Port Townsend Film Fest readies red carpet for 3-day event
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Port Townsend Film Festival Executive Director Janette Force, left, discusses a last-minute itinerary with volunteer coordinator Kendra Golden.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Preparations for the 14th annual Port Townsend Film Festival are heading toward the finish line as staff members manage last-minute details before guests and filmmakers begin arriving this week.

“I'm dealing with five different itineraries and need to set up a few more airport runs,” said Janette Force, in her fifth year as directing the festival, which begins Friday and will run through Sunday.

“Some of the guests think they can take a cab out here,” she said.

“Boy, are they in for a surprise.”

About 270 volunteers are involved in the event, in which 93 films will be shown in seven locations over a three-day period.

Force said it isn't possible to say exactly how many people attend, but there are generally 7,000 people in theater seats during the event.

Film festivals tend to assume aspects of their setting. The Port Townsend event is pretty relaxed.

“People in Port Townsend aren't pretentious about what we do,” Force said.

“People call up and say, 'What should I wear?' and 'Should I bring a suit?'”

Force said she tells them they just need cloth pants “that won't tear when you get in and out of the pickup truck that brings you to the parade.

“We are down-home and professional at the same time.”

The range of attendees covers a variety of ages, interests and experience.

“One exciting thing this year will be having Karen Allen on stage with the winners of the PDN-PDQ contest,” said Force, referring to the three-minute film competition sponsored by the Peninsula Daily News and the film festival.

“On one stage, we will have two extremes of filmmaking: brand-new talent and a seasoned professional, side by side.”

Winners of the PDN-PDQ contest, which was held in August and drew 22 entries, were: “Pink,” by Torrie McIntyre of Port Angeles and Tenille Tosland of Sequim; “Hareloom Seeds,” by Peter Ray of Vashon Island; and “Because It's There,” by David Gough of Burntwood, England.

They will be part of the free Outdoor Cinema presentations of feature films at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The filmmakers will be introduced to the crowd at showtime.

“Hareloom Seeds” screens before “Starman” on Friday; “Pink” will be shown before “Finding Nemo” on Saturday; and “Because It's There” will screen before the surfing movie “Step into Liquid” on Sunday.

“Don't Say I Didn't Warn You,” a series of six short films, will be shown at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Uptown Theatre, 1120 Lawrence St., and at noon Sunday at the Silverwater Theatre, 237 Taylor St.

Jamie King, who graduated from Port Townsend High School in 2001 and is the son of Port Townsend Mayor David King, is one of the featured filmmakers.

He will show his short film “The Real Housewives of Shakespeare,” a 23-minute mash-up of Shakespeare's plays and reality television.

King, 31, said not everyone will get the concept.

“This is not going to be a viral video. It caters to a specific taste,” King said from Los Angeles, where he lives.

“A lot of it will go over people's heads, but I didn't want to dumb things down. It can be an intellectual challenge for people to spot all of the references.”

When King was in high school, he wanted to be an actor, and he pursued that path.

He now works on the technical side and wants to be a “show runner,” someone who attends to details on a television show.

During his youth, he worked at the Rose Theatre in Port Townsend, which he said set the stage for his love of movies.

“It's great to see a small-town boy who now works in the film industry, knowing that he got the tools to get started here,” Force said.

“This won't be the last time we see him,” she added. “I expect he will do great work in the future.”

Port Townsend is home to two who conquered Mount Everest, Jim Whittaker and his son, Leif Whittaker., and another member of the mountaineering family will be featured at the festival.

Lou Whittaker, Jim's twin brother, will screen “A Life in The Mountains” at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Rose Theatre, 235 Taylor St., and at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at the Peter Simpson Free Cinema at the American Legion, 209 Monroe St.

He spent his career as a guide on mountains throughout the world. He climbed Mount Everest twice but never reached the summit.

“It doesn't bother me that I didn't reach the top because I knew I could do it,” he said, having relinquished his spot on the summit to another climber.

Lou Whittaker, 84, has slowed down in recent years, with his son taking over his guide business, Rainier Mountaineering Inc., on Mount Rainier but said his physical accomplishments in his youth have allowed him to hike well into his 80s.

There are some changes in the business.

“Hiking used to be more of a blue-collar pastime, and we could take someone up the mountain for $28,” he said.

“Now, when we take someone up the mountain, it will cost them $1,000.”

Whittaker and King are two who underscore the festival's hometown flavor and easygoing charm.

“This event takes down the barrier between the film and the audience,” Force said.

“Everyone is in it together,” she said.

“There is no separation between the people who are attending and the professionals who are exhibiting their work.”

For more information on venues and tickets, phone 360-379-1333 or visit www.ptfilmfest.com.

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 17. 2013 5:49PM
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