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Bicknell International Film Festival Is Back


The Bicknell International Film Festival, an event devoted to cheesy B movies, is returning to Bicknell, Utah after a five-year hiatus. One of the organizers, Don Gomes—a name familiar to many Parkites—talked to KPCW about the event scheduled for this weekend.

The Festival takes place in the Capitol Reef country around Bicknell and Torrey, about a three-hour drive from here. It’s set for July 27th and 28th.

It was first launched in the late 90’s. The organizers included Salt Lake filmmaker Trent Harris, and Lory Smith, who helped found Park City’s film festival in 1981.

During his time in Park City, Don Gomes launched community theater at the Egyptian, was KPCW’s program director, and a morning radio host.

After leaving here, he and wife Annie lived in Indiana and Alaska before settling down to their long-time second home in Torrey.

“When we came back here, it had always been our dream to be here. I hesitate to use the term retire because it’s certainly not retirement. BIFF was always an icon; a lot of fun the films were as you say ‘cheesy’. Celebrating the whole B movie episodes of the 1930’s and 1940’s. They were meant to be kind of like a ‘B’ side of a record back in those days when people remembered what records were. The ‘B’ movie was the second movie on a twin bill. We decided with the help of the Entrada Institute, the sponsoring agency, to bring it back.”

In honor of their former home, Gomes said the festival theme is “Alaska: Movies Worth Freezing for in July.”

The Program is comprised of two films—a familiar Hollywood title, and a new weird film that may become a cult class.

“One of them is called Moose: The Movie. Chad Carpenter who does the Tundra Comic Strip, he put this film together. It’s set in Gangren Gulch. There’s a humanoid supernatural moose that’s set loose. Everyone is quite concerned and the new park ranger and everyone else are sent on quite the wild ride. It’s a silly kind of brainy comedy. On Saturday, we’ll do North to Alaska that was made in 1960. It was one of those things were some named actors had time on their hands, like John Wayne, Ernie Kovacs, Stewart Granger, Fabian, and Capucine. The big attraction for this movie was mainly Johnny Horton’s song ‘North to Alaska’”

The events will include a caravan from Torrey to Bicknell—which was billed in the past as “the world’s fastest parade.”

“From Torrey to Bicknell there will be the caravan. Everybody can gather at 6:00 pm in the Saderlry parking lot. We have a costume contest and we’re encouraging everyone to dress Alaskan, however you interpret that, that’s up to you. I’m hoping there will be quite the variety of miners, and dance hall girls, and animals. There will be a special prize for anybody that shows up with a sled-dog team.”

Don Gomes from the Bicknell International Film Festival. For more information, you can go online or call the Bicknell Theater at 435-425-3493.