The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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March 16, 2014

BLC's Speechless Film Festival catering to local audience this year

BLC's Speechless Film Festival catering to local audience this year

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Other than that, the content is entirely up to the filmmaker.

Last year Paulsen and others at Bethany put the first festival together in just several months. Mankato-area residents and those interested in film festivals from other places far and wide didn't have much time to learn what the festival was all about. So attendance wasn't great, Paulsen said.

“It was presumptuous in the first year to assume people would travel for something they'd never heard of,” he said.

But this year the Speechless folks have put more time and effort into creating a festival catered to a local audience and that gives people three days to come out and see the films.

Instead of two long days of film screenings, there will be two-hour blocks of film screenings Thursday and Friday nights, as well as screenings during the day Saturday. Programs will be made available in the lobby for attendants to read about the films and decide which block of screenings they want to attend. The winning films will be repeated throughout the festival to give attendees multiple opportunities to see them.

“It's more of an entertainment format,” Paulsen said. “It really aligns with the 'going out for the evening' kind of set up.”

The festival is also partnering with Pub 500 for “after parties” on Thursday and Friday with live music. The awards ceremony and festival culmination will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday at the bar. To promote the partnership and the festival, video art displays will be projected on Pub 500's windows this week.

Also new this year is a Made in Minnesota category in the festival that Paulsen suspects will be of interest to people. The winning film is called “June,” created by Ted and Tonya Wittman of Waseca. The film is about a young woman who becomes paranoid as she explores home in southern Minnesota.

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