The event precedes the opening-night program of Best of the Northwest Shorts followed by the feature-length documentary "Quiet Explosions: Healing the Brain."
I've already previewed two films that this year's festival has to offer (scroll down). In this post, I'll present another: the German-made film "Balloon," which will screen at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Magic Lantern Theater.
Based on real events, "Balloon" harks back to the late 1970s when something we used to call the Iron Curtain still split Western and Eastern Europe — specifically, in this case, West and East Germany.
Tired of the repressive East German regime, two families hatch a unique plan: to use a hot-air balloon to float over the wall that separates the two countries and seek asylum in the West.
Directed by Michael Herbig, "Balloon" tells a familiar story. In fact, the feat by the families was covered by the 1982 Disney movie "Night Crossing." This time, though, the intent was to “make a German film for an international audience.”
In any event, even if you're familiar the story, "Balloon" boasts a sense of suspense that will carry you along — much as the Oscar-winning movie "Argo" does.
Tickets for SpIFF 2020 are going fast. And festival passes have already sold out. Click here for more ticket information.
Personal disclaimer: I serve as a volunteer programmer for the Spokane International Film Festival, and I am an unpaid member of the festival's board of directors. I've attended every festival, as either a reporter or as a fan, since its inception in 1999.