Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The whole shebang -- here is your Offiicial BIFF 2012 starting gun!

We honor Martin Sheen live in person on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 18 at the Boulder Theater.

The 8th Annual Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF), voted “one of the coolest film festivals in the world” by MovieMaker magazine, is already making headlines with a star-studded lineup of celebrity guests and today is rolling out its captivating and thought-provoking program. The Festival takes place in scenic Boulder, Colo., Feb. 16-19, and will bring films, filmmakers and international fans together for a four-day celebration of the fine art of filmmaking.

The Festival kicks off Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. with an Opening Night Red Carpet Gala and screening of "Darling Companion," courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics, directed by Lawrence Kasdan. "Darling Companion" tells the story of the bond between a woman and her dog, who she loves more than her husband. Kasdan and producer Anthony Bregman will be in attendance for a Q&A session after the screening.

Kevin Kline and Daine Keaton star in Lawrence Kasdan's new feature comedy, "Darling Companion," which opens the festival on Thursday, Feb. 16.
“BIFF continues to grow and prove itself as a respected, must-attend film festival with celebrities, screenings, and special events,” said Kathy Beeck, director of BIFF. “We’re confident that this year’s program offers some of the best films the industry has to offer and that the selection will resonate well with our community and attract film enthusiasts from across the country.”

Sit in on "A Conversation with William H. Macy" on Friday night, Feb. 17.
BIFF will also feature “A Conversation with William H. Macy” on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7:15 p.m. and the Closing Night Film and Awards Ceremony featuring the Colorado premiere of the acclaimed new film "Chasing Ice" on Sunday, Feb. 19. Special guest Martin Sheen, critically acclaimed actor, will be honored with the “Master of Cinema Award” on the afternoon of Saturday, February 18.

Film highlights from the festival include:

“Chasing Ice”

Produced in Boulder by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jerry Aronson and Oscar-winningproducer Paula DuPré Pesmen, this breathtakingly beautiful film follows famed National Geographic photographer James Balog as he deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras throughout the Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers.

Here's a wonderful short video from the American Geophysical Union about Balog's efforts that underlines the need to take in the information he has gathered visually -- meaning that "Chasing Ice" should be an enormous treat!

“5 Broken Cameras”
Soldiers fire into his video cameras and explode them with grenades, but it doesn’t stop Emad Burnat from documenting the courageous and chilling story of the Palestinian village of Bil’in—which famously chose nonviolent resistance against an often-brutal Israeli oppression.

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
From Lasse Hallström, the director of "Chocolat" and the Simon Beaufoy, Oscar-winning screenwriter of "Slumdog Millionaire," comes this inspirational comedy of a visionary sheik with a big dream—to bring salmon fishing to the desert. Starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas.

The four-day festival is sponsored at the platinum level by 97.3 KBCO and Linhart PR. All-access VIP passes can be purchased for $345. All tickets for BIFF films go on sale Jan. 30, and can be purchased at, or by calling (303) 786-7030. For more information, please visit

Monday, January 30, 2012

Almost there! And so it begins

Our wonderful Workshops and Panels Coordinator Donna Crain grabbed these images at our Program Release Party on Thursday. It's the annual event at which members, sponsors and community representatives are given an exclusive sneak peek at our program for the year.

This year, the event was staged in a unique and beautiful venue -- that of the jeweler Todd Reed Gallery at 2015 Pearl Street. Thank you to Todd Reed (, and to Francis Ford Coppola wines, Avery Brewing, and Zoe Ma Ma for sponsoring our event. The performance by the Lemon Sponge Cake contemporary dance troupe was spectacular as well! And, as you can see, the party was a blast.

We're incredibly excited by this year's films and special guests. We will be announcing the posting of the 2012 schedule, along with tickets sales for all events, within hours. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SNEAK PREVIEW: Luc Besson's "The Lady" coming to BIFF 2012!

Here's a little tidbit for you, BIFF fans -- the Boulder International Film Festival is proud to announce that it will host the Colorado premiere of Luc Besson's new feature film, "The Lady"! This biopic of Burmese political leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi stars Michelle Yeoh ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") and David Thewlis ("Naked," "Seven Years in Tibet," Professor Lupin in the "Harry Potter" series).

The film follows the life and struggles of the woman whose opposition to the ruling military junta meant that she was destined to be separated from her family and subjected to house arrest for more than 20 years.Luc Besson is best known for his fantastic adventure films -- "La Femme Nikita," "The Professional," "The Fifth Element" -- but he has also essayed documentaries ("Atlantis") and historical dramas "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc").

We are so excited to be part of this film event! More details, and more info on films and filmmakers coming to BIFF 2012, coming soon!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The BIFF Saga: Year Three (Feb. 15-18, 2007)

Robin Beeck hanging out with the Polish brothers at BIFF 2007. [Photo by Randy Malone]

Our outer-space(y) subjects set the tone for Year Three -- it was crazy. There were slam poets, air guitar masters, would-be astronauts, and more! We also enjoyed a visit from Boulder-born screenwriter John August ("Go," "Big Fish," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"), who led a wonderful master class in storytelling for film. Then, we rounded up a half-dozen regional film critics and talked to them about the fine art of writing about movies.

Here are some more highlights, from our 2007 wrap-up press release:

  • Opening Night featured the thriller “Breach,” about Robert Hansen, the FBI agent that was responsible for the largest security breach in the history of the United States. The screening and the enthusiastic audience set the tone for the following three days of the Festival.

  • Boulder resident and Holocaust survivor Walter Plywaski answered questions for an awe-struck audience filled with students about his life experiences after the free student screening of “Paper Clips.” The film documented Tennessee schoolchildren’s struggles to understand the magnitude of the Holocaust.

Walter Plywaski

  • “Slam Planet: War of the Words” was followed by a powerful performance by the Denver Slam Poetry team, winners of a national contest in the film.

  • The Polish Brothers, directors of “The Astronaut Farmer,” answered questions after the Saturday evening pre-screening of the film featuring Billy Bob Thornton, who played a family man intent on building and launching a rocket—by himself. The film sold out the Boulder Theater and offered a look into the minds of the famous twin brothers and their newest film.

Oh, Robin! She sure was popular that year. Here she is with two of our visiting air guitar masters. [Photo by Randy Malone]

  • The debut of “Air Guitar Nation” rocked the house and, following the Q&A session, Dan Crane (Bjorn Turoque) took to the stage and emceed the “Aireoke” contest and after party. Fans packed the theater for a chance to get on stage and show their stuff with hopes of wowing the crew of Air Guitar Nation enough to join them in this year’s U.S. Air Guitar Championships. The party lasted well into the night and BIFF directors, Kathy and Robin Beeck even tried out their air guitars! The film wound up winning the Best Documentary award at the Festival.

  • Festival attendees devoured the decadent desserts prepared by Cheesecake Factory at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony on Sunday. The Colorado Film Society Awards were presented, and the film “In the Shadow of the Moon” was shown for the second time ever, mesmerizing the audience and the many Ball Aerospace sponsors and workers that attended the special event. After the film, director David Sington answered questions from a very emotional audience, and a trip to the moon did not seem so unbelievable anymore. After the screening, the film was presented with the Grand Prize of the Festival.

David Sington accepts the BIFF Grand Prize for his documentary feature "In the Shadow of the Moon." [Photo by Randy Malone]

  • Packed parties for filmmakers and VIPs at the St. Julien, Blink Gallery and Red Fish were another highlight of the weekend festival.

BIFF 2007 Award Winners

Best Student Film

“Lucky,” Avie Luthra, director (South Africa/UK)

Best New Filmmaker

Matthew Porterfield, “Hamilton” (US)

Best Editing

“Drunk in Public,” David J. Sperling, director (and editor) (US)

Best Short Film

“High Maintenance,” Phillip Van, director (US)

Best Colorado Film

“Purvis of Overtown,” David Raccuglia and Shaun Conrad, directors (US)

Best Animated Film

“Badgered,” Sharon Colman, director (UK)

Best Short Documentary

“Talk to Me,” Mark Craig, director (UK)

Best Documentary

“Air Guitar Nation,” Alexandra Lipsitz, director (US)

Best Documentary (Honorable Mention)

“The Cats of Mirikitani,” Linda Hattendorf, director (US)

Best Feature Film

“Journey from the Fall,” Ham Tran, director (Thailand/US)

Commitment to Education Award

Jerry Aronson, University of Colorado Film Professor

Jerry Aronson [Photo by Randy Malone]

Grand Prize

“In the Shadow of the Moon,” David Sington, director (UK/US)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The BIFF Saga: Year Two (Feb. 16-19, 2006)

Actress and BIFF 2006 attendee Maria Bello, who received the Colorado Film Society Award for Excellence in Acting. [Photo by Randy Malone]

It was COLD.

Colder than a [insert your favorite metaphor here].

BIFF Year Two was marked by a record-breaking cold snap (minus-14, anyone?) that posed some logistical challenges, but didn’t stop the attendees from increasing by 50 percent from Year One. Even though downtown Boulder was subject to rolling blackouts throughout the weekend, everything took place as scheduled!

51 films were shown, and an avalanche of special guests included actors Maria Bello, Patrick Warburton, Danielle Proulx, Marie Matiko and Eric Roberts; screenwriters Amy Fox and Richard Alfieri; directors Arthur Seidelman, Stephen Auerbach, Andrew Quigley, Kathleen Man and Jim Butterworth; and producers Judd Payne and Joe Eastwood.

Actor Patrick Warburton, winner of the BIFF 2006 Best Actor Award for "The Civilization of Maxwell Bright," bummed a Buffs hat to withstand the arctic temperatures. P.S. Patrick is a heck of a nice guy! [Photo by Randy Malone]

All these guests and many visiting filmmakers bundled up and scooted from their hotels to the BIFF venues. Many of our volunteers brought our guests hats, gloves and coats to borrow, and even brought them door-to-door! Snuggled away in the evenings, we partied enthusiastically together.

Here’s some more info, taken from the end-of-fest wrap-up:

Actress Maria Bello and the makers of “The Sisters” attended the Opening Night Gala on Thursday evening at the Boulder Theater. After the film, which held the audience in a web of family dysfunction and drama, Bello, director Arthur Seidelman, screenwriter Richard Alfieri and producers Judd Payne and Joe Eastwood, answered questions from the audience. Bello was presented with the Colorado Film Society Award for Excellence in Acting. Later, Onda rocked the house with its unique brand of Afro-Cuban jazz.

A still from the hilarious "West Bank Story," which took Best Short Film honors at BIFF 2006.

French-Canadian actress Danielle Proulx answered questions from the audience after the screening of "C.R.A.Z.Y.," in which she portrayed the mother of five sons.

"Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock," about the annual gathering in Nevada, played to two nearly sold out screenings.

“The Civilization of Maxwell Bright,” a film about redemption through unconditional love, played to a large audience late Saturday night at the Boulder Theater.

Present were actors Patrick Warburton, Eric Roberts and Marie Matiko, who played the Chinese bride who chose to see her husband’s beauty and offer him a sense of peace. After the film, the three stars answered audience questions for more than 30 minutes.

Veteran film actor Eric Roberts takes questions from an appreciative crowd after the screening of "The Civilization of Maxwell Bright." [Photo by Randy Malone]

Festival attendees devoured the decadent hors d’oeuvres prepared by Frasca at the sold-out Closing Night Awards Ceremony on Sunday. The Colorado Film Society Awards were presented, and the Tibetan/Canadian film “What Remains of Us” mesmerized the audience.

After the film, Kalsang Dolma, the Tibetan-Canadian woman featured in the documentary, answered questions from a very emotional audience. The Rebecca Folsom Band performed to close out the Festival.

Amy Fox’s screenwriting workshop was well attended, as was Jim Butterworth’s documentary workshop. The panel discussion, "Film Forward," highlighted the issues surrounding new media.

Playwright and screenwriter Amy Fox gave a well-attended screenwriting seminar in a chilly Municipal Building on BIFF 2006 Saturday.

BIFF 2006 Award Winners

Best Student Film

“The Saviour,” Peter Templeman, director (Australia)

Best New Filmmaker

Andrew Menan, “Frozen Food Section” (U.S.)

Best Short Film

“West Bank Story,” Ari Sandel, director (U.S.)

Best Colorado Film

“Light of the Himalaya,” Michael Brown, director (Nepal/U.S.)

Best Animated Film

“Magda,” Chel White, director (U.S.)

Best Short Documentary

“Carhenge: Genius or Junk?,”David Liban, director (U.S.)

Best Documentary

“Boys of Baraka,” Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, directors (Kenya/U.S.)

Best Adventure Film

“Race Across America,” Stephen Auerbach, director (U.S.)

Best Feature Film

“C.R.A.Z.Y.”, Jean-Marc Vallee, director (Canada)

Best Actress

Danielle Proulx, “C.R.A.Z.Y.”

Best Actor

Patrick Warburton, “The Civilization of Maxwell Bright”

Colorado Film Society Award for Excellence in Acting

Maria Bello

Special Jury Award

“Diameter of the Bomb,” Andrew Quigley, director (UK/Canada)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Special Guest announcement: animator Bill Plympton!

The Boulder International Film Festival is pleased to announce its first featured film and special guests for 2012! The film is the documentary “Adventures in Plymptoons!,” and we will welcome its director, Alexia Anastasio, and its subject – one of America’s greatest living animators, Bill Plympton.

Bill Plympton’s instantly recognizable style, absurd wit and storytelling verve makes him one of our most distinctive and hilarious talents. For more than 25 years, he has hand-crafted a staggering variety of short films, features, commercial projects and more. A multiple Oscar nominee and Cannes honoree, Plympton’s vision encompasses slapstick, surrealism, satire . . . and a kind of ever-expanding, stretchy, numinous vision of the universe that can only be equated with the idea of putting Silly Putty on acid. His short “Push Comes to Shove” won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1991.

(His work has been seen at BIFF, too – most recently, his 2009 short “Horn Dog.”)

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, he graduated from Portland State University in Graphic Design. Bill Plympton moved to New York City in 1968. He began his career creating cartoons for publications such as New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw.

In 1987 he was nominated for an Oscar® for his animated short "Your Face". In 2005, Bill received another Oscar® nomination, this time for a short film "Guard Dog".

After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike's, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991 he's made 9 feature films, 6 of them, "The Tune", "Mondo Plympton", "I Married A Strange Person", "Mutant Aliens", "Hair High" and "Idiots and Angels" are all animated features.

BIFF 2012 festivalgoers will enjoy not only the feature portrait of Plympton, which includes interviews with such animation icons as Will Vinton, Terry Gilliam and Ralph Bakshi, but will take part in post-screening interviews with Anatasio and Plympton. Most excitingly, Mr. Plympton has agreed to lead a master class in film animation at this year’s festival – a marvelous opportunity to learn from a contemporary master of the painstaking art of animated filmmaking.

For more information, please bookmark our website at Discount VIP passes and BIFF gift certificates are still available! Stay tuned to our blog,, or follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter. More fun and wonderful updates soon!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our first Sponsor Spotlight video is here!

BIFF Sponsor Spotlight Interview with Sacha Millstone 2nd cut from Indie Media: The New Journalism on Vimeo.

The Boulder International Film Festival is proud to present the first in its new series of Sponsor Spotlight videos this year! This tool helps us to underline the efforts and interests of many of our long-time sponsors, giving everyone an inside look at who they are, why they love BIFF, and how they fit in to the local and filmmaking communities.

Thanks so much to the folks at Millstone Evans for being our brave pioneer subjects! Keep your eyes out for more Sponsor Spotlights, coming right up! For more information about this new program, please contact Sponsor Liaison Chris Northrup at