2:00 PM // Kayak to Klemtu
14-year-old Ella, a First Nations teenager, is determined to travel British Columbia's Inside Passage by kayak to honor her recently lost activist uncle and to testify on his behalf to protect their homeland waters from an oil pipeline's oil tanker traffic. Paddling and camping along the Great Bear Rainforest, Ella realizes that she has never truly connected with her Kitasoo nation's natural wonders and traditions. Ella must confront her insecurities about her identity while enduring the often comic mishaps of the mixed crew of family members who accompany her. The spirits of her uncle and ancestors keep them on course to the island of Klemtu even as Ella experiences a very real sense of fear and running out of time. Together they must reconcile with the past in order to protect their future from environmental destruction. Starring Indigenous singer-songwriter, youth activist, and international speaker Ta'Kaiya Blaney.
Zoe Leigh Hopkins is a Canadian Heiltsuk/Mohawk writer and film director who started her career in acting in 2009 and later pursued filmmaking. Zoe was Senior Producer on Venturing Forth — a documentary series about Aboriginal youth. She was a Fellow at the Sundance Institute's January 2004 Screenwriter's Lab.
"[A] soulful gesture free of artifice and grandiosity. That it comes with activism attached is not a bonus, but its very point." - Globe and Mail
4:15 PM // One Last Deal
A film festival favorite, Finnish director Klaus Haro (The Fencer, 2016, Letters to Father Jacob, 2010) reunites with his brilliant Father Jacob actor Heikki Nousiainen for One Last Deal, the story of an aging, soon-to-retire, art dealer who wants to go out on top, despite his failing business. And when he sees a beautiful painting up for auction that seems to be misidentified, he smells his chance.
All his life, 72-year-old widower Olavi has put business interests before family, resulting in an estranged adult daughter and a teen grandson he barely knows. He's a dinosaur of the art world, keeping his records on file cards and contacting his clients by phone. He doesn't know how to use mobile phones or the internet until grandson Otto arrives in fulfillment of a school assignment. Despite some initial friction, the pair start to get along, especially after Olavi enlists Otto in his quest to authenticate the painting.
Klaus Härö was born in 1971 in Porvoo, Finland. He has directed a range of award-winning feature films to date and is a recipient of the Ingmar Bergman Award, having been personally selected by Bergman to receive the honor.
6:30 PM // Ode to Joy
Martin Freeman, Morena Baccarin, Jake Lacy, and Melissa Rauch star in this comedy about a man afflicted by fainting spells whenever he experiences extreme emotions, especially joy. Troubles ensue when he falls in love. From renowned actor, filmmaker, showrunner Jason Winer (ABC's Modern Family) comes this tale inspired by a This American Life radio story. Freeman stars as Charlie, afflicted with cataplexy, a neurological condition that is as dehibatiling as it is largely unknown. Making the best of his situation, Charlie has developed a daily routine to help manage his symptoms that involves listening to somber music and a mantra of dark thoughts to stave off feelings of joy. His life as a librarian is stable, for the most part, until the arrival of Francesca (Baccarin), who turns Charlie's world upside down (literally) and causes him to reconsider everything he understood about happiness.
American director, writer and comedian Jason Winer is well-known for his work in both television in film. He is one of the main directors on the hit series Modern Family and also made the film Arthur (11).
MSPIFF is Minnesota’s largest film event and one of the longest running film festivals in the country. Showcasing the latest international independent documentary and fiction films from around the globe, #MSPIFF offers audiences countless opportunities to engage with visiting filmmakers and stars from around the world.