As a lake town, Polson’s summers are filled with boats, swimming and outdoor events that celebrate the busy season. But in the dead of winter, the town often acts as a drive-through for people heading further north to partake in the winter activities of Whitefish.
That’s why the community of Polson organized the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (FLIC), which took root in 2013, as a way to bring more vibrancy to Polson during its slower months.
“There was a desire to see more commerce and arts in Polson in the dead of winter,” FLIC Director David King said. “There was an idea to bring some life and excitement to a pretty dreary time of year. FLIC has become a highlight of the winter season.”
Now in its eighth year, FLIC will host more than 60 films from around the world, featuring filmmakers from Germany to Utah. With 19 films set in Montana, shooting locations include Browning, Missoula, Helena, Polson, Ronan and more. University of Montana student Valeria Rinder made a music video that was selected for the festival called “Falling Through the Cracks.”
With a number of international films, King says audience members should keep “Beyond Dreams” on their radar, which tells the story of a Brazilian mountaineer’s dream of climbing Mount Everest.
While there are multiple outdoor films, King says the categories are “all over the board,” and audiences can enjoy a variety of genres.
In addition to the filmmakers who come to town, several hundred people travel to Polson for the festival, which gives the economy a boost during the slower months. Not only does FLIC positively impact the economy, but it also improves morale in Polson, King said.
“The morale of this whole town is brightened by having all these films to attend,” he said. “It’s just a way of mixing it up and having this thumb tack on the map with this town’s culture and heart beat.”
In addition to the films, comedian Adam Yenser will perform a live stand-up presentation. He’s also a writer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show and performs in a skit called Kevin the Cashier on the show. In his hour-and-a-half slot, he’ll show a few clips from the show and discuss his experience while also performing a comedy act for the audience.
“He came last year as well and he had so much fun he’s glad to come back,” King said. “There’s a lot of people excited to see him.”
New this year, Jim and Sam, a duo of musicians from Los Angeles, will perform a live concert the night before the festival begins on Thursday, Jan. 23. Their film, “After So Many Days,” features them performing 365 days in a row in 14 different countries and was also selected for the festival. After King viewed it, he loved the music so much that FLIC decided to host a concert.
Films vary in length from two minutes to two-and-a-half hours. There are 64 films total, including 19 Montana films.
Showboat Cinemas will host the festival in Polson from Friday, Jan. 24 to Sunday Jan. 26. All-access passes are $50; individual movie tickets are $5 each.
Ronan Performing Arts Center will host the After So Many Days concert on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door.
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