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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

SpIFF 2019: The world returns to Spokane

Above: A scene from the Kosovar film "Cold November."

I've already mentioned the single mainstream opening that is listed on the national movie-release schedule. Now let's turn to the major local moviegoing event that begins also on Friday.

The 2018 Spokane International Film Festival.

With its roots going back to 1999, when it was originally called the Spokane Northwest Film Festival, SpIFF has been over the past two decades this city's most important annual moviegoing event.

The "international" tag of the festival's title, which was added in in 2002 ("Northwest" was dropped two years later), involves the dozens of films from all over the world that event programmers have sought out. Those film have hailed from countries as far away as Mongolia, Thailand and India, with others from numerous others from most other continents.

This year, along with films from countries as diverse as Kosovo, China, France and Hungary, SpIFF is featuring a regional look. Friday's opening program, which begins at 5:30 at the Bing Crosby Theater, will feature a collection of Northwest shorts, followed by a program of mid-length films.

For full disclosure, I want to stress that I serve as a volunteer member of SpIFF's board of directors, which means I make no profit from the festival. I am also a senior programmer, and I will introduce the film from Kosovo — "Cold November" — before its 3:30 p.m. screening Saturday at the Magic Lantern.

That said, SpIFF 2019 is set to run for eight days, with most other screening slated to be held at the Magic Lantern Theatre. This year's festival promises to be, as always, a rewarding experience. In any event, tickets are going fast.

Below: The Hungarian film "Jupiter's Moon" will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, as SpIFF's closing feature.