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Beloit International Film Festival Inaugurated This Week

The Beloit International Film Festival, more commonly known as BIFF, will be kicking off from Feb. 25 through Mar. 6. Films will be shown at seven different venues in Beloit. They will be offering a wide selection of movie categories ranging from a selection of drama, documentaries, horror and other genres for this 17th Annual Beloit International Film Festival. 

BIFF Executive Director, Greg Gerard, says ticket sales have been moving along but are not up to the levels seen two years ago, when they last held their film festival events in-person. Last year, BIFF had held a few events outdoors but had most of their screenings online. In addition, the sale of tickets for screenings were online which likely affected their sales. Gerard also says he hopes this year the turnout for the festival will be better but noted that people still had concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the organizers of the film festival have been looking into new initiatives to promote the festival.

Greg Gerard had also mentioned that “Anything pandemic related is a bit of a coin toss. We’re advertising in movie theaters. We have BIFF promotions running before movies in eight area movie theaters,” he said.

BIFF will be showing films at eight different downtown venues this year. The number of people allowed in each show this year will be less than previous years due to health and safety measures in regards to the pandemic. Organizers had also hosted a Festival Eve Party as a fund-raising event from 6:00pm-9:00pm last Thursday at IronTek, where they featured some musical performances by special guests as well as other surprises. Gerard had also said that this year BIFF will be having some special screenings that he believes will draw a lot of interest. One film, called “The Six,” has already sold out some shows. The documentary tells the story of six Chinese men who survived the sinking of the Titanic, and what they went through following the traumatic event. Another film he had highlighted that will bring some interest was titled “Americanish” which explores the experiences of a group of Muslim women living in New York City and seeking husbands. The film also stars actor George Wendt, who is mostly known for his role as Norm on the sitcom “Cheers,” and David Rasche, who is known for his appearances on TV shows such as “Ugly Betty” and “Succession.” BIFF will also release a few horror films this year and one film Gerard pointed out was “Scarehouse” directed by Gavin Michael Booth. The film focuses on a group of college girls who spend the night in a Halloween fun house, and trouble ensues. BIFF will also be featuring some of their old crowd pleasers such as the BIFF Sing-a-long featuring “Daydream Believers: The Story of the Monkees,” shown on 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26. The other fan favorite each year is the BIFF Classic Film, which this year will be Steven Spielberg’s 1982 hit “E.T.” starring Drew Barrymore. The film will be shown for free at 2:30 p.m. Mar. 6 at the Eclipse Center and is sponsored by First National Bank and Trust. The festival also will feature its short film showcase, BIFF Cares films, BIFF in the Classroom and other events.

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