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Thursday, 18 February 2016 11:55

Your guide to the 2016 Beloit International Film Festival

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When: Feb. 19-28 at various venues throughout Beloit
Box office: The Gallery Abba at CELEB, 437 E. Grand Ave. or online at
Schedule of films: Online at

More than movies

Thursday, Feb.18, 2016, 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. with 52 Special, featuring Glenn Davis and Matt Goodwin, at the Grand Avenue Pub.

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, 9 p.m. to midnight. Post-viewing party features Kevin Patrick performing solo at Suds O’Hannahan’s.

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 11 a.m. The Badger Chordhawks barbershop singers will be joined by the Trinity Irish Dancers from Milwaukee at Beloit College’s Hendricks Center for the Arts lobby.

Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, 10:30 a.m. The Wisconsin Artisan Cheese Tasting at Bushel and Peck’s Local Market. Beloit native Greg Long will discuss the nuances of Wisconsin’s cheesemakers.

Monday, Feb. 23, 2016, 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Comedy night at The BOP featuring Rebekah Gibson of Janesville, Stevie Crutcher from Madison, Andrea Guzzetta of Rockton and Vickie Lynn and Shawna Lutzow from Beloit.

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2016 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. BIFF board members and staff will host a scholarship night fundraiser at Beloit Culver’s.

Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, 9 p.m. to midnight. Karaoke at Suds O’Hannahan’s.

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, 9:30 p.m. to midnight. The Orphans, featuring Kevin Patrick and Greg Gerard, will be performing at The Rock.

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 11 a.m. The Badger Chordhawks barbershop singers will be joined by the Polish Dance Ensemble at Beloit College’s Hendricks Center for the Arts lobby.

Favorite features

Silent Film Showcase

“Wizard of Oz”

7:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Beloit College’s Eaton Chapel.

Fourteen years before Judy Garland skipped down the yellow brick road, a silent film version of “The Wizard of Oz” was released. Rock River Philharmonic Music Director Robert Tomaro and other local musicians will perform the original music score. Tickets are $28 at or at the box office in the Gallery Abba at CELEB.

BIFF classic

“The Maltese Falcon”

2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, at Schubert’s Luxury 10 Cinema, 2799 Cranston Road in Beloit, the final day of the 10-day festival.

The 1941 film, directed by John Huston, features Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Admission is free. Schubert Theater will offer free popcorn and soda. For more information, go to


Volunteers star at BIFF


BELOIT — The Beloit International Film Festival will feature hundreds of independent films that will be shown during its 10-day run that begins Friday.

    The event will feature full-length, short, animated and documentary films, as well as other types of entertainment.

However, the festival would not take center stage without the role of a small army of passionate volunteers.

Karen McKee became a BIFF board member and the volunteer coordinator this year after being a volunteer previously.

“When I took over this position, I had questioned (about finding volunteers), because I had solicited volunteers in the past, and I was nervous about it. They told me don’t be nervous because they come out of the woodwork,” McKee said. “There’s a huge volunteer base and they know where we’re at, they know when it’s coming and they know how to contact me.”

Stephen Meyer has been involved with the BIFF for most of its 11-year existence.

Meyer said the festival is just one of several events held throughout the year that helps highlight Beloit.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing for Beloit. It’s something other communities aren’t pulling off,” Meyer said. “It shows us in a really good light. I think there’s a festive air in the city of Beloit during the whole festival. The filmmakers often express how welcome they feel when they’re in Beloit.”

At least four volunteers are needed at each venue, including a venue captain, two ambassadors and a film technician, according to McKee.

The venue captains greet and introduce the filmmakers and oversee the other volunteers. The ambassadors greet attendees, accept admission and help clean up before and after the film. The technicians help start each film.

Meyer said  he has volunteered as an ambassador and film technician, as well as a film screener during previous years.

“As film technician, I explain things to others when things don’t go right. I contact tech support when we need to,” Meyer said. “I help explain the film and sell film society memberships. I visit with the filmmakers and make sure they are as comfortable as possible.”

Meyer said he usually signs up to work during the Short Slots, which are a series of short films, and movies that he has seen during Biff Year ’Round, which is held on Wednesday evenings throughout the year.

“I attend Biff Year ’Round and most of the films are really fun, so there’s some I like to re-watch.,” he said.

Some people will volunteer at the movies they want to see. McKee said sometimes it can be difficult to find volunteers for some of the more popular movies, because people assume those slots already have been filled.

“For some of the highlight films, I don’t have tons of volunteers. I think people think that those volunteer spots are already taken, but they’re not taken,” McKee said.

Volunteers receive four free movie passes for each film they work. Most venues are located in downtown Beloit, which makes it more convenient for volunteers to work at more than one location.

“Everything is within walking distance. It makes it very easy,” McKee said. “We scaled back this year because we were in Janesville and Rockford, and we scaled back to focus more on Beloit. That’s OK for me because I would have to fill all those places.”

“It’s a nice way to meet new people,” McKee said. “Being in the community for as long as I’ve been, I saw a number of people I didn’t know at the volunteer sign-up.”

Meyer said volunteering during the film festival gives him an opportunity to interact with other residents, as well as promote the event in other communities.

“Since I live in Beloit but work in Janesville, it gives me a chance to see other Beloiters,” Meyer said. “I love to promote the program in Janesville and get people from there to attend. I try to give them as many options as possible based on the films they like, whether they like comedies, documentaries or short films.”

Residents who are interested in volunteering during BIFF can call 608-312-4256 or go to

A volunteer sign-up and training will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, at Bushel and Peck’s Local Market, 328 State St. in Beloit.



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