The first North by North International Film Festival kicks off in Duluth

DULUTH, MN. (KBJR 6) – A new international film festival kicked off Wednesday at the Zeitgeist Zinema in Duluth.

More than 80 films are screened over a five-day period and $18,000 in grants are awarded to local filmmakers who enter the festival competition.

“We are so excited to be able to benefit our local community and help artists and help tell these stories,” said festival director Matthew Koshmrl.

Koshmrl’s passion for cinema runs deep.

Whether it’s teaching classes, producing his own films, or helping other filmmakers in the area, he stays busy.

“I really try to cultivate an independent film scene,” Koshmrl said. “Help the fused filmmakers tell these stories and bring them to the big screen.”

His latest project, in collaboration with many people, is the North by North International Film Festival.

“We really try to schedule filmmakers who may not have received industry funding or attention before,” he said.

Local filmmaker Lance Todd was born and raised in Duluth, and said it was exciting to showcase his work in his own community.

“It really means a lot that there is a local festival and a local band committed to bringing the community together and giving us the opportunity to show our work,” Todd said.

Festival organizers said beyond supporting local artists, they wanted to highlight diverse voices with stories from across the Midwest.

The programmers decided to kick off the festival with a feature film based in rural Michigan called “Bad Axe”.

“To be able to be the opening night film of a freshman festival is a great honor,” said director David Siev.

The first night of the festival was a success; many community members showed up to support the first day of the new festival.

“To have their movies shown on the big screen and all these people from our community and region coming to Duluth, I think it’s a really unique experience,” Koshmrl said.

If you want to see a film at the festival, you can go to the Zeitgeist website.

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Darcy J. Skinner