February 22, 2011

Boulder International Film Fest (BIFF). ~ René Cousineau

(The very attractive) James Franco

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Boulder International Film Festival.

Well, in case any of you wonderful elephant readers haven’t noticed already, I had the amazing pleasure of covering the Boulder International Film Festival which took place this past weekend. I watched a lot of movies, to which I had a lot of responses. I hope you’ll take a look at those, and consider viewing the films that I got to see at the festival when they come out on dvd. Here are the links to all of the reviews I wrote over the course of the weekend:

My Festival Preview

Shorts Program One

Into Eternity

The Last Circus

The Last Lions

Bag It!

A Conversation With James Franco

For Once in My Life

Festival Winners

As you can see, I did a lot of sitting and looking forward. But I also laughed a lot and cried a lot and all of that good stuff that movies are supposed to make you do. My overall impression of the festival was great. They made some top-notch selections that I’m not sure one would normally see at other festivals. And I was really impressed with their Call-2-Action series. I think it’s a pretty well-known idea that art is supposed to incite you to some feeling or some action. I appreciate that BIFF singled out the films that they did to sort of, embody this idea, and make us think about it a little more seriously.


My personal award for best film goes to: The Last Circus

This film was, well, absolutely grotesque. But it was also stunning. Like gorgeous, unbelievably stunning to watch. If you missed out on the trailer in my review, here it is again:


The film that made me laugh the loudest, and cry the hardest: For Once in My Life

The film that will make me change my ways once and for all: Bag It!

And finally, three things I just loved about the festival in general:

1. Everyone’s excited, everyone’s nice, everyone’s happy to be there. When it all comes down to it, we all love movies. There’s nothing better than experiencing a great film alongside other enthusiasts, and being able to discuss it right then and there.

2. The selections were amazing. Like I’ve said before, there was something to love about every single one of these films.

3. The visiting directors. This is more of a thank you to the directors and others involved with the featured films who actually made it out to the festival. This is one of the reasons why it’s so special to see a film in a festival setting as opposed to just going to the movies.

As much as I really love to be happy-go-lucky about every little thing I do, there were some things about BIFF that I wasn’t too fond of. So, for the sake of being objective, I’m also going to tell you what these things were.

Party Fouls:

The Sponsor Reel:

It was long, and I had to watch it before every single program. I know that it’s standard, to have to watch a sponsor reel before every film… but since we all know that that’s the standard, let’s make it snappy eh? There was also this really weird, shaky effect to it that made it hard on the eyes. Judging from the moans of annoyance every time it came on by about the third film on Saturday, I don’t think I was the only one with this opinion.

A Conversation With James Franco:

If you’ve already read my review, then you know why this is in my list of not-so-great-BIFF-moments. If you haven’t read my review, here it is.

Saturday Night’s Screening of Russian Film, The Edge:

If you were there, then I need not go any further. But since I am to assume that you weren’t there, let me tell you what happened. Now, I don’t know how they generally do things at BIFF, seeing as this was my first experience with the festival. I do know that, most of the time when you go to watch a film, what is being projected onto the screen is an actual print. On Saturday night, BIFF screened a dvd copy of the The Edge—which began to skip about 20 minutes in.

The lights went up and we all waited patiently for them to repair the disc. When this couldn’t happen, they decided to throw on the backup disc. This would have been fine had the backup disk not been completely useless due to the giant watermark that said “Rock Films” stretched right across the center of the screen for the entire film. I was especially distressed because this was probably the film that I had looked most forward to seeing. But I would’ve rather seen them just can it completely than screen it with a watermark. It seemed really unprofessional, and I felt really bad for the people who made that film.

All complaints aside, I had a really great time at BIFF. If you can get out to the festival next year, I would strongly advise it. No, not everything is going to be perfect, and you may not fall in love with everything you see—but it’s the sheer act of going to see great, otherwise inaccessible movies with other people as pumped as you are that makes it worth while.

I’d go again in a heartbeat.

René Cousineau was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, CO. She currently lives in Boulder and is a student of fiction writing and Russian literature. She spends her time reading, cleaning, hiking, dancing, and slinging cupcakes at a local bakery/coffee shop.

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