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Film set between Grand Marais and Duluth gets its regional premiere

May 24, 2018 06:22AM ● By Editor
Aurora Perrineau (left) and Rachel Hendrix star in the quirky comedy-drama "Virginia Minnesota," which gets its local premiere during Duluth-Superior Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Rushaway Pictures

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.

Yes, 'Virginia'

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.

For more on this story, visit the Duluth News Tribune website by following this link.

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