hour Comic” at the Fargo Theatre. Tickets for students are available for $5, whether they come in the morning, afternoon or night. All tickets can be purchased at the Fargo Theatre Box Office at 314 Broadway N in Fargo, N.D.

More information and a full lineup of the films being screened and the times is available at

WHEN: March 21 – 25, times vary
WHERE: Fargo Theatre
PRICE: $5 for students
MORE INFO: Online or call (701) 239-8385

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