If you go

What: BIFF Singer/Songwriter Showcase

When: 4:45-8:45 p.m. p.m. Saturday; 4-6:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: The Lazy Dog, 1346 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-440-3355

Cost: free with BIFF pass or ticket stub

More info: biff1.com

F or the first time in the Boulder International Film Festival's nine-year history, local musicians will a share of the spotlight.

Friday through Sunday, the Lazy Dog Bar & Grill, which is serving as BIFF's Filmmaker Lounge, will host bands and a singer/songwriter showcase. The goal, according to BIFF organizers, is to get local talent heard by filmmakers.

"Anybody who's making a film generally needs music for their film," said festival director Kathy Beeck .

"We're hoping to build and grow this program and showcase some great local talent that would be good for use in films."

While three local bands -- SoundRabbit, Danny Bastos Collective and Aotearoa -- will play the Filmmaker Lounge on Friday and Saturday nights, the showcase Beeck is referring to is the singer/songwriter showcase.

Saturday evening's lineup will feature Kelly Aspen, Branden Sipes, Drew Brightbill, The Strangebyrds and Jenn Cleary. Sunday's shorter bill includes Lisa Bell, Dennis Wanebo and Jeff Brinkman. Bell is also a long-time BIFF volunteer ,and she helped coordinate the showcase, along with Downtown Boulder event booker Anna Salim.


"She and I looked at different singer/songwriters who we knew and were great or people who had connections with the film festival or other film festivals," Bell said. "For example, Ray Smith of the Strangebyrds did the score for the opening film, 'Muscle Shoals' ... Jenn Cleary has done Sundance Film Festival for several years. She brought a different perspective to what we were doing. We looked at a lot of Boulder County-based bands and another one, Kelly Aspen, has had television placement in the past, as well.

Lisa Bell helped coordinate the singer/songwriters showcase and also will perform.
Lisa Bell helped coordinate the singer/songwriters showcase and also will perform. ( Daniel Clements )

The showcase walks a line. The musicians already have some exposure, but they could all benefit from some more. Then there's the setting: formal but not forced.

Ray Smith, for one, already has some film connections thanks to "Muscle Shoals" -- work he found through his fiance and Strangebyrds bandmate's son, who was an editor on the film. But he's ready for more film work.

"It all works toward the common goal of just trying to get your music out there," Smith said. "If somebody pays attention to Strangebyrds because I did the score for Muscle Shoals then that's great."

And movie work isn't just good for exposure. It also allows the songwriters to flex different creative muscles while still working on their own projects.

"To be able to do a full-length film score was really a super thrill and a challenge," Smith said. "You can do it when you want, but you have to do it quick. They don't like people who take a long time to do stuff. I like to work spontaneously and in the moment, so a lot of the work that they sent me, I'd get it back in the same day. Being quick and easy to work with are key. It's great work, especially if you like to write lots of music."

There's no contest or organized networking, but in addition to the 45-minute sets the singer/songwriters will play, there will be free compilation CDs for filmmakers and guests.

"Everybody is performing 100 percent original music, so it's all licensable for the filmmakers," Bell said. "We really wanted to be able to make that connection between the two. We're not forcing it. We're offering it up."

Saturday's showcase runs from 4:45 to 8:45 p.m. and Sunday's will go from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. SoundRabbit plays the lounge on Friday from 9 p.m. until midnight. Danny Bastos Collective and Aotearoa play Sunday night in the same time frame. In addition to filmmakers, the lounge is open to anyone with a festival pass or movie ticket stub.

"The music business is a trickle to a flow, so everything you do is another show, and you always do your best," Smith said. "The really nice thing about doing a showcase show as opposed to a three-hour show we normally do is that you pull out your best stuff and really throw down in the moment. Filmmakers, I don't know that they are gonna jump on anybody right off the showcase, but certainly it's always good to play for people who appreciate the music."