Mankato to host Speechless Film Festival

Fourth annual festival is set to be the largest to date

This year’s fourth annual Speechless Film Festival will be record breaking. There were 100 films submitted from over 20 countries. The festival will take place Thursday-Saturday, March 17-19. Cloud Cult, an unconventional indie rock band from Duluth, Minn. will be performing on opening night to kick off the three-day event.

Cloud Cult won best of show in visual music with their feature film, The Seeker. The film was made to accompany their most recent album—also called The Seeker—that was released Feb. 12. Their concert will be on Thursday, March 17 at 9 p.m. following the showing of their award-winning film.

Minnesota film director Jeff D. Johnson and his production company, Motion 17 Productions, directed the film. Johnson will attend the festival and speak about the making of The Seeker with Cloud Cult’s singer, Craig Minowa. The movie features Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) and Alex McKenna (What Women Want). Cloud Cult’s music can be found in the television series, How I Met Your Mother and newspapers such as The Rolling Stone and The New York Times gave positive reviews of Cloud Cult’s unique music.

The Rainbow Kid, a film that won best of show in feature films, is a coming of age movie focused on a teenager with Down syndrome. Eugene, the star character, adventures across Ontario meeting unusual people and getting involved in incidents that further challenge Eugene as he searches for the pot-of-gold at the end of the rainbow.

“Apart from making what we believe will be a kick ass movie, we’re also trying to create an awareness of the lack of films and TV that use actors with special needs. It’s rare and it shouldn’t be this way because there are a lot of talented actors who just happen to have a disability,” said Kire Paputts, the director of The Rainbow Kid.

These films are just two of the 100 submissions that will be showcased over the weekend at the festival. Animation, culture, and comedy are among the other categories that submissions were based on. Showcases for the films will start Friday, March 18 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 18 at 10:30 a.m. The showcases will be located at the Mankato Event Center, Radio Mankato Theater, and Studio Six in Mankato.

Besides the countless short and feature film showings, there are other special-events scheduled for this year’s festival. Several filmmakers will talk on Bethany Lutheran’s campus in Honsey Hall film viewing room on Friday, March 18. Following the filmmaker talks will be a VIP party hosted by ISG for VIP pass holders. An after party will be held that same day after the film showings at Pub 500 starting at 11:15 p.m.

The entire schedule with times and locations can be found on Speechless Film Festival’s website.

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