BIFF’s Incredible Closing Night

It’s a wrap!  And it was amazing!

Boulder International Film Festival 2015 wrapped up with an incredible closing night Sunday. The lines outside of the theater were long; audience members wanted to be sure they wouldn’t miss the awards presentation for phenomenal films, and their chance to see the last film of BIFF 2015, “Racing Extinction”.

The high-tech projecting race car featured in the film was parked outside of the theater and  passersby had a chance to inspect this state-of-the-art car. Filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and race car driver Leilani Munter stood near the car and answered questions.

DSC_8214At 7 p.m., Shaun McGrath took the Boulder Theater stage to speak about the growth of the festival and the achievements of sisters Kathy and Robin Beeck. The sisters then thanked everyone for their contributions and enthusiasm throughout the weekend. They also paid homage to Bill Vieheler with a speech and a beautiful short film, a tribute to his life. Bill Vieheler was the talented artist who made all of the awards for the festival, and who passed away suddenly last October. The message was clear – this festival would not be what it is today without Bill Vieheler’s amazing contributions.

DSC_5019Then it was time for the awards presentation.  Bradford Heap won the award for CineChef with his salmon tartare dish. “Orbit Ever After” won the best short film at the festival. The best-animated film went to DreamWorks SKG RealD 3D “Home.” The best music documentary was given to Austin to Boston, a definite crowd favorite. Best documentary was given to “Call Me Lucky.” The Catalyst award, which is given to the best call-to-action film, was presented to “Racing Extinction.” The best feature film was “A Borrowed Identity”, and the grand prize was given to “Being Evel,” from Academy Award-winning Colorado filmmaker Daniel Junge.

After the awards ceremony, a video showcasing the “Racing Extinction” projection car’s escapades around Boulder and Denver was shown, setting the stage for the Closing Night film. With incredible messages and projections on some iconic locations, it was inspiring for the audience to see.

Then, the featured “Racing Extinction” film was shown to the eager festival attendees. Throughout the film, the audience cheered in agreement and excitement over the actions taken by the filmmakers, and their commitment to saving these animals. This film is a “call-to-action” that left the audience inspired. This film is supported by the futuristic race car projecting images of endangered species, and the filmmakers’ encouragement of the audience to become activists for these animals. While many films dealing with climate change and species extinction are often technical land scientific, this film made the content accessible to  the audience. Interest in this film was so great, there was an additional screening at the Lazy Dog.

After the film, much of the audience remained for a Q&A session with the filmmakers. They addressed the crowd and asked how individuals can be activists and make a difference. Everyone has the skills and potential, and the filmmakers urged audience members to invoke that power. To close out the night, voting was calculated for the final award – the People’s Choice Award. The film “Lion Ark” walked away with that honor for the 2015 Boulder International Film Festival.

DSC_5087BIFF was a huge success this year and even after four nights of films, activities, food and fun, the crowd was still extremely enthusiastic. This fantastic weekend leaves attendees wondering, “how is next year going to top this”?