By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“There is a collaboration between the business and arts leaders in Port Townsend which is why we have such a vibrant community,” Janette Force told a crowd of about 50 people at the Elks Club.
“We have looked at each other during the festival and tried to determine how we can make this a better place.”
The 15th annual festival takes place Sept. 19 through Sept. 21 in several locations around Port Townsend.
About 90 films, most of them documentaries and short films, are to be shown at the festival, which will feature independent film icons John Sayles and Maggie Renzi as special guests.
Force singled out the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader and the Silverwater Cafe as examples of the partnerships that can be created, respectively for the creation of a compelling program and the serving of dinner to 600 people at the beginning of the festival.
Force said that the film festival and the American Legion Hall has also established a mutually beneficial partnership.
“A lot of people who have visited the Legion Hall have noticed their sound is a little bit challenging,” she said.
“We got help from Centrum to develop a better sound system and designed portable baffles that absorb the sound.
“This has given us a great venue for the festival and has given them something they can use to improve their other events.”
New partnerships continue, and this year, local dentist Steven Scharf has signed on to put up a booth to give out toothbrushes and floss and to introduce a new associate.
Force said that almost every business can find a film tie-in that can be developed in conjunction with the film festival although this can take “creative thinking.”
Force said the festival has a long-term impact that may not be apparent during the event itself.
“It may seem to you that people aren’t coming into your businesses during the festival,” she said.
“We keep them indoors quite a bit, but their experiences here encourage them to come back.”
Force said one of the most rewarding experiences at the festival occurs during the movie showings on an inflatable screen situated at the corner of Water and Taylor streets.
She encouraged people to stand on that corner during a screening, look toward Galatea Fountain and observe those watching the movie.
“You will see 1,000 illuminated faces with the same expression at the same time. It is nothing short of magic,” she said.
“That’s what happens in the movies: We all make an agreement to suspend disbelief and be joined together as storytellers and we are in that moment exactly the same as people sitting around campfires and the people who are in church.
“We are all having common experiences that I believe changes us,”
For more information, visit www.ptfilmfest.com or call 360-379-1333
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.