Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Frozen River Film Festival: Documentaries Brought to Winona

Larissa Lopez
Frozen River Film Festival brings documentaries of a variety of lengths to different venues in Winona, such as the documentary “The Engine Inside” which was shown in the Winona Arts Center.

The city of Winona, with a population of around 26,000 people, hosts the only all-Documentary Film Festival in the state of Minnesota, the Frozen River Film Festival. This yearly event happened in this 19th edition in the dates of the Feb. 4 to Feb. 11, showcasing multiple short and long films as well as activities for the community to partake and learn from the art of filmmaking.

The documentaries presented are by many different directors with different backgrounds and histories, with some of them even arriving at Winona for small events throughout the festival such as the Q&A of Directors. There was a total of fourteen countries represented in the festival, making it an international film festival.

Eileen Moeller, the managing director of the Festival, mentioned that in 2015 the Film Festival became a nonprofit organization, making it possible for the Festival to do other activities such as screenings throughout the years apart from the festival week, or filmmaking summer camps for kids to 10 to 18, being able to share these skills more deeply with the community.

Along the movies showcased, there are many workshops for the community in the week of the festival, with Moeller mentioning that some of them are taught by experts outside Winona. Others, however are being taught by filmmakers that live in town such as Dr. Schwartz, who is part of the film studies program at WSU, teaching a lighting workshop along Blake Darst, who partakes in multiple design agencies in Winona.

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I was able to watch “The Engine Inside,” a feature film directed by Darcy Wittenburg, Darren McCullough and Colin Jones showcased on Feb. 6 at the Winona Arts Center. The movie’s main focus is stories surrounding bicycles, and how even though it is one of the oldest machines in humanity they can create an incredible change to individuals and society as a whole.

Being a small documentary, it is remarkable the expertise in camera work throughout the movie. We are shown incredible shots from many places around the world, many of them being stunning landscapes or modern views of big cities. The film does an excellent job on making each history interesting and moving for the viewer, touching tough subjects such as misogyny and addiction.

The festival, although it started mainly as a weekend festival in WSU, is now able to do screenings in multiple places throughout Winona such as No Name Bar or Winona Arts Center. Also having multiple screenings at the same time on Saturday and Sunday.

Even though this event can immensely help students in more creative fields in WSU, anyone who is interested in film should partake in this event and appreciate more small projects as well as supporting the community and events created for it.

For anyone who missed some of the films and shorts of the week, the student pass, which is free for everyone attending Winona State University, makes it possible to watch most of the catalogue online for the next 10 days after the festival ends.

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About the Contributor
Larissa Lopez
Larissa Lopez, Photographer
Larissa Lopez (she/her/hers) is currently a photographer at The Winonan.
Larissa is an international student from Santa Cruz, Bolivia and is a second-year student at Winona State University in the major of Finance. She loves experimenting with the different activities offered on campus, and visiting as many places as possible. She hopes as a photographer, to be able to experience more events and portray them.
Larissa’s hobbies include watching films of any genre, making traditional and digital art, listening to music and biking around Winona.

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