***The Fargo Theatre announced the cancelation of the 2020 Fargo Film Festival due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and government health officials’ recommendations against gathering large crowds at this time. Read the full cancelation release from March 12, 2020.
Ahead of Fargo Film Festival 2020, the theatre’s newest staff member, Sean Volk talks animation and foundational film experiences.
“I am really lucky because the Fargo Theatre has been a huge part of my life for more than a decade,” says Volk, who holds the new role of development and engagement manager. “I started working at the concession stand while I was studying at Concordia College. It was then that I first got involved as a juror for the Fargo Film Festival. I later joined the administrative team as the operations manager.”
“I am really lucky because the Fargo Theatre has been a huge part of my life for more than a decade.”
Sean Volk is a film festival programmer, arts administrator and movie goer. He is in his second year as the Animation Jury Chair for the Fargo Film Festival.
Volk expressed his love for the Fargo Film Festival in an interview with The Arts Partnership to celebrate his new role:
“Since 2012, I have been working with film and film festivals in so many different roles: I’ve been a student in a Master’s program, I’ve programmed and screened for multiple festivals throughout North America and I’m happy to bring those experiences with me back to the Fargo Theatre.
“It has been so exciting to work in my new role as Development and Engagement Manager and I am so honored to be here for the 20th Fargo Film Festival,” says Volk. “Emily Beck, the theatre’s Executive Director, has curated such an amazing lineup of showcases this year and I am so proud to be on the team that she is leading. In the last decade the festival has grown so much and that is largely due to Emily’s expertise and guidance.
“The Fargo Film Festival routinely brings in world class guests from the film industry, programs Oscar nominees and winners, and features the best of independent film,” says Volk. “The festival is an exciting and inclusive space and there is truly something for everyone in our lineup. I’m so grateful to the work of our Fargo Theatre staff and festival volunteers for creating such a welcoming and vital event.”
“This is my second year working as the Animation Jury Chair and I am so proud of the films that we are screening,” says Volk. “The animated films this year show off the very best of animation from around the world. The category features two 2020 Oscar Nominees, Sister and Daughter, which is real testament to the caliber of films programmed by the jury this year. I am proud because this collection of films boldly shows that animation is for everyone and that it is a mode of storytelling that works beautifully for creating moving and authentic stories about adults.
Volk is a film festival programmer, arts administrator and movie goer. In addition to his role as the development and engagement manager at the Fargo Theatre, he is in his second year as the Animation Jury Chair for the Fargo Film Festival. Sean works as an Associate Programmer for Mountain film and an as Associate Programmer at Large for the Woods Hole Film Festival.
He worked as a member of the programming team at the Nashville Film Festival where he served as the Introductions and Q&A Coordinator for two years. In 2015, he completed his MA in Film Studies at Western University in London, Ontario; his thesis explored representations of monstrosity in the films of Guillermo del Toro.
Sean is a proud Cobber; he graduated from Concordia College in 2010 where he studied Philosophy, Communication and Spanish. He first worked at the Fargo Theatre from 2010-2012 as the Operations Manager. Sean also loves to travel, read and make Apple Music playlists.
TAP: Starting with a fun one, what was the last film you saw in theaters and what did you think?
VOLK: I love going to the movies and I am very glad that I saw The Lodge at the Fargo Theatre! It is an eerie, atmospheric thriller about grief, isolation and cults. It’s a bleak and scary film and it was excellent to see it on the big screen because you can’t help but feel surround by the film’s palpable dread and the claustrophobic setting.
TAP: Before you decided to pursue film at the university level, was there a film you watched in either in high school or at Concordia that really made you want to get into film more?
I grew up in Valley City, ND and one of the most transformative movie experiences was going to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on the big screen at my local theater. I felt so swept up in the beauty of the film and I had never seen action sequences like that. I had always loved movies, but seeing that inspired me to seek out more international film and then more independent film.
TAP: Are you more of a comedy or tragedy fan?
VOLK: Cinematically, I’ll try anything. I’m a big fan of science fiction, horror, documentaries, musicals and comedy.
TAP: For those that might not be familiar with Guillermo del Toro (mentioned in your Master’s degree thesis work), could you explain a bit about him and one of your favorite films by him?
While the Fargo Film Festival may have been canceled do to an abundance of caution around this untimely outbreak of COVID-19, Volk’s advice to movie-goers remains true.
“Take a chance and go see something different,” he says. “I promise it will be a fun and rewarding experience.”
To support the wonderful work that Fargo Theatre does in our community, consider supporting the 501(c)(3) non profit organization by signing up for an annual membership or by donating. This will ensure the 92-year-old historic facility continues independent film programming and live events as a shining light in the community.
Show your support online at fargotheatre.org/membership.