March 25th, 2015
Al Milgrom’s new film, The Dinkytown Uprising, looks at a 1970 social protest and its reverberations
By MORDECAI SPECKTOR
A playful trailer for Al Milgrom’s new film, The Dinkytown Uprising, begins with a dramatic trumpet fanfare from Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 in A minor (“Tragische”). The trailer proclaims: “TEN YEARS IN THE MAKING.”
However, the documentary film portrays the course of a tumultuous 1970 protest against a proposed fast-food burger joint. Led by U of M and University High students, and a colorful cast of hangers-on in the famed commercial hub adjacent to the University of Minnesota campus, protesters occupied four storefronts on the 1300 block of 4th Street S.E., over a span of several weeks.
The loose-limbed, entertaining documentary — which will have its premiere April 12, at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) — is actually 45 years in the making.
In 1970, Milgrom was a junior instructor in the university’s humanities program.
“I was teaching film history… I always wanted to get into film,” he explained during an interview last week at the Jewish World offices.
The original footage for The Dinkytown Uprising was shot on an Eclair 16mm movie camera.
“I had it sitting on my basement shelf, until about 1990, and I thought, ‘Well, gee, I better start doing something with this,’” said Milgrom, about the old Dinkytown footage, which features interviews with protest leaders and street-level scenes from the “uprising.”