Oh, The Places We Go (For BIFF) -
BIFF: Discover the world, discover Beloit
The Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF), just wrapping up its tenth annual festival, improves and impresses me more with each successive year.
Though I’ve lived in Beloit off and on since I graduated from Beloit Memorial High School, I didn’t always have time to explore the city proper and intimately discover some favorite hidey-holes until much more recently.
But as I began to volunteer and work with BIFF, I got that chance to find places that I’ve only driven by, or heard about in passing. And I can thank BIFF for such opportunities.
Old memories, new discoveries
For example, for the longest time, I did not know where Beloit College’s Hendrick’s Center for the Arts was located; I felt silly this lack of knowledge – I thought I knew Beloit fairly well!
Luckily, however, someone must’ve had mercy on my ignorance and me. This person gravely pointed towards downtown, and remarked, “That’s where the old library used to be.”
Suddenly, memories of being a teenager and hanging out in there with my friends (okay, so most were fictional book characters) materialized in my mind. Long gone are the rows of bookshelves, but Beloit College rebuilt the interior with a smooth, modernized look, and I’ve since enjoyed many a BIFF film inside.
I’ve seen downtown Beloit transform, just as BIFF transformed, over the past decade. Businesses started to plant and nurture roots downtown, and opened their doors for film watchers.
Inspiring films, inspiring venues
More recently, I stumbled upon the lovely, vintage My Apartment store, located next to Café Fromage. The bi-level shop emits an aura of nostalgia and comfort as I gaze around at beautiful and unique items that I can picture bringing home.
Upstairs, during BIFF, in front of the film projector sits two couches and assorted chairs for a makeshift theatre. I love sinking into the recesses of one of the comfy couches, and then being further lured into a film’s unfolding story.
After the ending credits roll, I confess, I’ve hosted imaginary parties in the same spot. I see myself serving guests, showing off the books, colorful dishes, tasteful clothes, and other items that induce dreams of furnishing my own apartment someday soon, which probably will be a poor imitation of the already inspiring interior of “My Apartment.”
Movie and a snack
Lastly, some of the BIFF venues are food-related. For example, restaurants Domenico’s and La Casa Grande both host films, as well as organic grocery haven Bushel & Peck’s, buzzy Café Fromage, and Bagels & More all offer a variety of delicious morsels and drinks year-round.
I admit, I discovered the perfect chocolate martini at “Domenico’s” before a BIFF film, and am eager to discover more of life’s little treasures as BIFF continues to bring film and people together each year.