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Arts & Culture

MINT Film Festival Kicks Off With Virtual, Theater Viewing Options

Watercolor and ink of a mustachioed man in a suit jacket and western fedora in front of green field without blue and white mountains in the background.
Judd Thompson
"A Moment of Solitude"

The Montana International Film Festival (MINT) is underway in Billings with more films than ever before but under a different format thanks to health precautions spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

The world is a different place in 2020 and film festivals like the MINT have had to adapt.

"As a festival we are distributing films which is crazy to think about," Murnion said.

That’s Brian Murnion, MINT’s founder and executive director. He says the pandemic has forced festivals and filmmakers to find ways to share films without drawing crowds to the theaters.

"A year ago festivals were not in this position of distributing content. We would just be showing content during the small window of our festival. But we now can show films for four weeks, five weeks. We can show films for however long we want," Murnion said.

For the MINT festival, more than 130 films from 20 different countries will be available now through mid October on their online catalogue through an online streaming service called Eventive.

MINT will still host several in person social distanced limited seating screening events featuring indigenous, female and minority voices, this year at the Billings Depot and the Art House Cinema. And Murnion says MINT will continue to offer conversations with filmmakers, working very hard to prerecord as many with directors and creators as possible.

While the hybrid format of virtual and physical screenings has allowed MINT to offer more films this year, Murnion says it’s just not the same.

"So while we are showing a greater quantity of films and bringing more voices to the festival, it is hard to feel the depth of that if we are not all together in a venue watching films together. It just feels different," Murnion said.

The 2020 MINT Film Festival runs now through Oct. 10.