Film fest dedicated to Britain's best TV ads returns to Minneapolis

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How do you get a bunch of Minnesotans into a theater to watch TV? Easy. Put British television commercials on the screen.

For the 29th year in a row, the Walker Art Center is hosting the British Arrows Awards, which showcases the best of televised advertising from the United Kingdom.

Known for its irreverence, outrageousness, "wacky" comedy and creativity, the Walker says, the annual event has become extremely popular in the Twin Cities and is known to sell out quickly – even though screenings run for about a month.

This year, the British Arrows launch on Friday, Dec. 4 and run through Jan. 3, according to the Walker.

The 73-minute show is described as an "eclectic mix" of ads that run the gamut from "riveting mini-dramas," "awe-inspiring innovation," and, of course, wickedly funny comedy.

To give you an idea of what viewers are in for, have a look at this heartstring-tugging commercial for department store John Lewis. It was last year's winner:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iccscUFY860

On the more playful, comical side of things is this gem, which was also a highlight of previous events:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6CcxJQq1x8

So what is it about Minnesotans and British TV ads? Other places hold such screenings, but nowhere do they run as long or as frequently as in the Twin Cities.

Some have speculated it might be the region's creative, artsy culture, while others say Minnesotans respond to the innocence and frivolity of the commercials. 

Screenings will be held in the Walker Cinema and McGuire Theater, and tickets start at $12 for non-Walker members. They're on sale now, but heads up – as predicted, some shows have already sold out.

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