The International Film Series Celebrates 75 Years


Celebrating its 75th anniversary this season, the International Film Series (IFS) is ready to shake things up with changes to its regularly scheduled programming.

Casting aside the usual week-by-week calendar, the new program will operate on a show-by-show basis, focusing more on each feature individually. This allows room for long-running programs such as “Celebrating Stan,” a series which will screen and then discuss the many films of Stan Brakhage on select Sundays in room 100 on campus in the Atlas building. In addition,  “First Person Cinema,” a smaller, more focused look at artistic cinema will be screened on select Mondays in the Visual Arts Center, room 1B20. The Flatirons Food Film Festival will also be returning to the IFS and will take over the screenings from Oct. 20 to Oct. 23.

Executive Director Pablo Kjolseth is still at the helm of the IFS. His dedication to the festival is evidenced by the fact he has been attending since he was in junior high school. He has now run the program for almost 20 years in his effort to get people interested in the art of film.

“The idea here is to show people that there are still quality films that are being made that don’t come from a place of marketing or branding,” Kjolseth says.

He continues to bring in films from all over the world, from contemporary films to classics, and includes films in the program that he believes will be interesting, relevant and culturally important.

“It’s not programmed by committee, it’s not programmed the usual way, which is to say by the bottom line. It’s programmed from a place of serving the community, and sort of a place of passion, and wanting to bring things that are off the beaten track,” he says.

"Under the Sun"
“Under the Sun”

Of this year’s programming, Kjolseth specifically mentions Under the Sun, a documentary about the hardships families face in North Korea, which will be shown on Sept. 16, and like most of the films shown at IFS, will be playing in the Muenzinger Auditorium.

Other notable features are Ludlow, a documentary following Greek immigrants forced to take up arms by deplorable working conditions in coal mines, showing on Sept. 20, and Homo Sapiens, a film depicting locations abandoned by humanity, and what happens to them as a result, which screens Oct. 28.

Restoration fans, don’t fret. IFS will once again feature a selection of restored films including Time Bandits (1981), a film about a boy who joins a band of time-travelling, treasure stealing dwarves. The film is showing Sept. 24 and will include a pinkish tinted before restoration segment so everyone can understand importance of restoration. There will also be a restored version of On the Silver Globe (1988) screening Oct. 18.

"Under the Sun"
“Under the Sun”

Another addition to IFS is “C.U. at the Movies.” For the series, faculty members from departments around the Boulder campus will both select and introduce films.

On Sept. 13, The Center for Asian Studies will present Last Life in the Universe, a love story that takes place in contemporary Thailand followed by Cinema Kabuki: Sagi Musume, a look at Japan’s traditional theatre on Sept. 14.

After viewing these films, Danielle Rocheleau Salaz, executive director of the center, says she hopes that students become both interested and intrigued to learn more about the cultures in these films.

She believes the films will show people that Asia is not as exotic and far-away as one might think, especially in a world that is so globalized and interconnected. And she hopes that the movie will bring people who are completely unaware of Asian culture to the IFS.

“In particular, I do want to try and emphasize that this is something that you don’t have to know a lot about it and you’re still going to get something out of it,” Rocheleau Salaz says.

Also a part of this season is Geoff Marslett, an assistant professor in the film studies department. Marslett will be discussing Porches and Private Eyes, where he’ll be talking about filmmaking independent of Hollywood.

Marslett will also cover Tower, a documentary focusing on the University of Texas shooting that occurred in August of 1966. The film weaves interviews from people who were students at the time of the shooting with re-enactments and animation to add to the impact of their accounts.

“I think [Tower] helps take a historical moment and make you really get emotionally engaged and realize how scary and how terrible this event really was,” Marslett says.

As usual, viewers can expect quality film and intelligent discussion when attending any screening at this season’s IFS. While some things may have changed at the Festival this year, the magic of movies stays the same.

On the Bill: International Film Series. Aug. 30-Dec. 5., Muenzinger Auditorium, 1905 Colorado Ave., Boulder. Full schedule at

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