BIFF for the Deaf


Posted – Feb. 11, 2012

In one of the first programs of its kind, the Beloit International Film Festival will present American Sign Language Films as part of the new BIFF for the Deaf program on BIFF Sunday, Feb. 19. Two family friendly films rated PG will feature actors using American Sign Language.

The films to be shown are The Legend of the Mountain Man and Gerald. Legend will be presented at noon and Gerald at 2:30 at the Beloit College Hendricks Art Center in downtown Beloit.

  • Date: Sunday Feb. 19
  • Location: Hendricks Art Center

  • Film:  Gerald
  • Time: 2:30 pm
  • Tickets: Buy Tickets

The Legend of the MountainThe Legend of the Mountain Man is a film for all ages, set in picturesque Montana. It is the story of a family coming to grips with a dysfunctional history through the children who go to spend the summer at their grandparent’s ranch.

They try to navigate the family’s past and reconcile some of the estranged family members. Their journey includes an unexpected encounter with a mountain creature nobody has seen before.

GeraldGerald tells the story of the powerful and emotional journey of a young man yearning for kinship. One day he discovers that he has a deaf autistic grandfather that nobody has ever told him about.

He us committed to finding him and reconnecting as family ties and secrets unfold in a continuous twist of events.

The BIFF for the Deaf program is sponsored by the Southern Wisconsin Interpreting and Translation Service (SWITS) which provides sign language interpreters throughout the region.

“There is a sizeable population of deaf individuals in the Stateline area and a school for the deaf and hard of hearing in Delavan,”, “We are particularly appreciative of SWITS and its director and BIFF board member Saul Arteaga, who’s company provides ASL interpreters, for bringing the need for such a program to our attention and in helping to select the films. We hope to expand this program in future years.”

The 2012 Beloit International Film Festival is sponsored by the Hendricks Group in association with Beloit College and with funding from Visit Beloit. It is supported and underwritten by many local businesses, organizations and individuals.

Kids First

Beloit Tweens Become Movie Critics

Posted – Feb. 5, 2012

Kids FirstBeloit International Film Festival offers 5th graders the chance to learn the art of movie critiquing.

BIFF, in partnership with Kid’s First, is presenting film-critiquing workshops with area 5th grade students. They will be held Tuesday, February 14th and Wednesday, February 15th at the Eclipse Center in Beloit. This program teaches students about reviewing films in an effort to develop more educated and discerning film viewers in area youth. Students also have the opportunity to win prizes and give their critiques for the films they are shown. BIFF’s goal is to enhance the students’ enjoyment and understanding of film media and give them a skill they can continue to develop and enjoy the rest of their film viewing lives.

“This year we’re adding a new segment to Kids @ BIFF which we’re very excited about,”, “An activity will be conducted in the fifth grade classrooms prior to the program to give students a chance to become comfortable with the elements of critiquing and watching short films.”

The day of the event, students will arrive at the Eclipse Center, the various facilitators, trained by Kids First; begin by reviewing the major components of a film. Topics such as character development, sets, music, costumes and much more are discussed to help prepare the students for their reviews. Also, the importance of why films are reviewed and how film makers use the information is covered.

Students then watch a selection of short films that provide a variety of styles and content so students can see how the different components are used to make a film. The films are most likely productions the students will not have seen before. After the viewing is completed, the students pick the film they want to review most and complete a worksheet review. After the reviews are finished, there will be discussion about the films and group participation activities to allow the students to interact and share their reviews with others.

The Beloit International Film Festival is made possible by The Hendricks Group and presented in association with Beloit College and with a generous grant from Visit Beloit.


Melissa Hawks, Director of Educational Programming at BIFF, 630-631-3159,

The Kid Brother | Harold Lloyd

Harold Lloyd 1927 Silent Film Classic with BJSO

Posted – Feb. 5, 2012

The Kid Brother | Harold LloydThe Beloit International Film Festival signature event, the perennially sold-out M&I Bank and M&I Wealth Management Silent Film Showcase will once again demonstrate the staying power of film on Saturday of BIFF Week, Feb.18 at the Eclipse Center in Beloit. This year’s feature, accompanied by the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Robert Tomaro, will be the 1927 Harold Lloyd film classic, The Kid Brother.

  • Date: Saturday, February 18th, 2012
  • Time: 6 pm – Pre-event reception / silent auction, 7:30 pm – Film Start
  • Location: Eclipse Center (Center Court)
  • Price: $25 for all ages plus tax and service fees online Buy Tickets

Harold Lloyd will be seen in his familiar dark rimmed glasses as he fights for the respect and attention of his father despite his two older brothers. The sympathetic boy-next-door type, a figure as winsome and approachable as Jimmy Stewart or Tom Hanks, Lloyd doesn’t have the muscles to match up to his brothers, so he has to use his wits to win the respect of his strong father and the love of beautiful Mary.

The Kid Brother was successful and popular upon release and today is considered by critics and fans to be one of Lloyd’s best films, integrating elements of comedy, romance, drama, and character development

A highlight of the annual Silent Film Showcase has been the performance of an original score for the film by the full Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra. Sold-out audiences have frequently included film festival executives from around the country on-hand to see how BIFF creates the program so they might duplicate it at their festivals. This year’s performance will be repeated in April with Maestro Tomaro on the podium at the Julian International Film Festival Dubuque.

The performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for a special pre-event reception and silent auction to benefit the Beloit Janesville Symphony. Bars will be open starting at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $25 per person and will be available on line at or from the Beloit Janesville Symphony.

The 2012 Beloit International Film Festival is sponsored by the Hendricks Group in association with Beloit College and with funding from Visit Beloit. It is supported and underwritten by many local businesses, organizations and individuals.

Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest

BIFF Closing Party | North By Northwest to Replace Casablanca

Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest

Posted – Feb. 5, 2012

A film that always makes it onto the lists of favorites, most suspenseful, and best Hitchcock and Gregory Peck films, will provide a memorable closing film experience for this year’s 2012 Beloit International Film Festival.

  • Date:  Sunday Feb. 19, 2012
  • Time:  2:30 pm
  • Location:  Eclipse Center
  • Price:  FREE

North by Northwest, the 1959 adventure of a hapless New York advertising executive mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies and with all the signature twists of an Alfred Hitchcock film, will be presented on the big screen at the Eclipse Center on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 2:30 p.m. The free film will celebrate the start of a new annual BIFF event, The Beloit First National Bank and Trust Company BIFF Closing Party. The film is presented in affiliation with Turner Classic Movies and Charter Communications.

North by Northwest will replace Casablanca which was originally scheduled for that time slot but was withdrawn by distributors in anticipation of its upcoming 70th anniversary re-release.

The iconic film scenes of a crop duster pursuing Gregory Peck throug
h cornfields as the tension builds, and the final dramatic chase across the façade of Mt. Rushmore, have provided anxious moments for moviegoers for more than a half century. Eva Marie Saint joins Peck, James Mason and Martin Landau in this cross-country adventure that never seems to get old and leaves one wondering how many of today’s adventures will have this kind of staying power.

“Today the film is seldom seen on a big screen which is why we chose it from among a list of great classic films made available to us by Turner Classic Movies,”, “This will be a great treat both for fans and for a new generation that has yet to experience the music, acting and the script that won it three Oscar nominations and a place in the National Film Registry.”

This new addition to BIFF will permit the showing each year of a major classic motion picture in its original theatre format.

Tickets for this event are free of charge.

The 2012 Beloit International Film Festival is sponsored by the Hendricks Group in association with Beloit College and with funding from Visit Beloit. It is supported and underwritten by many local businesses, organizations and individuals.

Joel Mark Harris

Joel Mark Harris | Book signing during BIFF

Joel Mark Harris

Posted – Jan 25, 2012

Joel Mark Harris is very excited to be returning to this year’s Beloit International Film Festival. Joel is an award-winning journalist, producer and novelist. His film Neutral Territory, which screened in last year’s festival, has been shown in 22 festivals, nominated for 21 awards and won 7 including best picture and best cinematography. Last year, it was sold to Shaw Cable network and played across Canada.

Book Signing:

  • Date: Saturday, Feb. 18th.
  • Time: Noon – 2:00 p.m.
  • Location: BIFF Ticket Office (Visit Beloit offices, 500 Public Ave.)

Joel is now working on turning his critically-acclaimed novel, A Thousand Bayonets, into a film. Winner of the publisher’s editors’ choice award, A Thousand Bayonets is about a war correspondent who comes back from Afghanistan after being injured only to find a drug war brewing in his own back yard.

For details on the film and novel please check out the website

Joel is also planning on filming his next product Witches of Whitewater in the surrounding area which will be directed by David Castillo. The Witches of Whitewater is about two university students who find some truth in the legends of witches haunting the town of Whitewater.

For all of Joel’s upcoming events and book signings please visit or visit his Facebook page.

BIFF Volunteers Day of Film

A Day Of Film for BIFF Volunteers (time change)

BIFF Volunteers Day of Film

Posted – Jan 25, 2012

On Saturday, January 28 we will be hosting a day of film for our volunteers at La Casa Grande from 9 am – 9 pm. We will be running ‘tastes’ of some of the films to be shown at BIFF. The ‘tastes’ are longer than a trailer, but short of showing the entire film. It’s a tease of what’s in store for festival attendees, as well as a way for volunteers to select volunteer slots that include a film they will enjoy seeing.

  • Date: Saturday January 28th
  • Time:  9:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Location:  La Casa Grande (618 4th Street, Beloit)
  • Admission: A commitment to at least one volunteer slot.


BIFF volunteer coordinators will be on hand for ambassadors to choose their date/time/location to serve.

BIFF student filmmakers | photo credit - Hillary Gaving, Beloit Daily News

Film Fest adds showcase for students’ work

Posted – Jan 21, 2012

by HILLARY GAVAN • JAN. 21, 2012
Beloit Daily News 

BIFF student filmmakers | photo credit - Hillary Gaving, Beloit Daily News

Student filmmakers: From left McNeel Middle Schoolers Kyal Christianson, Tanner Castle, Braedon Churches, Tre Robinson and Keegan Meiers are thrilled with a film of basketball trick shots they are producing for submission in the Beloit International Film Festival's Student Film Makers Showcase. Several student groups are using technology at McNeel to produce short films.

Students will launch basketballs off trampolines and drip ketchup from their vampire mouths during the upcoming Beloit International Film Festival’s (BIFF) Student Filmmakers Showcase.

“We are going to keep going until we are old and can’t do anything,” said McNeel Middle School sixth grader Tre Robinson. “We love what we do.”

Tre, Team Captain Braedon Churches and friends Keegan Meiers, Tanner Castle and Kyal Christianson have been shooting basketballs off many stray surfaces. They’ve bounced off trampolines, climbed in trees and whacked at balls with hockey sticks to produce the ultimate trick-shooting film.

The boys trimmed their endless footage with special software to include only their best moves, and will submit “Kid Amazing” as part of the BIFF competition. Their footage is also available in four various editions on YouTube by typing in “Kid Amazing.”

“I drove my parents crazy watching it over and over,” Braedon said.

The Student Filmmakers Showcase is a new BIFF event in 2012, and is being put on thanks to a partnership with the Beloit Public Library. Melissa Hawks, an associate librarian and BIFF’s director of educational programming, said the showcase is for 6th – 12th grade students. Entries can be of any genre and must be between three and five minutes long.

The student films will be screened as part of BIFF Feb. 18 at the Beloit Public Library and will be free to the public. The grand prize winner, however, will receive an award at the annual Launch and Laurels party on Feb. 16 at the Eclipse Center.

At McNeel Middle School Media Specialist Lydia Bertram has been helping students utilize the proper filming tools. She said students are allowed to check out flip-phone recorders at the school and other technologies to edit footage. Students often meet after school to work on the projects.

McNeel sixth graders Rachel Goff, Savanna Hemmerling and Mikayla Hoey created a film about a scary dented-head monster. They call their flick “The Haunted Truth,” and said it’s both a comedy and horror film.

“We kept giggling a lot,” Rachel said.

“There are like 89 bloopers,” said Savanna.

McNeel seventh graders Abby Miller, Alyssa Reitan and Sydney Turner wrote “Epic Attack,” an elaborate screenplay about a girl on a computer reading a scary Facebook chain letter. A zombie, played by Alyssa, scares Abby before reappearing in her bathroom mirror and then bedroom. The scared girl then takes cover in her room, covering her face with a pair of pants.

“She (the zombie) goes to the door, pops out and bites her,” Abby said.

Alyssa said the biggest challenge of filming was keeping her zombie mouth full of ketchup for five minutes. She later spurts the bloody goo on Sydney during the biting incident.

“It’s so un-scary, it’s funny,” Abby said.

Abby said she hopes her experience will help her goal of performing with a band and debut in Phantom of the Opera. Alyssa said she hopes to become an actress and singer.

Sixth graders Mya Montalvo, Micah Lytle and Justin Hall are producing “The Stupids” about a stupid person who talks randomly to his patient and long-suffering pit bull.

Eighth graders Ana Pemberton, Makaela Tyler, Ja’ Lexus Hamilton, Porshalya Jones and sixth grader Marcus Range are producing a music film titled “B City Kids.”

The girls will be rapping and singing while Marcus breaks out his dance moves. Lyrics include “Get out of my space, get out of my face.”

Sixth graders Trinity Wright and Breanna Reitan are creating “The Haunted Room” where a girl is haunted by a she-spirit who died in the home. Breanna will be performing ghostly antics from the girl’s closet. Breanna noted she hopes to be a chef or filmmaker, while Breanna hopes to take her talents using cameras far in her future career.

Both girls hope they win and get the chance to attend the BIFF Launch & Laurels party. However, Trinity said her mother has plans to take her out to eat and to give her ice cream, whether she wins or not.

Beloit Daily NewsStudents will be able to get more help with their films on Saturday at the Beloit Public Library at a prep day held from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Students will be able to bring in their projects for feedback or help with technical issues in the film making process. The submission deadline is Saturday, Jan. 28.

Hawks said the Student Filmmakers Showcase gives young people the opportunity to experience the film making process without having to commit to a huge project. The Student Filmmakers Showcase web page will links to help students get started, as well as links to copyright-free music and sound effects.

For more information visit the BIFF website at
BIFF Student Filmmakers Page

City of Beloit Logo

Proclamation for BIFF 2012

City of Beloit Logo

Posted – Jan 14, 2012

Whereas the Beloit International Film Festival will celebrate its seventh season of bringing great films, filmmakers, and visitors to our community, February 16-19; and

Whereas BIFF has doubled the number of film venues including new viewing opportunities in Janesville and Rockford; and

Whereas this year BIFF will focus on the Spanish speaking community with a new day-long “BIFF Latino” devoted to Latino films and culture; and

Whereas BIFF will offer for the first time, American Sign Language films for the deaf community; and

Whereas BIFF has moved up to “the next level” in the quality of everything from projection and sound to outstanding films; and

Whereas BIFF has helped introduce visitors to our community, its hotels, restaurants, businesses and people,

Therefore Beloit honors the sponsors and underwriters that contribute to the success of BIFF and declares the week of Feb.13 to be Beloit International Film Festival Week. We thank the hundreds of volunteers and encourage all citizens to enjoy these exciting opportunities to view great film and to welcome the artists and visitors who will be visiting our community.


Welcome from Larry Arft | Beloit City Manager

Posted – Jan 8, 2012

Dear BIFF Attendee:

On behalf of our residents and City officials, it is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to the City of Beloit and the extraordinary Seventh Annual Beloit International Film Festival. Whether you are coming from around the corner, across the country, or beyond our borders, we are pleased to welcome you to our community and hope you will enjoy your stay.

The producers of the 2012 Beloit International Film Festival have attracted some of the best new independent films and the most creative film makers. These films have been matched with great viewing venues in exciting locations to enhance your film viewing experience.

While here, we hope you will enjoy our great Midwestern hospitality, enjoy our local restaurants and specialty shops, and have an opportunity to view some of the great heritage art found along the Rock River.

Larry Arft | Beloit City ManagerWe are happy to have you visit and sincerely hope you enjoy your stay.


Larry Arft
City Manager

Happy New Year from BIFF


Posted – Jan 1, 2012

It’s a new year and we’re proud to debut the new BIFF website for the 2012 season.

Welcome! C’mon in. Look around. Check us out. 

Here is where you’ll find everything you need to know about this years Beloit International Film Festival. We’ll be updating the site continually as we get closer to this years event Feb 16-19. For instance there are MANY new and truly exciting program additions we think you’ll enjoy. These will allow us to welcome an expanding audience to all that BIFF and our community has to offer.

Happy New Year (and website) from BIFFNow in our seventh year BIFF has continued to grow in stature within the community of independent  film festivals. We’re able to attract and present to you ever higher quality and competitively sought after independent films. We’ve made capital improvements to improve the film presentation and the list goes on and on. There’s more to tell you than we’ll take time to introduce to you here and now. So revisit the site to see the full detail on updates. “Like” our Facebook page (do it now) so you can get the updates as they’re happening.

There are many individuals and company representatives, serving mostly behind the scenes that make BIFF happen for you. Volunteers. Many are providing in-kind services. Many are outright financial sponsors. All are needed and appreciated to pull this all together to make it the wonderful event that it is. In the days and weeks ahead you’ll be hearing from some of these individuals as they introduce various aspects and program expansions to BIFF 2012.

For our part, a website such as this and the information presented for you is an organic, evolving proposition. It will always be a work in progress as events and news unfolds, up to, through and even past the event. As such you’ll bump into a wart here, an oops there. We’re keenly interested in making it as fun, informative, fun, accurate and fun as possible. So, if you see something amiss, just let us know. If something is unclear, let us know. You can reach us here.

So, welcome! We look forward to bumping into you at one of this years events and/or film venues. Say hi.

Now… Stay tuned, you’ll be hearing from others soon on some of the exciting things we have in store for you. We think you’ll be as excited about BIFF 2012 as we are.

Ana & Rick | BIFF webmastersRick-n-Ana
BIFF Webmasters

It’s a Wonderful Life at BIFF

It's a Wonderful Life | BIFF

Posted – Dec 21, 2011

Each year at the Beloit International Film Festival in February, you can spot Frank Capra’s characters transplanted to Beloit from their Wonderful Life in Bedford Falls. People rush along the snow covered sidewalks, greeting each other, welcoming visitors, cornering filmmakers. It is a film festival the way film festivals used to be. No cineplexes, just comfortable community film venues set in downtown businesses. The creative artists are the celebrities and are somewhat surprised by their elevated status as they are stopped on the street by admirers between showings to chat about their work. Occasionally, a limousine slides by, delivering guests to one of the local businesses that has swept away the day-to-day routine to welcome film people—lovers and creators, actors and producers— for presentations and parties for four days.

The venues open at noon and go until late. People fill the restaurants for lunch and dinner and then gather in the evening at local parties to welcome new friends from dozens of countries and talk about the power of the films they saw that day. The opinions of hundreds of local volunteers and BIFF ambassadors help to guide visitors to their favorite features, documentaries, and shorts. By evening, the word is out on the best films and people are asking for extra showings of their latest film discoveries.

Children of all ages pack the largest facility, the Eclipse Center to learn about how to watch films and to watch the work of their classmates. Special communities from the Latino residents of the area to the deaf community have special programs planned by their own peers and presented with a special flair. Late nights are filled with live music as people celebrate BIFF After Dark. And the largest gathering of the weekend draws hundreds to celebrate the timeless quality of the purest form of film art at the Silent Film Showcase, featuring the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra and one of the great silent classics, still making an impact after a century in the vault.

The program crosses international lines and incorporates every category of film style and content while bringing everybody back home and reaffirming a creative community of families. Frank Capra would feel right at home.

BIFF 2012 Call for Volunteers

Posted – Dec 13, 2012

Now in its seventh year, the Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) will again bring high quality independent film to the area February 16-19, 2012.  Volunteer film venue hosts, box office workers, and film screening technicians are needed to make the festival a reality.

For details and how to participate check out the BIFF Volunteers Page.


Student Film Showcase | BIFF 2012

Student Film Showcase | BIFF

Posted – Dec 13, 2012

The Beloit International Film Festival is proud to announce the exciting new Student Filmmaker Showcase as part of the 2012 BIFF schedule. Presented in partnership with the Beloit Public Library, this is a unique and highly rewarding new film challenge for young adults, the results of which will be screened on the Saturday of BIFF at the Beloit Public Library, Feb. 18th.

Student Submitted Films

“Prep Day”: Sat Jan. 21st. (11:00-3:00pm, Beloit Public Library)
Awards Presentation: Thur Feb. 16th (Launch & Laurels Party, Eclipse Ctr)
Screening Date: Sat Feb. 18th, Beloit Public Library

BIFF Premieres in Rockford

Posted – Dec 13, 2012

The Beloit International Film Festival presents…

A film for the whole family

  • Saturday, November 26th
  • 2:00 & 6:00 Showings
  • Sullivan Theater (118 North Main Street)
  • Tickets: $8.00 (adults), $5.00 (students)

Call For Volunteers | BIFF 2012

Posted – Oct 22, 2012

Heroes. You?

One of the things that visiting filmmakers talk about more than anything else is the great reception they receive when they get to Beloit and how the community turns out to support the Festival and the filmmakers. This is all due to the 300-400 volunteers that make the community look great.

What we need:

Volunteer film venue hosts, box office workers, and film screening technicians are needed to make the festival a reality.

What you can expect:

Volunteer shifts are 2 – 3 hours depending upon duties. For each shift worked, volunteers receive free admission to four (4) films during the festival (limit 8 films). In addition, volunteers will be invited to preview films expected to be popular in advance of the festival.

People can sign up for one or for several slots. It is a great way to have fun, connect with people and help the community at the same time. Service clubs and organizations that would like to volunteer as a group are particularly appreciated.

New this year:

  • New local venue! The Wilson Theater at Beloit College is back as a venue after a year off.
  • New regional partner! Films will be shown on Friday and Saturday night in Rockford at Francesco’s Ristorante and the New Sullivan Theater!
  • New Janesville locations! Gather at the popular Janesville restaurant, The Speakeasy Lounge and Restaurant (2 venues!), for dinner and a show or for a Saturday afternoon film at the Janesville Woman’s Club in the historic downtown.
  • Technology upgrades! We will be featuring state-of-the-art projection equipment creating the best possible film and sound quality at ALL venues!
  • Improved communication! Our BIFF Ambassadors will receive the daily “BIFF BUZZ” during the festival to stay connected — what films people are loving, added shows, daily events, venue tips, and ‘scoop’ from the previous evening parties! (Please plan to join us in the evening – the after party is always free!)

To volunteer:

If you are interested in volunteering at this popular and exciting event contact us via…

  • Email  ( or )
  • Call the BIFF office at 608-313-1200  ( or )
  • Submit the form below


Volunteer Training: (Please attend one of the two training dates.)

  • Date TBD
  • Date TBD

Location: Aldrich Middle School Auditorium – 1859 Northgate Dr., Beloit


BIFF 2012 Call For Entries

Many filmmakers are already familiar with Withoutabox and we encourage you to use this service. You’ll see this submission option above-right on this page.

If you’d prefer though you’re also welcome to simply print out the PDF below and submit your film via this method. Whatever is most convenient for you.

Welcome! We’d love to see your film.

If you have any questions or difficulties you can reach us at:

The Beloit International Film Festival
444  East Grand Ave. Suite 100
Beloit WI, 53511
phone: 608- 313-1200

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