FRFF returns to campus



Jordan Gerard/Winonan

Films about extreme sports, environments, social justice and world cultures are only a sample of what this year’s Frozen River Film Festival has to offer.

Diverse film genres, popular events and opportunities for students are the highlight of this year’s festival, which is taking place Jan. 22-26.

Returning this year is the adrenaline set, which features adventure films and documentaries about real people who take to an extreme in sports like skiing, mountain biking and rock climbing. New to the adrenaline set this year is a film about wing suit flying, called “Split of a Second.”

These films are usually about 5 to 30 minutes long and very popular with students. The adrenaline set will be at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23.

Another popular group of films is the environment genre. One film in particular is related to the frac sand mining debate in southeastern Minnesota. “Gasland Part II” will be featured this year and focus on the pros and cons of the mining.

A local musician, Charlie Parr, has his own biographical movie featured at the festival this year. Directed by François-xavier, “Meeting Charlie Parr” will feature songs from Parr’s albums. The movie will play at Cloud 9 Union Theater at Dib’s Cafe in Winona at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24. The event costs $10, and Parr will be performing that night.

A small group of Winona State University students have the opportunity to work behind the scenes of the festival. They are able to intern for the duration of a semester to learn how non-profit events such as the Frozen River Film Festival are coordinated.

Sarah Furth is one of this year’s interns and is in charge of organizing the awards ceremony at the end of the festival at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum.

“The internship has helped me prepare for other things beyond college like event planning and budgeting,” Furth said. “It’s applying the little things I’ve learned to do here to real world events.”

The sponsors of the film festival provide prizes at the award ceremony, one of which this year is a kayak. Local sponsors also provide the venues, food, music and merchandise.

“I fell in love with the festival the first time I went,” Furth said. “Who wouldn’t want to watch extreme sports? It’s real TV.”

Lauren Allen, another intern, said she hopes this opportunity will help her find a job in film and television.

“I want to help the festival grow and continue being a great opportunity for students,” Allen said. “It has given me the opportunity to learn more skills and see more about how events like this come together.”

Both Furth and Allen have attended the festival every year since they were freshmen.

Furth’s favorite memory is connecting with the director of a movie who volunteered in Africa, as Furth had done the previous semester.

Allen’s favorite memory is seeing a film about Shakespearean plays performed by students.

“Seeing how different young men and women are positively affected by theater was very touching,” Allen said.

Winona State students can also be involved directly with the festival by volunteering.

Kathy Florin, assistant director for the festival, said nearly 150 people sign up to volunteer for the festival.

Various jobs include ushering, ticketing, managing tables like college passes, selling merchandise tables, technicians, set up and tear down, and managing kids activities. Volunteers also get a T-shirt and ticket to the festival.

“We have an amazing group of interns,” Florin said. “Other students can help spread the word on campus, take ideas from the festival and implement them on campus and in our community.”

The festival is free for area college students and Winona high school students. The festival will show movies at various locations including St. Mary’s University, Southeast Technical College and downtown Winona.

For more information, visit the website at

Contact Jordan at [email protected]