BELOIT- Academy Award-nominated films, movies created by and centered around women and musical performances all await those who attend the 14th annual Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF).
This year's festival is set from Feb. 22 to March 3 and will feature more than 100 films to be screened at venues throughout Beloit. The first films already have begun to sell out due to online ticket sales, and the program was just distributed on Tuesday at BIFF's 2019 Reveal Party.
"It is reassuring to all of us at BIFF that the audience is already strong for this year's offerings," said BIFF president Ana Kelly McGrath. "We have left a few openings in the schedule so that we can accommodate additional showings of those films that sell out early."
The festival will begin with a Kickoff Event starting at 6 p.m. on Feb. 22. The event will feature a performance by Beloit native Tony Scodwell, who has become one of the top trumpet players and designers in the music industry, and the Highland College Big Band at Suds O'Hanahan's Irish Pub, 435 E. Grand Ave. Live music will be performed throughout the night.
All of the film festival's beloved staples are back, including: the BIFF Sing-A-Long, Silent Film, Classic Film and Vintage Radio Play.
This year's free Vintage Radio Play features two classic sci-fi radio shows at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 at La Casa Grande. The presentation will be simultaneously broadcast live on WCLO Radio.
The BIFF Sing-A-Long is "Godspell," which will be screened at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Schubert's Luxury 10 Cinema, 2799 Cranston Road. The Broadway musical offers the modern song-and-dance recreation of Gospel stories. The Sing-A-Long costs $10, or $5 with a student ID.
This year's Silent Film Showcase is the 1921 Charlie Chaplin masterpiece "The Kid," which will be screened at 7 p.m. on March 2 in the Beloit Memorial High School Auditorium. The Beloit Memorial Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Chris Behrens will, once again, provide the musical backdrop for this special screening. It costs $20 at the box office, online and at the door, and $5 with a student ID.
This year's Classic Film is the 1964 legendary film "Mary Poppins." This free screening is set for 2:30 p.m. on March 3 at Schubert's Luxury 10 Theater.
One of the films BIFF Executive Director Marty Densch said he's the most excited for is "One Small Step," which has been nominated for an Academy Award. The eight-minute film, directed by Bobby Pontillas and Andrew Chesworth, tells the story of a young girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut with the support of her father.
"One Small Step" will be screened at BIFF during the Kid's Saturday Morning Indie Short Slot at noon on Feb. 23 and March 2 at the Beloit Library. The film also screens with "The Hello Girls" at 5 p.m. on March 1 at La Casa Grande, and at 5 p.m. on March 2 at Bagels & More.
Organizers are calling this year's film festival "The Year of the Woman," featuring women in film, female directors and stories about women. Densch said this theme created itself, with many films submitted this year centered around women.
Assistant director Greg Gerard has put together a panel of speakers to discuss women in film at 2:30 p.m. at the rooftop room of the Goodwin Hotel on March 2.
Another film Densch is excited about is "When I Sing" which tells the story of Linda Chorney's successful bid to become a Grammy-nominated artist. She will be attending BIFF and also will be performing at the Beloit Club on Feb. 23. The film will be screened at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 at La Casa Grande and at noon on Feb. 24 at Bushel & Peck's. Star power also is present among BIFF's film entires.
"Guest Artist," written by and starring Jeff Daniels, tells the story of a man coming face-to-face with his hero. The film will be screened at 7:30 p.m. on March 2 and at 5 p.m. on March 3 at Bushel & Peck's.
Tickets can be purchased online at beloitfilmfest.org.
For those who wish to talk to a live person, the BIFF Advance Sale Box Office will open on Feb. 11 at Irontek, 635 third Ave. It will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Feb. 20. The promotional discount will automatically be incorporated in purchases.
The BIFF downtown Festival Box Office will open at the Gallery ABBA in the CELEB building at 439 East Grand Ave. on Feb. 21 and will be open throughout the Film Festival. The box office will be open from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Feb. 22-23 and Feb. 25 - March 2. The box office will be open from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Feb. 24 and from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. on March 3. The regular adult ticket price for films is $10, and student tickets are $5.