The Boulder International Film Fest is returning and organizers selected films from more than 1,500 entries

· Mar. 3, 2023, 4:00 am
BIFF CineCHEF by Randy Malone 2BIFF CineCHEF by Randy Malone 2Courtesy Boulder International Film Festival/Randy Malone
The Boulder International Film Festival plays through March 5 with a host of events, including 67 films.

The Boulder International Film Festival is returning and bringing films and filmmakers from around the world to Boulder for a four-day celebration of the art of cinema.

Nineteen years ago, sisters Robin and Kathy Beeck founded the Boulder International Film  Festival and still lead the organization today. 

Robin is the executive director, and Kathy is the festival director. Kathy says it was a team effort to review and whittle down the more than 1,500 films to select 67 for this year’s festival. The films range from shorts and features to documentaries, student films, and all kinds of animated films. And the 25,000 expected attendees can also attend various associated events like the singer-songwriter showcase, the Adventure Film Pavilion, and CINECHEF, which incorporates the “dinner and a movie" idea and turns it into a food competition.

“We get eight chefs, and they're from Denver and Boulder, and we get them and they pick their own movie theme. It could be any movie at all …. and they cook a dish based on that movie theme,” Kathy Beeck said. “So everybody goes around and they taste all the food from these wonderful chefs, and then they vote for their favorite.”

Meeting filmmakers is a unique attraction for many festival-goers. The twin brothers behind the closing night red carpet film “Still Working 9 to 5,” Gary and Larry Lane, say it’s a highlight for them too. 

BIFF CineCHEF by Randy MaloneCourtesy Boulder International Film Festival/Randy Malone
A chef prepares food at the Boulder International Film Festival's CineCHEF event.

“It's such a huge part of it and you know, we love to hear the audience asking questions, stirring up emotions cause that's what you want to do with a film,” Gary Lane said. “You want to make people think, and you want to teach them something. So, we love that our film is entertaining, but it's also educational. We'll ask the audience how many people knew or did not know the Equal Rights Amendment never passed.”

The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed U.S. constitutional amendment that wasn't ratified in time to become law and which would have given greater workplace protections to women. There are efforts today to revive it.

The brothers’ documentary began as a celebration of the original 9 to 5 movie and its fandom, including for Dolly Parton. However, Gary Lane says that while Dolly and all the other celebrities involved with the film had great stories, it was only when they started sitting down with ERA activists Zoe Nicholson, Lily Ledbetter, Karen Nussbaum, and Ellen Cassedy that they expanded the scope of their film. 

“A switch was turned in our head and we really saw the impact of what this could be,” Gary Lane said. 

Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham  will also receive the BIFF Outstanding Performer of the Year award at the festival.

The Boulder International Film Festival runs through March 5.

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