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Minnesota Film Critics Alliance Member Profile: Hunter Friesen

Hunter Friesen is a critic on multiple platforms. A resident of Shakopee, Friesen both writes for the publication The Northern Iowan and is a member of the YouTube channel League of Cinephiles.

In his own words, here’s more about Friesen.

How long have you been producing content about movies?

I’ve been producing content about movies since early 2018. It took a while for me to get the courage to start putting my thoughts out into the open, but I’m very glad I did and have enjoyed every minute of it.

Where do you live and/or produce content about movies?

I go to school at the University of Northern Iowa, but my permanent address is in my hometown of Shakopee, Minn. The majority of my work is done there.

What type of content do you produce about movies?

The main content I produce is film reviews for the newest releases. I like to review a wide array of films to give my readers the opportunity to seek out something new and fresh.

Other content that I produce are recommendation lists and general news about the film industry, such as awards season and major announcements.

What motivated you to create content about movies?

My main motivation for creating content was that I always enjoyed discussing films with my friends and family, but always felt there was a larger world that I should interact with. By producing content, I have connected with different kinds of people and been exposed to ideas I had never thought about before.

I’m also able to have a conversation with my audience and other creators, furthering my love for movies.

What inspired your love of movies?

My love for movies came from my early childhood love for stories and imaginative visuals. Being able to take something from your brain and interpret it visually has always been something that piqued my interest.

I also had a big push from my grandfather and father, who are avid fans of everything “James Bond,” Westerns, and “Star Wars.”

What do you enjoy most about living in Minnesota?

I know this is a reason most people hate Minnesota, but I really like the weather. I could never imagine living somewhere that doesn’t get to experience all four seasons.

I’m also a very active person, so being able to play golf in the summer and ski in the winter is something that always excites me.

What is your favorite movie theater in Minnesota?

One of the perks of living in the metropolitan area is that I have access to a wide range of cinemas. I’ve done my best to go to each one within a driveable distance.

The best one, in my opinion, is the Landmark Lagoon and Uptown in Minneapolis. They’re across the street from each other and offer the best selection of films, whether it be giant blockbusters or micro indies.

I saw “A Hidden Life” at the Uptown and was able to have a great conversation with a few people afterward. The theatre really makes the audience feel like a community, instead of just customers making a transaction.

What are some of your favorite movies from the past year (2020)?

My absolute favorite of the past year was one I saw early and that never left my mind, which was Eliza Hittman’s “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.”

I’m not always a huge fan of the coming-of-age genre, but this movie was something else as it did an impeccable job of exuding sympathy and connecting me to a process that I am biologically unable to relate to. I was also left with no dry eyes during the titular scene at the hospital.

My second favorite of the year was “The Vast of Night” on Amazon Prime. That movie was spookier than any conventional horror film and packed with talent from its mostly rookie cast and crew. I’m very excited for whatever Andrew Patterson decides to do next.

Other movies I really liked were “Nomadland,” “First Cow,” “Wolfwalkers,” “The Nest,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “The Prom,” “One Night in Miami,” and “Ammonite.”

What are your favorite movies set in Minnesota?

I’m guessing it’s a cliché to say “Fargo?” Considering the Coens are from Minneapolis, it’s only fitting that they make the best movie set in Minnesota.

There are other features such as “Grumpy Old Men,” “Contagion” (Soderbergh is one of my favorites), “A Prairie Home Companion,” and “A Simple Plan” that showcases both the good & the bad (aka, the cold) of living in Minnesota.

Where can people find your work?

My main film reviews are still done for the school newspaper, which can be found at The Northern Iowan.

But I also am part of the main team at the League of Cinephiles YouTube channel and Instagram page. That’s where I participate in a lot of fun debates and trivia matches, give updates on the Oscar race, and any other general news.

I also contribute regularly to Next Best Picture, with articles on anything and everything about film.

Social Media accounts?

I’m old for my age, as I don’t currently have any major social media accounts.

However, all my film-related thoughts are on my Letterbox account.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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