Wednesday, February 28, 2024

12th annual FLIC film festival comes to Polson

by Daily Inter Lake
| February 8, 2024 12:00 AM

The 12th annual Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (FLIC) presents more than 40 domestic and international films, featuring entries from a dozen countries. Sixteen of the entries were “made in Montana.”

FLIC kicks off with the Taste of Polson at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at Showboat Stadium 6, 416 Main St., Polson. The Taste of Polson will feature a sampling of food from local eateries. Film screenings start at 6 p.m. and go through 10 p.m 

The film festival continues with screenings and other events through Feb. 18, concluding with an awards show and dessert reception at 5:30 p.m.

Artists attending FLIC this year include Oregon-based filmmaker Ray Nomoto Robison and Montana-based actress Mary Riitano. Both are veteran FLIC participants and regular attendees.

This year, Robison’s film, “Will & Tess,” is nominated for the Best Picture – Short category. Based on a real-life experience, the film tells the story of an elderly married couple named Will and Tess. At 90 years old, Tess must accept that it is time for roles to reverse. For decades, she and Will have been supportive and caring parents and now they need to allow their children to care for them.

“‘Will & Tess’” is the most personal film I've ever made,” Robison said in a press release. “I wrote it in frustration with my elderly parents, especially my dad, after trying to have them sign a power of attorney [POA] to allow me or any of their other children to take over responsibility in the event something were to happen to one or both of them.”

“My dad would have nothing to do with a POA — whether it be for finances or medical decisions — and implied that as soon as he signed it we, his children, would put him in an old folks home. As I wrote the screenplay it did evolve into a more loving and understanding story. I don’t plan to ever have my parents see the film. I have made it because for me it is cathartic and I hope my siblings can also find some peace in its story,” he said.

Riitano has acted in diverse roles in half a dozen FLIC Official Selection films over the years including “What Separates Us,” and  “Wuthering Heights,” both named Best Picture in 2018 and 2020. She was also a Best Actress nominee in “Swing.” This year, she appears in two Montana-made short dramas, “Homestead,” and “They Don’t Leave.” 

“Homestead,” written and directed by Skye Grace Bennett, tells the story of a successful painter returning to her hometown in hopes of reuniting with her estranged father, according to Riitano plays the role of stepmother, Kelly, according to

In “They Don’t Leave,” directed and written by Caz McGovern, “A divorced alcoholic seeks refuge in a remote ancestral cabin only to be confronted by demons that have haunted her family for generations,” according to IMDB. Riitano plays the role of Jolene Brooks

“FLIC is this little treasure of a film festival tucked in the mountains in Montana, that has the most fantastic film festival runners,” Riitano said.

Tickets are $7.50 per screening block and may be purchased at Showboat Stadium 6 or by calling 883-5603. All-access passes cost $50 and may be purchased online at or at the theater.

For people who can’t attend the festival, encore screenings will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 18  through 22 at the movie theater.

For more information visit

Oregon-based filmmaker and regular FLIC entrant and participant Ray Nomoto Robison chats with festival goers. This year, his short film "Will & Tess" will be screened Saturday, Feb.17 at Showboat Stadium 6 in Polson. (Photo by Alex Kowalchik)

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