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Beloit International Film Festival Brings a Cultural Renaissance to the Midwest

Mark's Postcards from Beloit
2015 BIFF Silent Film Showcase: 1925 Phantom of the Opera

You might not expect the city of Beloit, Wisconsin to have a reputation among members of the international film community. But over the past 13 years, a group of people have been working towards the goal of  “Bringing the world to Beloit, and Beloit to the World" with the Beloit International Film Festival.

The festival’s executive director, and Beloit native, Max Maiken answers the question, “Why Beloit?”

"We're currently experiencing a wonderful renaissance in economic development, and it's truly one of the best times in Beloit's history to be there," he explains. "BIFF is just part of that story. Even though that probably wasn't part of the formula of the city planers 13, 15, 20 years ago, it's almost impossible to talk about Beloit without talking about the film festival."

Maiken says that while the festival has a global vision, the impact is local. "The magic is the Beloit community. Everybody in the community participates in some fashion. It's something that brings together everybody and allows them a seat at the table, and film is the catalyst for the conversation."

The festival will be presenting a mix of short films, documentaries, and full features. One of Maiken's recommendations that Midwesterners can relate to is Tater Tot and Patton.


"It's shot in South Dakota, and it's a very witty and creative play on two characters who are at odds with each other," he explains. "One is a young niece from LA who has to come live on her uncle's farm in the middle of nowhere South Dakota, and the uncle is an alcoholic who is set in his ways."

Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.