BELOIT, Wis. — The Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) will expand its celebration of artistry, creative commitment and community to 10 days in more than a dozen venues this year, all in downtown Beloit, Wis., Feb. 14-23, 2014. Promising something for everyone, organizers have also promised a happy ending for all with a great schedule of uplifting films and comedies.
With a dramatic increase in the number of films submitted from more than 30 countries, the selection committee has tightened up the voting process, guaranteeing a high-quality lineup. With the new system, there will actually be fewer films with more showings in more locations, so everybody will get a chance to see their favorites during the 10-day festival, and possibly in a few previews open to the public.
“With all the venues within comfortable ‘walk-about’ proximity in downtown Beloit and with additional time between screenings this year, the new downtown presentation format will make for easy flow between venues and should increase foot traffic for downtown merchants over the two weekends,” said BIFF Board President Ron Nief.
Some new screening venues will be upstairs along Grand Avenue and on both side of the Rock River, which will mean that nobody should have to miss out on the festival hot picks.
BIFF Executive Director Roddie Beaudoin added: “We have completely revamped BIFF for 2014 and have made sure that everybody will get a good laugh out of a great lineup of comedies. The submissions for consideration by BIFF have increased, and the quality has been impressive. It has taken a lot of work to cut the number of films down to about 90 films this year. And while we will show films a month ahead of BIFF in Rockford and Janesville, all films during the 10-day BIFF 2014 will be screened in Beloit.”
A dramatic addition to BIFF 2014 will be screenings by Wisconsin and Illinois filmmakers at the “Wisconsin-Illinois Showdown” during the first three days of BIFF, Feb. 14-16. Audiences will have an opportunity to vote for films in a variety of categories at the Showdown.
“Some of these films will be in competition during the Film Festival, and some will not,” said Beaudoin. “The Showdown offers great exposure for area filmmakers and contributes to BIFF’s efforts to build a filmmaker community in the region. We have been talking to area filmmakers, and many are planning to attend and are hoping to draw their regional and supportive audiences with them.”
The program expansion will also allow BIFF to present its award-winning Youth@BIFF and Student Filmmakers programs for students, with more time and opportunity for presentations. Much-anticipated BIFF favorites such as the Blackhawk Bank Launch Party, the BMO Harris Silent Film Showcase featuring the Beloit Janesville Symphony, and the First National Bank Classic Film closing event, and BIFF Plus Music are all on the schedule once again.
The annual BIFF Sneak Peek party, at which time the full schedule will be distributed, will take place Jan. 15, 2014, at The Ironworks Hotel (formerly the Beloit Inn) in cooperation with the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce. The BIFF box office will open at that time.
The BIFF, celebrating its ninth year, is sponsored by the Hendricks Group and is presented in association with Beloit College. Support for the festival comes from area businesses and civic organizations and from Visit Beloit. Individual support for BIFF is provided through memberships in the BIFF Founders and the Film Society of Beloit. For more details, visit the BIFF website at BeloitFilmFest.com.
From the Dec. 25-31, 2013, issue