As one of 20 organizations across the nation selected to partner with the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, FilmNorth presented this selection of 6 films at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis.

Son of Monarchs (“Hijo de Monarcas”) 

(English and Spanish with English subtitles)

Enchanted by the monarch butterflies of Michoacán, Mexico, since he was a child, Mendel dedicates his career as a scientist in New York to mapping out the monarch’s genetics. But he is haunted by flashbacks of being orphaned alongside his older brother, Simon, when their parents died in a flood. When Mendel travels home to attend the funeral of his grandmother, it’s clear Simon harbors deep resentment toward him for having left. Migrating back and forth between Mexico and New York, Mendel starts to neglect his new girlfriend and grows spiritually restless as he obsesses over the iconic butterfly. Then he confronts his brother about what really happened the night their parents died.

Tenoch Huerta delivers a soul-searing performance in this transformative drama by director Alexis Gambis. The film viscerally captures the scientific marvel and splendor of the butterfly, which in turn creates a mythic parallel to Mendel’s primal fears. Son of Monarchs is at once a spiritual and biological quest of the next generation—fulfilling its destiny by never losing sight of ancestral ties.

Alexis Gambis is a filmmaker and biologist. His films combine documentary and fiction, often embracing animal perspectives and experimenting with new forms of scientific storytelling. In 2008, he founded the Imagine Science Film Festival. In 2016, he launched the science-focused streaming platform and online magazine Labocine. His first narrative feature, The Fly Room (2014), is about the birthplace of genetics at the turn of the 20th century.

Director: Alexis Gambis
Writer: Alexis Gambis
Producers: Abraham Dayan, Maria Altamirano
Cast: Tenoch Huerta, Lazaro Gabino Rodriguez, Alexia Rasmussen


How It Ends

On the day an asteroid is scheduled to obliterate Earth, freewheeling Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones) scores an invite to one last wild gathering before it all goes down. Making it to the party won’t be easy, though, after her car is unceremoniously stolen, and the clock is ticking on her plan to tie up loose ends with friends and family. With a little help from her whimsical younger self (Cailee Spaeny), Liza embarks on a journey by foot across Los Angeles as she seeks to make peace with her regrets—and find the right company for those last few hours.

Alum writer/directors Daryl Wein (White Rabbit) and Zoe Lister-Jones (Band Aid) assemble an impressive all-star cast—including Helen Hunt, Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Lamorne Morris, and Nick Kroll—for this uproarious and charming pre-apocalyptic comedy. Both playful and empowering, How It Ends channels the kind of optimistic nihilism we could all use more of right now. The end of the world may be coming, but no one anticipated it could be this much fun.

Daryl Wein directed/produced/co-wrote the feature films White Rabbit,  Lola Versus, Breaking Upwards, Blueprint, Consumed, and Sex Positive. He also directed Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon) and Single Parents (ABC).

Zoe Lister-Jones wrote, directed, and executive-produced the reboot of The Craft. Her directorial debut, Band Aid (which she also starred in, wrote, and produced), premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Additionally, she wrote, executive-produced, and starred in Lola Versus and co-wrote, produced, and starred in the indie comedy Breaking Upwards.

Directors: Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones
Writers: Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones
Producers: Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones
Cast: Olivia Wilde, Helen Hunt, Zoe Lister-Jones, Fred Armisen


Wild Indian

Makwa, a young Anishinaabe boy, has a rough life. He often appears at school with bruises he says he got falling down, but no one believes him. He and his only friend, Ted-O, like to escape by playing in the woods, until the day Makwa shockingly murders a schoolmate. After covering up the crime, the two boys go on to live very different lives. Now, as adult men, they must face the truth of what they have done and what they have become.

In his feature debut, writer/director Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. (Shinaab and Shinaab, Part II, 2017 and 2019 Sundance Film Festivals) tells a story that spans centuries and the continent in a film destined to be a touchstone in Indigenous cinema. Leading an impressive cast, Michael Greyeyes delivers a gripping, enigmatic performance as a modern Native American man who has done terrible, unforgivable things. With a strong and compelling visual style that evokes both fascination and dread, Wild Indian considers the cost of survival in a world as cruel as our own.

Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. is a filmmaker. His short films Shinaab and Shinaab, Part II premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and 2019 and the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 and 2018. He was supported at the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab and Directors Lab in 2017 and 2018. He is one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch for 2021.

WILD INDIAN writer/director Lyle Mitchell Corbine, Jr. will be present for an introduction and post-film Q & A moderated by FilmNorth Executive Director Andrew Peterson.

Director: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.
Writer: Lyle Mitchell Corbine, Jr.,
Producers: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr., Thomas Mahoney, Eric Tavitian
Cast: Chaske Spencer, Michael Greyeyes, Jesse Eisenberg, Kate Bosworth


The Blazing World

Ever since Margaret (Carlson Young) was six years old, she has been haunted by the memory of watching her sister drown during an explosive fight between her parents. As a young woman, she slides further into her twisted inner life, ultimately finding herself on the brink of suicide. Through an epic journey down the smokiest and scariest corridors of her imagination, she tries to exorcise the demons pushing her closer and closer to the edge.

The Blazing World
 is Carlson Young’s debut feature; it is based on her short of the same name, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Young brings to life in striking vibrancy an internality that is at once darkly beautiful and entirely terrifying. Blending horror and fantasy, this film is imaginative and gutsy, painting Margaret’s inner life as at once an alien realm and a devastatingly familiar emotional landscape. Manifesting her trauma through a series of lusciously unnerving locations and moving, bizarre interactions, Young unearths something often quietly, privately buried in our struggles toward the light.
Carlson Young is a director and writer, originally from Fort Worth, Texas. She attended the University of Southern California, where she studied creative writing. Carlson’s short film and directorial debut, The Blazing World, premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. She is also an actor, appearing in Scream: The TV Series, Key and Peele, and Emily in Paris.

Director: Carlson Young
Writers: Pierce Brown, Carlson Young
Producer: Brinton Bryan
Cast: Vinessa Shaw, Dermot Mulroney, Udo Kier


Judas and the Black Messiah

Fred Hampton’s cathartic words “I am a revolutionary” became a rallying call in 1969. As chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, Hampton demanded all power to the people and inspired a growing movement of solidarity, prompting the FBI to consider him a threat and to plant informant William O’Neal to infiltrate the party. Judas and the Black Messiah not only recounts Hampton’s legacy and the FBI’s conspiring but also gives equal footing to the man who became infamous for his betrayal—highlighting the systems of inequality and oppression that fed both of their roles.
Director Shaka King returns to the Sundance Film Festival with an incredible cast of Sundance alums led by Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield. Kaluuya channels Hampton’s ability to energize and unite communities, while Stanfield taps into the anguish of a man with conflicting allegiances. Dominique Fishback also stands out in her reserved yet confronting performance as Deborah Johnson, Hampton’s life partner. King’s magnetic film carries themes that continue to resonate today and serves as a reminder of the potent power of the people.
Shaka King, writer/producer/director of Judas and the Black Messiah, is a double Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee. King’s feature-directing debut was Newlyweeds. He was nominated for an Image Award for directing the episode “Pool” of Hulu’s original Shrill. Additional credits include HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness and High Maintenance.

Director: Shaka King
Producers: Ryan Coogler, Charles D. King, Shaka King
Writers: Will Berson, Shaka King
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Lil Rey Howery, Martin Sheen


Writing With Fire

You have probably never heard their names before. You might not be familiar with their news outlet, Khabar Lahariya, India’s only all-female news network. Yet the women we meet in Writing With Fire are some of the most inspiring and fearless reporters you will ever encounter.
In their feature debut, directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh follow this ambitious group of Dalit wonder women—led by their chief reporter, Meera—as the team switches from print to digital in order to stay relevant. Armed with smartphones and the courage and conviction one must be born with, they investigate the incompetence of the local police force, listen to and stand by victims of caste and gender violence, and challenge long-standing, harmful practices that lead to injustice and intimidation. Thanks to the directors’ intimate yet respectful lens, we witness these rural reporters’ awe-inspiring efforts to dismantle patriarchy and redefine traditional notions of power. Writing With Fire is an electrifying reminder to never underestimate the strength of a woman who’s had enough.
Contains discussion of sexual violence.
Rintu Thomas is an award-winning director/producer whose films have been recognized as catalysts for new conversations. She is a Sundance Institute Stories of Change fellow. Thomas’s work is supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures, Bertha Foundation, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the Finnish Film Foundation, SFFILM Documentary Film Fund, and Sørfond, among others.
Sushmit Ghosh is a director and cinematographer whose award-winning shorts are used globally as advocacy and social impact tools. He is a Bertha Foundation fellow and a recipient of the President’s Medal of India. Ghosh’s work is supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures, Tribeca Film Institute, and Doc Society, among others. 


Director: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh
Producers: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh

Capacity & Safety

In consultation with the City of Minneapolis, State of Minnesota, Riverview Theater and Sundance Institute, we are limiting seating to 70 for each screening. This is 10% of the seating capacity at the Riverview—and below the current City and State limits (25% capacity with a maximum attendance of 150). To further ensure safety, masks will be required to be worn at all times while inside the Riverview Theater, concessions will not be sold, and outside food will not be allowed. Staff will be on site to ensure that all safety protocols are followed and we reserve the right to require anyone not following these protocols to leave the venue immediately. 

We are following NATO CinemaSafe guidelines for all screenings, which can be found here.

Disclaimer: given the ever-changing situation, screenings could be canceled at any time if deemed unsafe. This decision is solely at the discretion of FilmNorth and the Riverview Theater. In this event, FilmNorth will fully refund any ticket purchases.

Safety Update
The State of Minnesota currently asks “people who visit Minnesota, and Minnesotans returning after travel out of state, to stay away from others (quarantine) for 14 days after they arrive in Minnesota.” As a result, FilmNorth has recently added this as a requirement for screening attendance. If you find yourself in this situation, we apologize for any inconvenience or disappointment and will, of course, offer a full refund. To request a refund, email Max Becker. We hope everyone will understand this decision. The health and safety of our community has always been, and will always be, our primary concern.



Selections from the 2021 Sundance Film Festival presented by FilmNorth and the Sundance Institute with Acura, Sundance TV, Chase Sapphire, and Adobe with support from WarnerMedia (presenting sponsor), the John S. And James L. Knight Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and SAGindie.

Official 2021 Sundance Film Festival Minnesota Venue