From Flathead Lake International Cinemafest 

POLSON — The 2020 Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (FLIC) attracted a record large audience numbering in the hundreds from the Montana region and beyond. Now in its eighth year, FLIC has steadily gained worldwide notice as entries continue to come in from the far reaches of the globe. This year’s 64 official selection films -- including narrative shorts and features, documentaries, animated films, as well as student-produced shorts -- came from Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Greece, the UK, Malta, South Korea, Russia, and the USA, and include 20 Montana-grown films.

About 40 filmmakers traveled from across the country and Germany, Austria, and Korea to join FLIC this year. 

FLIC 2020 hosted some special events and guests, which included a Mission Valley Live concert by songwriting duo Jim Hanft and Samantha Yonack (Jim and Sam), who are a Los Angeles based band. Their documentary feature film, After So Many Days chronicles their 365-day tour and was screened at FLIC on opening night to the delight of the FLIC audience. 

Comedian Adam Yenser is an Emmy Award-winning writer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and made a return visit to FLIC after bringing the house down with his comedy and Ellen clips last year. According to FLIC Director David W. King, “FLIC 2020 was no different. On Saturday night, Adam entertained the FLIC audience with his standup comedy, then followed it up with hidden camera clips from the Ellen Degeneres Show. Adam was also presented with the FLIC 2020 Impact Award, which acknowledges contributions that have had a positive impact on FLIC and our community. Adam’s back-to-back years participating in FLIC made him the ideal candidate.

On Sunday afternoon, awards were presented in numerous categories. Many attending filmmakers were present to receive their awards, which added to the celebration. 

Big winners included the Montana made feature film The Last Beyond, which took home Best Picture, Best Montana Film, Best Original Score and Best Director honors. King said the following about the Graham Dubose-directed period piece: “Writer/Director Graham DuBose weaves this cinematic period piece into a rich American tapestry of aspiration, colliding cultures, missteps, love, and pathos -- all informed by powerful music, sound, writing, imagery, and performances.” The first screening of this epic period piece was sold out, so another screening was added on Sunday night, and it was also heavily attended. 

Director/Actor Bryan Ferriter’s Wuthering Heights was another big winner, garnering awards for Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and the FLIC Audience Award. Shot in Montana and novel author Emily Bronte’s region of England, Wuthering Heights was based closely on Bronte’s classic tale of undying love and tormented passion. The net result was beautifully rendered by the visionary Bryan Ferriter and his small band of fellow artists on both sides of the camera.

Life Interrupted won Best Documentary Feature. This powerful film is about surviving breast cancer and features intimate storytelling and unflinching graphic imagery from the survivor’s perspective. Three survivors – including the film’s director Paula Mozen, who was in attendance – confront a life-altering diagnosis and refuse to step down. 

David King thinks FLIC 2020 has been the best yet: “We all had so much fun this year. We are so grateful for the enthusiasm of all the filmmakers and attendees. It’s rewarding to hear how much people enjoyed films and then to see them have the opportunity to interact with filmmakers. Lifelong friendships can grow out of events like this!”

King continued, “Many people have enthused that FLIC 2020 is the best yet, and we’re inclined to agree! We already can’t wait for FLIC 2021 and the day after we wrapped, Jessica (FLIC Co-Producer) and I were already brainstorming how to improve the experience for all involved. We love producing this festival and are grateful for all the people who make it possible every year.”

Filmmaker Valeria Rinder, whose delightful animated short Falling Through the Cracks was an official selection, offered the following about her FLIC 2020 experience: “Overall, you couldn’t ask for a film festival to be run more smoothly. It was a fun and thought-provoking experience - an event anyone should be proud to be involved with.”

FLIC 2021 is scheduled for the weekend of January 29, 30, and 31, 2021. King smiles as he offers, “We hope that this little film festival that could will be around for a long time!”

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