Children’s films at the North West Company Fur Post on Oct. 8

We’re excited to add something brand new this year – a completely new venue for screening independent films, in a place dedicated to the past. The North West Company Fur Post will be hosting a show of short and feature films for children at it’s Visitor Center just outside Pine City. Stop by at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8 to check out this set of family-friendly films and enjoy the ambience of the beautiful North West Company Fur Post!

North West Company Fur Post

12551 Voyageur Lane  PO Box 51

Pine City,  MN 55063

Kids and parents will also have the chance to learn a little about a remarkable exhibition coming to the area soon. The Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone will be featuring the Smithsonian Water/Ways  exhibition on November 19th, 2016 to January 1st, 2017. For more information, visit the link below:

Smithsonian Water/Ways

Last chance to submit in 2016!

We’ve received a number of amazing films from local, national and international filmmakers – but we don’t want anyone to feel left out! Submit your film today at

Submissions for 2016 will close on Friday, July 1.



Highway 61 Film Festival open for submissions!

Now six years strong, the 2016 Highway 61 Film Festival is looking for submissions from local, national and international filmmakers starting April 1.

Submissions may include short (less than 40 minutes) and feature films. Categories include: Drama, Comedy, Action/Horror, Documentary, Animation and a new category this year, Made in Minnesota, for films actually shot, in whole or part, in this great state. A special spot is reserved for Student Short films by students in grades K-12.

Submitted films are reviewed by judges, and cash prizes awarded to the top film in each category: $100 for features, $50 for short films, including a $50 prize for the top Student Short film.

Early submission fees (by June 15) are $5 for short films and $10 per feature film. Late submission fees (by July 1) are $10 for short films and $20 per feature film submission. All  Made in Minnesota films are $1 and Student Short films (age 18 and under) are free to submit.

Last year over 1,000 films were submitted to the Highway  61 Film Festival through (an online independent film festival submission service), and the very best were featured at the October festival.

The festival will be held Oct. 6, 7, 8 and 9 at Pine Technical & Community College, Pizza Pub and the North West Company Fur Post in Pine City.

Films can be submitted at For more information, visit, the Highway 61 Film Festival page on Facebook, or follow on Twitter. Questions? Email

The Highway 61 Film Festival is sponsored by the nonprofit Pine Center for the Arts: 320-629-4924.

Film schedule • October 2, 3, 4 • 2015 Highway 61 Film Festival


Director: Sebastien Chamaillard • Comedy Short – 2015 2nd Place Winner • France • 14 min
Julien, new recruit at the “Skin Center” sofa store, has a disastrous first test day on the job. His boss threatens to fire him if he does not make a sale within the next 24 hours!

Director: Mikhail Dovzhenko • Comedy Short – 2015 Finalist • Russia • 20 min
Based on true events, listeners are offered the choice to destroy (by paper shredder) or save a well-known, expensive, but controversial, contemporary work of art on live radio.

The Last Birthday
Director: Hannah Gautrey • Student Short – 2015 1st Place Winner • United Kingdom • 10 min
Wilfred spends his birthday in a retirement home wishing to be young. However his authoritarian caregiver prioritizes safety over happiness and they soon clash.

The Martyr

The Martyr
Director: Darren Langlands • Drama Short – 2015 2nd Place Winner • United Kingdom • 10 min
MI5 Agent Laura Kent explains her actions to an internal inquiry in the aftermath of a major terrorism incident.

Get a Job
Director: Brian Kohne • Comedy Feature – 2015 1st Place Winner • Hawaii • 1 hour 30 min
Two friends attempt to find the dignity of gainful employment while bumbling through life and sharing the Aloha Spirit in Hawaii.

Get a Job



Maintenance Required
Director: JC Falcon • Action/Horror Short – 2015 1st Place Winner • California • 15 min
When Nappy, an overprotected simpleton in his 40s, loses his mother, he decides to journey to Las Vegas to find the love of his life.

Cami Leon Should Have Said No!
Director: Ryan Schaddelee • Comedy Short – not for competition • Minneapolis/St. Paul • 8 min
Cami Leon isn’t your average girl, she has a bit of a “condition” that brings her on an adventure filled day, with interesting interactions, leading to a date no one will ever forget!

Tom Thumb Jr

The Life and Times of Thomas Thumb Jr.
Director: Ryan Fox • Comedy Short – 2015 Finalist • Wisconsin • 15 min
Thomas Thumb Jr. is unlike any other man. He has a giant thumb for a head and he’ll do whatever it takes to achieve the American Dream.

Lincoln 666
Director: Ryan Becken • Comedy Short – not for competition • Minneapolis/St. Paul • 8 min
A mad painter believes he has painted the perfect portrait of Abraham Lincoln, but no one shares his vision. He doesn’t take it well.

Director: Michael Forstein • Drama Short – 2015 Finalist • Minneapolis • 15 min
Desperate for work, Darren agrees to a one-day trial as a door-to-door meat salesman.

The Raid
Director: Nathan Johnson • Action/Horror Short – 2015 Semifinalist • Kettle River • 17 min
After the outbreak of an unknown disease destroys society, groups of survivors must forage for shelter and supplies. In the process, many lose their sense of humanity.

The Raid2

We All Go the Same
Director: Morgana McKenzie • Student Short – 2015 Finalist • Canada • 4 min
By 15-year-old filmmaker Morgana McKenzie: “In the timeless world of fairy tales, villains and victims are visited by a vengeful fairy who offers to shift the balance of power.”

Caedes: Forestglade of Death
Director: Slavko Spionjak • Action/Horror Feature – 2015 1st Place Winner • Germany • 1 hour 29 min
Dan and his three friends go camping in a forestglade. After a wild night of drinking, a young woman is bitten by another camper. As panic and hysteria spread, they seek refuge in the forest … only to find absolute evil.


pretty dangerous1 bw

Pretty Dangerous
Director: Dan Laera • Documentary Short – 2015 1st Place Winner • Canada • 9 min
The story of Seleziya “Sparx” Esho, a Canadian professional wrestler, and the emotional divide between her obsession for the thing she loves and the physical and mental strain it puts on her body and family.

Waiting for the (t)rain
Director: Simon Panay • Documentary Short – 2015 Finalist • France • 25 min
Two times a week a train passes the small village of Burkina, Africa. Food items and water bottles thrown by the passengers constitute the main income of the village, and the only source of water during dry season.

Waiting train1The Wooden House

The Wooden House
Director: Hannah Gautrey • Student Short – 2015 Finalist • United Kingdom • 12 min
A short documentary on Wesley West, a sculptor and model maker based in Cambridge, England.

Scouts Oath 
Director: Ryan Rambach • Documentary Short – 2015 Finalist • California • 13 min
A short documentary about Len Lanzi, a former Boy Scouts of America executive official who was fired after coming out as gay in a public speech.

A Venue for the End of the World 
Director: Aidan Prewett • Documentary Feature – 2015 1st Place Winner • Australia • 95 min
A filmmaker investigates the dangers of audience manipulation and leader worship.

A venue for the end of the world bw


Where is the Water in White Bear Lake?
Director: Amy Okaya • Documentary Short – 2015 Finalist • White Bear Lake • 27 min
White Bear Lake is an icon of Minnesota, and over the last ten years, its waters have been seeping away. Where is the water going, and what can be done about it? There are no easy answers as the Land of 10,000 Lakes starts to recognize its water may be limited.

Early Retirement
Director: David Mair • Comedy Short – 2015 Finalist • Vadnais Heights • 7 min
A grizzled cop seeks vengeance for his fallen partner.

Beyond This Point
Director: Bob Strong • Comedy Short – 2015 Semifinalist • Minneapolis • 7 min
Tommy just wants to go to a movie, and maybe sneak some candy in for a treat. He sees the signs that warn him not to do this, but little does he know what lies ‘beyond this point.’

Mr. Thunderbird – In Rod We Trust 
Director: Dina Dainty • Documentary Short – 2015 Finalist • Centerville • 7 min
A short documentary about the beloved Minnesota landmark known as the Thunderbird Hotel, and the man who created and ran it for 42 years.

The Dinkytown Uprising

The Dinkytown Uprising – FILMMAKER ATTENDING!
Director: Al Milgrom • Documentary Feature – Not for competition • Minneapolis • 96 min
The year is 1970. The Vietnam War keeps escalating, and protests are erupting on college campuses. But in Minneapolis, word that a new fast-food franchise is planned in Dinkytown gives the “war at home” a different turn. This documentary chronicles the 40-day, 40-night continuous Dinkytown “occupation.” From film programmer-turned-filmmaker Al Milgrom, the story is recounted by seven participants whose reminiscences become a microcosm of the ‘70s generation.


Director: Lynne Hansen • Action/Horror Short – 2015 Finalist • Florida • 12 min
Millie is determined to prove to the world that she’s captured the first real zombie–even if he’s not one.

Director: TL Westgate • Comedy Short – 2015 1st Place Winner • Florida • 9 min
When the Department of Homeland Security needed a task force to fight modern day crime, they teamed up one hero cop with one tech savvy cop to form – TechSquad


Mantoson Biotechnology
Director: Julien Vergé • Action/Horror Short – 2015 2nd Place Winner • France • 13 min
In the scientific reserve of the company Mantoson Biotechnology, a serviceman and scientist try to escape from their abusers.

Director: Michael Alberts • Action/Horror Short – 2015 Finalist • California • 15 min
Inspired by true events. Scott Somers mysteriously experiences sleep paralysis when his wife Marie sleepwalks at night. Unbeknownst to him, she lives with a horrible secret that slowly begins to eat away at their relationship.

The Whitefish Yacht Club
Director: John Gigrich • Comedy Short – 2015 Semifinalist • Minneapolis • 6 min
The wealthy Whitefish sisters call in a mysterious friend when they find a severed human foot in the cabin of their boat.

Curiosity Kills
Director: Sander Maran • Comedy Short – 2015 Finalist • 6 min
A failed chemistry experiment turns a little boy’s pet rat into a radioactive killer.

Volumes of blood2

Volumes of Blood
Directors: P.J. Starks, Nathan Thomas Milliner, Lee Vervoort, Jakob Bilinski, John Kenneth Muir • Action/Horror Feature – 2015 2nd Place Winner • Kentucky • 96 min
Five tales of dread interwoven when a sociology student gathers several of his friends on Halloween night at the library to help him create a new urban legend with deadly consequences.

Family-friendly session

Brewed Awakening

Brewed Awakening
Director: Brendan Kirschbaum • Animation Short – 2015 Finalist • Connecticut • 4 min
A happy blue guy enters a coffee shop, excited to start his day. His positive attitude is tested, however, when he finds that nobody in the coffee shop will look up from their phones to say hello, or even acknowledge his existence.

Playing with Food
Director: Soohyun Kim • Animation Short – 2015 Finalist • Texas • 3 min
A hungry fox prepares a TV dinner, but instead of a delicious, cooked meal he gets a surprise.

The Sugar Bug
Director: Will Hanley • Documentary Short – 2015 2nd Place Winner • Vermont • 11 min
A look into the lives of sugar makers and the process of making maple syrup. Several sugar makers across the state of Vermont share their stories, experiences, and love for maple syrup.

The Casebook of Nips & Porkington
Director: Melody Wang • Animation Short – 2015 2nd Place Winner • Canada • 3 min
The Casebook of Nips & Porkington is an animated short film about two members of the constabulary and their quest to restore a stolen egg to its distraught parents.

Princess Danya
Director: Xi Deng • Animation Short – 2015 Finalist • Canada • 4 min
The creation story of the Li nation of Hainan Island at the south of China.

It Hit Upon the Roof
Director: Teymour Ghaderi • Student Short – 2015 Finalist • Iran • 3 min
A young boy is at home, alone with his sick mother. It is raining outside and the roof of their home is dripping. He is playing with his toys, and also collecting the pouring water but one spot is very challenging where his mother is sleeping. He wants to keep his mother dry and does not want to wake her up.

Wild Encounter

Wild Encounter
Directors: Phillip Brunson, Yadnee Kohok, Carlos Soler Quiroga • Animation Short – 2015 Finalist • Georgia • 3 min
During a family’s trip in a drive-through safari, the kids want to feed the wild animals, but the father only wants to keep his car safe from harm. It is all up to the father to put a stop to the slobber fest.

Radio Orson
Director: Matt E. Novak • Documentary Short – 2015 Finalist • California • 14 min
In 1946 Orson Welles used his radio program to speak openly about the social issues of the day.

Switch Man

Switch Man
Director: Hsun-Chun Chuang • Animation Short – 2015 Finalist • 4 min
Dr. Evil Mantis attacks K-City, but one young man, with a hidden superhero power, stands up to turn the chaos upside down.

I’ve Just Had a Dream
Director: Javi Navarro • Drama Short – 2015 1st Place Winner • Spain • 8 min
Irene is eight and she just woke up from a horrible dream.


Director: Iván Ruiz Flores • Drama Short – 2015 Finalist • Spain • 15 min
A new hairdresser styles an old client.

It’s In the Blood: Leo Abshire & the Cajun Tradition
Directors: Eric Scholl & Cyndi Moran • Documentary Feature – 2015 2nd Place Winner • Illinois • 1 hr 30 min
Cajun fiddler, instrument maker, cultural ambassador, and quite possibly the best musician most Americans have never heard of.


The Blue Sweater
Director: Dhaneesh Jameson • Animation Short – 2015 1st Place Winner • India • 6 min
A story of the love of a sister for her brother and the pain of a tragedy that befalls them during India’s “raksha bandhan,” when the special bond between siblings is celebrated.

Wild Oates
Director: Joshua J. Provost • Comedy Short – 2015 Finalist • Arizona • 5 min
John Oates (Hall & Oates) is pushed to the limit during a tedious music video shoot in this retro musical parody.

For God’s Sake…
Director: Chakravarty Devulapalli • Drama Short – 2015 Finalist • India • 11 min
A customer walks into a small barber shop in East Delhi, demanding a shave. Having faced the ordeal of 1984 anti-Sikh reprisal, the devout Sikh-turned-barber comes face to face with his bête noire.

For Gods SakeMr. Dentonn

Mr. Dentonn
Director: Ivan Villamel Sanchez • Action/Horror Short – 2015 Finalist • Spain • 9 min
On a cold winter night, Laura reads her brother David the story of a strange creature that attacks children. Suddenly, a shiver runs through Laura’s body, feeling a strange presence in the house. It’s him.

Valor Cat

Valor Cat
Director: Ben Reicher • Animation Short – 2015 Finalist • California • 7 min
This is the story of evil robot Burmac’s revenge against heroic Valor Cat. A story so theatrical and over the top that it can only be expressed … in song.

Lucky Numbers
Director: Chester Milton • Student Short – 2015 Finalist • California • 10 min
A young man steals a winning lottery ticket and claims $50 million. What happens next is profound and surprising.

Chickpeas with Sugar
Director: Antonio Aguilar • Student Short – 2015 2nd Place Winner • Spain • 10 min
A true story. It’s Feb. 7, 1937 and the entrance of nationalist troops in Málaga is imminent. A woman and her four daughters are preparing for a long way on foot to look for her husband. Surviving each day becomes the main objective. Almería is more than 200 kilometers away and fatigue, hunger and bombs become their companions.

Director: Suki Singh • Drama Feature – 2015 1st Place Winner • United Kingdom • 1 hour, 37 min
Sam Heughan stars in this noir psychological thriller about a man searching for his missing wife.



Full list of finalists and semifinalists coming shortly.

1st Place • Bubble Bubble Meows and the Lame-O baby Jib • Director: Matt Orefice – United States

1st Place • THE BLUE SWEATER •
Director: Dhaneesh Jameson Kooliyath – United States
2nd Place • THE CASEBOOK OF NIPS AND PORKINGTON • Director: Melody Wang – Canada

1st Place • A VENUE FOR THE END OF THE WORLD • Director: Aidan Prewett – Australia
2nd Place • IT’S IN THE BLOOD • Directors: Eric Scholl & Cyndi Moran – United States

1st Place • Pretty Dangerous • Director: Jeff Reynolds – Canada
2nd Place • THE SUGAR BUG •
Director: Will Hanley – United States
1st Place • GET A JOB •
Directors: Brian Kohne – United States
2nd Place • AUSTRALIENS •
Director: Joe Bauer – Australia

1st Place • TECHSQUAD • Director: TL Westgate – United States
2nd Place • FANETTE • Director: Sebastien Chamaillard – France

1st Place • Caedes: Forestglade of Death • Director: Slavko Spionjak – Germany
2nd Place • VOLUMES OF BLOOD • Directors: PJ Starks, Nathan Thomas Milliner, Lee Vervoort, Jakob Bilinski, John Kenneth Muir – United States

1st Place • Maintenance Required • Director: JC Falcon – United States
Director: Julien Vergé – France

1st Place • EMULSION •
Director: Suki Singh – United Kingdom
2nd Place • THE RUNAWAY •
Director: Nick DeRuve – United States

1st Place • I’VE JUST HAD A DREAM • Director: Javi Navarro – Spain
2nd Place • THE MARTYR •
Director: Darren Langlands – United Kingdom

1st Place • THE LAST BIRTHDAY • Director: Hannah Gautrey – United Kingdom
Director: Antonio Aguilar – Spain

Here we go!

The Highway 61 Film Festival is open for submissions in 2015! Download our form or, better yet, visit FilmFreeway and submit now!

More details soon … very soon …