“Greetings everyone! Janus Gerard here! And so, another 365 days have passed and here we are on the threshold of a whole new decade. I wonder what time has in store for us in this one…?? They were called the Roaring Twenties in the 20th Century. Will the twenties roar again? Will my generation, the aging Boomers and near-boomers, be able to roar anymore? I hope we’ve got at least one good Metro- Goldwyn-Meyer/Leo the Lion impression left in us to let the world know that BIFF intends to be around for the 20s, 30s, infinity and beyond!
The past year has seen us rethinking and reshaping how we “BIFF”…how wesustain…grow…improve…compete…and please. The founders created a concept and a format that has, with very little deviation, stood the test of time to date. Their wisdom and skill have made the job of helming this festival a reasonable one because of the roadmap they drew for us. I see a future that will combine staying the course our Founders set, while also adjusting to the ebb and flow of changing times. This isn’t exactly advanced math, but we will need to use our heads, and hearts, intelligently in order to navigate. Whew. That’s a sobering thought for a guy like me!
The foundation of this non-profit juggernaut is comprised of many bricks and beams, not the least of which is the fanbase we fondly refer to as the BIFF Nation. Our audiences, our Film Society members, our legion of volunteers and those who speak fondly of our festival, both here and around the world…these are the faces and the voices that inspire us to persevere each year to create events that make our ground level supporters proud to claim ownership of the Beloit International Film Festival. My sincere thanks to you all!
Although I’ve been with the festival since it began, I’ve had to go “back to school” in order to learn how the financial side of this enterprise functions and to see, first hand, how much the deep, generous pockets of this city/area mean to the success of BIFF. The support of our donors, our cash and in-kind sponsors, and our incredible grant organizations are vital parts of what keeps our non-profit afloat while so many others founder or capsize.
Writing for grants has been a struggle for me. But so far the results have been incredibly encouraging. With help from sagacious board members like Gary Meier, Ana Kelly and Rick McGrath, as well as Lisa Furseth of the Hendricks Family Foundation, BIFF was awarded six generous and much-needed grants in 2019, the most recent being another Wisconsin Arts Board Grant. Now, granted (heh-heh), I’m going to have to write for these all over again in 2020. But I think we’re off to a promising start here!
BIFF FestEve 2020
- Thursday, Feb. 20th, 6:00 PM
- At IronTek – 635 3rd. Street, Beloit
We’ll be 15 years old in just a few short weeks. We have much to be proud of…and grateful for…as we approach this milestone. And with that in mind, the BIFF Board of Directors and I thought it would be fitting to bring back a long-time BIFF tradition that was once known as Launch & Laurels. On Thursday, February 20 at 6pm you are invited to join together in a celebration of the 15th anniversary of BIFF at IronTek in Beloit. This will be a ticketed event that will feature great food and beverages, friendly socializing, sharing of BIFF memories, and a program that will include presentations by Honorary Chairperson, Stephanie Klett, the BIFF Founders, Becky Rogers, Ron Nief and Rod Beaudoin, a performance by Irish music duo and documentary filmmakers, the Black Donnellys, accompanied by the Turtle Creek Chamber Orchestra, and an address by the key component of BIFF’s success, Diane Hendricks.
Watch for updates, promotional materials and ways to purchase tickets online for what is currently titled BIFF FestEve 2020, sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors. Space will be limited, so keep your eyes peeled and be prepared to act quickly!
Finally, once again, thank you, one and all, for everything you’ve brought to BIFF in 2019! Whether great or small, your contributions of patronage and provision are what keeps our little train chugging. Keep up the good works…and we will, too!
Happy New Year, Everybody!!
BIFF Executive Director
The Great Reveal
BIFF Board member Brenda Gould along with Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Aimee Thurner are planning the first major event of BIFF 2020 with the annual REVEAL party at the Hampton Inn on February 4 from 5-7 p.m. Highlight of the evening will be the debut of the Beloit Daily News annual printed BIFF program, hot off the press. The Chamber “Business After Hours” party will offer some previews of the 2020 season along with light appetizers, beer and wine. Admission is $5 and is Free for Film Society members showing their lanyard pass.
BIFF Year ‘Round
There is still time to catch a few of the BIFF2020 offerings and vote for your favorites with the last weeks of the the fall-winter BIFF Year ‘Round film series at the Hendricks Center for the Arts at Beloit College. The programs, sponsored by Stateline Community Foundation, begin at 6:30pm with a quick nosh (desserts by Fanny’s Baked Goods, coffee by Ironworks Hotel) and are usually followed by an opportunity to talk with the filmmakers. The fall series will run through January and will resume in April. Here is the lineup for January:
THE DUCKPOND…Fredrik’s peaceful life in an idyllic small town is turned upside down when his old childhood friend Patrik is released from prison. Together with Birger, the third member of their old trio, they manage to get lost in a spiral of chaos involving a vindictive policeman, a few grams of weed and a gang of danish robbers. (Narrative Feature, Comedy, R, 90m) January 15…SEX, DRUGS & BICYCLES…Documentarian Jonathan Blank takes a look at Dutch social democracy and answers the question: is having month-long double paid vacations, no fear of homelessness, and universal healthcare the nightmare we’ve been warned about? (Documentary Feature, R, 86m)
CERULEAN BLUE…An introvert’s urgent road trip to reclaim his lost love is derailed when he meets a free-spirited woman who challenges all of his ideals. (Narrative Feature, Dramedy, PG-13, 72m)
HARLEM VET PROJECT…A new collection of interviews with area US military veterans who share compelling stories of their experiences in battle and their experiences in civilian life. Supervised by educator Nicholas Stange, these Harlem High School student filmmakers capture tales of bravery, heartbreak, injury and PTSD. (Documentary Shorts, PG13, 90m)
…and one final word: BIFFicates
These wonderful little vouchers that can be exchanged for tickets to any of the more than 100 exciting independent films coming to BIFF2020 are available through Feb. 9. Thanks to the wisdom and generosity of BIFF President Ana Kelly, the special discount allowing you to save $2 per ticket has been extended.
BIFFICATES come in four- and six-film packs. FOUR PACKS for $32 (an $8 SAVING) or SIX PACKS for $48 (a $12 SAVING). To order and for details click the button below or call 773-818-5010.
And, just because your inbox isn’t flooded with end-of-the-year solicitations doesn’t mean we have forgotten you. We love you dearly and hope you will keep BIFF in mind for your first of the year giving. Become a part of the community support that brings BIFF to the world each February by joining the Film Society of Beloit or by making a sustaining commitment. For
details, please visit us at https://beloitfilmfest.org/film-society-of-beloit/ .