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Red Bridge Film Festival selections announced

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Academy Awards have come and gone, but many of the nominated films, even some winners, never played in this area.

Between April 16 and 20, the Red Bridge Film Festival will set that right by screening two of the biggest winners and three other Academy Award nominees at the Park Theatre in Park Rapids.

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"The Hurt Locker" won six Academy Awards and was nominated for three more, but played in very few theaters. Now, that film will screen four times as part of the third annual Red Bridge Film Festival.

The Academy Award for best actor went to Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart." That film also won an Oscar for best song but wasn't scheduled to be shown here. "Crazy Heart" opens the festival at 7 p.m. Friday, April 16 and then plays two more times.

"A Serious Man," "An Education" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox" were all nominated for Academy Awards and people will now have their only chance to see them on a big theater screen in Park Rapids as part of the festival audience.

All five films were actually selected by the festival committee weeks before the awards ceremony broadcast. Committee members chose these films because they sounded interesting. They had no idea Academy members would agree and endorse so many of their choices.

A sixth feature, "Sita Sings the Blues," is a multi-award-winning film billed as "the best breakup story ever." It's based on the 2,500-year-old Hindu story of Sita and her love for Rama who, on the night of their marriage, was banished from his kingdom for 14 years.

Although Sita remained faithful to Rama all that time, even while kidnapped by an evil deity, Rama rejected her when he finally came home. Film director Nina Paley noticed a similarity to her own love life, and animated the parallel stories to the wonderfully evocative music of 1930s American blues singer Annette Hanshaw.

Finally, the recent big hit, "Clash of the Titans," continues at the Park Theatre as part of the festival.

Foretelling prizewinners has become a tradition with the fest committee; in 2008 they chose "Kite Runner" and in 2009 they chose "Slumdog Millionaire," many months before those films won awards and became popular hits.

Several documentary programs have yet to be announced, in addition to previously announced visiting filmmaker Deb Wallwork Saturday, April 17.

Admission to all programs is with a $28 festival pass, or to individual films at the theater's regular price. Schedule times will be available at www.redbridge film.org.

This activity is made possible, in part, by a grant provided by the Region 2 Arts Council. Many local businesses and organizations have also provided support. Red Bridge Film Festival is an activity of the Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council.

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