About the Beloit International Film Festival

BIFF, building a community of independent filmmakers exhibiting their creative expression with audiences who appreciate the art form. All this in the remerging, lively and welcoming traditional downtown of Beloit Wisconsin.

BIFF is a ten-day tribute to the power of film and the excitement of independent film from around the world.  Local residents and visitors from across the nation fill venues, ranging in size from 40 to 400 seats for more than 100 films, and to meet scores of filmmakers who come from throughout the U.S. and as far away as Europe, Asia and Latin America.

BIFF celebrates filmmakers in all genres—features, documentaries, shorts— who enjoy the Beloit setting as much as the attendees do. BIFF promises crowds of interested viewers filling venues, questioning them at the films, and stopping them on the street to talk about their shared passions and projects in independent filmmaking.

The Walkable Film Festival in Downtown Beloit WI

BIFF’s Red Scarf, Founding Donors

Tom & Terry Barnes
Dr. Susan Behrens & David Look
Steve & Heidi Eldred
Jorge Galante
Mick & Jane Gilbertson

Gary & Vicky Grabowski
Charles & Prudy Harker
Jim & Nancy Heidt
Diane Hendricks
Kim Hendricks

Ken & Judy Kaplan
Joanna Kutter
Curt & Barb Lansbery
Bill & Linda Lock

Paul Milatzo
Ron Nief
Becky Rogers
Don & Tara Tinder

From the Executive Director

Greg Gerard | Executive Director, The Beloit International Film Festival

Greg Gerard Executive Director

We analyzed the statistics, discussed at length, checked with the authorities, and made the decision to put BIFF back on the ground, in-person, and in our beloved venues, as the “film festival gods” originally intended! At this writing we are still at the mercy of the ever-changing pandemic. But we have rolled the dice and have committed to a festival that will be in the tradition that BIFF fans and filmmakers have been accustomed to for seventeen years, save 2021. We are ready for you, BIFF Nation! Join us!

It’s important to point out that while we do want our guests to gather in robust numbers, we also want to be sure that safety is a priority. We have decided that masks will be a must in all BIFF venues during the 2022 festival. City of Beloit venues already have mask mandates in place. In an effort to be consistent festival-wide, we are asking everyone to comply in non-city and non-campus facilities, as well. We feel that it’s a small inconvenience to endure in order to be able to gather together and enjoy great independent films again. Please help us with this effort.

And speaking of venues…we not only have our longtime and loyal establishments, Bagels & More, La Casa Grande, Domenico’s and the Hendricks Center back in the lineup. We’ve added three more new and exciting locales, as well. Now you can enjoy films in the fresh environs of the Downtown Beloit Association facility, Visit Beloit, and the new Irontek venue at the Ironworks Campus.

While we intend to be in-person this year, we haven’t forgotten those who may not feel comfortable with that format, or may not be mobile enough to venture to the city center. BIFF learned how to mount a virtual festival last year, and we’re not going to let all of that education go to waste. We will be offering a select list of films online that you can view at home. So now you can enjoy BIFF downtown, or in the comfort of your living room…or both!

And what about the films? Well, we have a bunch! Over 136 films including features, shorts and music videos. And we’re adding some new genres: horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Plus, a block of incredible films from our newest festival partner, the Luang Prabang Film Festival in Laos. BIFF has never seen so much variety!

Of course, we could not do this every year without two key components: our loyal sponsors and tireless volunteers. Our thanks to all of them for continuing to help us make BIFF the high-quality arts and entertainment event that it is, and always has been.

Please join us for a whole new BIFF experience this year. And all you have to do is park once and stroll the city center. We really are The Walkable Film Festival!

The BIFF Team

Greg Gerard | Executive Director, The Beloit International Film FestivalGreg Gerard

Executive Director

I began my experience with BIFF nearly fourteen years ago when I signed on with the operations team as a film and audio tech. Since that time I have been involved with the festival in some way, shape or form throughout its history. When the opportunity to take on more responsibility, and to assume more of a leadership role with the festival came my way, I was both thrilled and humbled. This festival has always seemed, to me, a combination of perfection and chaos; a brilliantly conceived monster that is difficult to tame, but which is always made to cooperate by way of strong and visionary leadership.

As the Artistic Director of BIFF, I find myself in awe of the endless details, the ingredients of BIFF, that past festival directors have managed to shape into the incredible event that we all look forward to, and love, each and every year. There are a lot of things beneath the surface that are new for me, even after all this time, and I’m working hard to get familiar with them. The upside is that I am working with an incredibly talented staff, selfless board members and amazing volunteers. I am confident that the powerful and committed team we make will result in another successful festival season, and that the confidence that was placed in me will yield the same positive results we have always enjoyed.

Sabrina KrejciSabrina Krejci

Filmmaker Hospitality Director
Social Media

Hi, I am Sabrina, and I am your go to person for everything Filmmaker Hospitality, Social Media, and Marketing with the festival. I work to keep our festival known for having one of the best hospitality programs. Bringing filmmakers to Beloit and Beloit to filmmakers!

Board of Directors

Laura Doll

Laura Doll

Marjorie Driscoll

Marjorie Driscoll

Brenda Gould

Brenda Gould

Sue Hess

Sue Hess

Secretary
John Kalkirtz

John Kalkirtz

Ana Kelly

Ana Kelly

Jeff Livingston

Jeff Livingston

Dave Luebke

Dave Luebke

Gary Meier

Gary Meier

Treasurer
Lindsay Mitchell

Lindsay Mitchell

President
Aaron Peterson

Aaron Peterson

Vice President
Celestino Ruffini

Celestino Ruffini

Amanda Sink

Amanda Sink

Stella

Stella

Nancy & Jim Heidt

Nancy & Jim Heidt

BIFF Volunteer Coordinators
Nicola Meyer

Nicola Meyer

Maven of Merchandise
Marjorie & Brenton Driscoll

Marjorie & Brenton Driscoll

Photography (Peer Canvas)

BIFF Photographers

Peer Canvas Photography and Video

BIFF Classroom

Marjorie & Brenton Driscoll
Greg Gerard

BIFF Year ‘Round / BIFF Outdoors

Greg Gerard
John Kalkirtz
Ana Kelly
Laura Doll
Nancy Clark Mather

Box Office

Ana Kelly
Sabrina Krejci
Gary Meier

Event Coordinators

Kristin Peterson Kaszubowski
Laura Doll
Greg Gerard
Nancy Clark Mather
Sabrina Krejci

Film Selection

Adam Fogarty
Kristin Peterson Kaszubowski
Steve Meyer
Marty Densch
Greg Gerard

Film Society of Beloit

Ana Kelly

Hospitality

Sabrina Krejci

Marketing Team

Kristin Peterson Kaszubowski
Sabrina Krejci
Rick McGrath
Ana Kelly
Greg Gerard
Ron Nief
Gary Meier
Terry Meyers

Merchandise

Nicki Meyer

Photography

Marjorie & Brenton Driscoll | Peer Canvas

Program Book

Mary & Mark Terry
Kim Boreen
Beloit Daily News
Kristin Peterson Kaszubowski
Greg Gerard

Sponsors / Fundraising

Nancy Clark Mather
Laura Doll
Will Anderson
Gary Meier
Terry Meyer

Tech Coordination

Ana Kelly
Kevin Patrick

Website

Rick McGrath
Ana Kelly

BIFF Classroom

Greg Gerard
Susan Hess
Nancy Clark Mather

 BIFF Film Society / BIFFster

Ron Nief
Marty Densch
Ana Kelly

BIFF Year ‘Round / BIFF Outdoors

Greg Gerard
Brenda Gould
John Kalkirtz
Ana Kelly
Laura Doll
Nancy Clark Mather
Esther Veitch
Jake Hamil

Box Office

Ana Kelly
Sabrina Krejci
Gary Meier

Drivers

Jeff Livingston
Larry Diehls
Bryan Northrup
Nathan Boggs
Randy Nelson

Event Coordinators

Laura Doll
Greg Gerard
Nancy Clark Mather
Sabrina Krejci
Britney McKay
Jake Hamil

Film Selection

Adam Fogarty
Esther Veitch
Kristin Peterson Kaszubowski
Steve Meyer
Marty Densch
Geoff Richards
Greg Gerard

Film Society of Beloit

Ana Kelly

Hospitality

Sabrina Krejci

Marketing Team

Rick McGrath
Sabrina Krejci
Ana Kelly
Greg Gerard
Ron Nief
Denise Delanty
Gary Meier
Terry Meyers

Merchandise

Nicki Meyer
Amy Oselio

Photography

Marjorie & Brenton Driscoll | Peer Canvas
Mark Preuschl
Terry Meyers

Program Book

Mary & Mark Terry
Kim Boreen
Beloit Daily News
Greg Gerard
Ana Kelly
Nancy Clark Mather

Sponsors / Fundraising

Ana Kelly
Greg Gerard
Laura Doll
Gary Meier
Terry Meyer
Rick McGrath

Tech Coordination

Kevin Patrick
Jake Hamil
Bob Hamann

Volunteer Coordinators

Nancy & Jim Heidt
Gary Meier
Terry Meyers

Website

Rick McGrath
Ana Kelly
Sabrina Krejci

And Year After Year…
Over 300 Community Volunteers Come Together
To Make Something Special Happen

Last and certainly not least, BIFF is successful largely because of the broad community support. Over 300 volunteers each year come together to help present BIFF to the broader community and visitors to our community. We have many many individuals, couples and families who have volunteered every year since BIFF’s inception.

There are too many to name but we know who you are and we thank you for your help. BIFF would not exist if not for our volunteers.
Thank you!

The Story of BIFF

The Beloit International Film Festival was the idea of a group of people involved with business, education, the arts, and entertainment in the small college city of Beloit on the Wisconsin-Illinois Stateline. Beloit has always been a community that, as it changed, challenged itself with new ideas, changing its identity and improving life for its citizens. The Festival founders wanted to show that a small city with spirit and drive could challenge settings and established programs far larger and better endowed.

The BIFF concept was presented to the community at a series of breakfasts and luncheons as the originators sought financial support, emotional encouragement, and volunteer involvement. Local industrialists Ken and Diane Hendricks stepped forward with a challenge, offering to match up to $40,000 raised from the community. The challenge was met within weeks and, in January 2006, just six months after the concept was promulgated, the first BIFF was presented at a half dozen venues throughout Beloit’s downtown area.

Humble Beginnings

It started as a long weekend designed to introduce the stateline community to the creative and cultural inspiration, challenges, and artistic rewards of cinematic art. An early principle of BIFF was to honor and celebrate ALL filmmakers in attendance and encourage audiences to recognize their work by engaging in exciting conversations. Social events went late into the night as filmmakers found a dedicated cadre of film lovers who filled their screenings and stopped them on the street, bought them lunch, and discussed their work.

One of the earliest events which has now been duplicated by a number of Festivals, was the Silent Film Showcase, presenting great films from the silent era accompanied by a new or original musical score, performed by the local symphony orchestra. The first show was sold out.

Another early project that has been honored, and continues today, is the “Kids at BIFF” program, designed to develop and educate the next generation of moviegoers. Each year, several thousand fifth graders from the region are brought to one of the large venues to watch and discuss a number of carefully selected films, presented in cooperation with the Kids First Foundation.

The first year was a widely reported success with positive reviews both locally and in national film publications. This prompted requests from surrounding communities to become settings for future films, expanding the number of venues to include settings on both sides of the state line.

Festival attendees walking from one venue to another in downtown Beloit WI

Ron Nief | BIFF Cofounder, Board Chairman

Ron Nief
Co-founder
w/ Becky Rogers

Audience Filmmaker Engagement | The BIFF Experience

Audience Filmmaker Interaction
The Quintessential BIFF Experience

Dedication & Development

In 2012, with the growth in submissions and visits by as many as 180 filmmakers annually, BIFF expanded to ten days and used the additional time to celebrate the work of juried and non-juried local filmmakers representing Wisconsin and Illinois. The Wisconsin-Illinois Showdown now takes place the first weekend of BIFF and allows local filmmakers to establish relationships with other artists and to discuss their art and craft.

In 2014, in cooperation with local businesses and Beloit College, BIFF became a year-round Festival with films shown weekly, usually with filmmakers in attendance or electronically connected. During the summers, with the gift of a large inflatable outdoor screen, BIFF was able to show family films at parks throughout the area.

But the basic concepts of BIFF continue. Selected films are shown mostly in small venues, seating 30-100, most of them within walking distance of each other. The town and restaurants take on a Capraesque spirit as audiences move between venues. Large events, such as the annual BIFF Sing Along musical, the final Classic Film Showcase, presenting a great popular film selected by the community, the Silent Film Showcase, and BIFF CARES, which groups films with a social theme, continue to sell out larger venues.

Ron Nief
BIFF Co-Founder
Board Chairman 2005-2015
Board Member 2016 to 2019

Beloit International Film Festival Inc.
BIFF is organized exclusively for charitable purposes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, to create and stage affordable social, educational, and entertaining events. In addition, BIFF was created to harness the power of film to improve our community and ourselves.

BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival