Famous actors, film makers and an Academy Award-winning film are only a few of the many events drawing people to the Fargo Theatre for the eleventh annual Fargo Film Festival.

The Fargo Film Festival kicked off on March 1, and will host its final events this weekend, March 4 and 5.

Emily Beck, Fargo Theatre film programmer and festival coordinator, is one of the many people who helped organize this year’s events, bringing award-winning director Guy Maddin and actor Doug Jones to the festival to discuss their films and their work.
“It’s a really good opportunity for people who love movies to talk to people who make them,” Beck said.

Maddin has received numerous awards for his films, including the Telluride Silver Medal for lifetime achievement. Jones has been a featured actor in many films including “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy” and “The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.”

Festival senior co-chair Greg Carlson, a faculty member of the communication studies and theater art department at Concordia, gave an on-stage discussion with Jones on March 3. Carlson has been involved with the Fargo Film Festival since it began 11 years ago.

“My life has been enriched by the relationships with others who share that passion and vision for movies,” he said.

Carlson often works behind the scenes of the Fargo Film Festival, but he also directed a short documentary called “Lines of Communication” that will debut March 4, at 11:20 a.m. His film is one of many being featured at the festival, along with one film that recently received an Academy Award.

“The Lost Thing,” an animated short film featured at the Fargo Film Festival, received the Academy Award for short animated film this year. Four other animated films featured at the festival were also nominated for this award.

“It’s not uncommon for us to have previous, current, or future Academy Award nominees and winners,” Carlson said.

“The Lost Thing” is about a boy who finds a lost creature and tries to find a home for it while other people are indifferent to the creature’s struggle.

“It’s like a painting coming to life,” Carlson said. “They are forest creatures and they are so beautiful you can’t take your eyes off them.”

“The Lost Thing” will make its debut at the Festival March 4 at 7:30 p.m.

The Fargo Film Festival is also well known for its two-minute movie contest, which will take place March 4 at 9:30 p.m. Films in this contest can be anywhere from the full two minutes to a mere five seconds long.

“The two-minute movie contest is one of the most dynamic and engaging events of the festival,” Carlson said. “The audience is always very vocal and rambunctious.”

The two-minute film contest features a variety of different film genres from places all over the world, including countries like Iceland and Hungary.

“Some of them are absolutely stunning,” Carlson said. “You wouldn’t believe how much can be told in two minutes.”

Junior Suzanne Redekopp first experienced the Fargo Film Festival last year during their two-minute movie contest, and now she is the Concordia College intern for the festival and planning has kept her very busy.

“For the weeks leading up, I helped a lot with getting things together,” Redekopp said.

Redekopp is involved in setting up the events, parties, creating Wiki pages and picking up the different actors and directors from the airport for their film debuts.

Dozens of short and full-length films will be featured in the Festival, along with over an hour of two-minute movie contest pieces.

“There’s a wide variety of comedies, dramas, documentaries, animations and there’s something for everybody,” Beck said.

The Fargo Film Festival will end tomorrow night with six films, including “The Lost Thing,” and the winner of the two-minute movie contest.

“I encourage everyone to pick a session that looks interesting to you, sample it and talk to some people,” Carlson said. “I promise they are itching for conversation and they would love to talk to you about movies.”