The 13th Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema (IIFC) opens online Tuesday, March 8. The final official day for viewing the more than 80 film selections is Sunday, March 13.

Again in 2022, restrictions due to the COVID pandemic have limited the festival’s presence in Idyllwild. While the awards ceremony will still be live, it also will be online.

Festival Director Stephan Savage vows this will be the final virtual IIFC. “I’m done. It’s not fun, it can’t be virtual again,” he stated. “I’m not interested. It’s disconcerting.”

Despite his current frustration, Savage, like many Californians, believes events will return to pre-COVID times by next spring. “If not, I’ll shut the door and bow out. The festival is no longer fun.”

While optimistic about next year, Savage remains excited about the film selections for the 2022 festival.

One of his favorites is “Just a Man and a Woman” that stars Chuti Tui as the woman and Roberto Sanchez as the man. Well-known Oscar Torre of “The Haves and The Haves Nots” is both the director and writer.

“Rogue,” starring Oyeman Ehikhamtem, is an independent western. “It’s beautifully shot and an African-American plays the lead,” Savage noted.

For those with a leaning toward Quentin Tarantino films, Savage suggests “Neon Blood.”

For a comedy, “Fixer Upper,” a short, that stars its director Kathleen Quinlan, is worth viewing time, too, he said.

Several international films caught Savage’s attention. “Short Cuts” is an Austrian film. And two South African films to watch are “Alone” and “Margarine.” The other international film Savage touted is “Lucy 2.0” from the United Kingdom.

Awards such as the Mary Austin Awards for Directing, Screenwriting and Producing still exist.

Although the festival will be online or streaming, the awards ceremony will be live, but also online so the trophy cannot be handed to the recipient. It will be mailed after the festival closes.

One interesting and humorous consequence of the online IIFC in 2021 was the spontaneous “Best ‘Bring Your Own Trophy’ Award.”

Trinity Houston, IIFC executive producer, asked the winners to bring something to the online award moment. For example, last year, one winner held up their 6-month old baby as though it were the trophy. Several used their pet dogs and an imitation Oscar also was seen.