BSU hosts inaugural Headwaters Film Festival in July

This July, notable filmmakers from the Bemidji region and from across Minnesota will gather at Bemidji State University for the inaugural Headwaters Film Festival. The three-day event, which begins July 19, will spotlight the work of more than a half-dozen Minnesota filmmakers during film screenings and panel discussions on various aspects of cinema and filmmaking.

Headwaters Film Festival on TagboardAdmission is $10 per session for each of the festival’s three ticketed sessions. An all-session pass can be purchased for $25. Registration is available online.

For complete information on the festival, including updated schedules of events, visit

Friday, July 19 – Feature Presentation (ticketed)
Regional filmmakers Todd Boss, Elizabeth Day and the 1491s, along with Mike Bredon, director of Bemidji’s Upstream TV, will present a series of short films in the Thompson Recital Hall of Bemidji State’s Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex from 7-9:30 p.m. This is a ticketed session.

Saturday, July 20 – Filmmaker’s Forum (ticketed)
A two-part forum with filmmakers participating in this year’s festival begins at 10 a.m. in the Thompson Recital Hall. Todd Boss and Elizabeth Day present “Cinematic Expressions of Thought and Action” from 10-11 a.m., while Scott Knudson, Gary Burger and members of the 1491s present “Documenting Indigenous and Local Cultures” from 11 a.m.-noon. This is a ticketed session.

Saturday, July 20 – One Land, Many Stories (free)
Beginning at 1 p.m., Bangsberg Hall’s Black Box Theater will host “One Land, Many Stories,” featuring informal screenings of a series of films from local and regional filmmakers. The session is free and open to the public, and is scheduled to last until 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 21 – Feature Presentation, “Sweet Land” (ticketed)
Bemidji literary icon Will Weaver, professor emeritus of English at Bemidji State, will introduce “Sweet Land,” a 2005 feature film based on his short story “A Gravestone Made of Wheat,” as part of a presentation entitled “Sweet Land: Translating Literature into Cinema.” Weaver will introduce the film at 7 p.m., with a screening to follow. Weaver will be available for a 30-minute question and answer session following the screening, beginning at approximately 9 p.m., with film director Ali Selim joining the session via Skype. This is a ticketed session.

Lodging is available in Bemidji State University’s residence halls; rates begin at $30 per night. Food service is also available; for $38, Festival attendees will receive five meals from dinner Friday to breakfast Sunday. Lodging and food service registrations can be made online.

Participating Filmmakers
• The 1491s is a sketch comedy group based in Minnesota and Oklahoma. The group describes itself as “…a gaggle of Indians chock full of cynicism and splashed with a good dose of indigenous satire.”

• Todd Boss is a Minneapolis-based poet and is a co-founding co-director of Motionpoems, the world’s leading producer of poetry films. Motionpoems is currently collaborating with Milkweed, Graywolf, Copper Canyon and Scribner’s Best American Poetry, among other outstanding literary publishers and institutions.

• Mike Bredon is a Bemidji-based filmmaker and director of Upstream TV. He is working on “Lazarus,” an independently produced zombie film.

• Gary Burger is a Bemidji-based audio engineer, videographer and filmmaker. He produced and directed the documentaries “Bemidji: Between the Wars” and “Bemidji: The Middle Years,” recreating historic scenes from Bemidji’s past.

• Elizabeth Day is an emerging director from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her latest project Beaded Road was selected by Tribeca All Access Connects in 2006, a professional development program which gave Day and screenwriter Wenonah Wilms (Ojibwe) the opportunity to attend the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. Day was born on the Leech Lake Reservation and grew up in Minneapolis. She studied film production at Minneapolis College.

• Scott Knudson is a producer and director at Lakeland Public Television in Bemidji.

• Will Weaver writes fiction for adults and young adults. His novels and short stories have earned the praises of reviewers from coast-to-coast for their unflinching realism. “A Gravestone Made of Wheat & Other Stories” won many awards, including the Minnesota Book Award for Fiction, and the title story was produced as the independent feature film “Sweet Land” starring Ned Beatty. In Feb. 2007, “Sweet Land” won the independent film industry’s Spirit Award for Best First Feature.

• Angie Gora; director, summer programs, Bemidji State University; (218) 755-2851
• Virgil Bakken; associate professor of mass communication, Bemidji State University; (218) 755-3370

Headwaters Film Festival
Festival registration (includes food and lodging registration)
• Sweet Land on IMDB
The 1491s
Todd Boss
Elizabeth Day
Will Weaver
“Birchbark Canoe” by Scott Knudson
Summer at Bemidji State University