Five hundred people packed the Riverview Theater last week to see the "Minneapolis Project 2010" -- a one-night festival of 24 short films about 22 places in the city. Most of the shorts were narratives that one way or another evoked the character of the neighborhoods in which they were set, says organizer John Koch.
The project is akin to recent efforts such as "Paris, je t'aime" and "New York, I Love You," says Koch, who contends that "any city could do this." But it's no one-off for Koch's nonprofit, Cinema Revolution
--the same name as his former art-house DVD-rental shop in Uptown. "The Minneapolis Project" is Cinema Revolution's fourth omnibus film screening, a continuation of events that began during the six years Koch owned the shop.
The city's neighborhoods supply both the films' subject matter and their audience. "Most films are made with the broadest audience in mind," says Koch. But the aim of the 18 filmmakers participating in the Minneapolis Project was different: "creating films specifically for a local audience, knowing that a local audience would find value in it."
A moment in which that concept crystalized came during the screening of the project's lone animated short, "Urban Agrarian Woman," a film about the Powderhorn Park neighborhood by John Akre. At one point the heroine rides a flying bicycle past the tower of the former Sears store, now Midtown Global Market, on Lake Street. The audience's recognition of the local landmark was audible. "From that point they were invested in the idea," Koch says. "It's so rewarding to hear an audience of that size (respond)."
That kind of reaction is part of the appeal for the participating filmmakers, particularly those just starting out, for whom the project is important simply as an opportunity for hundreds of people to see their work. They paid $20 per film to participate, the money going toward a $500 prize for a winning film selected by audience vote (still underway online). Koch fronted the money to book the theater, gambling that the box office would cover his cost. Cinema Revolution will hold another group-film screening in December, "Dance Project 2010," with either a second Minneapolis Project or a St. Paul edition next summer.
"There's so much to say" for filmmakers creating narratives about neighborhoods, says Koch. He contributed three shorts of his own, about Dinkytown, Uptown, and Minnehaha Falls.
"I could make 25 shorts just about Uptown," he says.
Source: John Koch, Cinema Revolution
Writer: Chris Steller
Here are the films from "Minneapolis Project 2010," with links to those now available online. (Filmmakers were prohibited from uploading their contributions to the Web until after last week's screening.)Minneapolis Project 2010
" by Brian Murnion - Downtown skyways
" by Brian Murnion - Gateway District
" by Tyler Jensen and Jaime Carrera - Bottineau neighborhood and Boom Island
" by Tyler Jensen and Jaime Carrera - Loring Park
" by Tyler Jensen and Jaime Carrera - Powderhorn neighborhood
" by John Koch - Dinkytown
" by John Koch - Minnehaha Falls
" by John Koch - Uptown
"You. Me. Here.
" (trailer) by Corey Lawson - Nicollet Island
" (trailer) by Allen Keating-Moore (Phillips neighborhood)
"Urban Agrarian Woman
" (trailer) by John Akre - Powderhorn Park neighborhood
" by Abdi Hassan and Gabriel Cheifetz (long version) - Cedar-Riverside neighborhood
" by Stephen Gurewitz - Northeast
"Loon Lake Dance" by Dave Deal - Lake Calhoun
"Shudder 13" by Dave Deal- I-35W Bridge/Bohemian Flats
"The Gallery" by Todd Wardrope - Whittier neighborhood
"Transfer" by Todd Wardrope - Route 5 Metro Transit bus stop
"Free Puppies" by Dan Dockery - underground
"Band Box Diner" by Amy Mattila - Elliot Park neighborhood
"Wedge Walk" by Sam Thompson - Wedge/Lowry Hill East neighborhoods
"The Rescue" by Yoko Okumura and Elizabeth Mims - Kenwood neighborhood
"Air Conditioner" by Gabriel Cheifetz - Midtown Greenway
"shut(ter)" by Nathan Gilbert - Phillips neighborhood
"Lakewood" by Sam Hoolihan - Lakewood Cemetery