Madpix Inc. filmmakers Doug Blush and Lisa Klein, whose movie “The S Word” appeared in the 2017 Port Townsend Film Festival, are teaching a nine-week documentary filmmaking seminar. (Photo courtesy of the Port Townsend Film Festival)

Madpix Inc. filmmakers Doug Blush and Lisa Klein, whose movie “The S Word” appeared in the 2017 Port Townsend Film Festival, are teaching a nine-week documentary filmmaking seminar. (Photo courtesy of the Port Townsend Film Festival)

Port Townsend Film Festival announces prizes, seeks new boss

Director plans to leave after annual fall event

PORT TOWNSEND — News from the Port Townsend Film Festival this week includes the Women & Film fest’s Audience Choice prizes, a hiring announcement and a new documentary filmmaking seminar.

“The Girl Who Wore Freedom,” Christian Taylor’s film about what came after the Allied invasion of Normandy, won the Audience Choice award for best documentary in the Women & Film fest, presented online earlier this month.

Also landing a prize, this one for best narrative feature, was “Killing Eleanor,” the story of a highly unconventional deal made between a terminally ill mother and her drug-addicted daughter.

Preparations are underway for the 22nd annual Port Townsend Film Festival, a virtual event set for Sept. 23 through Oct. 3.

Some in-person activities may be added — time will tell, said film festival Executive Director Janette Force.

After that fest wraps, Force will wrap up her decade-long tenure as chief.

The search for a successor has begun, with the job description posted on the Port Townsend festival’s website,, and with national organizations, including Film Festival Alliance.

“We have had applicants,” said K.C. Upshaw, PTFF’s development and promotion director, on Wednesday, “and we’re excited to have this opportunity to do a wide-reaching search.”

Upshaw, Force and Administration Director Christy Spencer are the festival’s three year-round, full-time staffers — and “we’re excited to grow in our own roles,” said Upshaw, who just added a third title, human resources director, to her job description.

The executive director’s salary range is $62,000 to $70,000, with a projected start date between Sept. 1 and Jan. 1. Duties include leading the spring Women & Film fest and fall Port Townsend Film Festival, which have grown from screening about two dozen movies in 1999 to presenting more than 125 films between the two events.

Force and her staff are now encouraging new documentary filmmakers — local and otherwise — to look into “The Art of Documentary Film Creation,” a nine-week virtual workshop with Los Angeles-based filmmakers Doug Blush and Lisa Klein.

The interactive course, limited to 20 students, will meet Tuesday mornings from June 1 through July 27 and culminate, for each student, in the production of a short documentary.

“You will leave with your own film,” Upshaw said.

“We are really fortunate to have Doug and Lisa and to expand our programming in this way,” she said, adding that Blush is not only an Oscar-winning filmmaker but also a seasoned educator who has taught at the University of Southern California and other institutions.

With hundreds of films to their credit, Blush and Klein are founders of Madpix Inc., a film production company focused on social justice.

Hence the tuition for this first such seminar offered by the nonprofit PTFF: $495.

Some scholarships are available. The registration deadline is May 22; information can be found at or by calling 360-379-1333.


Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

Janette Force.

Janette Force.

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