By Ren Clayton

EAGNA, Minn. (WCCO) — A gloomy weekend makes for a perfect setting to watch a movie for a worthy cause.

“We love to bring film and community together, and this was perfect” said Emagine Theaters general manger Tayler Prax.

READ MORE: Next Drive: Part Of Hiawatha Avenue In Minneapolis Closes For Summer

“It’s important for me to tell people about Ukraine. I’ve been trying to do that for 25 years and for the first time people are really anxious to learn,” said Jamie Hopkins, the executive director of the Eagan Community Foundation; they and Emagine Theaters teamed up to put on a three-day film fundraiser. Prax had been wanting to do something to support Ukraine.

“What better way than to host a film festival. We already run the movie theatre. We already have the space so it just worked out really well,” Prax said.

The project was spearheaded by Hopkins. The proceeds will benefit a variety of needs in Ukraine, including funding for filmmakers documenting the current war.

“I want to make sure that opportunity exists today to do that (make Ukrainian films) in the future,” Hopkins said.

A mix of Ukrainian feature films and documentaries are being shown.

READ MORE: Next Weather: Slightly Warmer Start To The Work Week

“Some of them are more recent history of different conflicts in Eastern Ukraine that have led up to this moment. That really highlight the lives of the people who have been living through conflict for a number of years,” said moviegoer Andrea Fish.

Hopkins served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine. Because of that network, this event will go beyond one theater in Eagan.

“So when I put this out to that group, people reached out to me and said hey I would like to do this in my community, help me. So that’s kind of how we’re spreading it across the U.S.”

A trip to the movies with a bigger impact.

“We know we’re a better world when we’re all connected. And film just seems like a great way to connect people,” said Hopkins.

MORE NEWS: Minn. Legislature Misses Deadline With Key Bills Unfinished; Walz Suggests Special Session

The fundraiser continues Saturday night with a screening at 8:30 p.m. and goes through Sunday.

Ren Clayton