PORT TOWNSEND — Joy, music, love, sex, socialism, nose jobs, an environmentalist-drag queen: They are all part of Women & Film, the Port Townsend Film Festival’s spring offering starting Friday.
Eighteen movies — from shorts to narrative features — will be available for streaming during the 10-day event.
This year is the second online presentation of Women & Film, and festival executive director Janette Force finds herself surprised, even floored, by the content.
“I’ll start with ‘Dear Mother Nature.’ It wasn’t a film I expected to become so delighted by,” she said.
It is an introduction to Wyn Wiley (he/him), aka Pattie Gonia (she/her), a hiker who sashays up the trail in high-heeled boots and turns a camping tent into a drag ensemble.
The movie follows Wiley/Gonia as they meet with scientists and nonprofit leaders, rally the local community to lead a beach cleanup and partner with sustainable-fashion designer Angela Luna to create three dresses that personify the crisis.
All of this unspools in the 30-minute short film.
Authenticity is a current running through this year’s festival, Force said.
The films, plus interviews with the directors, are part of the package covered by the $45 all-access pass, on sale at PTfilmfest.com. The site also provides synopses and links to the film’s trailers.
The the festival office can be reached by emailing [email protected] or phoning 360-379-1333.
One pass provides viewing for the whole household, Force noted.
And as soon as Women & Film is underway, those who prefer to buy tickets to individual movies can get them for $10 each.
Here’s a sampling from the Women & Film program:
• “More Beautiful for Having Been Broken,” the story of an FBI agent who, after being suspended from her job, travels to a small mountain town she visited as a child.
• “No Fear No Favor,” a documentary shot over two years in Zambia’s Kafue National Park — one of the largest intact wilderness areas in the world — and in Kenya and Namibia, where community conservancies fight the illegal wildlife trade.
• “Like a Woman,” the story of 11 women who are breaking barriers in male-dominated professions.
• “Acting: The First Six Lessons,” director-actor Emily Bridges’ mix of narrative and documentary featuring her father Beau, uncle Jeff and grandfather Lloyd Bridges.
• “The Girl Who Wore Freedom,” a documentary about Normandy, France, and its people’s relationship with the Allied Forces who liberated their homeland on June 6, 1944, featuring interviews with French survivors and American veterans.
• “Behind the Name Shakespeare: Power, Lust, Scorn & Scandal,” a humorous look at who really wrote the works credited to William Shakespeare.
• “The Big Scary ‘S’ Word,” about socialism, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr. and what a new American socialism might look like.
• “The Dilemma of Desire,” a documentary about artist Sophia Wallace’s work to shatter myths and lies about female desire.
• “River City Drumbeat,” a rhythm-rich, multi-generational tale of the African American drum corps in Louisville, Ky.
On top of those features, Force has created a shorts program.
“How We See Ourselves” lays out six movies, all less than 40 minutes long. These range from the 24-minute “Miss Curvy,” about Uganda’s first beauty pageant for plus-size women, to the 12-minute “Feelings of Invisibility,” the story of Anne K. Abbott. Born with cerebral palsy, she paints with her index finger; her best friend narrates the film using Abbott’s journals.
The shortest short, the five-minute “Broken/Fixed,” is a conversation between an 83-year-old grandmother and her 17-year-old granddaughter about society’s expectations and their own complex relationships with their Jewish noses.
These films, Force said, are all about “how we see ourselves, and how film allows us to see ourselves in a different way.”
Viewers can watch — and re-watch — all of the Women & Film movies and interviews any time they like, she added. They can also take breaks and see any movie before or after watching Force’s interview with the filmmaker.
“The beauty of this is you can pause [the movies] and go back and see them with the perspective of having ‘met’ these directors. I’m continually dazzled by this opportunity,” she said.
Force has announced she’ll retire after the 22nd annual Port Townsend Film Festival Sept. 23-Oct. 3, so she’s at the wheel of her last spring Women & Film event.
The program, she said, showcases movies made by brave, bold female directors, actors and real-life pioneers.
And since it’ll be streamed worldwide, the films present “a great way to bond,” Force added, as far-flung friends and family members can watch the same films — and then discuss them by phone or online chat.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] news.com.