Well July is upon us and nothing says summer like a trip to the drive-in. BIFF never skips a beat, so see below to find how the drive-in experience is coming to you.
And, if you promise to maintain a little appropriate distancing, we just may have some more outdoor entertainment on the summer schedule. We really want to socially connect while we physically distance.
We have a few suggestions for viewing beyond Netflix, including a great online festival opportunity from our friends at PBS. If you have suggestions on great independent film sources or online festivals, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share.
BIFF depends on volunteer leaders, and Board Chair Ana Kelly McGrath is tickled to announce the addition of two long-time supporters of BIFF to the Board: Dave Luebke and Will Anderson.
And Greg Gerard has some new ideas to share about BIFF2021 and its potential for a virtual component!
So let’s just turn this over to someone who has the inside info on all things BIFF.
Greetings to the BIFF Nation! I hope you all enjoyed the first leg of the summer season, despite the continued restrictions, surges, unrest and confusion that seem to be the current norm. My wish for all of us is that we find ways to make the most of the predicament we’re in, and to join together in an effort to not only subdue the virus, but to foster peace and good fellowship here in the Stateline area, and wherever friends of BIFF reside.
I am proud to announce that I was asked by former Beloit city manager Larry Arft to serve on the Rock County Task Force that is studying the issues of re-opening various sectors of our communities. Our group is one of many that are reporting on status in areas that include education, retail services, government and arts & entertainment. I am looking forward to learning more about how our leaders are assessing the complex equation of getting back to a more normal flow, and how new measures will affect our festival, including our year ‘round agenda. I’ll be sure to keep you apprised of what’s transpiring. And I thank Larry for inviting me to participate. He continues to be a driving force behind the good things that are happening in our communities!
As long as we’re talking about changes, I’d like to run something past you all that has been on my mind over the last four weeks:
I have been trying to stay current on what other festivals are doing, or are planning to do, to deal with restrictions on audience size for indoor events. It’s highly likely that BIFF2021 could be affected significantly if the virus, and restrictions, persist into the new year. The Toronto International Film Festival is planning something that we at BIFF have been following. They’re going to do a hybrid format, with the first 5 days of TIFF doing live screenings in a smaller number of venues and limiting crowd sizes. The second five days of the 10 day fest would be streamed online and live events would be minimized. What I’m thinking about for BIFF2021 is to do something similar, but maybe to schedule films online throughout the festival for those who are concerned about health risks, while hosting live screenings in our usual venues, but with limited crowd sizes. I have been in discussions with the company that is providing the online platform for TIFF, and it might be feasible for us to engage them for our festival.
I’d really like to hear from you, the BIFF faithful, and learn what it is that you think would be a good strategy for 2021:
-Live screenings with limited seating?
-Entire film schedule available online?
-A combination of the two?
If you have an opinion or an alternative, please email us at:
Your input would be very valuable as we continue to plan for the future of our festival!
BIFF is partnering with the Beloit Public Library to provide the city with two drive-in theater events during the second half of the summer. The events will take place in the parking lots in front of the library, with cars being arranged to meet distancing standards, as well as sight-line efficiency. Sound will be played over an FM transmitter that will allow guests to listen to the films in their cars while watching the films on BIFF’s large inflatable movie screen, courtesy of First National Bank and Trust Company.
The first screening will be on Thursday, July 23, featuring Toy Story 4. For more information on this
event, please visit:
The second screening will occur on Thursday, August 20, featuring Frozen II. Space will be limited, so arrive accordingly. We are so thankful that Katharine Clark of the BPL engaged us for this brand new event. I hope to see you there!
We have some great news on the BIFF Board of Directors “new members search” effort! Two outstanding gentlemen will join us for the very first time at the monthly meeting on Monday, July 20: Beloit native, Dave Luebke and native Alaskan, Will Anderson. Both men were unanimously approved by the board at the June meeting, and I am so excited to get them involved in the evolution of BIFF. Their skills and temperaments will add immeasurable quality and integrity to our fantastic board. Here’s a little background on each of these amazing additions:
Will currently serves as the Executive Director for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Rock County, a position he has held since December of 2018. He previously worked three years as the CEO of Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation in Kotzebue, Alaska, and seven years as CEO of Koniag, Incorporated in Kodiak, Alaska. Will has more than twenty years of experience serving as a senior executive in the accounting, finance, and management fields.
Will recently earned a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon. He previously earned a master’s degree in business administration from Western Washington University as well as a bachelor’s degree with a major in accounting.
Mr. Anderson has served as a trustee or board member for numerous nonprofit organizations including Alaska Pacific University, the University of Alaska Foundation, the Alutiiq Museum and Archeological Repository and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Beloit Art Center and the Roy Chapman Andrews Society. Born in Kodiak, Alaska, Mr. Anderson is an Alaskan Native of Sugpiaq descent. He is an avid photographer and has been carving traditional Alaskan Native masks for the past 15 years.
Dave is a 5th generation Beloiter who has served as an elite educator for decades. His list of roles includes Teacher, Guidance Director, School Psychologist, Director of Student Services, Administrator for Safe schools, Associate Principal of BMHS, Principal of Aldrich Middle School, Founding Principal of the school district’s first charter/alternative schools: Hendricks Alternative H.S. and Roy Chapman Andrews Academy. He and his wife, Jean, raised four children. Family has always been his priority. Dave is an avid health and fitness advocate with an interest in politics and the promotion and election of compassionate, transparent, well informed candidates. He is passionate about the arts, specifically motion pictures, and regularly enjoys classic movie presentations on TCM. In addition, Dave had this to say:
“I have found BIFF to be an enriching and mind-expanding experience and wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with other people who appreciate this fine platform for intellectual growth.”
That’s about it for the monthly update from your humble and thankful E.D. As mentioned, we’re taking August off and waiting until September to offer you another installment of BIFF Stew. But before we close up for the remainder of the season, please enjoy another short column by our resident screenwriter, Nancy.
Inside the Mind of a BIFF Preview Screener with Nancy Clark-Mather
As social distancing continues throughout our country and our world, the Beloit International Film Festival continues to provide an invaluable service to filmmakers by welcoming new film submissions from all around the globe. These filmmakers have stories that demand to be heard and BIFF remains able and committed to that effort in the midst of this continuously changing landscape.
BIFF has accepted close to three hundred film submissions and I signed on to pre-screen along with nineteen others. Each week we all receive a viewing assignment of four films (three shorts and one feature length). We work alone using the FilmFreeway platform in the comfort of our own computer workspaces but we are virtually grouped with three other people, allowing us to draw on each other’s perspectives. The platform offers a film synopsis as well as the director’s statement, and often a movie trailer. A rating system helps us grade the film by the categories listed below as well as assign an MPAA rating and add our commentary. The platform is user-friendly, making it an easy and pleasurable learning experience for a cinephile. Here are some of the aspects of film production that we consider when determining the value of each.
Plot: How did the movie make me feel? Was the plot believable, interesting, thought provoking? What was the central goal? Was it made to entertain? educate? bring awareness? Was it necessary for me to suspend disbelief? Did the setting affect the story? Did the movie make any strong impression? Did any symbolism come into play? Was the conclusion satisfactory? Characters: Were the characters well developed? Did their acting help them come to life? Were they complex or did they seem shallow and somewhat stereotyped? Direction: Did the director choose an appropriate method of storytelling? Did she/he create a captivating conflict along with a suspense and tension that helped make the movie work? Pacing: Was the pacing too fast or too slow, causing the film to lag in certain acts or scenes? Score: Did the music support the mood of the movie? Were the music cues timed well for the scenes they supported? Cinematography: Were shots used in a unique way to tell the story? Did lighting and coloring affect the tone of the film? Was the action shot coherently? How did the camera move? Were the actors and settings well framed? Production: Were the costumes suitable for the story? Did the sets feel believable and did the created environments heighten the atmosphere on camera? Special Effects: Were special effects believable or were they overboard or too subtle? Did they integrate well within the story? Editing: Was it clean or choppy? Was the flow consistent? How well did the transitions between scenes work and were any unique effects used? Did the movie flow well or was it too fast or slow? Did any scenes drag the movie down? Were the scenes clearly organized throughout the film? Dialogue: Did the dialogue work? Were the conversations believable or necessary? Did the dialogue bring context to the plot developments? Did the dialogue match the tone of the movie and the personalities of the characters?
I don’t usually take notes during a film. I try to rate it as soon as I finish watching it. And I always remember, that for me, the most important component is how the movie made me feel.
Thanks Nancy! And thanks to all of you for joining us. Please be generous when the bucket is passed your way at summer BIFF events. Your donations form the basis of what we are able to do in the future…whenever that is.
BIFF Stew will be back in September!
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