FFF 13 Counts Down to the 2-Minute Movie Contest


The Fargo Film Festival’s popular 2-Minute Movie Contest returns tonight, Friday, March 8, beginning at 9:30pm at the Fargo Theatre.

Admission is two dollars.

More than forty very short movies will be screened and judged this year, and the winner will have the honor of being shown during the festival’s closing night session on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

From parodies to fantasies, the 2-Minute Movie Contest showcases a wide range of content in a program where anything can – and often does – show up on the ??????? ???????????? ? ????????? ??????? screen You might cringe, you may roll your eyes once or twice, and you’ll almost certainly laugh at some of the movie snapshots on parade. Remember our motto: if you don’t like the movie on the screen, just wait two minutes and there will be something else to see.

FAIR WARNING: The 2-Minute Movie Contest may feature adult material, including some profanity and violent and sexual content that would typically be rated R and ??????? ???????????? ? ????????? ??????? NC-17 Viewer discretion is advised.

Wild Bill’s Run at FFF 13 on March 7


Interview by Greg Carlson

Full disclosure: I have known filmmaker Mike Scholtz since I was in elementary school. His sister Ann spotted me reading X-Men comic books during milk break and figured Mike and I would hit it off. Not long after, Mike invited me to his birthday sleepover party, which happened during the time when people rented a VCR and three movies for a weekend. He selected “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Eraserhead,” and “The Making of Thriller.” To this day, we spend time discussing Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, and Michael Jackson.

Mike’s first feature-length documentary, “Wild Bill’s Run,” has enjoyed a successful film festival run and will be shown on Thursday, March 7 during the Fargo Film Festival’s evening session. Mike will be in attendance to talk about the strange trip of Minnesota outlaw and adventurer Bill Cooper.    


If I remember correctly, you became acquainted with Bill Cooper’s story through a 2006 Minnesota Monthly article by Paul Lundgren that eventually led you to a treasure trove of 16mm film from the expeditions. Has Paul seen the movie and shared his reactions with you?

That’s true. Paul’s article dealt almost exclusively with the second act of Bill Cooper’s life, when he was accused of being Minnesota’s top drug smuggler and landed himself on the U.S. Marshal’s Ten Most Wanted List. But Paul was equally fascinated by the Arctic expedition that Cooper led before all the criminal allegations started piling up. Paul got me in touch with the expedition members—who had recently rediscovered a whole bunch of the 16mm footage they shot in the 70s—and we started making the film.

When Paul finally saw “Wild Bill’s Run,” he was delighted. He’d become seriously obsessed with Bill Cooper and I think he might’ve gone broke spending the rest of his life tracking down every angle of this story. It was fun for him to have someone else do a little bit of the dirty work. I guess that makes him sound like a puppet master. I know he’s already dreaming up other documentary ideas for me to adapt and/or adopt some day.


A question about questions. What is the best thing anyone has asked about “Wild Bill’s Run” at a post-screening Q & A?

Can I share the worst thing, instead? Although I guess it was kind of the best thing, too. Our screening at the Free Range Film Festival was one of my favorites. We had more than 300 people crammed into this old wooden barn outside of Duluth. But the Q & A after the film was bizarre. All of the questions were about snowmobile repair. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have any idea what a blower belt is.

Fortunately, some of the members of the expedition were on hand to answer those questions. It’s always fun when those guys can join me for a Q & A and to see them treated a bit like celebrities.


Have you ever ridden a snowmobile?

My dad took me for a snowmobile ride when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was dirty, smelly and loud. So I hated it. I realize that makes me a pretty lousy ambassador for my own film. But I absolutely love the design of vintage snowmobiles, if that’s any consolation.


What is the allure of the chinstrap beard?

Cooper was kind of a genius when it came to selling himself as a product. I don’t know how many Arctic expedition leaders think to hire two full-time photographers just to document their journey. But he did. And he also realized, pretty early on, that the only way to stand out from the rest of the identically-dressed expedition members would be to have some crazy facial hair. That chinstrap beard sets you apart from the crowd. I’d recommend it for anyone who wants to be remembered.


Short of discovering that Bill Cooper is alive, what is the one thing you did not or could not get that you wish you could have included in WBR?

I wish I could’ve returned to some of the Arctic locations that Bill Cooper’s expedition visited in the 1970s. I would’ve loved to talk to some of the people who might’ve remembered the sight of these dirty, lost Americans stumbling into their towns and villages. It just didn’t seem worth the expense, since I already had so much fantastic Arctic footage from the 70s. But it would’ve been fun.


Of all the festivals and places WBR has played, which has been the most exciting/rewarding for you?

I have to cheat and give two answers here.

The most exciting festival was the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Alberta, Canada. I think they must pump adrenaline through the HVAC system at the Banff Center. When I arrived for that festival, they told me straight up that my film was a weird and almost controversial pick for them. Banff specializes in adventure, but their programmers and audiences tend to steer clear of films that feature motorized sports (like snowmobiling).

I think they were actually a little nervous about running the film. But it played to a huge audience that really loved it. Shortly after that, they invited “Wild Bill’s Run” to play with some of their other favorites from the festival on the Banff World Tour. So, thanks to Banff, my film is playing all over the world.

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival was just as rewarding. They hold that festival now in a giant old art deco hotel. Your room and all the screenings are in one building. You can literally roll out of bed and head downstairs and see screenings all day long every day for 10 days. It was like summer camp for documentary filmmakers. I almost cried when I had to leave all my new friends behind there.


We are both devoted admirers of “The King of Kong.” What are some other non-fiction movies that inspire you?

I do love “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” very, very much. I think it’s a nearly perfect example of the kind of story you can only tell with a documentary, the kind of story that fits in the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction category. Had somebody written those characters and situations, it just wouldn’t have been believable.

Other films that have inspired me in one way or another include “F for Fake,” “Manda Bala,” “American Movie” and anything by Werner Herzog. He has a knack for uncovering deep wells of twisted weirdness inside even the most mundane interview subjects.

I’m also a huge fan of sports documentaries like “When We Were Kings” and “Dogtown and Z-Boys.” Since I don’t follow sports at all, I often have no idea how the films are going to end. It’s nice to be surprised.

As a kid, I loved the documentary TV series “In Search of…” hosted by Leonard Nimoy. So I really wanted “Wild Bill’s Run” to feel a little bit like a long-lost, extra-long episode of that show. That was the biggest inspiration for this particular film.


 A couple decades ago you worked at the Fargo Theatre and now you have a movie playing in the Fargo Film Festival. Congratulations.

I’m pretty excited to have “Wild Bill’s Run” play at the Fargo Film Festival because I practically grew up inside the Fargo Theatre. I live in Duluth now, but I still like to think of the Fargo Film Festival as my hometown ???????????? ?? ? ??????????? ??????? festival I try to come every single year, even if I don’t have a film ???????????? ?? ? ??????????? ??????? playing

Hal Hartley at FFF 13 on March 6


Interview by Greg Carlson

Filmmaker Hal Hartley will be in Fargo on Wednesday evening, March 6 to screen his most recent feature “Meanwhile” as well as thirty minutes of additional, specially selected material. Hartley will accept the Ted M. Larson Award from the Fargo Film Festival following the screenings and engage in an on-stage conversation. The event begins at 7pm at the Fargo Theatre and tickets are available at the door.


“Meanwhile” places its protagonist in a New York City that appears to be mutating and changing through busy construction and enterprise of all kinds. How does NYC compare to Berlin, where you lived for several years?

It’s about speed. Berlin mutates very slowly, NYC by the day! Part of the irony of Joe’s story is that these brief easy generous encounters he has happen in a city that is perfectly unsentimental. There is no point in becoming fond of a certain street or a cafe or a group of shops. They’ll be gone in a decade.

Even the kinds of people one would, say in Berlin, associate with a certain neighborhood… That happens less and less in New York. It’s in constant flux. But kindness does happen. Easy selfless interaction between strangers. It’s odd.


In “Meanwhile,” Joe Fulton seems to spend a great deal of his time helping others, even at his own expense. Is Joe a genuine altruist?

DJ Mendel (who plays Joe) and I never discussed Joe’s altruism. In fact, we found it more helpful to think of his willingness and ability to help others as some kind of “defect.” Some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder.

He’s a can-do guy, a born fixer, but he has trouble prioritizing his efforts. He can’t keep himself from fixing something if it is broken. Anyway, if Joe is an altruist, he doesn’t know it. We knew we were creating a character who is very unusual this way.


Where does altruism fit in a society accelerated by and in the grip of the solipsism fostered by handheld electronics, smart-phones and social media?

Again, I don’t know if I can call it altruism if it is, on Joe’s part, unconscious. But we found comedy in the fact that this perfectly honest and forthright man would be (to the police, for instance) suspicious for being forthright, not calculated and perfectly transparent. But Joe would certainly seem to challenge solipsism. He doesn’t seem to acknowledge a boundary between himself and others.

I think it is worth pointing out that I have been taken to task by some younger journalists in the mainstream entertainment press for being “dogmatic” in this film. I find that really interesting. I can only guess they take umbrage with Joe’s impatience with a young girl’s histrionic suicide appeal. Or maybe it is Joe’s never complaining about his own plight?


As we spend time with Joe, there is little outward difference between his public and his private behavior. His basic decency raises as many questions as it answers. To what extent is Joe designed to be presented to the viewer as “what you see is what you get”?

Yes, I’m not a big one for subtext. Joe’s complexities are there to be seen for what they are, contradictions, even, that become meaningful, if not perfectly analyzed, as he moves through his day.


I understand that at one point, “Meanwhile” might have been an ongoing series. It occurred to me during the movie that so many of the people encountered by Joe – like Danielle Meyer’s Wendy, Chelsea Crowe’s woman on the bridge, and Penelope Lagos’ Tuesday – invite all sorts of intriguing possibilities. Do you think about or construct inner lives for all these characters? Or is the mystery more appealing?

I myself do construct all sorts of inner lives for the characters. And I imagine possible further interaction between the characters. It starts in the writing but once I cast a role the personality and the manner of the actor suggest things too.

For instance, Penelope’s sharp, concise, ultra efficient manner as she first read for Tuesday gave me and her the idea that, though she distrusts Joe, she is intrigued by him too. If I had gone on to make a series there would have been a love affair going on there at some point.


Joe never meets Tuesday in person, but the audience is allowed the privilege of seeing that she has taken the time to read his substantial, unpublished book. Books are often present in your work as a very particular mode of communication distinct from face-to-face, interpersonal interaction. What is special to you about the printed word?

People reflect more when they read. More so than when they watch movies, I think. And in most cases more than when they are talking to each other. Though, of course, there are exceptions.


Do you spend more time reading books or watching movies?

Reading books.


You have often mentioned Terrence Malick as a filmmaker whose work you admire. What recent films and filmmakers earn your recommendation?

I don’t watch films until they have been out for two years and all the silliness and hype are over and ???????????? ?????? ? ???????? forgotten That said, of course, Malick, the films of Kelly Reichardt: “Old Joy” and “Wendy and ???????????? ?????? ? ???????? Lucy” Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos” miniseries… Godard’s “Film Socialisme,” a great little film called “Exit Elena,” by a young man from Brooklyn called Nathan Silver…

Fargo Film Festival 2013 Program Schedule

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The Fargo Film Festival is pleased to announce the 2013 program ???????? ??????? ????????????? ? ????????? ??????? schedule


Tuesday Evening Session, March 5th

7:00pm – Hjemkomst: Thirty Years Later – Invited Film (11m)

8:05pm – When They Were Kings: The NDSU-UND Rivalry – Invited Film (90m)


Wednesday Morning Session, March 6th

10:00am – Happy Voodoo – Narrative Short (8m)

10:10am – Storywoods – Student Film (8m)

10:20am – How NOT to Quit Your Day Job – Narrative Short (39m)

11:00 am – Future Learning – Invited Film (13m)

11:15am – Shape of Things to Come – Documentary Short (16m)

11:30am – Buzkashi Boys – Narrative Short (28m)


Wednesday Morning Session (Off Broadway), March 6th

9:45am Fear of Flying – Animation (9m)

9:50am – The Sea [Is Still] Around Us – Experimental Film (4m)

9:55am – In Carcosa – Experimental (90m)

11:35am – Snow – Student (23m)


Wednesday Afternoon Session, March 6th

1:30pm – This Land Is Mine – Animation (4m)

1:35pm – Ricky – Experimental (12m)

1:45pm – Mother’s Milk – Student Film (18m)

2:05pm – Hex Suffice Cache Ten – Experimental (13m)

2:15pm – Taxonomy – Experimental (4m)

2:20pm – Retrocognition – Experimental (18m)

2:40pm – Scenen – Narrative Short (12m)

2:55pm – The Search for Inspiration Gone – Experimental (9m)

3:05pm – To Rest in Peace – Student Film (18m)

3:35pm – Local Tourists – Student Film (19m)

3:55pm – Covenant – Documentary Short (43m)

4:45pm – Threshold – Narrative Short (17m)


Wednesday Afternoon Session (Off Broadway), March 6th

1:30pm – Pechorin – Narrative Feature (95m)

3:15pm – Smoke Traders – Documentary Feature (51m)

4:05pm – From Wasioja to Washington – Documentary Feature (53m)


Wednesday Evening Session, March 6th

An Evening with Hal Hartley

Join us for a special appearance by Ted M. Larson Award recipient and acclaimed independent filmmaker Hal Hartley, who will participate in a post-film conversation and audience Q & A. Following the conclusion of Meanwhile, Mr. Hartley will also be sharing some excerpts from a work in progress.

7:00pm – Meanwhile – Invited Film (58m)


Thursday Morning Session, March 7th

10:00am – I Am Tom Moody – Animation (7m)

10:10am – The Pinto Edition – Narrative Short (4m)

10:15am – Same Difference – Documentary Short (29m)

10:45am – 1000 grams – Narrative Short (15m)

11:00am – Casting – Experimental (5m)

11:05am – Resight – Documentary Short (11m)

11:15am – Try Number Three – Student Film (7m)

11:25am – The Things My Father Never Taught Me – Narrative Short (7m)

11:30am – Heads Up – Narrative Short (13m)

11:45am – Playing Through – Narrative Short (13m)


Thursday Morning Session (Off Broadway), March 7th

10:00am – The Children Next Door – Documentary Short (36m)

10:35am – The Coffers – Narrative Short (22m)

11:00am – The Naked Leading the Blind – Student Film (15m)

11:15am – Visitation – Experimental (9m)

11:25am – Mossadegh – Student Film (24m)

11:50am – Love Is No News – Student Film (8m)


Thursday Afternoon Session, March 7th

1:30pm – Dziad i Baba – Animation (9m)

1:40pm – From Darkness – Narrative Short (14m)

1:55pm – Ramp – Experimental (5m)

2:00pm – I Need a Hero – Documentary Short (13m)

2:15pm – The Office One – Narrative Short (10m)

2:25pm – Incident at Public School 173 – Student Film (13m)

2:40pm – Shino’s Show – Narrative Short (10m)

2:50pm – Arbor – Experimental (7m)

3:00pm – The Love Competition – Documentary Short (15m)

3:15pm – Tu & Eu – Narrative Short (14m)

3:30pm – Confine – Narrative Feature (91m)


Thursday Afternoon Session (Off Broadway), March 7th

1:30pm – The Shape of Rex – Narrative Feature (107m)

3:30pm – Unfit: Ward vs. Ward – Documentary Feature (74m)


Thursday Evening Session, March 7th

7:00pm – Wild Bill’s Run – Documentary Feature (60m)

8:45pm – Informant – Documentary Feature (85m)


Friday Morning Session, March 8th

10:00am – Dr. Breakfast – Animation (7m)

10:10am – Into Thick Air – Documentary Short (20m)

10:30am – Werewolf in a Girls’ Sorority – Narrative Short (22m)

10:55am – Shoot the Moon – Student Film (27m)

11:25am – The Debutante Hunters – Documentary Short (12m)

11:40am – Blackbird – Narrative Short (16m)


Friday Morning Session (Off Broadway), March 8th

10:00am – Private Sun – Narrative Short (25m)

10:30am – Uprising – Documentary Feature (85m)


Friday Afternoon Session, March 8th

1:30pm – Poor Billy- Chapter One, Billy’s Parents – Animation (5m)

1:35pm – The Maiden and the Princess – Student Film (18m)

1:55pm – Young(ish) – Narrative Short (7m)

2:05pm – The Life of Riley – Narrative Feature (84m)

3:45pm – Junkyard – Animation (18m)

4:05pm – Henri – Narrative Short (20m)

4:25pm – Inside the Whale – Invited Film (10m)

4:45pm – The Silk – Narrative Short (15m)

5:00pm – The Pub – Animation (8m)


Friday Afternoon Session (Off Broadway), March 8th

1:30pm – Alguem Qualquer (Anyone Out There) – Narrative Feature (115m)

4:00pm – The Stagecoach Bar: An American Crossroads – Documentary Feature (57m)


Friday Evening Session, March 8th

7:00pm – The Brass Teapot – Invited Film (100m)

9:30pm – 2-Minute Movie Contest


Saturday Morning Session, March 9th

10:00am – The Deep Dark – Experimental (7m)

10:05am– Tsuyako – Student Film (25m)

10:30am – It Was Rape – Documentary Feature (60m)


Saturday Morning Session (Off Broadway), March 9th

10:00am – Green Lady – Experimental (30m)

10:30am – Lost on Purpose – Narrative Feature (100m)


Saturday Afternoon Session, March 9th

1:30pm – Throat Song – Narrative Short (17m)

1:50pm – A Better Life – Invited Film (12m)

2:15pm – Offline – Student Film (20m)

2:45pm – Marcel, King of Tervuren – Animation (6m)

2:50pm – Bike Race – Animation (13m)

3:15pm – Double or Nothing – Narrative Short (10m)

3:25pm – Dimensions: A Line, a Loop, a Tangle of Threads – Narrative Feature (96m)


Saturday Afternoon Session (Off Broadway), March 9th

1:30pm – Confine – Narrative Feature (91m)

3:15pm – Mrs. ???????? ??????? ????????????? ? ????????? ???????. ???????? ??????? ????????????? ? ????????? ???????.Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful – Documentary Feature (66m)


Saturday Evening Session, March 9th

7:10pm – 2-Minute Movie Contest Winner

7:15pm – Walk Tall – Documentary Short (11m)

7:25pm – Paulie – Narrative Short (11m)

7:35pm – Dood van een Schaduw (Death of a Shadow) – Narrative Short (20m)

8:30pm – The Last Push – Narrative Feature (89m)


Special Rates at Howard Johnson Inn for FFF 13 Attendees


If you plan to attend the Fargo Film Festival and are traveling from out of town, one excellent and affordable option is the Howard Johnson Inn, located at 301 3rd Avenue North in Fargo, just a short walk from the Fargo Theatre.

The festival has arranged for a discounted rate of $78 dollars per night at the Howard Johnson Inn.

Be sure to mention the Fargo Film Festival when you make your reservation. Reservations must be made by February 28, 2013.

You can contact the Howard Johnson Inn by phone at either ??????? ????????????? ? ??????????? ??????? 888407.4656 or 701.232.8850 or online here with direct link to their website which is also available under the CONTACT tab ??????? ????????????? ? ??????????? ??????? above