“We realized how much people really love foreign films, which you know and you program them for film festivals, but because of that, we programmed even more this year,” Puig said.
Puig also said that having such a diverse lineup will allow for festival-goers to learn more about other cultures.
“To me, I've always felt that watching film from all over the world is a lot like travel,” Puig said. “Reading and watching film introduces you to worlds that you might otherwise never have an entry into. So, if you are interested in human nature, if you're interested in other cultures, if you're interested in knowing more about yourself and the people around you and your family, those are all really good reasons to see films.”
In addition to screening films from around the world, the festival will also include panels and Q&As that give patrons insight into the filmmaking process.
On Oct. 10, the festival will hold a special screening of “Rocketman.” Ray Williams, who is credited with the discovery of Elton John, will attend the screening.
On Oct. 12, the festival will hand out its Distinguished Screenwriter Award for the first time to Anthony McCarten following a screening of his latest film, “The Two Popes.”
“I'd just love to hear exactly what that process is, and I'm personally interested in understanding how you get into the minds of people who would be very difficult to actually get into the minds of," Puig said. “How he did it, and how those two people that we know of — historical, actual figures — how they come alive on the screen.”
On Oct. 13, four-time Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Joe Letteri will be discussing his work on films such as the “Lord of the Rings” franchise and “Avatar.”
“It's a college town, and there are a lot of people that are striving to get into that business and learn the craft,” said Carol Marshall, co-founder and director of the festival. “We've always wanted to have some sort of opportunity for students to meet the filmmakers that come in and affect their experience.”
The festival is also running a weekend-long event called “Offscreen: Interactive Student Symposium,” which will allow students interested in filmmaking to network with industry professionals.
Festival founder and CEO Randi Emerman said that seeing so many students at last year’s festival led to her wanting to include more educational offerings this year.
“We want to build on our involvement with the university students, not just to come see films, but to be part of their educational experience,” Emerman said.
Emerman said that she is most looking forward to seeing festival-goers watch and discuss the films.
“That's why we do this, so that you guys in the community and the people that come in can experience and be part of this — something so special,” Emerman said.