Ten Years of the Duluth Superior Film Festival: An IPR Student’s Perspective

IPR is a proud sponsor of the Duluth Superior Film Festival.

Written by Maria Barr, Digital Video and Media Production student and Krissy Jackson, IPR Social Media Specialist

The Duluth Superior Film Festival (DSFF) is an ambitious and innovative event that delivers film, music and art to the Twin Ports region. In its decade-long history, DSFF has developed an exemplary reputation for presenting a distinctively imaginative and diverse line-up of international, U.S. independent and regional films. The five-day festival celebrated its ten year anniversary in 2019, and IPR was in attendance to help document and experience the entertainment festival in Twin Ports.

2019 Highlights at Duluth Superior Film Festival

For the 2019 Duluth Superior Film Festival, IPR was fortunate enough to bring a group of students to cover the behind the scenes of events and film premieres. This year the festival boasted an amazing line up of independent films including Riplist (directed by Mike Scholtz) and Tater-Tot & Patten (Directed by Andrew Knightlinger). In addition to screenings and premieres, the Duluth Superior Film Festival also hosts filmmaker panels and an awards ceremony to highlight the talent in the community. The DSFF was a great opportunity for current students to gain experience, network, and explore the beautiful city of Duluth.

IPR Student Events at the Festival

On Saturday evening, the film festival hosted the IPR Short Film Showcase at the Zinema 2 theatre. This showcase demonstrated the work curated by IPR students, instructors and Twin Cities film community. The highlight of the Short Film Showcase was the presentation of the Z-Fest award-winning collaboration FROST BITE.

Richard Hansen, Director of the Duluth Superior Film Festival

We sat down with Richard Hansen, the Director of the festival to discuss why this festival is important to filmmakers in the Midwest and what the twin port event offers the community.

“Some my favorite moments from this year’s DSFF includes the opening night gala at the Norshor Theatre. This is the first time we’ve been able to use the Norshor since it’s been renovated. Back when we very first started 10 years ago, we were able to do our closing night event at a very run down and dilapidated Norshor. That event was still very fun, super interesting, and a great foreshadowing of what could be possible in downtown Duluth. Seeing the festival come full circle and see the beautiful new renovated Norshor really was particularly fulfilling for me.”

Zeitgeist Arts Building: The Home of the DSFF

Home of the Duluth Superior Film Festival, the Zeitgeist Arts Building has played a big role in shaping the legacy of the festival. Hansen says, “The festival environment at the Zeitgeist Arts Building has so significantly improved over the years, seeing how smoothly and how vital that venue has become to our festival has really made me quite personally proud. The symbiotic nature of the partnership between DSFF and Zeitgeist has really helped to make the festival an important and impactful cultural and arts event in our town. That also makes me very happy to think about.”

Promoting Professionalism in the Film Community at DSFF

In addition to its local appeal, the ties that the Duluth Superior Film Festival has with young filmmakers is irreplaceable. IPR’s partnership with the Festival has helped to give students opportunities to film, network, and learn from the great talents that flock from the community as well as nationally for the event. Hansen says, “The students’ participation and professionalism has risen so significantly in the past three or so years and the value of what IPR provides to the festival is difficult to measure but not hard to see. We feel very strongly about our ability to put developing young filmmakers in position to advance their careers.”

Students Gain Experience in the Film Festival Circuit

IPR Digital Video and Media Production student Micala Burns recalls her experience of working at the festival saying, “As the producer of the project, my job was to make sure everything was running smoothly for our crew and our client. Every day I was responsible for the schedule of shooting interviews, B-roll of the festival and the Duluth area, and then making certain all edits were completed on time. I really enjoyed my time at the festival and made several connections. It was also a great opportunity to get to know the other students I was working with.”

The Duluth Superior Film Festival isn’t the only way that students gain hands-on experience in IPR’s Digital Video and Media Production program. Students work in all aspects of production from pre-production, production and post-production to gain knowledge in the various areas of digital media production. Throughout the years, IPR has been a proud member of the Minnesota film community and has participated in the Z-Fest Film Festival and .EDU Film Festival, as well as many other regional and national festivals, such as SXSW.

Want to Learn More?

Our digital video and media production associate and bachelor’s degree paths can lead to a variety of entry points in the video and film production industry. We help you build a strong visual portfolio for your career search through time in our studios, where you can even partner with college students in other programs such as live sound and show production to enhance your digital video and media production learning experiences.

Contact us today to learn more about our Digital Video and Media Production program and starting a rewarding career.