MINNEAPOLIS – The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul has announced that the 2011 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival is slated for April 14 through May 5 — presenting over 170 films from some 50 countries at the five-screen St. Anthony Main Theatre. For three weeks, the Twin Cities celebrates the arrival of the best of international and independent filmmaking in the region.

Included in this year’s programming is a great slate of French films marking the Year of France in Minnesota.  Also noteworthy: an impressive group of music-themed films, and the ever-popular Minnesota-Made Showcase.  In addition, the Festival will host many visiting filmmakers from all corners of the globe participating in panel discussions and presentations, and attending a host of Festival receptions and gala events. Two of those people, Michael Henry Wilson and Carole Wilson, the filmmakers behind South Africa’s Reconciliation: Mandela’s Miracle, will be among those in attendance at the festival!

The following films are among those that will be presented at the festival:

David Wants to Fly
Documentary
Directed by David Sieveking
Germany, 2010, in German with English Subtitles
Young German filmmaker David Sieveking is at a crossroads. Finished with film school and struggling to find inspiration for his first feature, he stumbles across an ad for a creativity workshop led by his idol, the celebrated filmmaker and practitioner of Transcendental Meditation (TM), David Lynch. Packing his bags, Sieveking sets off on a journey that begins at the Maharishi University of Enlightenment in Fairfield, Iowa, takes him as far as the source of the Ganges River in India, and ends in Berlin atop a crumbling relic of the Cold War. David Wants to Fly brings about the almost accidental emergence of a strong new voice in documentary filmmaking. What begins as an artistic pilgrimage quickly becomes a tale of the fallibility of idols. Alternately tongue-in-cheek and acutely critical, Sieveking’s latest film reveals that the more you search for inner peace, the more complicated matters can get.

Gunnar Goes God
Narrative
Directed by Gunnar Hall Jensen
Norway, 2010, Norwegian with English Subtitles
The Scandinavian family man Gunnar feels that despite having everything he needs in his middle-class life, something is missing. He longs for silence and spirituality, and decides to travel to the world’s first Christian monastery in Egypt to find some answers. During the journey we take part in Gunnar’s associations, dreams, memories, questioning the way we organize our lives, but also the problematic potential in organized religion. In the monastery, Gunnar takes part in the everyday life of the monks, asking them questions about reality, solitude and death. Is their reality based on silence, prayers and meditation, something we in our rational reality long for and maybe need? Is it possible to bring something of this into our lives? – Norwegian Film Institute

Reconciliation: Mandela’s Miracle
Documentary
Directed by Michael Henry Wilson
South Africa, 2010, in English
Nelson Mandela saved his country from bloody civil war and dismantled the system of apartheid through the spirit of reconciliation. Reconciliation: Mandela’s Miracle details the events that lead up to what South African’s have coined “Mandela’s miracle,” a strategy that shepherded in a peaceful transition from apartheid to a democracy. It is driven by the notion that even the most terrible tyranny can be overcome through reconciliation, as both the oppressed and the oppressors need to be liberated from the vice-grip of prejudice and injustice. Additionally, we visit Clint Eastwood on the set of Invictus. His outsider’s perspective finds in Mandela an exemplary hero who broke down an inhumane ideology after having been its most notorious victim: “a Biblical figure” whose wisdom will be a source of inspiration for future generations. He sums it up simply: “The world needs people like him.”  – Michael Henry Wilson, director

For more information about the 2011 International Film Festival and other Film Society Programming contact Ryan Oestreich, at 612.331.7563, or visit The Film Society website at www.mspfilmsociety.org.

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