The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a spiritual place for anyone who has ever ventured there, for an ordeal packed with unforgettable serenity.

But even in the of the golden age of the Minnesota Film Board in the 1990s, a location scout could never convince anyone that the BWCA was a practical place to shoot for even an afternoon.

Well, in the era of film gear and digital cameras that are as light as their Fisher-Price counterparts, the BWCA is now a semi-feasible place to film — for those who have the guts and deep affection for the place.

The filmmakers behind the independent thriller Heart of Wilderness do, and they have finally given the BWCA the chance to be itself — a captivating, selfish, scene-stealing diva. Portions of the film were shot, for practical purposes, on the outskirts of the BWCA near Ely on Garden Lake.

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In Heart, a man gets involved in a drug deal to help provide for his young family. But when it goes awry, he convinces his wife to take a little canoe getaway for a few days in the BWCA. Let’s just say it doesn’t turn out to be the best couples retreat.

Heart is the feature-length debut of director Towle Neu, who co-wrote it with executive producer Kevin Byrnes (who is an acquaintance of mine). Andre Durand’s digital cinematography does immense justice to the BWCA’s glory, which should be seen on the big screen.

Heart Of Wilderness is playing at 7:20 p.m. at St. Anthony Main Theatre, with the filmmakers in attendance. It will also be shown on Saturday, April 25 at 7:10 p.m.

~ Stephen Swanson

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(credit: Magnolia Pictures)

(credit: Magnolia Pictures)

Other Highlights For Thursday, April 23

Sunshine Superman (Marah Strauch; USA, Norway) Carl Boenish — the father of BASE jumping — is honored in this wonderful and dazzling documentary by debut director Marah Strauch, who will be at the screening. (7:10 p.m.)

Not Ready To Die (Fredrik Egerstrand, Kalle Gustafsson Jerneholm; Sweden) This is the story of Swedish performer/songwriter/producer Laleh Pourkarim. Her family escaped Iran shortly after her birth, and eventually settle in Sweden. In her adopted home, Pourkarim becomes an teen actor before launching an enormous and influential music career. (9:45 p.m.)

Hello! Junichi (Katsuhito Ishii; Japan) Junichi is a 9-year-old boy who spends his time hanging with his third-grade chums, ruminating on the girl he has a major crush on and trying to become less of a wimp. There is nothing remotely like Ishii’s delightful meditations on childhood in American popular culture, which is quite a shame. Seek this nugget out. Read the full review here. (10 p.m.)

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For the festival schedule, and a complete listing of all the movies being shown, click here. Ticket information is available here.

Throughout the entirety of the 2015 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, WCCO.com will be spotlighting one notable movie each day, along with other notable screenings. To see WCCO.com’s complete coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.

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