History Lesson: Boulder International Film Festival 2

The Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF), sponsored by the Colorado Film Society, is held annually on Presidents Day Weekend in Boulder and has developed a reputation as one of the most compelling young film festivals in the U.S., exhibiting a number of new-but-unknown feature films, documentaries, animations and shorts that have gone on to significant box-office success and multiple Oscar nominations. Here are some highlights of BIFF from when the festival started, to where it stands today.


  • The festival’s inaugural season showcased more than 50 films from around the world.
  • Among the highlights were documentaries such as “Seoul Train,” “Mardi Gras: Made in China” and “The Liberace of Baghdad,” the regional premiere of Danny Boyle’s “Millions.”
  • An early short from Jason Reitman (“Juno,” “Up in the Air”) was shown, and a hilarious feature film from Curtis and Paul Hannum — “The Real Old Testament,” the Bible presented as reality TV.
  • Best feature film winner: “Farther than the Eye Can See” by Michael Brown.
  • Best short film winner: “Down Dog” by Richard Roll.


  • Special guest artists during BIFF’s coldest year to date included Maria Bello (“A History of Violence,” “The Cooler”), Patrick Warburton (“The Education of Maxwell Bright”), Eric Roberts (“The Dark Knight,” “Runaway Train,” “Star 80”), and screenwriter Amy Fox.
  • Director Andrew Quigley received a Special Jury Prize for his documentary “Diameter of the Bomb.”
  • Best feature film winner: “C.R.A.Z.Y.” by Jean-Marc Vallee
  • Best short film winner: “West Bank Story” Ari Sandal


  • Chevy Chase opened the 2009 Festival at the Boulder Theater. Emmy award-winning comedian, writer and actor, Chase received an Award of Excellence in Comedy which was followed by a film retrospective honoring his work.
  • Chase also participated in a Q&A session hosted by Ron Bostwick, BIFF executive producer.
  • BIFF was voted one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals” MovieMaker Magazine.
  • Best feature film winner: “Nothing But the Truth” by Rod Lurie.
  • Grand prize film winner: “Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country” by Anders Ostergaard and Lise Lense-Miller.


  • Closing Night of BIFF 2010 was a tribute to Alec Baldwin which included a film retrospective of his work followed by a question and answer session hosted by BIFF Executive Producer Ron Bostwick.
  • Three weeks following BIFF, Baldwin co-hosted the 2010 Academy Awards ceremony with his It’s Complicated co-star Steve Martin. He’s received three SAG Awards, two Golden Globes, the Television Critics Award, and two Emmies for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.
  • Best feature film winner: “I Am Love” by Luca Guadagnimo
  • Grand prize film winner: “Ajami” by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani


  • Peter Fonda was BIFF’s closing-night guest in 2013.
  • BIFF’s Singer/Songwriter Showcase really came into its own that year, and educational outreach programs such as the Youth Pavilion, CU @ BIFF (BIFF’s college-level program in association with the University of Colorado).
  • Expanded workshops and panels all attracted new crowds.
  • Best feature film winner: “Blancanieves” by Pablo Berger
  • Grand prize film winner: “Muscle Shoals” by Greg “Freddy” Camalier


  • The 11th Annual festival saw a record-setting 
 25,000 attendees
  • Alan Arkin, star of over 70 films and Oscar winner, came to the Boulder Theater for an on-stage interview and reception of the BIFF 2015 Career Achievement award.
  • Advanced preview of DreamWorks  Animation’s new film, “Home” saw kids and adults lined-up around the block.
  • Best feature film winner: “A Borrowed Identity” by 
Eran Riklis
  • Grand prize film winner: “Being Evel” by Daniel Junge