THE FILMLOVER’S GUIDE TO THE FESTIVAL - Boulder International Film Festival


Mack Costley


There’s a galaxy of possibilities waiting…. And you’re not sure where to begin….

How about hitching a ride with a trusty BIFF tour guide?


By: Mack Costley // Creative Content Writer //  Intern

You’re the Classic Cinephile Who’s Always Got Time for the Bonus Features

JUNE 24TH: Already, on this inaugural festival day, you the cinephile will find yourself at a filmic crossroads when it comes to movie screenings — After a screening of Asia at the Boulder Century Theatre at 5pm, you can toss your proverbial coin and either stay at The Century for a 7:30pm showing of Breaking Bread, a tale that will no doubt leave each and every film-lover’s tail wagging, or you can head over to the Boulder High School soccer field for an starry-skied, outdoor screening of LFG at 9pm. Are your cinephile senses tingling yet? 

JUNE 25TH: Okay. Day two gets so crazy that we’re going to break this thing down even further. Have a specific destination in mind for your film-watching? We understand how important atmosphere is to the connoisseur, so, below, we’ve mapped out each location’s dejure offerings.

Chautauqua Auditorium: 10:30am — The Loneliest Whale (with a Talk Back!) // 1:15pm — Short Films 1 // 4pm — Summer of Soul // 5:30pm-7pm — A quick film-viewing break for our BIFF Green Carpet! // 7:30pm — Summer of Soul take two! 

Boulder High School: (with a food truck from 4pm-8pm…. if you were wondering!) // 5pm — The Boys Who Said No! // 7:30pm — To Which We Belong (Preceded by Our Place on Earth AND with a Talk Back!). 

Century 16 Boulder: 2pm — Godspeed Los Polacos! // 5pm — Playing With Sharks (with Talk Back!) // 8pm — Summertime. 

Outdoor- Boulder High Soccer Field: 9pm — Buried (with, yes, a Talk Back!). 

Location, location, location. If you’ve made it all the way to Boulder, and you’ve found yourself at BIFF, then you understand the importance of a great location and you understand that, really, no matter where you turn, Boulder is going to give you a good one. So — How about going with your gut? No matter what you choose, we’ll give you a movie set to match. 


JUNE 26TH: Welcome to day three! From where we stand, it really is a movie-lover’s paradise:

Before noon, you and your family, friends, four-legged and otherwise, and festival-going acquaintances can choose from After Antarctica, the Homegrown Short Docs, and Rival (all at 10am, at Chautauqua Auditorium, Boulder High School, and Century 16 Boulder, respectively). 

After lunch (maybe you stopped by the food truck parked outfront Boulder High? The one that’s there from noon to 8 serving delicious Big Daddy BBQ?), the marquee gets supersized…. To see Lorelei or Roadrunner: A film about Anthony Bourdain, Short Films II, or Soy Cubana, $avvy, or Short Films I? To see Los Hermanos / The Brothers, Buried, Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free, or For Madmen Only? We’ll step back and let you ponder, but don’t take too long…. Tomorrow’s closing night, after all! 


JUNE 27TH: Well, here we are in the final few hours of our four-day festival free-for-all. Now’s the time to make it count, you film buffs! Pre our closing night awards, there’s a whole heck of a lot you can see:

Let’s say you want to hit all the viewing locales, all the indoor and outdoor offerings, before curtain call…. Here are some possible schedules for your last BIFF blast:

  1. For those who want to end at altitude: Century 16 Boulder has a 10am showing of BIFF’s Short Films II, as good a starter as any(!) for a day of feature-lengths, and, later, Boulder High School is showing Language Lessons, at 3:15pm, and then, drumroll please, Chautauqua Auditorium is hosting the Closing Night Awards with Mission: Joy!
  2. For those who want to end, relatively, where you began (if you began in Boulder-proper, that is): Start with Breaking Bread at Boulder High School at 10am, then head to Godspeed, Los Polacos! at Chautauqua Auditorium at 12:45pm — Hey, it’s only a hair past 2pm, and already you’ve seen two films! There’s more where that came from: head to After Antarctica next (3:30pm at Century 16 Boulder) and then, finally, make your way back to home base, back where you began, to catch Shared Legacies at 5:45pm at Boulder High School. 
  3. For the wildcards: Let’s start up at Chautauqua! Get there at 10am, and you’ll be able to catch a pre-noon showing of Ronnie’s — enjoying Chautauqua? Stay for Godspeed, Los Polacos at 12:45! In true wildcard fashion, the next step is really up to you; There’s Language Lessons at Boulder High School, 3:15pm, and there’s After Antarctica at 3:30pm (the only downside is, you can’t get to both, no matter how wild you feel on this final festival day). The night comes to a close with screenings of Shared Legacies, Boulder High School at 5:45pm, and Soy Cubana, Century 16 Boulder Theater, at 7:00pm, but the wildest finale, so we here at BIFF would argue, is the Closing Night Ceremony…. Awards will be handed out, good times will be had, and you should be there! At this point, the fest may be over for you, but don’t fear — whatever you choose in 2021, there’s always 2022! 


You’re the Fiercely Devoted Foodie Who’s Always Ready for Another Helping: 

JUNE 24TH: First night of the festival…. and we’re already cooking things up here at BIFF! From 5:30-7:30pm — CINECHEF @ The Rayback Collective! Come join us. THEN, at 9pm, enjoy Los Dos Bros food truck out at the Boulder Highschool soccer field as we at BIFF screen LFG. There’s also pre-film music at 8:30! Whatever you choose on this opening night, rest assured you’ll be in arm’s reach of some truly tasty Boulder bites.  

JUNE 25TH: Hopefully you’re not too full for day two! The 25th proves to be a foodie’s paradise too: We’d suggest you make Boulder High School your home base, because It’s All Greek to Me food truck will be set up from 4-8pm! If you decide to stay at BHS, you can catch a screening of The Boys Who Said No!, at 5pm, or To Which We Belong (preceded by Our Place on Earth, starting at 7:30pm) as you enjoy a Boulder favorite like the Gyro Greek Bowl or the Baklava. As a plus…. both screenings have Talk Backs as well. 

We do have other options as well, on this our cinematic menu:

  • Make your way to Chautauqua Auditorium at 7:30pm and you can catch Summer of Soul after the Green Carpet Gala (Gala at 5:30 directly preceding film screening) — a Gala that promises to be, we’re telling ya, foodie heaven! 
  • Make your way to the Boulder High Soccer Field for Buried at 9pm (live music beforehand, at 8:10, and a Q&A at 8:40 as well!) with Los Dos Bros Mexican food truck! Food available until 10:45pm — Talk Back after screening. 

We hope this menu suffices! BIFF tour guides are always eager to read the specials. 


JUNE 26TH: Somehow, you’ve made it two days and yet, still, there are food/film combos untouched! Here’s what could be in store for you on day three:

  • First stop: Boulder High School. Grab some food from noon to 8pm, Big Daddy’s BBQ (!), and catch a showing of the Homegrown Short Docs at 10am. 
  • Next stop: It’s the big one, the one and only, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain. It really doesn’t get more food-loving than this, and we encourage everyone, food lover or otherwise, to come and see a film that honors a man who was also much more than a foodie himself. Screening begins at 4:15pm at the Chautauqua Auditorium. 
  • Final stop: the outdoor cinema at Boulder High School! Doors open at 7pm for live music (at 7:30pm), followed by an 8pm panel pre-showing of Us Kids at 9pm (Talk Back post-showing), and fantastic, nighttime food truck feasting at Los Dos Bros. 


JUNE 27TH: It’s the final feast! If you’ve been digging the food truck experience, you should start your day at Boulder High School at 10am with a showing of Breaking Bread and some after-film snacking at It’s All Greek to Me (if you’re not one to get up so early, don’t fret, that wonderful Greek goodness will be there until 6pm). Last but not least, as the four-day festival fun winds down, head to the Closing Night awards, where food will abound (as will awards, of course, but we’re talking about food here!) and film fun will surely be had. Then, sadly, it’s time to say goodbye (for now).


You’re the Photo-op Fanatic Who’s Always Out n’ About in the Outdoors:

JUNE 24TH: Well, let’s just start by saying, you, the photographer, have come to the right place! Boulderites, us BIFFers, can certainly back up any and all boasts, because the views here are, in short, unmatched! On this your first day at the festival, we’d recommend you spend your time outdoors (that’s where we keep the photo-op perfect views), so head over to the Boulder High School soccer field for a starry (photo-ready) nighttime showing of LFG — insider’s tip: If you get there 30 minutes before showtime, you’ll get the chance to enjoy the views and take some pics while you listen to some live, local music! 


JUNE 25TH: Here’s when things start getting busy. 

What’s Boulder without the mountains? And what are Boulder’s famous ranges without Chautauqua? We at BIFF can’t give you the answer, but we certainly can give you a bit of advice: start your second festival day at 10:30am with The Loneliest Whale at Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium — bring your camera — and you won’t be disappointed. After reviewing your pre-noon photo reel, you might want to make Chautauqua your home base, so we’d also suggest looking out for Chautauqua’s showing of Short Films I at 1:15pm. You might also want to shake things up, add some more city-centric photos to the album, and if so we’d say the Century 16 in Boulder is your one stop shop. See Godspeed Los Polacos at 2pm, Playing with Sharks at 5pm, or Summertime at 8pm, and you can get your city at Century and your country on screen. In the end, though, it’s really up to you. Just don’t forget to bring your camera! 


JUNE 26TH: Time for an all day outdoor extravaganza! We at BIFF think you and your entourage should head to Chautauqua for the Community Fair! Not only is it free and open to the public, but it goes from noon to 6pm and is as close to an all-in-one, essential BIFF day as you can get. There’ll be a singer/songwriter showcase, booths with reps from local organizations,  grab and go snacks, and, obviously but importantly, the scenery! Every imaginable photo is tangible, manifestable, here at the Community Fair, so come on up!

Also photo-friendly:

  • All-day, showing list for Chautauqua Auditorium: 10am it’s After Antarctica, 1:15pm it’s Lorelei, 4:15pm it’s Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, and 8pm it’s Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free. 
  • More Outdoor Cinema! @ Boulder High’s Soccer Field: it’s Us Kids at 9pm. 


JUNE 27TH: Here’s the must-go breakdown! 

  • Your early AM selection: Chautauqua Auditorium has Ronnie’s at 10am! 
  • And Later…. Godspeed Los Polacos at 12:45pm or Under the Volcano at 3:45pm (both at the outdoorsperson’s perfect locale and about those gorgeous outdoors). 
  • Century 16 Boulder Theatre has Asia at 12:45pm and After Antarctica at 3:30pm — there’d be no better time to take a bit of a break from the heat and trek it over to central Boulder for some city-life…. and don’t fret! Those mountains are pretty much always visible. 
  • Last but not least! Make your way back to Chautauqua for a final, outdoorsy hoorah, the BIFF way; we’ll be hosting the Closing Night Awards at the auditorium with a special showing of Mission: Joy, at 6:45, to boot. Great people, grandiose views — views that’ll really come alive in the casts of an early evening, Boulder sunset — and good memories are all yours to be had…. Not only here, not only tonight, but all throughout our four day BIFF fest — what are you waiting for? Get BIFFing!


You’re the Music Aficionado Who’s Always Got an Ear Out for Good Times + Good Tunes:

JUNE 24TH: It’s the start of our four day fest! Is that music to your ears or what? Let’s get into the groove and give you some musically-minded options:

For a $100 cover charge, come join us for Cinechef! From 5:30-7:30pm, partake in the best of Boulder: great food, live music, and refreshing spirits at Boulder’s Rayback Collective. This feast, both sonic and sweet/savory, is, so we at BIFF think, the perfect auditory aperitif for the next three days of music in person and on screen. 


JUNE 25TH: The sounds will abound today at BIFF. What can you do? Well, what can’t you do? Read on for a breakdown:

  • On Screen: There’s Summer of Soul at 4pm at Chautauqua Auditorium (and then again at 7:30pm if you missed it)!
  • In Person: Boulder High’s outdoor cinema will play host for an hour of live, local music before a showing of Buried at 9pm. 

Lucky for you, you don’t have to choose today. Each and every musical moment is yours for the taking this Friday. 


JUNE 26TH: Saturday is bringing with it a sizable selection from that aforementioned sonic dept …. So here we go! Start at Chautauqua Auditorium, and embrace all things Boulder at the Community Fair — free and open to all — from noon to 6pm! We’ll be hosting a singer/songwriter showcase with performances by (in alphabetical order) Cary Morin, Dan Hochman, Derek Pedersen, Devyn Rae, Elisa Garcia, Emelise Munoz, Tony Meade, Wellington Bullings, and Wrenn & Ian, and we’ll be letting the drinks flow and the food simmer as the sun makes its way across the mountains, so come ready to imbibe, jive, and feel alive! 

Later in the day, make sure to check out Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free at 8pm (no need to change locations, we’re screening Petty’s doc at Chautauqua as well!) and, after that, the 30 minutes of live music at Boulder High’s soccer field (from 7:30pm-8pm) before the screening of Us Kids. 

Sound good?


JUNE 27TH: It’s the final chord in the sprawling symphony! It may be bittersweet, but hopefully it’s not minor! Let’s make this last chord a majorly harmonious one:

Ronnie’s, at 10am at Chautauqua Auditorium, is absolutely, undoubtedly, unmissable for any music lover! After catching a glimpse of some never before seen footage of the most famous jazz singers of all time, head on down to BIFF’s closing awards ceremony at Chautauqua — this ceremony might not be entirely tied to music, we’ll give you that, but any music lover knows that any good song, any good chord, is made up of varied, oftentimes beautifully dissimilar, notes. Come to our big BIFF closer, and your festival experience will have all the necessary, Boulder-backed, homegrown uniquities that make a hit. 


You’re the Engaged Activist Who’s Always Eager to Incite Real Change:

JUNE 24TH: Day one! Let’s get down to it with Let’s F*cking Go (LFG) at the Boulder High Soccer Field (the Outdoor Cinema) at 9pm! Not only is this screening a match made in “location heaven” (the film is an account of the U.S. Women’s soccer team’s ongoing fight for equal pay, and we at BIFF are screening it at a soccer field), but it is a chance for you to get doubly active in the Boulder community and beyond! Relax on the field and let the strikes, passes, fouls, practices, and goals inspire you to speak out for change and address inequity. 

You might be thinking, what else? Only one activism-oriented film today? Fear not, BIFFer! Today was just your introduction to BIFF’s outreach and positive instigation — tomorrow, you’ll have some choices on your hands….


JUNE 25TH: Into the deep end, where choices abound and cinematic discussions peel back the layers and get to the essential, progressive core!

Your options: 

  • Chautauqua Auditorium from 10am to 10pm: The Loneliest Whale at 10:30am (a film about the elusive 52 Hertz Whale — a tale of understanding and encouragement, of hope for a better future with healthier oceans // Talk Back after screening). 
  • Boulder High School from 5pm to 9:30pm: The Boys Who Said No! at 5pm (a film about the young men who served extensive prison sentences in their efforts to protest the immoralities they saw as innate within the Vietnam War — incredible actions and uplifting voices // Talk Back after screening). To Which We Belong and Our Place on Earth at 7:30pm (two films about the interconnectedness of all living things, about the pandemic and its impacts on agriculture and those who live and love to farm, and make their livings doing it, and about the steps we can take to help mitigate out detrimental impacts and elevate our Mother // Talk Back after screenings). 
  • Century 16 Boulder from 2pm to 10pm: Playing with Sharks at 5pm (a film about Great Whites, the fear and mystery surrounding them, and the odd and incredible woman who — with trailblazing camera documentation — accidentally set the groundwork for the Great White’s demonization and then promptly dedicated her life to trailblazing in defense of the beautiful and misunderstood beasts // Talk Back after screening). 
  • Outdoor Boulder High School Soccer Field from 8pm to 11pm: Buried at 9pm (a film about the immense power of the natural world and the enduring human spirit within the mad and wonderful chaos // Talk Back after screening). 

See? You certainly have a choice to make, now don’t you?


JUNE 26TH: There are no breaks in the fun here at BIFF, so let’s get your day three suggestions underway!

After Antarctica is, so we think, a great film to start your Saturday, and the venue, Chautauqua Auditorium, is a great place to do the same! Head over to the auditorium before 10am to secure your seats and kick back before the picture begins — you’ll be treated to a Talk Back about the film with Director Tasha Van Zandt and Producer, Writer, and Director of Photography Sebastian Zeck, too! You could also, if the Talk Backs are a draw for you (as they are for us, because what is activism without passionate discussion?), head over to the Century 16 Boulder Theatre at 12:45pm for a screening of $avvy (a film about women, the LGBTQIA community, minorities, and money — a discussion about marginalization, societal norms, and the roles we play in shaping a better future // Talk Back after screening). Last but certainly not least is Us Kids at 9pm at the Boulder High Soccer Field. If you’re interested in activism, in the human condition and the struggles, sacrifices, and victories in our world, especially as this all relates to the youth generation, then you’ve come to the right film. We’ll also be hosting a Talk Back after the screening with Director Kim A. Snyder and Parkland survivor and activist Samantha “Sam” Fuentes to discuss the current state of our world and the gun violence epidemic ravaging schools across our nation; this is not a film, or a discussion, you’ll soon forget. 


JUNE 27TH: Welcome to your final BIFF day! You made it….

Today, we at BIFF are making it easy for you to get your fill (we don’t have any scheduling overlap in our activist/Talk Back films!).

First, make your way to Boulder High School for a showing of Youth V. Gov. at 12:15pm and then…. stay at the High School for a showing of Shared Legacies at 5:45pm! See? We really have made it easy for you. It’s your one stop shop for Talk Backs! 

You might also want to head to Chautauqua Auditorium for the closing ceremonies, our BIFF awards, and for a special screening of Mission: Joy, a film that we at BIFF think will be right up your ally, what with its phenomenal message — finding happiness in troubled times — and truly mind-boggling cast and crew of activists and artists (including Academy Award winning filmmaker Louie Psihoyos as well as Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama). 

Whatever you choose, we hope you find our choices to be inspirational, educational, challenging, enlightening, and essential. 


No Comments

Leave a Comment