Hello and welcome to a new issue of POVwinona! To refresh your feed after WSU’s Spring Break, this issue focuses on documentary films featured at this year’s Frozen River Film Festival in Winona.  We could not help but further celebrate yet another fantastic year at FRFF by sharing these reviews.

Kicking off the issue is Amy Stoulil, sharing directors Kevin Burns and Erik and Christopher Ewers’ The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope and Science, a film capturing the 150-year story behind Mayo Clinic. The Ewers’ and Burns consider the ethics and inspiring stories of the hospital’s patients and staff through Mayo Clinic’s journey to the #1 ranking spot among hospitals in the United States. Up next, Jessica Gamoke dives into Max Lowe’s film Adventure Not War, a film that is as visually pleasing as it is a powerful and passion-driven story. Following three veterans, beautiful environmental shots mix with their voice-overs as they each search for inner peace. Next, Madeline Peterson expands on Mark Brown’s Gaelynn Lea: The Songs We Sing, highlighting the story of musical artist and activist Gaelynn Lea, traveling and performing through the midwest with Brittle Bones Disease. Brown allows the music of the artist to truly shine through and be center-focus of a story that’s all about following one’s dreams.  Switching gears into a sports-fueled documentary, Harrison McCormick jumps into Free Solo, directed by Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi,  a free-climbing adventure showing how both main subject Alex Honnold and the film crew face mortality. More than just a film on an adrenaline-fueled sport, Free Solo taps into both the strength and fragility of humankind in a way that is both aesthetically and physically thrilling.

The final set of our reviews features Frozen River’s award-winning films. Cecilia Cordon shares her thoughts on Eating Animals, the Special Jury Award-winning documentary directed by Christopher Dillon Quinn that calls attention to the dirty hands of the factory farming industry and the animal cruelty. Quinn captures raw, shocking shots of factory practices that, paired with the story-telling and narration from actress and co-producer Natalie Portman, lead to a journey in finding hope in the chaos of the corporate farming industry. Next up, McKenna Scherer examines the outspoken bravery and up-close-and-personal footage style of Cy Dodsen’s Beneath the Ink, the 2019 Short Film and Minnesota Filmmaker award winner that mixes awe-inducing honesty from its hate-tattoo subjects and featured artist Billy White.  Last, Brynn Artley considers the imminent danger and courage of Andres Caballero and Sofia Khan’s film, The Interpreters. The 2019 People’s Choice and Best of Festival award winner examines the relations between the U.S. and Irag and Afghanistan in a way that has never been told, revealing the untold stories of the people behind the war.

We thank you for reading our perspectives on Frozen River’s excellent set of documentaries and encourage you to check back into POVwinona for upcoming issues later this semester.

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McKenna Scherer

McKenna Scherer is a mass communications journalism major with a minor in film. She is also a writer and reporter for The Winonan, WSU's student newspaper, as well as a member of the Society for Collegiate Journalists and Film Club.