Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The evidence mounts: Monsanto and "Bitter Seeds"

Bitter Seeds
Friday, 12:30 p.m.
Boulder Theater

BIFF in the news: once again, as with "Pink Ribbons, Inc." and "The Island President," yet another topic that has been covered in a BIFF 2012 film has hit the front pages.

Check out these HuffPo links regarding Monsanto -- in one case, the biotech giant has been found guilty of poisoning a French farmer; in another, its genetically modified corn has been linked to organ failure in rats.

"Bitter Seeds" tackles another aspect of Monsanto's questionable practices. Here's the program description:

"When aspiring reporter Manjusha Amberwar's beloved father becomes one ofthe 250,000 farmers in central India to have committed suicide, she beginsan investigation. She learns that conventional cotton seeds have been phasedout in her lifetime, and that the multi-national corporation Monsanto's loftypromises for its genetically-modified cotton have since given way to harshreality. In order to buy the expensive new seeds, Indian farmers had to mortgagetheir land just to plant a crop. But because the new varieties are toowater-hungry to produce a dependable crop for dry central India, hundreds ofthousands of farmers are losing their land. Outrageously, the U.S. governmentoriginally forced India—through the World Trade Organization—to acceptGMOs, and has been forcing WTO members to do the same thing throughoutthe world."

Mark your kids PRESENT for FREE FILMS at BIFF 2012!

Are your middle- and high-schoolers planning to spend thePresidents’ Day weekend hanging around the house, complaining that there’snothing to do? Well, send them down to us – we have FREE films and eventsSaturday and Sunday for students ages 13 to 18!

Educational outreach is a big part of our master plan hereat BIFF. We believe in putting together young audiences with films and seminarsthat stimulate and engage them, and possibly even inspiring the next MartinScorcese or Jane Campion. This year, we have more opportunities than ever forjuvenile cinephiles to get involved and find out more – including an exclusivepreview screening of our Closing Night film “Chasing Ice.”

Here is all the info you’ll need –tell the kids to show up at lest 20 minutes before screening time. Advance tickets are not held out for these special screenings!


Wild Horse, Wild Ride

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 19, 5:15 p.m.

Boulder High School Auditorium

Each summer, the federal government rounds up thousands ofwild horses for relocation. A lucky 100 of them are given to 100 trainers, whohave 100 days to ready the animals—which have never experienced humancontact—to compete in the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge. This intimatefilm follows a handful of the men and women trainers as they work with theirhorses. What starts as a cautious, fearful relationship evolves slowly andmagically into a powerful bond as intuitive and telepathic as any love affair.How many of these remarkably diverse humans and horses will actually succeed atthis seemingly impossible task? And what will they learn about themselves?

This Call 2 Action film will feature the directors, AlexDawson and Greg Gricus, in person, and will be introduced by the ExecutiveDirector of Colorado Horse Rescue, Dr. Judy B. Smetana.

The Big Fix

Saturday, Feb. 18, 5 p.m.

Boulder High School Auditorium

Filmmakers Rebecca Harrell Tickell and her husband Josh aremad as hell, and you should be too. While working on “the Big Fix” on the Gulfbeaches supposedly cleaned up by BP, they discovered oil and Corexit, a dispersantfor breaking up oil slicks, which washed ashore and had been plowed under thesand to present an illusion of pristine beaches. They allege a massivepolitical and corporate cover-up, including bribery and murder, all the way upto Congress.

This Call 2 Action film will be introduced by 250.orgregional organizer Micah Parkin.

Chasing Ice (Student-only showing!)

Saturday, Feb. 18, 5 p.m.

BoulderPublic Library, Main Library Canyon Theater

Produced in Boulderby Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jerry Aronson (The Divided Trail) andOscar-winning producer Paula DuPré Pesmen (The Cove), this breathtakinglybeautiful film is one of the most anticipated documentaries of 2012. FamedNational Geographic photographer James Balog deploys revolutionary time-lapsecameras throughout the Arctic to capture amulti-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. His electrifying videoscompress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion asthey disappear at a breathtaking— and rapidly accelerating—rate. Chasing Ice isa hair-raising adventure story as cinematographer and director Jeff Orlowskifollows Balog and his team through brutal weather on three continents whileBalog bravely documents the biggest story facing humanity.

Almanya – Welcome to Germany

Saturday, Feb. 18, 7:15 p.m.

First United Methodist Church

This sweet comedy tells the universal story of assimilationby one family over several generations in a strange land. “What am I, German orTurk?” asks six-year-old Cenk Yilmaz when neither his Turkish nor his Germanschoolmates pick him for their football teams. In an attempt to comfort Cenk,his 22-year-old cousin Canan tells the story of their grandfather Hüseyin, whocame to Germany at the end of the ‘60s as "guest worker number one millionand one," and who later brought his wife and children. The laugh-out-loudhumor from cultural misunderstandings multiplies when grandfather Hüseyinpurchases land in his home village of Anatalya, Turkey, and insists his family allcome “home” with him on a road trip. Can you ever really go "home"again? Subtitled.

Nicky’s Family

Sunday, Feb. 19, 10 a.m.

Boulder High School Auditorium

Now known as the British Oskar Schindler, Nicholas Winton,while vacationing in Praguein 1938, learned about the refugees fleeing Hitler’s army and about the manychildren who were in danger of losing their lives. Winton took action: Hemanaged to arrange visas and admission to British families for nearly 700Central European Jewish children. After the war, he returned to his privatelife and never mentioned this incident. Fifty years later, his wife found ascrapbook full of documents and transport plans. Today, 102-year-old SirNicholas Winton, knighted by Queen Elizabeth and nominated for the Nobel PeacePrize, is unbelievably active and still engaged in charity work. He issurrounded by his children, his grandchildren and, of course, all of hisrescued “children,” who today represent almost 6,000 people.


How to Make a Short Film (Students only!)

Sunday, Feb. 19, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

BoulderPublic Library, Main Library Canyon Theater

Led by Antony Cooper of Boulder Digital Arts, this workshopwill provide practical demonstrations of how to turn stories into filmdocuments. From concept through planning, shooting, editing and presentation,this seminar will give you the tools you need to succeed!

PREVIEW: "Wild Horse, Wild Ride"

By Kristen Daly
BIFF Digital Communications

Wild Horse, Wild Ride -- TWO SHOWS!

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2:30 p.m.
Boulder High School Auditorium

Sunday, Feb. 19, 5:15 p.m.
Boulder High School Auditorium

(Editor's note: Not only do we have this preview write-up to share with you, but we are proud to share to following mini-documentary, made expressly for BIFF by Jackson Hole, WY documentary filmmaker Melinda Binks! To see it, go to -- password wildhorse! Enjoy!)

"Wild Horse, WildRide," a film by husbandand wife team Alex Dawson and Greg Gricus, takes us inside the relationshipbetween horse and human as we watch nine horse trainers of varying experience,age, location and background try, in three months, to turn nine wild mustangswhich have never before had human contact into “sterling examples of fine ridinghorse."

Every year, the U.S.Bureau of Land Management rounds up thousands of mustangs. This is a very controversial process, but alucky 100 of them, at a few round ups a year, get randomly assigned to 100horse trainers, professional and amateur, who have 100 days to train andprepare them for the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge, a competition thattakes place in Fort Worth, Texas before the horses are publicly auctionedoff. The trainers have to bid againstthe public if they want to keep the horses that they have worked with, sweatedover and bonded with over the past three months.

Some have it easierthan others. Mexican immigrant Jesus who“dreams in horses,” true to his namesake, seems to hold an almost a religious spell over his horse Compadre,whereas prodigy professor of medical engineering, Melissa, leads us to fear shemight be seriously injured in this endeavor.

Each subject is doingthis for the love of horses, but also to prove something to themselves. Limping Navajo patriarch Charles needs toshow he still has it in him, even though his horse Comanche challenges him to evenmount in the hundred days. Charles hints that although his life dreams may havebeen sidetracked at some point that his son Carlos, also a competitor, is closeto achieving his as a professional horse trainer.

Two brothers in NewHampshire want to demonstrate that by studying their horses’ reactions toobjects and the world around them and then mimicking that in their approach totraining that they can create a bond of trust with their steeds. The boys’ bonds with their horses grow so strongthat the idea of parting, as they can’t hope to compete financially at auction,looms over the last third of the film.

Bombastic cowgirl,Wylene, wants to show that a loving, single mom can also be a badasshorse-tamer, daredevil and showgirl. Andthe film opens and closes with George, an elderly Texas cowboy, “not overlyloaded with” patience as he puts it, recently married on his seventh try tobest friend and fellow competitor, Evelyn. George knows that his riding days are almost over and that he needs tomake the most of this effort to win the competition as he may not have anotherchance. Jittery horse Waylon waylayshis plans, but brings him unexpected wisdom in exchange.

The humans in thismovie are tested as much as the horses. They must be brave and calm and patient and intuitive. This close interaction and trust with a trulywild creature is not something that most of us will ever get to experience, butit is beautiful to watch.

BIFF NEWS FLASH: Legend PAM GRIER to attend "Jackie Brown" screening Saturday at IFS!

We are so happy to announce that acting legend PAM GRIER will be attending the Boulder International Film Festival this year, courtesy of the fine folks at the International Film Series! This special event is FREE FOR ALL CU STUDENTS!

This pioneering performer, sometimes referred to as American film's first female action hero, starred in a groundbreaking series of films such as "Coffy," "Foxy Brown" and "Sheba, Baby," portraying tough, sexy, three-dimensional characters who held their own in a white- and male-dominated society.

In 1997, she received her long-overdue tribute in Quentin Tarentino's "Jackie Brown," and since has gone on to triumph in numerous roles in film and on television. She will be at the Saturday, Feb. 18 screening of "Jackie Brown" at the International Film Series on the CU campus at 7 p.m. (for full details, see the Miramax press release, reproduced below).

IFS director Pablo Kjolseth hosts the evening, and will elad a Q & A with Ms. Grier following the film. This event will be LIVE-STREAMED via Facebook ( and, innovatively allowing viewers to pose real-time questions to Grier during the event.

Don't miss this one-of-a-kind evening with a one-of-a-kind performer! See you there!

Pam Grier, Star of Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, to Attend Hit Film Screening at C.U. Boulder and Participate in Q&A

BOULDER, CO – University of Colorado Boulder International Film Series (IFS) is proud to announce that on Saturday, February 18th, the IFS will join forces with the Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) and the Miramax College Tour to bring PAM GRIER, star of Quentin
Tarantino’s JACKIE BROWN, to the C.U. Boulder campus for a Q&A following an exclusive 7 p.m. screening of the hit Miramax film in 35 mm. The screening at C.U. Boulder will be the second stop for the Miramax College Tour — a distinctive screening series hosted by Miramax, a worldwide film and television studio, taking place at colleges and universities across the U.S. Each event in the series features affiliated talent or industry professionals in unique Q&A sessions following each screening.

Ms. Grier’s performance in JACKIE BROWN – which Tarantino tailor-made with Ms. Grier in mind – earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.

The Q&A will be moderated by IFS Director, Pablo Kjolseth, and will be open to questions from the audience. Representing Miramax at the event will be Tommy Moreno, SVP, Head of Operations for the Company. Additionally, Miramax will host a live stream of the Q&A on Facebook via TinyChat at and — allowing viewers to chat their questions for Ms. Grier directly to the moderator in real-time.

In anticipation of this event, four additional Tarantino films from the Miramax archives – Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 – will screen as part of IFS offering Feb. 15 – 19. These screenings will be free for all C.U. Boulder students, otherwise the standard $7 General Admission will apply. For a complete schedule, please go to

The JACKIE BROWN screening will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 18th at C.U. Boulder’s Muenzinger Auditorium, just west of the Folsom Football stadium. The Q&A with Ms. Grier will begin promptly after the screening.

About International Film Series (IFS)
Established in 1941, the IFS is Boulder’s first arthouse film series, screening over 100 independent and foreign films every year. Screenings are held in the Muenzinger Auditorium on the C.U. Boulder campus, a 400-seat venue located west of Folsom Stadium. For more information please visit