MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The 35th annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival kicks off this weekend, featuring 250 films from 71 countries.

Maribeth Romslo & Cara Epstein (credit: CBS)

Maribeth Romslo & Cara Epstein (credit: CBS)

And while the majority of the films are international, a handful of them are made by Minnesota-based and Minnesota-native filmmakers.

“Our film is a lot of a love letter to Minnesota,” co-director Maribeth Romslo said.

First-time filmmakers Cara Epstein and Romslo shot “Dragonfly” entirely in Minnesota.

From iconic Twin Cities spots, to lesser known areas, it is a film made for a Midwest audience.

Dragonfly (credit: Maribeth Romslo & Cara Epstein)

Dragonfly (credit: Maribeth Romslo & Cara Epstein)

The women-led feature film follows a family separated by divorce. It uses humor and heart to tell the story of a mother and daughter as they struggle to reconcile. And the indie film weaves in a little magic.

“It was incredible to write something and then have that come to life and watch all these people interpret it,” writer, co-director and lead actor Epstein said.

In contrast, WCCO Photojournalist Aaron Goodyear makes his filmmaking debut at the festival with the documentary “Gypsy: Rock & Roll Nomads.”

“The cliché is the real life is stranger than anything you can make up, and that’s what drew me to make a documentary,” Goodyear said.

Aaron Goodyear (credit: CBS)

Aaron Goodyear (credit: CBS)

Originally called “The Underbeats,” Goodyear and team look back at the Twin Cities band formed in the 60s, as the newly-named group Gypsy headed west.

It follows their stints at legendary Sunset Strip clubs in Los Angeles, the desire to become a household name, along with where the members of Gypsy are today.

“It’s kind of the quintessential rock and roll story,” Goodyear said. “Every single thing about that story is there, except for the fame.”

Gypsy (credit: Aaron Goodyear)

Gypsy (credit: Aaron Goodyear)

He is humbled to share what he calls an overlooked piece of rock-and-roll history with audiences.

“Dragonfly” is sold out this Sunday in Minneapolis, but it will be shown in Rochester on Saturday, April. 16.

Gypsy: Rock & Roll Nomads” will be shown on Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. and Friday, April 22 at 9:20 p.m. Both screenings will be at St. Anthony Main Theatre in Minneapolis.

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 2016 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.

Jennifer Mayerle

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