If you go
What: Boulder International Film Festival
When: Feb. 28-March 3 in Boulder, March 1-3 in Longmont and March 8-9 in Fort Collins
Where: Various venues
More info: biff1.com
Not but a decade and a half ago, the Boulder International Film Festival was the young film festival that could. As it turns 15, the seasoned and prestigious affair that draws filmmakers, musicians and renowned actors, takes over the Front Range with a first-ever expansion to Fort Collins, in addition to screenings in Longmont and Boulder.
BIFF announced the first film on its roster today, and will screen Michael Brown's film "The Weight of Water" (trailer below). Brown, a multiple BIFF award-winner ("Farther Than the Eye Can See" and "High Ground" among others), recently took the top prize at Canada's Banff Film Fest for the 2018 film. Its screen date will be announced in early 2019, along with a slew of quality films, for the festival that turns Boulder venues into a cinephile's paradise. The festival will run Feb. 28-March 3 in Boulder.
"The Weight of Water" takes viewers on a solo kayak run of the Grand Canyon through the literal blind eyes of Coloradoan Erik Weihenmayer. The adventurer was the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 2001, garnering him a Time magazine cover story, and in this film he balances his fear of drowning while traversing the unpredictable rapids of the Colorado River while on a journey of darkness.
"It's so hard to be fully in the moment because there's so much fear, there's so much anxiety, it's like a person looking through a window at an experience rather than being in the experience," Weihenmayer said in the film.
The BIFF selection committee has selected top national and international films to bring to the Boulder community, with some making their world premiere.
"We're looking forward to once again bringing a stellar lineup of world-class films and filmmakers to Boulder for our 15th year," Robin Beeck, BIFF's co-founder and executive director, said in a news release. Sisters Robin and Kathy Beeck launched the festival in 2004 and have developed its reputation as a compelling film festival.
BIFF attracts nearly 25,000 people each year and has hosted film luminaries such as Alec Baldwin, James Franco, Shirley MacLaine, Alan Arkin, Martin Sheen, Oliver Stone, William H. Macy, Peter Fonda, Chevy Chase and more. Last year actor Elliott Gould was at the festival. Boulder and Colorado homegrown filmmakers such as James Balog ("Chasing Ice"), Louie Psihoyos ("The Cove"), Patrick Mallek (Boulder's Mighty Fudge Studios) and Jeff Orlowski ("Chasing Coral), among others, are regulars at BIFF.
• BIFF runs Feb. 28 through Mar. 3 in Boulder, March 1-3 in Longmont and March 8-9 in Fort Collins.
• On sale now is the Festival Pass Plus that offers early entrance to most BIFF films, parties and events.
• The BIFF 2019 program release and kickoff party will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Chautauqua Community House.
• Opening Night and Red Carpet Gala brings Hollywood to Boulder with a festive party and screening at the Boulder Theater.
•CineCHEF party and competition features eight local chefs who will prepare small plates and desserts at 5 p.m. March 1. Tickets are $95. There will be wine and spirits from Francis Ford Coppola Winery, beer and live music. Participating chefs include: Carrie Baird, executive chef and partner of Denver's Bar Dough Restaurant and a "Top Chef" competitor; Jennifer Jasinski, chef and owner of five Denver restaurants (including Rioja) and "Top Chef Masters" participant; Corina Johnson from The Kitchen in Boulder; Jessica Nowicki from RiNo's Safta in Denver; Jessica Emich from Boulder's Shine Restaurant & Potion Bar; Linda Hampsten Fox from The Bindery in Denver; Sheila Lucero from Jax Fishhouse and Oyster Bar; and desserts by Shamane Simons of Shamane's Bake Shoppe in Boulder.
• The Singer-Songwriter Showcase brings a variety of performers to BIFF events and parties, including performing a set at the Filmmaker Lounge, inside The Post in Boulder and ahead of screenings at the Boulder Theater. BIFF is calling for entries through Saturday, details at biff1.com.