Since 2001, the beautifully restored art deco Fargo Theatre has hosted talented film makers from around the globe for the Fargo Film Festival. The beautiful vaudeville-era theatre itself, built in 1926, often steals the show.
This year, the festival features over 100 independent films and will award winners and honorable mentions in seven competitive categories: animation, documentary feature, documentary short, experimental, narrative feature, narrative short, and student.
Here are a few films the editors of Fargo Underground think you shouldn’t miss.
Tater Tot and Patton
Friday, March 23, 2018 • 7:00 p.m.
Shot on location in South Dakota, “Tater Tot and Patton” is a humorous and compelling examination of the bonds of family. With unforgettable performances by Jessica Rothe (“Happy Death Day,” “Forever My Girl,” “La La Land”) and Bates Wilder (“Detroit,” “Joy,” “Stronger”), “Tater Tot and Patton” follows two lost souls unwittingly seeking connection and redemption on the Great Plains.
Writer/director Andrew Kightlinger and star Bates Wilder will participate in a Q and A following the screening.
The Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 • 7:00 p.m.
Perfect Bid is the untold story of Ted Slauson, a math teacher who spent the majority of his life memorizing the prize amounts on The Price Is Right game show. The film features long-time producer Roger Dobkowitz and Bob Barker, and explores Ted’s unbelievable experience over the course of attending 37 tapings ending in a 2008 Perfect Bid conspiracy that was covered in Time Magazine, Esquire, TMZ & others!
World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts
Saturday, March 24, 2018 • 2:20 p.m.
In 2015, one of the most talked about films was the Oscar-nominated 17-minute animated short World of Tomorrow. Don Hertzfeldt packed a lot of humor and heartbreak into his short film featuring stick figures against bold backdrops.
The sequel, World of Tomorrow Episode 2: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts has already been praised as a must-see masterpiece of animation. The Fargo Film Festival showing will feature both films back to back!
Thursday, March 22, 2018 • 7:10 p.m.
One of the most talked about films at the 2015 Fargo Film Festival was the full length thriller It Follows. This year’s Ruin Me is already creating that kind of buzz with festival staff.
“As a huge horror fan, I am extremely excited… ‘Ruin Me’ is devilishly good fun — a modern take on the slasher genre anchored by a helluva ‘final girl’ performance by Marcienne Dwyer. I loved watching this film and now I look forward to watching our audience take the ride. Having Ms. Dwyer and the crew here will be icing on the cake,” says Emily Beck, executive director of the Fargo Theatre.
Last Dance at Johnson’s Barn
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 • 8:25 p.m.
If you grew up in the Fargo-Moorhead area, you probably attended an event at the Dance Barn in Arthur, North Dakota. Johnson’s Barn began hosting events in 1952.
In 2015, when the farm’s owner, Brian Johnson, fell ill, he and his family faced a heartbreaking decision. Was it time to close the venue?
“The barn was legendary,” said Debra Marquart, an Iowa State University writing professor and North Dakota native whose band Jessica performed at the barn in 1978. “Everybody wanted to play there,” she said. “Music needs big resonant spaces, and we don’t usually get those spaces in small rural communities in the Midwest. There weren’t as many ballrooms in North Dakota as there were in Iowa and Illinois, so a place like Johnson’s Barn really became important.”
2-Minute Movie Contest
Friday, March 23, 2018 • 9:30 p.m. • $2
Started in 2015, the 2-Minute Movie Contest has become a favorite at the Fargo Film Festival. Total running time for entries may not exceed 120 seconds, including any credits, and all moviemakers must provide a title for their movie.
This year will feature 44 movies back to back. Past entries have included lot of laughs with plenty of animated shorts, goofy, weird and clever films at a quick pace.
Ticket and pass holders attending “Tater Tot and Patton” may stay for the 2-Minute Movie Contest. Those coming just for the 2-Minute Movie Contest pay two dollars at the door.