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 show at two venues, rather than five. 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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▪ 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.
▪ Boise filmmaker and Idaho 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. Sept. 25.
▪ Idaho-born filmmaker Mark Vashro will screen his documentary “Bike Against the Wind” at 3 p.m. 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.
Friday through Sunday, Sept. 23-25, at venues in Boise. $95: all-access passes, $5 for films, $10 for panel discussions at EventBright.com and the door. Seniors 60 and older can get one free matinee by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re wondering what will go on at JUMP, aka Jack’s Urban Meeting Place, then head down for Exploration Day on Saturday, Sept. 17 — a chance to play, make and experience the classes and workshops JUMP will offer.
Hit the Play Studio with filmmaker Jesse Cordtz and learn to make your own talking digital animation; see dance performances throughout the building from Open Arms Dance, Corvette Dance and Pound Boise; learn about 3-D printing with Martin Sarasqueta and David Ultis in the Make Studio; decorate tractor-shaped cookies in the Share Studio with Kate Riley; and explore other fun experiences.
Each of the day’s presenters will be offering classes in the fall. You can check out what they do for free, and then register to explore further.
Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, JUMP, 1000 Myrtle St., Boise. Free.
Get literary in October
▪ The second annual Boise Book Fest will bring together writers working in genres from horror to chic-lit for kids, young adults and new adults, and grown-ups. You can participate in roundtables, listen to panel discussions and readings, and learn in workshops. This year’s keynote speaker is New York Times best-selling romance writer Rachel Van Dyken.
11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. Wyndham Garden Conference Center, 3300 S. Vista Ave., Boise. $10 general (discussions and panels only starting at 1 p.m.); $25 VIP (includes workshops and keynote starting at 11 a.m.), BoiseBookFest.com.
▪ The third annual Death Rattle Writers Fest brings the Treasure Valley literati to Nampa for two days of performance poetry, flash fiction, open-mic storytelling and readings. Headliners include Seattle poet Quenton Baker, hip-hop artist Donte Player (aka Cauzndefx) and Portland-based Salvadorian writer Olivia Olivia.
Thursday, Oct. 6 through Sunday, Oct. 9, various venues in Nampa. DeathRattleWritersFest.org.