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The Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) is always excited to present films with a special and lasting tie to the Beloit community. This year BIFF will present the premiere screening of a feature documentary from Tin Boat Productions about one local man’s effort to brighten the life of a sick Beloit girl, who was a long way from home.
The Bear and the Owl, is a feature documentary about Joni Vorass Lillard from Beloit, who, as a seven-year- old in 1986, was about to celebrate her birthday at the Children’s Hospital in Boston. After her teacher put an article in the local newspaper requesting cards from the community for the sick little girl, a complete stranger, Bob Jensen of Clinton, responded by sending her not just one handmade card but one every day for the next two and a half years.
The heartwarming bond that formed between them showcases the healing power of love, empathy and compassion. Now, thirty years later, as Lillard is about to undergo her 42nd (and hopefully final) surgery, her optimistic strength is an inspiring example of the difference that a simple act of kindness can make.
To celebrate that spirit and the film’s premiere, BIFF, in conjunction with Tin Boat Productions, will present an opportunity for local families to help brighten the lives of children in area hospitals with a special cardmaking workshop.
Filmmakers and the local community are invited to come together and create get-well cards for sick children, Saturday, Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Beloit Public Library (605 Eclipse Blvd, Beloit, WI 53511). Materials and refreshments will be provided; all you have to bring is love and creativity.
To reserve your spot at The Bear and the Owl Card Making Workshop, please call the Beloit Library at 608-364- 2905.
“Even if drawing and painting isn’t your thing, you’ll have some fun and learn some easy ways to brighten the day of someone in need,” says the film’s executive producer Jan Jensen, daughter of the late Bob Jensen. “Cards will be collected and personally delivered to sick kids in the Beloit Hospital.”
The Bear and the Owl will be shown on Friday, Feb 24 at 7:30 pm at Bushel & Peck’s and on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 2:30 pm at Bagels & More. There will be a third screening on Friday, March 3 at 7:30 at Bushel & Peck’s.