BIFF opens run today

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Ryan Silvola/Beloit Daily News Beloit Interational Film Festival (BIFF) Executive Director Max Maiken and Board President Marty Densch operate the BIFF Box Office on Thursday.

BELOIT - Tickets are going fast - some showtimes already are sold out - as the 10-day Beloit International Film Festival kicks off today.

Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) Executive Director Max Maiken said tickets to three hot flicks have either sold out or are almost gone. The film "All the Queen's Horses," by director Kelly Richmond Pope, was so popular that two screenings have been added to the BIFF schedule when the first two sold out. The documentary tells the story of Rita Crundwell, the former city comptroller of Dixon, Illinois, who stole $53 million of public funds over 20 years. She used the funds to build one of the largest quarter horse breeding empires in the nation.

Screenings on March 1 and 3 sold out, but as of 1:30 p.m. on Thursday tickets were still available for additional screenings at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Domenico's and at 2:30 p.m. on March 2 at Bagels and More.

"It's a local film and a local story," Maiken said. "People want to learn more about what happened."

He also believes there's a Beloit connection to the film, as some of Crundwell's horses were boarded here.

The are two other films with tickets selling fast. The first is Leif Gantvoort's "The 60 Yard Line." The second is "Making of a Soldier," directed by Harlem High School senior Madeline Burke; Chandlor Ralston, a first-year at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Harlem High School teacher Nicholas Stange.

"Tickets to these films are selling fast, but there are some tickets still available," Maiken said.

Based on a true story, "The 60 Yard Line" is set during the 2009 Football season. Ben 'Zagger' Zagowski and Nick 'Polano' Polano are best friends and co-workers who buy a house in the parking lot of Lambeau Field and have to choose between a woman and living the life of a fan. Film star Ryan Churchill is originally from Beloit and was selected as the 2018 BIFF Honorary Chair.

There are currently three screenings of the film at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at La Casa Grande, at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 at Domenico's and at 5 p.m. on March 3 at the Hendricks Arts Center.

The documentary film "Making of a Soldier" is a collection of stories from those who lived through the Vietnam war and how it continues to affect them today. It will screen at La Casa Grande at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday and March 3.

The documentary is part of the BIFF Cares Series, sponsored by Beloit Health System, addressing issues the community is facing. The other film featured in the series is the "Desert Around Me," which details the ADHD epidemic.

Officials have other activities planned during the festival's opening weekend. There will be a laser light show downtown at the corner of State Street and Grand Avenue from 6-11 p.m. on Friday.

This year's Radio Drama performance of "All about Eve" will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at La Casa Grande, 618 Fourth St. The vintage radio play is being put on by the Stage One Theatre Company and will also be broadcast live on WCLO 1230 AM. The performance is free.

For those looking to explore Beloit's nightlife after the radio play, BIFF After Dark will be returning from 7-9 p.m. at Grand Avenue Pub, 132 W. Grand Ave. The special event celebrates local music and includes drink specials. There is no cover charge.

On Saturday, moviegoers can look forward to this year's BIFF Sing-A-Long, featuring Walt Disney's 2013 blockbuster hit "Frozen." The Sing-A-Long will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Schubert's Luxury 10 Theatre, 2799 Cranston Road, Beloit. For those who don't know the songs, lyrics will be shown on the screen. Everybody is invited to dress up, and there will be free pop and popcorn available. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

To purchase tickets to any event, the BIFF Box Office, located in Gallery ABBA at 437 E. Grand Ave., will be open every day from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. throughout the festival. Tickets are also available for purchase online or at the door, though Maiken doesn't recommend waiting that long as screenings do sell out.

Tickets are $5 for students and are $9 online and $10 at the box office or at the door for adults.

For more information on BIFF, including a full schedule of events, see www.beloitfilmfest.org or call the box office at 608-466-9693.

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