BEAUFORT FILM SOCIETY
BEAUFORT INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
- The Beaufort Film Society has served as the tip of the spear in forging a new presence for the “art” of filmmaking in Beaufort County and the state of SC since their forming in 2009. By producing an internationally respected film festival located in the heart of the South Carolina Sea Islands, they have raised an awareness of the culture and history in this region. By attracting attendees from almost every state in the country as well as filmmakers and attendees from other countries, they have cast Beaufort as a place of destination in a winter month.
- The Beaufort Film Society has cultivated a festival which seeks films with impact, very often sparking life changing moments and calls to action. Such was the case with a 2011 Documentary Film titled Awaken the Dragon. Telling the story of cancer survivors who were fighting the good fight and never giving up on their hopes and dreams; defying the odds for survival even in the face of a devastating medical prognosis, cancer survivors sought peace, solace, and a kinship with people of similar fate by participating in DragonBoat Racing. Motivated and inspired, two members the audience were moved to action by creating a non-profit organization called DragonBoat Beaufort. The Beaufort Film Society documented by video their journey throughout their first year. Also, BFS held a fundraiser for them by having an encore showing of the Awaken the Dragon film to a sold out audience, further cementing the foundation of this charitable organization. See first anniversary video here:
- The Beaufort Film Society has sponsored an Alzheimer’s Awareness Campaign during the film festival with the dedication and presenting of a special award, “The World of Purple” Award for the Best Film with a subject of Alzheimer’s. The campaign benefited the local Alzheimer’s Family Services of Greater Beaufort and was presented in partnership with this great organization.
- The Beaufort Film Society has contributed through workshops and film presentations at the Beaufort International Film Festival the subjects of Homelessness; PTSD; Schizophrenia; Child Abuse; Preservation of the Environment; Sea Island History; World Conflicts; Education; the Holocaust; Autism; International Business Trades; Child Sex Trafficking and America’s Military and their families.
- In 2011 The Beaufort Film Society established the Santini Patriot Spirit Award, with the blessing of Pat Conroy and named after his father Colonel Donald Conroy, to honor that film which best portrays in a positive way the selfless contributions and sacrifices of America’s Military and their families.
- In 2012 The Beaufort Film Society sponsored and presented the screening of the award winning film Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good as part of the Lt. Dan/Gary Sinise Concert benefitting Wounded Warriors through the Independence Fund.
- In 2012 the Beaufort Film Society in coordination with the South Carolina Film Commission began including a block of screenings at the Beaufort International Film Festival to promote the South Carolina Indie Grants Program.
- In 2013 BIFF was named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine.
- In 2013 the Beaufort Film Society was presented the annual Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce Civitas Award for Tourism Leadership.
- In 2014 the Beaufort Film Society established the “Behind the Scenes” Award to recognize that person from South Carolina working behind the scenes in the film and television industries.
- In 2015 The Beaufort Film Society created the Spirit & Pride of South Carolina Award endorsed by the Governor of South Carolina to be presented to that person who is native to or a long time resident of South Carolina and whose body of work in the industries of Film, Television, or Music has reflected positively on themselves and the state of South Carolina. The recipients so far have been Andie MacDowell (2015) and Vanna White (2016).
- In 2015 The Beaufort Film Society sponsored the Opening Ceremony of the Pat Conroy @ 70 Literary Festival. This included arranging for the screening of the film The Great Santini and coordinating the participation of cast members David Keith and Michael O’Keefe.
- In 2015 the Beaufort Film Society began discussion with a group of film enthusiasts from Greenville, SC resulting in the creation of the Reedy Reels Film Festival. BFS continues the role of mentor to that organization.
- In 2015 the Beaufort Film Society established an Advisory Board consisting of Blythe Danner, Andie MacDowell, Jonathan Flora, Craig McKay, Eugene Gearty, Marlena Smalls, Topher Maraffi, Michael O'Keefe, and Julie Dash.
- In 2015 the Beaufort Film society provided consultation to the cities of Newberry SC and Nantucket, MA regarding how to start a film festival.
- In 2016 The Beaufort Film Society worked with the SC Humanities Festival to present a workshop about the History of Filmmaking in Beaufort.
- In 2016 the Beaufort Film Society gave a presentation at Furman University about the History of the Beaufort International Film Festival.
- In 2016 the Beaufort Film Society was nominated for the Community Leadership & Support Award as part of the South Carolina Governor’s Award in the Humanities.
- In 2017 the Beaufort Film Society was selected as a Southeast Tourism Society “Top 20 Event in the Southeast for February”.
- In 2017 the Beaufort Film Society was recognized as one of the Top 100 Best Reviewed Film Festivals in the World by Film Freeway.
- In 2017 The Beaufort Film Society has worked diligently with the University of South Carolina Beaufort Media Arts Department to establish Media Arts as a platform for nourishment and the development as a major course of study. This association is through the offer of internship with Beaufort Film Society activities to include the Beaufort International Film Festival. BIFF 2017 included the first Digital Media Arts Symposium offered by faculty at USCB Media Arts. The 2018 edition included Mark Kirkland, Director of the highly rated television program, The Simpsons.
- In 2017 the Beaufort Film Society established a relationship with the University of South Carolina Beaufort and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).
- In 2017 the Beaufort Film Society provided a workshop to the Carolina Film Network in Columbia, SC
- In 2018 the Beaufort Film Society offered a presentation to the “Books Sandwiched In” program sponsored by the Friends of Beaufort County Library.
- In 2018 the Shorts at High Noon resumes at the Technical College of the Lowcountry.
- In 2018 Ron Tucker elected to the Board of Directors of the Carolina Film Alliance.
- The Beaufort Film Society contributes to the Beaufort area community regularly through their education outreach program which consists of panel discussions, workshops and presentations on the art and appreciation of filmmaking and screenwriting. They are frequent contributors to classes of Senior Leadership Beaufort and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.
- other non-profits in the Beaufort area benefiting from contributions by the Beaufort Film Society are Young Life of Beaufort; Friends of Caroline Hospice; the Child Abuse Protective Association; The Beaufort Memorial Hospital Valentine’s Ball Fundraise, Beaufort Academy, Tidal Creek Fellowship, and Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Beaufort International Film Festival History and Milestones:
2004: Beaufort Regional Film Commission was established under the auspices of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. Ron Tucker was appointed Chairman and was added as a member of the Executive Committee of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
2004: Ron Tucker attended Film Commissioner training presented by the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) in Las Vegas.
2006: Planning began for the inaugural Beaufort Film Festival. (aka Beaufort Kaleidoscope)
2007: First film festival held at old Lady’s Island Theatre (LIT). Estimated attendance was 500 for the three day festival. (approximately 200 seats)
2008: Second film festival held at LIT with estimated attendance of 1200.
2009: Third film festival held at LIT with estimated attendance of 2500.
2009: The non-profit 501c(3) organization, Beaufort Film Society was created and assumed all administrative, creative, and operational control from the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.
2010: The fourth film festival was held at LIT with estimated attendance of 5000.
2011: The fifth film festival was held at LIT with estimated attendance of 7000.
2012: Venue for all screenings was moved to the University of South Carolina, Beaufort (Center for the Arts). (approximately 470 seats)
2012 – 2018: Attendance steadily increases to around 14,000 attending some part of the 5 day festival in 2018.
2019: Festival expanded to 6 days. Record set for overall attendance at 16,000. Attendees from 33 states and 6 countries. Nearly 300 attending per screening. Tourism Study completed by USCB Lowcountry Resort Islands Tourism Institute: Conclusion: 80% of attendees stated their purpose for visiting Beaufort in February was to attend BIFF.
2009: Tom Berenger awarded the Jean Ribaut Award for Acting
2010: Blythe Danner, Jean Ribaut Award for Acting –presented by Michael O’Keefe
2011: Jonathan Flora awarded the inaugural Santini Patriot Spirit Award for Lt Dan Band: For the Common Good – presented by Tom Berenger
Charles Denler awarded the Jean Ribaut Award for Music for Film
2012: Powers Booth awarded the Jean Ribaut Award for Acting – Presented by Tom Berenger
2013: Mike Tollin awarded the Jean Ribaut Award for Film Directing – presented by Gary Smith (Sports Illustrated Writer)
Chris Brinker awarded the Robert Smalls Indie Vision Award (posthumously)
2014: Arthur Schmidt awarded the Jean Ribaut Award for Film Editing – video congratulations from Robert Zemeckis, Gary Sinise, and Tom Hanks.
Justin Roberts awarded the Santini Patriot Spirit Award – presented by Jonathan Flora
2019: Paul Sorvino awarded the Pat Conroy Lifetime Achievement Award
Joyce Gilliard awarded the Behind the Scenes Award
REVISED: April 2019