Sundance watch out, competition from... Polson?

Jan 22, 2014

This weekend marks the second annual Flathead Lake International Cinemafest.
Credit FLIC

Last year the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest, or FLIC showed more than thirty films from new and emerging filmmakers. 2014 marks FLICs second year, and the number of films has more than doubled to seventy-nine.

“That’s what’s great about the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest is that; we do not have a theme. And if a movie is interesting, and if it’s something that we feel warrants being seen by other people, we are really excited to have it be part of the festival,” David King is producing the Cinemafest, and served as a judge for movie submissions. He said this year they received about 100 submissions local and international submissions.

New Zealand, Kazakhstan, France, Austria, Puerto Rico, Canada, Serbia, the United Kingdom, as well as Montana and the United States are among the countries where films for the Cinemafest came from.

Daniel Smith is a co-chair of the Cinemafest. He said it’s also part of a larger effort to bring people to Polson during the slower seasons.

“It does hurt the businesses around here because they kind of make their money during the summer because the winter season is so lean. That’s why we’re hoping this festival is going to draw a lot of visitors from Montana and outside the state as well,” Smith said.

Summer is Polsons season with Flathead Lake at the town’s front porch and rafting on Flathead River out back, golf, and cherry season as big draws. Smith said this year they received a grant from the Montana Film Office to advertise outside a 100 mile radius of Polson. They advertised in papers across Montana, northern Idaho, Canada, and Smith says people have been buying tickets from Bozeman, Missoula, Kalispell, Columbia Falls, as well as out of state in Washington, Utah, and Colorado. Smith said they’re having second screenings of some films. Last year they had to turn people away at the door, they hope to avoid that this year.

There’s a film, “Anajam,” which features post-its.

“Like ‘animation jam,’ and he got several other artists, I think 10 or so artists -15 – yeah, 15 artists to do little shorts on post it notes. Really fun stuff, you’ve got to see the animation portion of this program,” King said.

Another film features a flyfishing, back country skier, another, a local woman skydiver, Joan Carson who was a founder of Skydive Lost Prairie west of Kalispell, and died in a jump in 1981. There’s also animated shorts for kids and grownups, including a piece done on Post It notes.

A film called Hercules 3-point-0, was put together by a group out of Utah, following in their father’s footsteps. It takes a comical look at two Hercules movies made in the late 1950’s.

“They decided to turn it into a completely dubbed project where they add their voices, and they inject themselves bodily into the film by going against green screen,” King said.

This group of filmmakers is coming up for the Cinemafest. They’re among many. Smith said there will be an opportunity to meet with filmmakers on Saturday night.

The Cinemafest kicks off Friday night and runs through Sunday. Smith said they hope to keep growing, and may even add another day next year. Tickets and schedules are available at the Cinemafest website.