2018 FRFF Awards

MN Film – First Daughter and the Black Snake
Directed by Keri Pickett

Winona LaDuke believes Big Oil is the black snake predicted in indigenous prophecy to bring the earth’s destruction. When new oil pipelines threaten sacred wild rice lakes, Winona dreams of riding her horse against the current of oil, organizing a spiritual ride, “because a horse can kill a snake.”

Grand Prize – Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story
Directed by Phillip Baribeau

Charged with 2400 volts of electricity, Eduardo Garcia lost an arm, ribs, muscle mass and nearly his life, but more important than what he lost is what he found.

Special Juried Award – Cheshire Ohio
Directed by Eve Morgenstern

A gun-toting 83-year old woman refuses to sell her house to the power plant next door but the plant has moved ahead with their 20 million dollar deal to buy out most of Cheshire and bulldoze all the homes. What happened in this Ohio River town overrun by one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the world? A story of money, power and the increasingly difficult choices we face surrounding coal and the environment, Cheshire, Ohio makes us think twice about home.

Student Choice Award – The Rugby Boys of Memphis
Directed by David Darg

The Rugby Boys of Memphis tells the story of an inner-city program bringing rugby and the possibility of college scholarships to high school athletes. This documentary short tells the story of Calvin Gentry, whose high school rugby career wins him a scholarship to the University of Arkansas. The film explores the endemic violence and poverty of Memphis and examines how an innovative rugby program is bringing young men opportunities to build lives outside of the social conditions of their city. Gentry’s story reminds us all that determination and resilience are characteristics that open incredible new opportunities in all of our lives.

KSMQ – The Girl and the Typhoons
Directed by Christoph Schwaiger

In 2013, super typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines shores, destroying cities and villages. 6000 people were killed and millions homeless. Such huge climate disasters only happen once or twice in a century. But today many experts think that global warming might induce an increase. Some Philippians are committing to face such threats. Like Marinel, 16 years old, who has decided to rescue her archipelago. She goes to schools to raise awareness on climate risks for the new generation to come. We will wander by her side on her devastated island, meeting those who refuse to give up and who work to protect the archipelago.

People’s choice – Anne Pellowski: Storyteller to the World
Directed by Mary Farrell

Anne Pellowski was raised by a farm family of Polish heritage in Trempealeau County, WI and was a voracious reader of books about other countries and believed she would someday travel to all those countries. She discovered her life’s vocation through her studies in languages and library science which led her to New York City where she pursued her career, first as the children’s librarian at the NYC Public Library, and later as founding director of the Information Center on Children’s Cultures for the United States committee at UNICEF. Through her work at UNICEF and other international agencies, she traveled to over 120 countries, assuring children had access to books in their native language by conducting workshops on cloth bookmaking and storytelling. She has also authored 20 books including the Polish American girl series. Since her retirement, she has lived in Winona, Minnesota and travels several times a year to places around the world leading workshops. Filmmaker Mary Farrell traveled with Pellowski to Kenya in 2014 and filmed her workshop and decided to share Pellowski’s story of courage and determination as an ambassador for cultural and international understanding.


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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the
Minnesota State Arts Board thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.