By ADAM ROWAN
BIFF DigiComm Commando
[Editor’s note: For the first time ever, the University of Colorado students have created their own “CU @ BIFF” pavilion at Shine Restaurant, 2027 13th St. all day Saturday, 2/16, during the festival, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. From Saturday morning cartoons through panels with CU alumni in the film industry and women in film, culminating with screenings of student films, this FREE day-long extravaganza is a great collaboration for us! More info here: https://www.facebook.com/CUBIFF?fref=ts]
With a choice selection of features, documentaries and shorts, not to mention workshops and other
events, the Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) is a prime spot for learning and finding
inspiration. However, though BIFF presents several lifetimes of wisdom from February 14-17, Boulder
has a perennial option for acquiring knowledge as well.
The University of Colorado (CU) campus is a key landmark that brings thousands of old and young
minds alike to Boulder, not to mention scores of visitors. With the university less than a mile from
Pearl Street Mall (the epicenter of BIFF screenings and events), CU-Boulder is a perfect destination to
visit when you’re exhausted from the hustle and bustle and want to find a new place to take in scenic
sights and view a different part of the city.
[Note: Hours of access may vary for buildings on campus, especially during weekends. Please consult
the CU website for more information]
BIFF Guide to CU: University Memorial Center (UMC)
The undisputed hub of CU-Boulder is the University Memorial Center, a complex hosting events,
student and university offices and commons areas where visitors of all kinds can congregate. Not only
is the area around the center a perfect place to find visitor parking, outdoor or above-ground, the UMC
is home to a host of amenities perfect for any BIFF attendee.
If you’re looking for a quick bite or a place to grab a juice or coffee beverage, the UMC has several
options, including a Celestial Seasonings serving hot and cold drinks and the Alferd Packer Restaurant
& Grill, a campus institution cheekily named for the infamous “Colorado cannibal.” The CU Book
Store isn’t just for students seeking academic materials: the top floor contains a treasure trove of
mementos perfect for displaying CU pride, whether you’re a current student, alumnus, staff member or
just a guest caught up in the black and gold Boulder spirit.
One of the UMC’s best amenities are the couches, chairs and community tables, allowing BIFF
attendees the chance to mingle with CU students, faculty and staff, or just find a quiet place to rest
and relax away from the festival. There’s plenty of seating inside, but good weather will afford you the
opportunity to check out the center’s scenic exterior. On the north side, you’ll find the Dalton Trumbo
Fountain Court, named for a former CU student, screenwriter and one of the foremost Hollywood
figures to combat blacklisting during the Red Scare.
BIFF Guide to CU: Norlin Quad
Though Colorado weather can be treacherous, often changing at a moment’s notice, Norlin Quad is
another popular gathering place for students and visitors alike. In addition to a plethora of grassy areas,
shade and benches ideal for some R&R, the surrounding buildings are also a sight to see.
Though small, administrative building Old Main is a must-see for fans of nifty architecture. The eastern
side of the building has two wrought-iron spiral staircases perfect for photo opps. You can also pay a
visit to quintessential American poet Robert Frost: His statue graces the south side of Old Main.
No BIFF visitor’s time at CU-Boulder would be complete without a visit to Macky Auditorium, the
preeminent performing arts location at the university. Whether you’re hoping for a glimpse of the
opulent interior or just want to admire the spires and stained-glass windows dominating the facade,
Macky is a perfect spot to get a taste of CU’s theater scene before or after a BIFF screening.
BIFF Guide to CU: Farrand Field
Completing the trio of major student hangouts at CU, Farrand Field, located roughly at the center of
campus, is a popular gathering spot for students. The grassy plain comprising the field is often the
arena for pickup games of Ultimate Frisbee, touch football and hacky-sack. There’s also a gazebo built
into the wall at the north end of the field, so you don’t have to brave the outdoors entirely if you’re
seeking a spot to relax.
Farrand Field is also bordered by five major dorms, meaning you’ll get a great look at CU student life
on the go. All the activity during the week might make things noisy, but weekends are usually fairly
BIFF Guide to CU: Varsity Lake
My favorite spot at CU is one of the campus’ best-kept secrets: Varsity Lake. A serene pond separated
by a rustic stone bridge located just west of the McKenna Languages building, Varsity Lake sees
minimal foot traffic, making it the ideal relaxation spot for the weary BIFF attendee.
The pond is home to a variety of animals, including coy, turtles and ducks. Benches nestled under trees
make it a good place for resting, and a walking path to the west means easy access to off-campus hot
spot University Hill. Varsity Lake is so atmospheric that you might find students and Boulder residents
enjoying the area, too: I’ve seen people have picnic lunches and even pose for wedding photographs at
this scenic locale.