Film fanatics rejoiced last weekend as the Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) made its way up to Fort Collins for the first time.

The 15th edition of the annual festival presented multiple award-winning films and short films on March 8 and 9. The event, which primarily takes place in Boulder, brought in a small selection of the films from the festival to showcase at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins.

“We started those 15 years ago in Boulder and we thought, ‘Fort Collins is such a wonderful community, it’s so creative, so artistic,’ … that we should bring some of these wonderful films that we’re able to show in Boulder, some of these world-class films we bring in from all over the world to Fort Collins,” BIFF director Kathy Beeck said.

According to a press release about the event, BIFF attracts more than 25,000 film enthusiasts and industry members from around the world. This year there were 1,500 submissions, according to BIFF executive director Robin Beeck.

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“We picked all the best films from that 1,500 to screen at BIFF and then we curated these films just for this audience, these are some of the best films we had at BIFF,” Robin Beeck said.

The festival’s opening night showcased their featured documentary titled “The Weight of Water,” which was directed by BIFF-award winner Michael Brown and starred Erik Weihenmayer. The film follows Weihenmayer, who became blind at a young age, as he kayaks the Grand Canyon for the first time. This film is similar to another of Brown’s films in which he documents Weihenmayer’s journey climbing Mount Everest.

“This project shows that anybody can go out and enjoy it,” Brown said. “That came up with Everest too, like why climb if you’re not able to see the view? But 99-point-something percent of the experience is just being with your friends.”

We started those 15 years ago in Boulder and we thought ‘Fort Collins is such a wonderful community, it’s so creative, so artistic, … that we should bring some of these wonderful films that we’re able to show in Boulder, some of these world-class films we bring in from all over the world to Fort Collins.” – Kathy Beeck, BIFF Director

After a few of the films were presented, there was a Q&A with the various organizations that were involved in the process. For “The Weight of Water,” the organizations were The Colorado Sound and No Barriers.

When the Q&A opened up to the audience, multiple attendees asked questions ranging from technical questions to the difficulties in putting the film together.

Other films showcased at the festival were “The Biggest Little Farm,” a documentary about a couple who moves from Los Angeles to buy a 200 acre farm, “Giant Little Ones,” a film from Canadian teenagers discovering their sexualities and freedom and “A Tuba to Cuba,” a documentary which follows a jazz band from New Orleans to Cuba to learn more about the roots of the genre.

Collegian reporter Julia Trowbridge can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @chapin_jules.

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