Rochester film festival turns 16

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The Rochester International Film Festival kicks off its 16th season today.

Films include: Connected, an official selection at Sundance Film Festival and winner of the Women in Film Award from National Geographic. In it, award-winning filmmaker and founder of the Webby Awards Tiffany Shlain explores the visible and invisible connections linking the major environmental and technological concerns of our time.

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Earlier this year, Shlain told the San Francisco Chronicle the film was originally meant to explore the connectedness from an intellectual space, but that changed as she worked on the film.

"We're all connected on every level, as a species on the planet, as parents of children, it's so intrinsic to who we are," Shalin told the newspaper. "I think that if we start looking at the links more and how we're interdependent, only good can come from it."

Also featured at the Rochester festival is Lutefisk Wars, a mock documentary depicting rural life in the Midwest after a home-delivery grocery driver comes across an ancient lutefisk recipe. The film is a tribute to small town America and Scandinavian culture, and an expected southeastern Minnesota crowd-pleaser.

International selections include films from France, Poland, Italy, Germany, Bolivia, South Korea and Greece, among others.

All the screenings for the festival will be held at Wehrenberg Rochester Galaxy 14 Cine, 4340 Maine Ave SE, Rochester, MN. The festival runs through May 5.

The Rochester festival coincides with the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, produced by The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul

According to its website, the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul (formerly Minnesota Film Arts) is one of the most diversified film-arts organizations in the country and is the largest exhibitor of artistic and international films in the Upper Midwest. The Twin Cites' festival features about 400 titles annually, and an audience of more than 100,000. That festival also runs through May 5.