41st Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival is in full swing


Elliott Austin

The marquee outside the new Main right before it opened for the festival.

Elliott Austin, Staff Writer

Thursday May 5th marked the beginning of the 41st Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, one of the longest running festivals in the country. Run through the MSP Film Society, which has been around for 60 years, this is the first year since 2020 that the festival is fully in person. Over 200 films and shorts will be shown in theaters from May 5th to May 19th, with a good chunk of the material also being available for online screenings. The St. Anthony Main Theater, now leased by the Film Society and recently renovated, is where most of the movies will be shown, but various screenings will also be held at the Landmark Center in St. Paul and the Gray Duck in Rochester. 

The Film Festival takes movies from all over the world, independent and big studios, and programs them into a digestible two week period. All-access passes to every movie and event are relatively expensive, but as with everything in the Film Society, college students get very big discounts. A six-pack of tickets is also available. Movies are neatly organized into multiple different programs, including Asian Frontiers, Cine Latino, Dark Out (horror, action, thriller), Images of Africa, Midnight Sun, New American Visions, NEXTWAVE, and World Cinema. There are also three special interest categories: Women & Film Initiative, LGBTQ+ Currents, and Minnesota Made. Every year they also program a Luminarie Tribute, a spotlight/retrospective on a filmmaker/artist. This year they decided to focus on Gordon Parks, the pioneering black photographer, musician, filmmaker, and more. 

The Film Society is a nonprofit organization and is powered primarily by members and donors. They are supported by major local organizations including the StarTribune and the McKnight Foundation. You can donate directly to the Society, use their AmazonSmile (which donates 0.5% of your purchase to them), or become a member. There are multiple levels of membership, but the lowest level, “core membership,” has many great benefits. Some of the biggest benefits include 45% off tickets to year-round screenings, series, and events, 25% tickets and passes to the MSP Film Fest and all Society merchandise, and exclusive invitations to members only screenings. Included with every membership is a a 90-day free trial for MUBI, a curated independent film streaming service.

“The Mission of MSP Film is to foster a knowledgeable and vibrant appreciation of the art of film and its power to unite, inform and transform individuals and communities,” reads the festival website. Now with control of all St. Anthony Main screens (renamed to The Main), the Film Society promises to program showings year long. This will include certain blockbusters, festival circuit films, arthouse movies, retrospectives, and more. The new Main and the MSP Film Festival is a boon to theatergoers throughout the Twin Cities and will hopefully stay around for another 60 years.