Hollywood has a long tradition of rolling out the red carpet for world premiere movies. Now, that tradition has made its way to Northwestern Montana as Polson prepares to celebrate its third annual Flathead Lake International Cinemafest, or FLIC as the locals like to call it.
For those not familiar with the term “world premiere,” it’s defined as “the first public performance anywhere in the world” and FLIC will feature many firsts come Jan. 23 when the weekend-long festival begins at the Showboat Cinema on Main Street in Polson.
FLIC was recently recognized with the distinct honor of being listed as one of the top 15 Winter Film Festivals in the United States by the Audience Awards.
This year’s line-up is sure to please everyone as this year’s theme is “Visually Captivating! – Wonderfully Diverse!”
The festival will be screening a diverse slate of films that will include full-length features, shorts, animation and documentaries. True to its name, FLIC will also be offering a broad selection of international films from countries that include Australia, Canada, France, India, Kosovo, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland and Taiwan.
In addition, FLIC is collaborating with Salish Kootenai College to offer a rich selection of Indigenous films by, for or about Indigenous topics.
Several standout films have caught the eye of FLIC judges this year including “One Armed Man” directed by Tim Guinee, written by the Oscar-winning writer Horton Foote and produced by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film has won numerous awards. This chilling drama features a wealthy cotton gin executive who is confronted by a disgruntled former employee demanding the return of an arm lost in the gin’s machinery.
Other standouts include, “Sitting Bull’s Voice,” a documentary about Sitting Bull and his living relatives; “Where God Likes to Be,” another documentary that takes a personal, cinematic and lyrical journey into the heart of the Blackfeet Indian reservation and features the lives of three young Native Americans; and “Mousse”’ an amazing, funny French comedy/drama that centers around a small tobacco/betting shop heist during the year’s biggest horse race event.
The festival begins on Friday, Jan. 23, with an Opening Night Party at 5:30 p.m. at the KwaTaqNuk Resort. This year’s opening night theme is “SPECtacular SPECtacle.” Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite spectacles, especially those that reflect their favorite movie, i.e. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Harry Potter,” “The Matrix” and “Top Gun.”
The festival officially begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, with a free family movie screening of “How To Train A Dragon 2.”
Attendees are encouraged to dress in their pajamas and enjoy a free breakfast provided and sponsored by the Polson Rotary. Seating is available on a first come, first serve basis.
FLIC JR. is again part of FLIC’s offerings on Saturday. FLIC JR. is a film competition for budding filmmakers 22 years and younger. This year’s block will feature films from Havre High School and Montana State University students.
The Montana Film Office is the sponsor of a “Women in Film” panel discussion during Saturday’s scheduled programming. Featured guest filmmakers in attendance will include Polson’s own Brooke Pepion Swaney, as well as Missoula filmmakers Vera Brunner-Sung and Jeri Rafter. All three will be presenting short films from their cache of films and speaking on the subject of women in film. Visit flicpolson.com for the exact time of this event.
Also scheduled for Saturday is an “After Hours Meet the Filmmakers” event in the evening beginning at 10:30 p.m. located at the Lake Bar.
The festival closes on Sunday, Jan. 25, with a “Best Of” awards show, which will be held at Showboat Cinema. Approximately 21 awards will be distributed in various categories.