Fargo Film Festival Best Bets

Fargo Film Festival by Raul Gomez

Original art for the festival program by Raul Gomez

It’s Fargo Film Festival time!  My favorite Fargo festival is back March 5-9 and if you’ve never gone before, make this your year. (Sorry I’m so late in posting this, but I was having serious computer difficulties last night!)

This year, the festival features films from 16 states and 13 countries, including two Academy Award nominees, short films entered in the super popular 2-Minute Movie Contest and the premiere of “The Brass Teapot” on Friday night. For a complete schedule, click here.

The festival shows documentaries, shorts, animation, experimental films, student films and full length features. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never seen, say, an experimental film — or if you don’t even know what it is — that’s totally okay. It’s so fun to just buy a ticket and let a new experience wash over you. The movies are arranged by session (morning, afternoon, evening) so you just buy a ticket for the time that works with your schedule and check out a bunch of interesting stuff in one session.

Fargo Film Festival Program

My favorite part of the whole event is the atmosphere. Downtown is one big party. The theaters are buzzing, the bars and restaurants are full and the movie screenings often have on-stage discussions with the filmmakers and actors after the film. The audience interaction is very cool.

If you want to maximize the party scene this week, you can’t miss the evening pre-parties. You can purchase a pass that gives you access to the pre-party and the evening’s movies for just $15. It’s so fun to sip wine, eat appetizers and hang out with other people who are excited to chat, mingle and go to the movies.

You might even meet someone famous! Last year my friend Erin and I were at the HoDo pre-party, when I bumped into the adorable Joe Lo Truglio on the way to the bathroom. I managed a cool “hey” instead of blurting out my first thought, which was “You’re adorable and I saw you almost naked in “Wanderlust” a few weeks ago.” I consider this an accomplishment.

Here are a few of the can’t miss events at the festival, including both movies and the pre-parties. Let me know what you go to see and what you think. See you there!

Fargo Film Festival Marquee


Best for Stargazers
You’re at a festival for goodness sake — mingle with the pros!

  • The premiere of “The Brass Teapot” on Friday night. This fanciful comedy features plenty of familiar faces — Juno Temple, Michael Angarano, Alexis Bledel and Stephen Park. Park (who you might recognize from “Fargo”, “Kindergarden Cop”, “A Serious Man” and “In Living Color”), along with Producer and Minot native Kirk Roos and Director Ramaa Mosley will be at the fest answering questions about the film after the screening on Friday at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday night features special guests, including Oscar-nominated director Tom Van Avermaet, whose narrative short “Dood van een Schaduw (Death of a Shadow)” plays on Saturday at 7:35 p.m. as well as Director Eric Hayden and and Fargo Film Festival Best Actor honoree Khary Payton (who has been seen on “General Hospital” , “Criminal Minds”, “CSI: Miami”, “Fairly Legal” and “Lie to Me”) from “Astronaut: The Last Push”. The film also won the fest’s Best Narrative Feature Award and plays on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
  • Guests of the Fest Tell All – Luncheon and Panel Discussion at Juano’s in Fargo. Talk to actors and filmmakers about making independent movies and the festival circuit. Saturday at noon.

Best for Oscar Junkies:
Check out the two Academy Award nominees at the fest:

Best for Busy Schedules
Only have one session free? No problem – make it count! Friday evening is your best bet

  • Start with a star-studded pre-party at Mezzaluna
  • Then listen to the Mighty Wurlitzer concert before the movies start
  • Check out the premiere of “The Brass Teapot” (see above) before the rest of the world can see it on April 5th.
  • Finish up with the super popular 2- Minute Movie Contest. This is one of my favorite events year after year — you can see a ton of interesting movies from all over the world in just a few minutes.

Best for Non-Fiction Fans
If you find truth to be more interesting than fiction, these picks are for you.

  • Thursday’s Evening Session, featuring “Wild Bill’s Run”, a snowmobiling crime caper by Mike Scholtz and Jamie Meltzer’s “Informant” , a look at an activist turned FBI informant Brandon Darby. Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Bringing Documentaries to Life – Luncheon and Panel Discussion  at Juano’s in Fargo (lunch is provided). Thursday at Noon.
  • “It Was Rape”, a new documentary feature from native Fargoan Jennifer Baumgardner. Yes, the subject matter is heavy, but Baumgardner’s writing is brilliant and I’m curious to see how her voice translates to the screen. Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Best for Aspiring Film Makers
Learn from and network with the pros!

  • An evening with Hal Hartley, the decorated director who has been honored at the Sundance, Cannes and Tokyo International Film Festivals. Hartley will participate in an on-stage discussion and screening of a work in progress following his film “Meanwhile”. Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
  • The International Language of Film – Luncheon and Panel Discussion at Studio 222 in Fargo. Lunch provided by Erbert and Gerbert’s. Wednesday at Noon.
  • “The Brass Teapot”: An Independent Feature Film from Pre-production to Distribution – Luncheon and Panel Discussion at Studio 222 in Fargo. Lunch provided by Bertrosa’s. Friday at Noon.


All parties are from 5 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. See you there!

402 North Broadway
Fargo, ND

John Alexander’s
315 Main Avenue
Moorhead, MN

309 Roberts Street North
Fargo, ND

Hotel Donaldson
101 Broadway
Fargo, ND


Alicia Underlee Nelson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *