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)