'Fargo' anniversary highlights fest: Film festival lights up the night by showing film on building

The Fargo Theatre's Margie Bailly feels some local movie buffs, busy bashing the film "Fargo" for its slights on area accents and body disposal techniques, have overlooked its admiration for the area's big heart.

The Fargo Theatre's Margie Bailly feels some local movie buffs, busy bashing the film "Fargo" for its slights on area accents and body disposal techniques, have overlooked its admiration for the area's big heart.

So Bailly, the theater's executive director, has organized an oversized showing to play up the nuances.

The sixth annual Fargo Film Festival will double as a tribute to all things "Fargo" to mark the 10th anniversary of the Academy Award-winning movie's release. On March 1, the festival's opening night, the Fargo Theatre will project the movie onto the north side of the Radisson Hotel, Bailly announced at a press conference Friday morning.

"The night is going to be about the larger-than-life effect the movie has had on Fargo," Bailly says. "Only this time, it's going to be physically larger-than-life."

The screen will almost fill the width of the Radisson. The equipment, which can project a sharp image even in a blizzard, will arrive with a crew from Minneapolis. Viewers will have to tune in to radio station KPFX 107.9 to hear the soundtrack.

Bailly says the Fargo Theatre's staff addressed concerns about projecting an R-rated movie in public with the 9 p.m. showing and the bleeping out of obscenities in the soundtrack. Many residents on Fargo's north side will be able to view the film from their homes, and premium parking spots will be available for free on Third Avenue North, which will be closed for traffic.

"The Radisson is a character in the movie, so to have the screening on the Radisson is a stroke of brilliance," says Fargo actress Kristin Rudrud, who played high-strung kidnapped housewife Jean Lundegaard. The bar at the Minneapolis Radisson was the setting for the hilarious reunion between intrepid policewoman Marge Gunderson, played by Frances McDormand, and an emotionally disturbed former classmate.

The Fargo Theatre has sent out invitations to about 200 people associated with making the movie for their "reunion of Fargo alumni," from the writing and directing team of Ethan and Joel Coen to the assistant cameramen.

Robert Graf, location manager for the movie, has signed on, and the organizers have gotten a maybe from actor William H. Macy's publicist. The following day will feature panel discussions and workshops on the movie, included one headed by Pamela Grace, a feminist scholar who's written on the character of Marge.

"Margie really knows how to throw a party," says Rudrud. "I think people will be intrigued not only in Fargo but around the country."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mila Koumpilova at (701) 241-5529