Frozen River Film Festival: “Experimental City”

Monday | April 23 | 7:00pm
Harriet Johnson Auditorium | Somsen Hall | WSU

Frozen River Film Festival will present a new documentary film, titled “The Experimental City,” focusing on the now largely-forgotten Minnesota Experimental City project of the 1960’s.

“We are delighted that the film-makers reached out to Frozen River Film Festival to seek our assistance in presenting this to the community,” said Sara Enzenauer, Frozen River Film Festival’s Managing Director. “This is precisely the sort of project that excites us and would be of great interest to people of this region.”

The film (“The Experimental City”) focuses on the now largely-forgotten Minnesota Experimental City project of the 1960’s.  If you’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone. This project, surely one of the most ambitious in Minnesota history, has been near-buried for 50 years. It was the dream of a University of Minnesota dean/scientist/inventor/cartoonist named Athelstan Spilhaus to eliminate pollution and fix the broken mid-Century city.  It was to be a brand new city, built from scratch and containing 250,000 people, utilizing the newest 1960’s technologies to lead the way to a better future. It was to be 1960’s techno-idealism at its finest, covered in a mile-wide dome. And the plan was to build it about 90 minutes west of Duluth, in Aitkin County. Though the project had supporters such as Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Buckminster Fuller, not everyone was in favor of the project.

The film premiered in October at the Chicago International Film Festival, and had a theatrical run in the Twin Cities on March 16 at the St. Anthony Main Theater. 

The Winona screening will take place in the Harriet Johnson Auditorium of Somsen Hall on the Winona State University Campus at 7:00pm on Monday, April 23, 2018.  Tickets can be purchased in advance online at for $8 with no service fee, or at the door for $10.

“This is a fascinating story about something that took place in our own, Minnesota, backyard and we are fortunate in Winona to have our own screening of the film,” says Enzenauer.

The filmmakers will be on hand to talk about the film and the project after the screening.

About Frozen River Film Festival

Frozen River Film Festival (FRFF) is Minnesota’s only all-documentary film festival.  Now in it’s 12th year, FRFF presents more than seventy-films annually during the festival weekend (February 6-10, 2019), brings in filmmakers from around the world, and works with students on the documentary film-making process. To learn more visit

Frozen River Film Festival is a member of the River Arts Alliance. To learn more about the benefits of membership, please visit:


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