PORT TOWNSEND — Holding a film festival during a writers and performers strike can have its challenges, but fortunately, Lindsay Wagner is up to it.
The Emmy award-winning “Bionic Woman” star will be at the Port Townsend Film Festival Opening Night Gala tonight and will discuss filmmaking with her younger son Alex Kingi, an actor and stuntman, during a forum on Sunday.
The 24th annual festival will begin with the gala from 5:30 to 7:30 tonight at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St., followed by the first film of the festival, “Red White & Brass,” at 8 p.m. at the American Legion Theater, 209 Monroe St. It continues with 53 films from all over the world, filmmaker forums and a number of special filmmaker guests.
“We will do a question-and-answer on our experience in the industry since we have been in it a long time, because we can’t talk about my projects,” Wagner said Wednesday about the Sunday forum.
Being unable to talk about television or movie projects did seem to have its advantages, though, such as when she was featured at Dragon Con, an annual multimedia and popular culture convention held on Labor Day in Atlanta.
“I just went through this in Georgia,” said Wagner, 74. “Don’t ask anything about movies or television. If I say the name, then I am promoting it.
“There’s stuff we can talk about at the question-and-answer versus specific projects,” she added. “It turned out to be fun because it was not the same old questions. I felt like we were having a party instead of just our usual dog and pony show.”
Although she can’t discuss it because of the strike, Wagner does star in a film being shown at the festival, “When Jack Came Back.”
The festival’s website gives this description: “After the sudden death of her husband, Nancy enlists the help of her estranged son, Jack, to help with the farm. Jack, a down-on-his-luck actor living in Los Angeles, begrudgingly comes home to find his mom in the grip of Alzheimer’s. The two of them must find some common ground as time is running out.”
One film project Wagner can discuss is a voice-over for an independent documentary.
“One I can mention because it is an independent production is I’m doing the voice-over for a documentary about a man who lost both legs from the knee down,” she said. “He was determined to get his strength back and get back to doing what he loved, mountain climbing.
“It’s about determination,” Wagner continued. “I haven’t done the voice-over yet. It’s independent of everything, so it’s not involved in a production company yet. It’s called ‘One More Step, the Gordon McDonald Story.’ I know this project will inspire people to dig deeper and find a way. It’s a ways off.”
Wagner said she promoted the project when she was featured at Dragon Con.
Wagner lives in the Los Angeles area but bought a house in Dungeness in 2005, which she sold about seven years ago. Her connection to the area was one of the things that convinced her to take part in this weekend’s film festival in Port Townsend.
“I was coming to visit friends because I had a little lag time. So I came from Dragon Con and I was heading home. Then the festival contacted me. So it was primarily the festival, but I just love the area,” she said. “It was both.”
As well as being a film and television actress, model, author, singer and acting coach, Wagner leads seminars on how to “Quiet the Mind & Open the Heart” at conference centers across North America and Europe.
“It was working with a concept that our suffering comes from our perception of the people or event that gives us the pain. The experience of any life circumstance is our perception,” she said. “When you embrace the idea, it’s a wonderful opportunity to work with that: ‘He did what he did and that’s his issue.’”
Wagner said when people are upset, they don’t see the truth in themselves.
“I teach things that have helped me shift perspective. Shifting is just a start, though. Those things are embedded in you, and there’s techniques that we teach to deal with them. It’s all work that applies to everyone.
“I don’t do it as much as I used to,” Wagner said. “I did virtual ones for a couple of months. It went well.
“We kept the classes small so we got to chat. I was pleasantly surprised with that.”
As far as what’s next, Wagner appears to have left that open.
“I’m working on an autobiography or memoir thing, but I’m not anywhere near saying, ‘It’s close to coming out.’ I’ve been busy with moving and family stuff,” she said.
Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at email@example.com.