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John Lamb, Published March 07 2009

Lamb: Fargo Film Festival needs a new look for 2010

The Fargo Film Festival winds down today, but plans are undoubtedly in the works for next year’s event since it’ll be the 10th anniversary.

The big 1-0! The aluminum anniversary! A decade of … documentaries and drama?

I’m not on any board at the Fargo or privy to any plans, but if they asked for my opinion (surprisingly, more people don’t), I’d have one suggestion for them: It’s time for a new look.

If I’ve learned anything from celebrity magazines, it’s that if film festivals are about anything, they’re about parties. And if nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd of paparazzi, nothing attracts a crowd like some fashionably dressed hipsters.

Even with 10 years under its belt, the FFF still has some things to learn and a long way to go before it gets as much attention as more prominent film festivals in Cannes, Toronto or especially Sundance.

Cannes may be the most glamorous festival, but Sundance, based in Park City, Utah, is closer to Fargo in terms of appealing to independent flicks.

Set in January, the mountainous Utah festival is also closest to Fargo climate-wise. So it makes sense for filmmakers to get some extra miles out of their winter wear by coming to Fargo prior to packing their Prada panda pelts away.

When you see pictures from Sundance, the stars show that layering can still look good. Parker Posey in a parka is still hotter than Paris Hilton in a halter top.

So how do we get Parker, or (yawn!) even Paris, to pose on our red carpet? It all starts with a Fargo Festival fashion makeover.

Everyone at Sundance wears sweaters, scarves, ski jackets, winter coats and winter caps. Men wear beards and women wear Uggs, or some other fuzzy footwear.

So what’s wrong with the way Fargo dresses for its festival? Well, people here do wear a lot of black, which is always in style. And scarves have certainly become the accessory of choice.

But there are a lot of men walking around with the top two or three buttons of their shirt undone. Yeah, it’s March and 20 above, but it’s not a Turkish disco.

People who come here in March want to feel the cold. They don’t want the full experience, otherwise they’d come six weeks earlier. They just want to feel like it is cold.

So next year, I say we warmly welcome them dressed in our best sweaters and ski vests and hipsters wearing Uggs.

Besides, if the theater can turn down the heat, it could save some bucks.

Dress like it is cold and you’ll look cool. And that’s always hot.


Readers can reach Forum columnist

John Lamb at (701) 241-5533