MINNEAPOLIS – As spring makes its way to the Twin Cities, so will a spate of new films promoting cultural understanding of people across the globe. This is the primary mission of the Beyond Borders Film Festival, which features films and cultural performances with a strong emphasis on cultural heritage. The festival will become a permanent fixture in the Twin Cities’ arts scene, appearing annually.

These monks are featured in the film, Unwinking Gaze.
These monks are featured in the film, Unwinking Gaze.

“My hope for the festival is to use film to bring together people from different communities and cultures, people who would not ordinarily be sitting in the same room together,” says festival founder Cortland Dahl, who divides his time between Minneapolis; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Bodhgaya, India. “Our aim is to show artistically significant films that also have the power to inform people about the world’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage, about the important issues that are confronting our world, and to inspire them to get involved at a grassroots level.”

From Wednesday, March 25, through Sunday, March 29, the Beyond Borders Film Festival will showcase a variety of films at the recently renovated Parkway Theater at 4814 Chicago Ave. S. in Minneapolis.

What to expect:

  • March 25-26 – Films and performances by and about Native Americans. The White Earth Urban Community Council will host a drumming circle, and Ojibwe jingle dancers will also be featured. Well-known advocate and former vice presidential candidate Winona LaDuke, local film producer and community activist Sydney Beane, award-winning Mohawk writer/director Tracey Deer, and Minnesota filmmaker Missy Whiteman will make special appearances. Native American items will be sold in a silent auction.
  • March 27 – Films spotlighting Buddhist wisdom, including The Unwinking Gaze by director Joshua Dugdale, which provides behind-the-scenes insight into the recent working life of Tibet’s revered Dalai Lama; another award-winner, The Dhamma Brothers by director Jenny Phillips, focuses on the influence of an ancient meditation discipline on maximum-security prison inmates in Alabama; and Daughters of Wisdom, Barry Perlman’s film about 300 nuns living in a remote monastery in Northeastern Tibet.
  • March 28-29 – Screening of new, A-list independent films from emerging and cutting-edge American directors, as well as exciting new world cinema from countries including India, China, Canada, and Turkey.
  • And for children: Special programming to encourage them to stretch their imaginations and learn about different people and cultures. The children’s film program will run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings and will include a variety of animated film shorts. Thursday and Friday’s kids’ program will include a performance by an Ojibwe storyteller.

Ticket prices are $10 per screening for adults, and $5 per screening for children. An all-access pass for the entire festival is $75, $30 for a five-show pass (doesn’t include opening or closing night; tickets for those nights are $15 at the door and $12 online). Visit www.beyondbordersfilmfestival.com

Critically acclaimed independent films
Several films on the Beyond Border’s line-up have recently received recognition at large film festivals and have garnered other critical recognition. The Austrian film Revanche, one that has won 14 awards, including awards from the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival, the 2008 Berlin Panorama, the CICAE and the 2008 Diagonale, has now been nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film. It will receive its Twin Cities premiere at the Beyond Borders Film Festival.

Art & Copy was recently screened at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and Tricks, which has played to international acclaim, is Poland’s entry to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Lance Daly’s Irish film Kisses, a unique coming-of-age story set in the night streets of Dublin, won the Best Feature Award at the 2008 Galway Film Festival, and has screened at the Toronto, Telluride, London and Palm Springs film festivals.

The festival’s finale will include the highly anticipated film Sugar, also an official selection at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the dramatic category Grand Jury Prize. And Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the film’s directors and the directors of the 2006 hit Half Nelson, will make guest appearances. Sugar was nominated for the IFC Spirit Award’s Best Screenplay.

The weirdly hilarious Big Man Japan, a mockumentary that one one-line critic calls “gleefully bizarre” and the San Francisco International Film Festival described as “an immensely pleasurable, amusingly outrageous future cult classic,” is part of Magnolia Pictures’ Six Shooter Film Series. It is the festival’s midnight madness show. It held the same spot at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.


Beyond Borders Film Festival is sponsored by the India Center Initiative at the University of Minnesota, Comcast Corporation, Go East, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, The Edge, KFAI Radio and City Pages, among others. Beyond Borders Film Festival, presented by the Rimé Foundation, features films and cultural performances to raise awareness of the need for more international cross-cultural understanding, to get the general public involved in cross-cultural exchanges, and to promote local cultural and social organizations. Established in 2004, the Rimé Foundation takes its inspiration from the Tibetan word “rimé,” which means “without bias.” The Rimé Foundation is a non-profit organization advocating for the respect for, and willingness to learn from, cultural traditions from around the world. While the Rimé Foundation is dedicated to preserving the wisdom of Tibet and to making this unique tradition accessible to people in the West, it also seeks to establish conditions by which all cultural traditions can identify common goals and thrive in an environment of mutual support and harmony. For more information about the Rimé Foundation, visit www.rimefoundation.org. For more on the festival, visit www.beyondbordersfilmfestival.com.

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