Greatest Local Films of the Decade?

posted by The Joe

I hadn’t intended to attempt to list the ‘greatest’ films that came out of the Twin Cities last decade – after all, I’ve only been here since 2004 and assumed that I must have missed a few things in the years prior. However, as I’m bordering on being a reputable source given the amount of local films I was able to see while working with the Homegrown Cinema Series and no other film writers have come forward to take a stab at this (they’d just give it to Sweet Land and Fear of Girls anyway), well golly gosh heck, why not?

BEST LOCAL INDIE FEATURE I DIDN’T WORK ONMurphy’s Law

While I’ve mostly been underwhelmed by the narrative feature output of the Twin Cities (though [Bits] was great), we do have a track record of producing really great documentaries like the ridiculously entertaining Bill’s Big Pumpkins and Mondo Collecto. At the top of this heap, however, I’d toss up Murphy’s Law.

Todd Pitman’s no-budget documentary follows a near-disastrous cross-country tour of the now-defunct band Look Down, and its amateur video style manages to charm, impress, and engage far more than the multitude of slick, soulless productions I’ve also seen come out of this state (just because you shoot HD doesn’t make your film good). It’s actually one of the better band-on-tour documentaries I’ve seen on any scale, plus it’s got music! You Twin Cities-ers love that, right?

Murphy’s Law – Trailer

BEST LOCAL INDIE FEATURE I DID WORK ONSeeking Wellness

Disclaimer: I was fortunate enough to work on this project as cinematographer, so take of this opinion as you will.

When not being the always-popular disposable horror sort, low-budget narrative films in the Twin Cities – and across the country, for that matter – have suffered this decade from still being pale incarnations of Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino films the directors grew up on. It’s gone a long way to ruin the reputation of the entire industry, and its nobody’s fault but the filmmakers themselves.

But then there’s Dan Schneidkraut’s supremely disturbing Seeking Wellness. The film exists in a universe all its own, comprised of four sections that explore human suffering and the ways we coping with them. Unpredictable and darkly hilarious, Seeking Wellness is a breath of fresh, terrifying air on the film landscape.

Seeking Wellness Part I: Cup of Friendship Shrine of Scars – Trailer

BEST LOCAL SHORT FILMDad & Me

It’s virtually impossible to keep up with the short film output of the Cities over the course of ten years. This is primarily an advertising town, so the short form is the natural inclination of would-be directors to try their hand, and there’s no way I could ever see all of the work.

But of what I have seen (which is still quite a damn lot), nothing comes close to Carrie Volk’s devastating Dad & Me. A 12-minute documentary focusing on the connection and separation between a father and daughter, I have yet to see anything more powerful be produced by a local filmmaker.

I cannot recommend strongly enough to watch it HERE.

BEST LOCALLY-SHOT STUDIO FILMA Serious Man

Well, yeah.

A Serious Man – Trailer

I don’t feel I should throw Best Local Music Video and Best Local Experimental Film into the mix, as these are categories I’ve barely followed through the years. However, from what I have been exposed to, I’m quite partial to two very recent works – Farewell Continental’s “Do You Wanna Tangle?” video and Michael Lord’s experimental work Ready All Fucking Ready in the Field, snuggling a friendly fire.

So anyway, there you go.

Monday, January 4th, 2010 at 4:42 am