Highway 61 Film Festival rolls in Oct. 14-15

Movie lovers from all over Minnesota are getting ready to settle down to a feast of films this weekend at the first ever Highway 61 Film Festival in Pine City.
The festival will feature comedies, action, horror, drama, documentary and animation in 39 short and feature-length movies over Oct. 14-15. 
Doors open at the Pine Technical College Auditorium (900 4th Street SE) at 6 p.m. Friday for the first session of films, with a late-night session to follow at Danny C’s BeachRocks (10762 Lakeview Shore Drive) at 10 p.m.
On Saturday morning at 11 a.m., another session of films begins with a family-friendly selection of movies for young and old at Pine Technical College. 
Saturday goes back to the grown-ups at the 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. film sessions, and the night will be capped off with a horror double-feature and celebration at Danny C’s BeachRocks starting at 10 p.m.
Tickets for each daytime session of films at Pine Technical College are only $5, while there is free (donation requested) admission to the late-night shows at Danny C’s BeachRocks. All funds go to the nonprofit Pine Center for the Arts.
Each session of films promises its own highlights. Some of these include: 
  • Friday night’s 6:30 p.m. session includes a film by Shane Bauer, one of the American hikers who was recently released from Iran after two years in captivity. “Songs to Enemies and Deserts” was co-directed by Bauer and David Martinez. A special message from Bauer’s mother, Pine City native Cindy Hickey, will be read before the film. 
  • Friday’s late-night session at Danny C’s BeachRocks will feature “All Over the Walls,” a documentary featured at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival. The short film “Night Surf” won directing and screenwriting honors at the MCTC Excellence Awards.
  • On Saturday at 2:30 p.m. the session includes a variety of intriguing dramas and comedies capped off by “Lambent Fuse,” the winner of the 2011 Twin Cities Film Fest for Best Minnesota Feature. 
  • On Saturday at 6:30 p.m., a series of exciting thrillers and hilarious comedies will come to an end with “Ghost from the Machine,” a psychological horror film which was recently picked up by Universal Studios to be remade into a major motion picture. 
  • Saturday’s late-night session at Danny C’s BeachRocks is a horror double-feature including “Attack of the Moon Zombies” by legendary Minnesota director Christopher R. Mihm and the horror/comedy freak-out “Potpourri.” 
For a full listing of films and their descriptions go to www.highway61filmfestival.org or visit the Highway 61 Film Festival Facebook page. 
Also, on Friday and Saturday nights, drivers and pedestrians will see the walls of Pine City come to life with photos projected by local photographers in “Pictures on Buildings.”
Come to one film session, or come to all – but don’t miss the Highway 61 Film Festival!
Read on to see more about the program and the films that will be shown.

Klobuchar visits Pine City, mom of detained US hiker

KSTP reports that Sen. Amy Klobuchar visited Pine City May 20 to meet with Cindy Hickey, mother of Shane Bauer, one of the American hikers who was detained nearly two years ago while hiking near the Iraq-Iran border.

Since that time, hiker Sarah Shourd (Bauer’s fiancée) was allowed to return to the U.S. last year on bail but not the two men, Bauer and Fattal.  Their families have made countless TV appearances, enlisted celebrities for help and even traveled to Tehran to keep the spotlight on the situation.   The latest tactic taken by the families: a hunger strike to show solidarity with their sons whom they beileve are also on one.

Nothing the moms have done yet has swayed the Iranian government, not after 21 months of separation.

The associated press reported that Cindy Hickey, of Pine City, said, “As family members, we’re taking a big hit and we’re getting to the bottom, financially, emotionally, physically.  We’re all suffering from this.  It’s very desperate.”

Fattal and Bauer have been held on espionage charges since July, 2009.  Both men deny the charges.    Since Shourd’s release, Iranian officials ordered her back to Tehran for the trial, but she has declined.

Reportedly, while in Pine City, Klobuchar also attended Field Day at the Pine City Elementary School.