The second annual Boulder International Film Festival got off to a rousing start this evening with the help of Golden Globe nominee Maria Bello. Her new film The Sisters will open in April.
The Boulder Theater opened its doors at 6:00 for cocktails, mingling, and dinner catered by The Cheesecake Factory. At around 7:20, the flashbulbs popped as actress Maria Bello arrived on the red carpet. She posed in the 20-degree weather for the cameras and TV crews, then hustled in to the warmth of a crowded theater.
Inside, she met up with director Arthur Allan Seidelman before mingling with the crowd, escorted by the Beeck sisters, who organize the BIFF.
The movie started around 8:00. The festival audience applauded over the titles for each of the filmmakers in attendance: Bello, Siedelman, screenwriter Richard Alfieri, and producers Joseph Eastwood and Judd Payne.
The movie, based on a play which was itself adapted from Checkov’s Three Sisters, is perhaps less of a “crowd pleasing” movie than last year’s opener, Millions. Nevertheless, Robin Beeck introduced the movie with enthusiasm, promising a delightfully “bitchy” movie. With the carnival atmosphere, and with filmmakers possibly in the auditorium, conditions weren’t ideal for simply watching a movie. The audience reacted well and the movie seemed well produced and well acted, particularly Bello in the lead role, although my audience is probably not representative of how the movie will play in Peoria.
After the film, all five filmmakers (including Bello) took the stage for Q&A. Perhaps the best question had to do with the ending of the film. Having been sold on the “bitchy” attitude, the questioner wondered how the film could end on a note of hope. Screenwriter Alfieri said he just couldn’t bring himself to kill the character in question. He simply couldn’t do it. So he thought if he were only very badly hurt... at which point the laughter obscured the rest of the answer.
After Q&A, the Beeck sisters awarded Ms. Bello with the Colorado Film Society Award for Excellence in Acting (or as a friend put it, “the award for being nice and coming to our film festival.”)
If anything set BIFF 2’s opening gala above BIFF 1’s, it’s the fact that five people from the movie came to Boulder and mingled with the guests. No, we’re not Sundance, Telluride, or Toronto, but the Beeck sisters seem to be behaving as if we were. And that may just make us the next big thing.
If not, then at least we’ll get to watch movies, eat Cheesecake, and hobnob with minor celebrities.