The Beloit International Film Festival enjoys an important association with Beloit College. For the past 10 months, BIFF organizers have been working with faculty and programs at the college as several new courses have inspired significant interest in film throughout the campus.
The relationship with the college takes on new importance this season with the opening of the Hendricks Center for the Arts in downtown Beloit. Two of this year’s major film venues will be located in the dance studio and film studies classroom in the Center.
San Francisco-based Chinese filmmaker Xiao-Yen Wang will present three of her films at BIFF with the support of numerous departments and programs. With the support of John Rapp, she will be speaking about her films on campus and following BIFF screenings and will meet with BIFF visitors on Saturday, Feb. 19 in downtown Beloit as part of Cinema Café.
In addition, four films from Tamil Nadu, India, will be introduced by the college’s new Fellow in Film Studies Dennis Hanlon A number of films on Islam, including a series of films created by students of Prof. Deborah Majeed, will be shown and discussed by a panel of clergy.
Those attending the Launch party on Thursday, Feb. 17 will have the opportunity to see Distant Dances, new creations involving film and video from dance professor Gina T’ai and collaborator Susan Honer. The function of Distance Dances is for the collaborators to be able to create new work while living in separate locations. Through the blog distancedances.tumblr.com, the artists create new material, post video, and respond to each others’ movements like a conversation.
And to initiate this year’s Festival, on the eve of BIFF, Wednesday, Feb. 16, the Beloit College music department will present a live cabaret performance featuring music of the 30’s and 40’s. The free performance in Eaton Chapel, "Jewish Noir: Cabaret, Film Song, and the Crisis of European Modernity," will offer an evening of 1930s and 1940s cabaret music and commentary. The performers are the seven member New Budapest Orpheum Society led by University of Chicago Professor of Ethnomusicology and Victor E. Ferrall Artist in Residence Philip Bohlman.
Even the youngest group at Beloit College, the middle school students from the Help Yourself Program, will be presenting their documentaries, designed to capture “the complex, interesting and distinctive personality of Beloit.”