Film Fanatics

The Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF) continues to grow in stature and interest in the world of indie filmmaking with each passing year. The seventh year of the festival returns for a gathering of novice and experienced, national and international filmmakers who will screen their works, network with their peers and share their knowledge in workshops attended by other would-be filmmakers and people who simply love movies. All of it is open to the general public, which is part and parcel to the success of the festival.
“We are very encouraged and grateful for the growing positive response that we continue to receive year after year from the Laughlin, Bullhead City, and Tri-state community for LIFF,” said “Mara” Karsen, LIFF executive director and co-founder of the event. “As a new start-up in 2012, we have watched this film festival evolve into an exciting event which the community not only welcomes, but looks forward to.
“We believe that we have enriched the film-going audience experience of the community and have been able to provide an insight into the world of independent filmmaking — goals which everyone on the LIFF team continues to be very passionate about.”
The film festival spans four days, Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 4-7, and during that time there will be more than 130 short and full-length film screenings, workshops on various topics, an Oktoberfest party, social and networking events, a filmmakers breakfast panel, awards ceremony, and overall conversations about the art of filmmaking.
“As we are about to host our seventh annual Laughlin International Film Festival, we continue to be inspired and impressed with the fine independent films that we have the honor of bringing to Laughlin,” Karsen said.
“The film lineup is impressive again, as always, and we believe that the viewing audience will experience many memorable moments from coming to see these films.”
All film screenings will be shown at Laughlin Stadium 9 Cinemas in the Laughlin Outlet Center on Casino Drive. Workshops will be conducted in the Coronado Room upstairs near the Pavilion Theater in the Tropicana Laughlin.
Film screenings at Stadium 9 are held throughout each day:
• Friday (beginning at 10:30 p.m. with last screening at 9:15 p.m.);
• Saturday (10:15 a.m. with the last screening at 9 p.m.);
• Sunday (11:15 a.m. with the closing film screening at 5:30 p.m.).
The films to be screened are placed in a variety of categories, including Feature Films, Short Films, U.S. Documentary Films, Music Videos, Youth Films and more.
All of the short films will be shown in blocks, with two to eight films in each block. There will be separate categories for humor, heavy drama, light drama, the environment, life and death, confusing times, thriller/horror and more.
The list of both feature and short films is too extensive to list here, however, the complete list with times of screenings is available at the information table in front of the Stadium 9 Cinemas box office in the Laughlin Outlet Center, or on their website at
Tickets & Info Table
Tickets for individual film screenings and short film blocks are $10 per person ($8 for students and seniors 55 and older). There are also “all day” screening passes available for each day, or for the full four days and $99 VIP passes that are all inclusive for all four days of films, events, and workshops, as well as workshop-only passes and individual event passes for things like opening night parties, the awards ceremony or the Sunday breakfast. There are also discounts for seniors and students.
Complete details on the various packages, workshop and special events tickets are available online at
Information and individual tickets for film screenings are also available on site during the festival at the Sales and Information table in front of the Stadium 9 box office. This is where pre-purchased tickets and passes can be picked up. It will be open Thursday (noon-8 p.m.), Friday-Saturday (10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.) and Sunday (10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.).

On with the show
As always, the event will be focusing on recognizing and encouraging new up-and-coming filmmakers. The opening night film this year, “The Holy Fail,” is an Irish comedy about four friends who rob a safe in an attempt to save a marriage. All is going great until they get caught by a force even greater than the law. The film was written by and stars Owen Dara, who also wrote the music for the film. The film also stars Jessica Lancaster, Kevin McCormack, Judy Donovan, Frank Prendergast and Stephan Wyley. The film will be shown on Thursday, Oct. 4, at Stadium 9 Cinemas.
The Red Carpet arrival of the director and actors kicks things off (6:30 p.m.) and is followed by the film screening (7:30 p.m.). A Q&A session with the lead actors and director takes place immediately after the screening at the Stadium 9 theater.
There will also be an Opening Night After-Party with appetizers and a cash bar set for the Tropicana Laughlin’s Trellis Bar in Victory Plaza outside in front of the property along Casino Drive, (approximately 10 p.m.-1 a.m.).
Tickets for the opening night film are $12 ($9 students/seniors 55+) and include admission to the Red Carpet and After-Party, and are available at or at Stadium 9 Cinemas on Thursday.
To assure that the local community will have an opportunity to see this film, there will be an additional screening Sunday, Oct. 7 (5:30 p.m.).

Special award and film screening
One of the festival highlights is the film Boonville Redemption, written by Bullhead City resident Judy Belshe-Toernblom, directed by Don Schroeder, and stars veteran entertainer Pat Boone.
Boone also will be receiving the 2018 LIFF Lifetime Achievement Award during the awards ceremony Saturday night. He will be honored for an extensive career that began in the 1950s. He is a successful actor, singer and writer with many hit songs and critically acclaimed movies to his credit. He is best known for his music in the ’50s and ’60s, during which time he sold more than 45 million albums and had 38 Top 40 hits. When he was on tour during that time, Elvis Presley was one of his opening acts.
Boone starred in more than 12 Hollywood films, appeared in many TV series and had his own network TV show. He received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Now 84, he continues to perform and take on special projects such as this indie film.
Boonville Redemption will be screened on Saturday, Oct. 6 (4 p.m.). It is a Western that takes place in a town called Boonville, California, in 1906. It is the story of a 13-year-old girl, born out of wedlock and scorned by many, who is desperately seeking answers about her real father. The film also features Diane Ladd, Edward Asner and Robert Hayes. The film is rated PG, family-friendly.
Boone was scheduled to appear at the screening; however, due to a family illness, he will not be able to attend.

Encouraging the youth
“This is the seventh year we have included a young filmmaker program as part of our film festival — something that is also very near and dear to my heart,” Karsen said. “It is a very important goal for us at LIFF to encourage the next generation of independent filmmakers. If we can be the inspiration for even one young person to try their hand at filmmaking, we have succeeded. To see the excitement and passion of filmmaking come alive in a young person makes our work at LIFF a total success.”
This year also focuses on young filmmakers and includes a “Young Filmmakers 2-Day Passport” event on Saturday, Oct. 6, and Sunday, Oct. 7. The passport allows junior high and high school age students to enjoy appropriately selected indie films all day Saturday, with a sponsored lunch by Desert Dreams Studios. Then on Sunday, they will attend a special screening of “Murrder: Locke and Loaded,” which was directed and stars two young filmmakers from the Laughlin/Bullhead City area, Canyon DiMare and Quincy Barham. They also will learn about the filmmaking process and film industry. Passports for $20 can be purchased online at laughlinfilmfestival or at the sales table in front of the movie theaters.

Saturday workshop
“Social Media,” is a program about all the information outlets for the independent filmmaker, presented by Jessica Lancaster, who will share key insights, social media secrets and tricks. Lancaster is an accomplished actress, producer and social media manager. The workshop is Saturday, Oct. 6 (10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.), in the Coronado Room near the Pavilion Theater. Tickets are $15; $10 for students and seniors 55 and older.
A special free admission LIFF Oktoberfest After Party is scheduled for Pints Brewery & Sports Bar within the Colorado Belle on Friday, Oct. 5 (10 p.m.). There will be a no-host bar, hosted appetizers, special beer pricing, and extended Pints menu available.

The LIFF Awards Ceremony & After-Party takes place in the Tropicana Pavilion Theater on Saturday, Oct. 6 (8 p.m. cocktail hour; 9 p.m. awards presentation; 11:30 after-party). Tickets are $20 ($15 for students and seniors 55 and older).
LIFF will present awards to films in various categories. Appetizers will be served during the cocktail hour before the awards show. The Tropicana Laughlin is awarding a $250 cash prize to the Best University Film of their choice.

Filmmaker buffet breakfast
A panel discussion will be held with directors, producers and actors during a buffet breakfast with hosted mimosas in the Tropicana Pavilion on Sunday, Oct. 7 (doors open 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m. panel discussion). Tickets are $10 per person at the door.


Stadium 9 Cinemas and various sites at the Tropicana

Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 4-7 (See story for full schedule)

See “Showtimes” for ticket info