Riff on BIFF: Beloit film fest comes early to Janesville

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Ann Fiore
Wednesday, January 8, 2014

JANESVILLE—The Beloit International Film Festival will spend 10 days in Beloit in mid-February. 

January, however, belongs to Janesville.

For the first time in its nine-year history, the film fest will offer a “taste of BIFF” in Janesville on Jan. 17-18, with two venues—the Speakeasy and the Helen Jeffris Wood Museum Center—showing 12 of the top BIFF film selections.

Cinephiles already can get BIFF tickets and watch film clips online at beloitfilmfest.org. Online tickets for the Janesville films go on sale today.

 Those who want program books are invited to a sneak peek at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the Ironworks Hotel, formerly the Beloit Inn. Fest organizers will discuss the Beloit film lineup and upcoming events. Admission is $5.

Here are the films scheduled for BIFF@Janesville:

—“Jimmy in Pienk (Pink),” comedy/romance, PG-13, South Africa. With English subtitles. “Jimmy in Pink” is a quirky comedy about Jimmy Bester, a rugged seventh-generation corn farmer who enters a hair-styling competition so he can win enough money to pay off his dead father's debts.

—“Circle the Wagen,” comedy/documentary, PG, U.S. This buddy/road trip film follows driver Dave and copilot Charlie on their Route 66 journey to California in a 1972 Volkswagen bus. The trip is not without breakdowns, and the two discover a subculture of vintage VW diehards who are willing to save “the Croc” from the scrap heap.

—“Where Nature Seems to Smile: The Irish in Janesville,” historical film, G, U.S. Dave Haldiman, Dan Fredricks and Mike Reuter show how Irish immigrants helped transform Janesville by sharing their stories and family histories.

—“Date America,” comedy/documentary, PG-13, U.S. Wisconsinite Bob Murray wonders why he's still a bachelor at 34. Is it the Milwaukee dating scene or his own neuroses? To put his suspicions to rest, Bob embarks on a journey from Milwaukee to Los Angeles, with eight dates scheduled in eight different cities.

—“Colegas (Buddies),” adventure/comedy, PG-13, Brazil. With English subtitles. Three friends with Down syndrome run away from the institute where they live in search of three simple things. Stalone wants to see the sea; Ana wants a husband, and Marcio wants to fly. Their adventures put them on the wrong side of the law.

—“Sign Painters,” documentary, G, U.S. Until the 1980s, most signs were hand-lettered with brush and paint by skilled craftsmen. “Sign Painters” offers an anecdotal history of this craft, talking to more than two dozen painters who are still working around the country.

—“B-Side,” comedy/romance, PG-13, U.S. Mike, a late-night indie rock deejay, disses second-tier pop star April on his Internet radio show. She calls him on it, and he creatively apologizes, and they become a couple. However, the issue between them is never completely resolved until they both face the end of their careers.

—“Channeling,” drama/sci-fi, R, U.S. A soldier returns home on bereavement leave to discover that his brother's accidental death wasn't an accident. Jonah assumes his brother's identity and enters a world of voyeurism and exhibitionism that's as dangerous as it is addictive.

—“Street Pulse,” documentary, PG, U.S. This film focuses on Robert and Angel, a homeless Madison couple trying to survive on the margins of society. They sell copies of Street Pulse, a newspaper about people such as themselves, and despite their past problems, they are gradually working their way off the streets.

—“Jake Squared,” comedy/romance, R, U.S. Jake Klein, 50, sets out to make a movie. He hires an actor to play himself and throws a big party, but everything spins out of control as guests—including versions of himself at different ages—show up unexpectedly.

—Comedy Short Slot, various ratings (PG-13 to R) and countries of origin. This program of short films includes “America 101,” “This is How You Die,” “Ophelia: Love & Privacy Settings,” “Killer Kart,” “Hooba Jooba,” “Love and Germophobia,” “Genital Extreme Close-Up,” “Dave vs. Death” and “The Golden Ticket.”

—“Putzel,” comedy/Jewish, R, U.S. Walter Himmelstein's entire world is his family's fish store and his neighborhood on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. When Sally comes into the picture and makes moves on Walter's married uncle (and Walter's inheritance), Walter must confront his fears and stand up for himself.

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