Beloit International Film Festival
No one knows more about the art scene in Beloit than the folks with the Beloit International Film Festival. While BIFF is best known for its iconic 10-day festival that takes place each February, it’s a community that shares the art of film to the surrounding area through showings and other events all year long.
BIFF will be at DEVIATE, showcasing short films and visual content that will mesh perfectly with the art and music surrounding the event. BIFF is just one important part of the Beloit art scene and we can’t wait to see them at DEVIATE. Be sure to check them out on September 16.
Can you tell us some information about BIFF? What is it?
BIFF is a ten-day tribute to the power of film and the excitement of independent film from around the world. Local residents and visitors from across the nation fill venues, ranging in size from 40 to 400 seats for more than 100 films, and to meet scores of filmmakers who come from throughout the U.S., and from Europe, Asia and South Asia, Central and South America, and Australia. BIFF celebrates features, documentaries and shorts from all genres—drama, comedy, experimental, educational, LGBTQ+, etc.— from filmmakers who enjoy the Beloit setting as much as the attendees do. BIFF promises crowds of interested viewers filling venues, questioning filmmakers at the screenings, and stopping them on the street to talk about their shared passions and projects in independent filmmaking. BIFF is building a community for independent filmmakers, and sharing their films and creative expressions with audiences who appreciate the art form. All this in the remerging, lively, welcoming, and traditional downtown of Beloit, Wisconsin.
What makes BIFF so unique? BIFF is patterned after the original Sundance model, with some screenings at existing theaters and some at converted spaces, such as restaurants and banquet facilities. This format gives BIFF a charming quality, which festival-goers seem to really appreciate. Filmmakers have referred to BIFF as having an 'art house' feel, due to the style of its presentations and the often 'off the beaten path' feel of the film content. BIFF occurs during a time of year when very little is on the local calendar, as locals yearn for spring and turn to BIFF to alleviate the cabin fever of upper midwestern winters. BIFF is, with an exception or two, a fully walkable festival. Park once and walk with relative ease to any screening venue, bar, restaurant or shop in the city center. And ask any filmmaker who has been to BIFF with a film, and they will tell you that the hospitality at BIFF is superior to almost any festival they've ever attended. Many in the Stateline area consider BIFF to be the greatest single arts and entertainment event that happens annually in Beloit.
Tell us about the art/film scene in Beloit? Beloit is a beehive of arts and entertainment activity. A vibrant live music scene has developed over the last several years, with a score of venues offering live music in the city center and even more just outside that perimeter. Beloit boasts a symphony orchestra and a professional chamber orchestra. Beloit is also proud of its live civic theater options, both for adults and for kids. The Beloit Art Center is the art exhibition hub for the downtown, with well-attended gallery openings on the first Friday of every month. In addition, several shops in the downtown area deal in the sale of locally produced paintings, photos, and sculptures. Throughout the downtown area one can see the commissioned works of the Stateline's legendary sculptor, O.V. Schaffer. Beloit College, which overlooks the city center, is also a wonderful source for music, dance, theater and film, with a number of alums who have enjoyed lucrative careers in the motion picture industry. And the newly appointed Classic Cinemas multiplex theater is home to all major movie releases, as well as the new home for a portion of BIFF's 'Year 'Round' independent film series.
What are you most excited about for DEVIATE? DEVIATE will be a fresh infusion of creativity and alternative arts entertainment that will, hopefully, develop into an annual event and add another reason to the list of reasons why people from the 50-100 mile radius should visit this community. The diversity of arts disciplines, the cutting edge quality of many of the exhibitors, the 'feast for the eyes, ears and soul' environment that's being created, and the unique energy that DEVIATE attendees will feel when the event is piquing will be some of the highlights of this experience. BIFF is excited to be participating with two locations on the expo floor: 1) A massive inflatable projection screen to display random visual content to accompany music and create a stimulating visual mood, 2) A small theater equipped with projection, screen, sound equipment and seats where BIFF will share a loop of engaging experimental short films.
What do you want us to know about your organization? BIFF has been in existence since 2006 and will be celebrating its 18th year in business when BIFF 2023 rolls out on February 24, 2023 and runs through March 5, 2023. BIFF's headquarters are located in Irontek, on the Ironworks Campus, which is where DEVIATE is taking place. BIFF is a year-round operation that provides programming over four seasons, including weekly film screenings, outdoor family film events in the summer, educational programs throughout the year, and a world-class 10 day festival in late February every year. BIFF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that enjoys annual support from dozens of local companies, grant foundations and donors. It is beloved by the community and has helped to highlight the city of Beloit on the global map. The New York Times once called BIFF one of the best alternatives to Sundance. The company slogan has always been, "BIFF brings the world to Beloit and Beloit to the world!"