Film set between Grand Marais and Duluth gets its regional premiere
May 24, 2018 06:22AM ● Published by Editor
By Christa Lawler of the Duluth News Tribune - May 24, 2018
Filmmaker Daniel Stine was in Duluth scouting locations for his Minnesota-flavored feature-length movie when he got an invitation he couldn't refuse: Rhubarb Festival.
"Whenever I hear something like that, I have to go see it," said Stine in a phone interview.
The perennial plant-based celebration, a regularly-scheduled June fundraiser for CHUM, is a day of rhubarb desserts, rhubarb sausage, rhubarb lemonade in addition to rhubarb themed arts, crafts, games, music, occasionally a quirky rhubarb poem.
And, the thing that really caught his eye, the fest's larger-than-life, leafy-haired, long-lashed mascot, Rhubarbara.
"Through the crowd, there was this 7-foot rhubarb stalk walking around," Stine recalled, then said he thought: "What in the world is that, and how do we fit it in the movie."
Rhubarbara makes the cut in Stine's comedic-drama — or dramatic comedy — "Virginia Minnesota," which gets a screening at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Clyde Iron Works to kick off Duluth-Superior Film Festival. It plays again at 9 p.m. June 2 at Zinema 2.
Stine and lead actor Rachel Hendrix will be in attendance and, like all events during the five-day film fest, screenings are free and open to the public.
Rhubarbara's local-bait cameo comes in the latter half of the movie during a dance party set at Split Rock Lighthouse. Neon lights, glowing lanterns, catchy tunes. When Lyle, played by Hendrix, goes looking for her friend Addison (Aurora Perrineau), she's directed to a crush of partiers.
"She's having a dance-off with Rhubarbara," another character says, pointing at the stalk, which is in the midst of some head-bending, arm-waving choreography.
Rhubarbara is on-brand with the quirky movie, part comedy-part drama, that was filmed along the North Shore in 2016. "Virginia Minnesota" is the story of a group of women who were raised at a home for girls (played, externally, by Glensheen mansion) — which is ultimately shut down when one of the girls drowns while taking a sneaky, middle-of-the-night boat trip on Lake Superior. Fifteen years later, the women are called back to the estate for the reading of a will, but Addison, a wildcard, opts out. Lyle, a travel blogger currently lugging around an Alexa-esque talking suitcase-slash-inanimate Instagram star named Mister, cruises up to Grand Marais to drag Addison to the reunion.
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