By Caleb M. Soptelean
POLSON — Sixty-eight independent films ranging in length from 2 minutes to one hour, 53 minutes will be featured this week at Showboat Cinemas, 416 Main St.
FLIC co-chairs Frank Tyro and David W. King are excited about this year’s event, which will also include noon-hour film showings for students at Polson High School for the first time.
The event, which will be held Friday-Sunday, Jan. 26-28, is intentionally placed between the NFL conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
King said he loves being involved with FLIC, noting it takes up four months of his time each year.
“It’s such a fun thing to see all these different films and interact with these filmmakers and see the community embrace independent film,” he said.
King is one of three judges so he watches every film. There were 110 submitted for this year’s event, including those that were not selected.
“We have spirited discussions about the films and what the judges like,” he said.
He specifically noted “Unbridled,” a story about sex trafficking and the healing and redemption available for both girls and horses with an abusive past.
John David Ware, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, directed the film, which is the longest at the event and will be shown at 7 p.m., Saturday. It features Eric Roberts, an Academy Award-nominated actor.
Tyro, a Pablo resident, got involved with FLIC after working with the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, which was started by the late Charles Jonkel, an environmental studies professor at the University of Montana.
Tyro co-directed “Walking Bear Comes Home,” a 56-minute film about the life and work of Jonkel, whom Tyro said was instrumental in getting the U.S., Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Russia and Norway to establish quotas for polar bear hunting through the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
When Jonkel started his work in 1966 there were 5,000 polar bears in the world but now their population is estimated between 20,000 and 25,000, Tyro said.
Walking Bear Comes Home will be shown at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Fifteen countries are represented at the cinemafest, and filmmakers from Poland and Canada have films included.
A couple from Poland created “Cinema Labyrinths,” an interactive film that allows the audience to choose the direction the story proceeds. It will be shown at 2 p.m. Saturday.
A free kids’ screening will be held from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday. It will include a free breakfast provided by the Polson Rotary Club.
Encore screenings will follow the cinemafest Monday-Thursday next week from 4 p.m. nightly showing the best of the ‘fest. A schedule of those films will be posted on FLICPolson.com shortly after the conclusion of the three-day event.
This year’s films will be shown in Digital Cinema Projection, or DCP, which King described as “cutting-edge” technology that is being provided thanks to the volunteer work of Jim Ereaux.
FLIC has been voted one of the 10 best winter film festivals in the nation by Audience Awards.com, King said.
Tickets are $40 for a pass or $5 per two-hour block and can be purchased online in advance or at the door.
Schedules are available at motels, restaurants and businesses in Polson or at FLICPolson.com.