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Peeps: The Beeck Sisters


The sisters Beeck are calm and happy in their office, despite the fact that in just weeks they’ll open their sixth-annual Boulder International Film Festival, where Alec Baldwin will make a cameo, Blythe Danner will be on hand for a screening of her new film, The Lightkeepers, and 47 films will be watched, discussed and enjoyed.

Maybe it’s the silence before the cinematic storm. Or maybe in their sixth year, the founders of the Boulder International Film Fest are getting used to the rush.

“Well, yes, there is stress and it gets busy, but you learn to expect it,” said Kathy Beeck, festival director.
BIFF, as it’s called, has grown into a rocking film fest even in its formative years. Getting national press and consistently luring great flicks—from lesser-known offbeat indies to break-out Oscar contenders—the Beeck sisters’ brainchild has not just developed local and regional fanfare but it’s earning a solid reputation in film-making and film-loving circles everywhere. Robin, BIFF’s executive director, and Kathy Beeck call this month’s festival, happening Feb. 11–14 the best yet.

“Our programming has really gotten better and better,” Kathy said. “It’s really an art.”

“You have to understand your audience,” added Robin, who does the programming for the festival. “You want to really stretch them but you want them to feel comfortable too.”

Known as a “filmmakers’ festival,” BIFF focuses on creating an atmosphere that caters to the writers and directors.

“We’ve really made it so that the filmmakers are the most important part,” Kathy said. “That is what makes film festivals so rich. It adds such a great element by putting the focus on them.”

Their Inspiration: The Beecks moved to Boulder in their teens. Both worked at local movie theaters, including the Flatirons Theater and Fox Theater. They both went to Fairview High School and CU. Kathy found her way into the corporate world while Robin focused on making documentaries, including Grandpa’s In The Tuffshed, which Kathy produced.

How BIFF Came To Be: “Well, we went to a lot of film festivals over the years, and we just realized that Boulder would be such a perfect place for an international film festival,” Kathy said. “We kept waiting for it to happen but at some point we decided we shouldn’t wait around for someone else to do it. And we took everything we had learned from all those festivals we had gone to over the years and created the type of festival we wanted.”

On Turning 6:
“We are still a young festival,” Robin said. “There are festivals in Colorado that have been around for 20 years. But sometimes it’s great to not have that history. We are flexible and we are ready to do things differently each year. We usually show a big, dramatic documentary on closing night. But this year, we decided to not have a film at all on closing night. We were like, ‘Let’s have Alec Baldwin on closing night instead.’”

Helping Out: This year, BIFF audience members can take action. After several of the issue-focused films, there will be opportunities for people to give, help or take a stand. “This really raises awareness for some of these issues,” Kathy said. “We are saying, ‘Here are concrete things to help.”


email no info send march17th/09

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