PORT TOWNSEND — In “The Queen of Basketball,” everybody steps aside so Lusia Harris can tell her story — her own true, blazing tale.
In “The Captain,” 27-year-old Sadie Samuels beams while speaking about her life as the only female lobsterman in Maine’s Rockport harbor.
In the animated “Dancer by the Sea,” the woman of the title befriends a dancer of another species.
These are three of the seven short films — the longest of which is 22 minutes — in the Port Townsend Film Festival Preview, available for on-demand streaming Tuesday through Thursday.
That’s more than a week ahead of the main event, a mix of online and outdoor movies Sept. 23-Oct. 3.
Preview tickets are $15 per household via the festival’s Eventive portal: go to watch.eventive.org/ptff2021, look under Special Events and click on Festival Preview.
Since PTFF is presenting the preview in collaboration with the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, www.biartmuseum.org also has information.
The PTFF Preview, 72 minutes in total length, is a set of selected shorts to give viewers a taste of things to come, said Janette Force, the festival’s executive director.
This array “includes dramatic narratives, animation, inspiring profiles in courage, and just enough laughter,” she said, to remind us the world is still a place of wonders.
One of the comedies is the ultra-short “Photo Op,” about a man who unsuspectingly hands his smartphone to a passer-by who’s offered to take his picture. What happens next is a commentary on how much of our lives can be carried around in that electronic device.
“The Beauty President” is a political documentary starring drag queen Joan Jett Black — and an example of how a full life story can fit inside the short-film format. Alongside it is the 3-minute, 46-second drama, “Thoughts and Prayers,” a snapshot of lives cut short. In her introduction packaged with the PTFF Preview, Force calls this film “chilling and beautiful.”
“The Affected,” a drama that mixes suspense, dark humor and social commentary, rounds out the preview. A Norwegian tale set on a commercial jet about to take off, it shows how we all respond differently to the events unfolding around us. Questions raised include: Who should step in? We’re all on the same plane, right?
The full film festival begins next week with plans for a trio of outdoor movies projected onto the huge screen on Taylor Street in downtown Port Townsend. They are “Lily Topples the World,” with featured guest Lily Hevesh, a globetrotting domino-toppler, on Sept. 24; “Legally Blonde” with its screenwriter Kiwi Smith, a Chimacum High School alumna, on Sept. 25; and “A League of Their Own,” starring Madonna, Geena Davis and Tom Hanks on Sept. 26. Admission will be free for all and masks will be strongly encouraged throughout these events; the pre-show starts at 7:15 p.m. and the screenings at 7:30.
The website has synopses, trailers and passes for sale, along with information about the opening-night presentation of “East of the Mountains” starring Tom Skerritt and Mira Sorvino. The screening will include an interview with Skerritt, who receives the film festival’s 2021 lifetime achievement award.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]