MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A harbinger of springtime in the Twin Cities is the annual Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, a massive Midwest cinematic event that spans nearly all of April and brings hundreds of new films and some their acclimated creators to Minnesota.

The lineup for this year’s festival, which runs from April 13-29, was announced last week, with the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul boasting that on the docket are 350 news films, representing more than 70 countries. (To check out the full line-up, click here.) Most screenings are at the St. Anthony Main Theatre in Minneapolis; although there are select screenings at other venues.

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Tickets go on sale for the general public Thursday; they’re already on sale for Film Society members. General public tickets run $13 a pop, and package deals are also available. Discounts can be had with early bird tickets (the first screening of each festival day); they run $6.

Kicking off the festival on April 13 will be a screening of “The Lost City of Z” by James Gray (“The Immigrant,” “We Own The Night”). Based on the bestseller by David Grann, the film tells the true story of a British explorer obsessed with finding evidence of an advanced civilization in the heart of the Amazon. The adventure stars Robert Pattinson (“Twilight,” “Harry Potter”) and Charlie Hunnam (“Pacific Rim,” “Children of Men”).

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As usual, the festival will feature several programs, with films competing from specific regions and languages (“Images of Africa,” “Cine Latino”), as well as specific categories, such documentary, children’s films and Minnesota-made films. One new addition this year will be a virtual reality exhibition, showcasing a number of the most innovative (and intense!) VR experiences created in recent years. The exhibition will run from April 21-25, and it’s free to the public.

Closing out the festival will be the travel comedy “King of the Belgians,” directed by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth. The film follows the Belgian king as his state visit to Istanbul goes awry due to a solar storm and he must road trip back home through the Balkans with a motley crew of filmmakers and musicians. A fitting way to end the festival.

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For more on the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival – including information on party dates and panel discussions – click here.

Jonathon Sharp