The Boise Film Festival will return this year with a smaller slate of films, but the same expansive heart.
“Last year I learned I needed to scale back and start smaller. I thought I had started small but — no,” says festival founder Lana Westbrook. “We slowed down in order to speed up.”
This year, the festival will screen 23 titles — documentaries, shorts and features — compared to 36 last year. Films will screen at two venues, rather than six. Most films and panel discussions will be at Boise State University’s Special Event Center. Some smaller events will happen at the 30-seat Studio 208, 951 E. Front St.
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▪ The opening night film is Tim Bartell’s “Dirty Beautiful,” a quirky love story about a lonely artist who brings a young, woman drifter back to his apartment to live with him. You can see it at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at the BSU Special Events Center. Party with the festival founders at Amsterdam Lounge, 609 W. Main St., Boise, after the flick.
▪ Documentary filmmaker and body artist Natalie Fletcher will be in Boise with her film “Oh, Beautiful,” which is about her journey across America to paint people into the landscape. She works in the style of Liu Bolin, a Chinese artist who paints himself into iconic scenes as a political protest. Fletcher protests against negative body image by turning people of all ages, sizes and shapes into art. She will paint Boise body image activist Amy Pence Brown at Freak Alley in Downtown Boise from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24. Fletcher’s film will screen a 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.
▪ Idaho-born filmmaker Mark Vashro will screen his documentary “Bike Against the Wind” about his personal journey to bicycle across America. See it at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25. Vashro, who now lives in San Francisco, received the 2016 Short Film Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival for “Thunder Road,” a film he produced.
▪ Boise filmmaker and i48 48-hour film festival co-founder Andrew Ellis will launch a new project at a work-in-progress screening. He used the i48 model to create a feature film. Segments of “Lifted,” written by Janessa White, Dusty Aunan and Ryan Hondo, were filmed by 15 different teams — including actors — in 48 hours. You can see it at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. Ellis also will lead a panel discussion about the Idaho film scene at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.