Port Townsend Film Fest offers 60 films

Online version offers unique interviews

  • By Emily Matthiessen Olympic Peninsula News Group
  • Wednesday, September 21, 2022 1:30am
  • LifeJefferson County

PORT TOWNSEND — “The impact of the Port Townsend Film Festival is about the stories our films tell and the rich resonance those stories find with our audiences,” festival executive director Danielle McClelland said.

After two years of virtual festivals and a few outdoor screenings in 2021, patrons will be able to attend screenings of nearly 60 films at five indoor venues and daily free outdoor movies on Taylor Street, beginning Thursday and running through Sunday.

“Independent filmmakers are looking to have a deep impact on a specific audience rather than the mass appeal of the studio productions,” McClelland said. “Our programmers are seeking out films they know will affect the people of Port Townsend and our guests.”

Venues will be the Rose Theatre, the Rosebud and the Starlight Room in the 200 block of Taylor Street and the American Legion Hall and the Cotton Building, both on Water Street. All are within walking distance of each other.

Most of the 60 films offered at the Port Townsend Film Festival (PTFF) also will be online this coming Monday through Oct. 2 for those people who would like to watch a range of films in the comfort of their own homes on their own schedules, alone or with a group.

In-person screenings and events begin Thursday with an opening ceremony, “Gathering the Storytellers,” at 5:30 p.m. at the Taylor Street Outdoor Theatre. The ceremony precedes the free outdoor movie, A League of Their Own.

The following evening, at 4 p.m. Friday, will be the red carpet arrival of visiting filmmakers in vintage cars provided by the Rakers Car Club at the base of the Taylor Street stairs at Haller Fountain.

At 4:45 p.m. Friday, the Dekoboko Taiko, based in Seattle, will offer a drumming performance in conjunction with the documentary film, Finding Her Beat. The event will be in the American Legion Hall at 209 Monroe St.

At 6 p.m. Friday at the Rose Theater, will be an award ceremony for special guest John Cooper, honoring him for his three decades with the Sundance Film Festival, culminating in his service as director.

“From 2010 to 2020, he oversaw all aspects of the annual Sundance Film Festival working closely with Sundance founder Robert Redford,” PTFF says on its website at www.ptfilmfest.com.

After the ceremony, All is Lost, starring Redford, will be screened.

Two other special guests will be honored at the festival. Jared and Jerusha Hess are a husband-and-wife American filmmakers best known for their work on Napoleon Dynamite (2004), Nacho Libre (2006) and Gentlemen Broncos (2009).

Napoleon Dynamite was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and won first place at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

It will be shown at American Legion Hall at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. After the screening will be a discussion about the film.

Napoleon Dynamite also will be screened as a free movie on Taylor Street on Sunday.

Other Taylor Street movies, all of which will be at 7 p.m., are Goonies on Friday and Sing on Saturday.

McClelland said the online version of the festival will have a total of 27 screening blocks of 90 to 120 minutes. Twenty-two of those are feature films and five of those are shorts blocks made up of a group of shorts.

McClelland mentioned “Daughter of a Lost Bird” as “an exciting film being offered online.” She said that “it has special significance for this area.”

According to the film’s website (daughterofalostbird.com), “the story follows Kendra, an adult Native adoptee, as she reconnects with her birth family, discovers her Lummi heritage, and confronts issues of her own identity. Her singular story echoes many affected by the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Indian Adoption Project.”

See vimeo.com/533738588 for a trailer of “Daughter of a Lost Bird.”

Some filmmaker interviews are available only in the online film festival, included in the price of their films, while some films may only be viewed in person in Port Townsend.

“The great thing about the online festival is that you get access to unique interviews with the majority of the filmmakers,” McClelland said.

“Staff, community members, and film industry professionals host compelling conversations with the writers/directors/producers behind these amazing films.

“Many of the filmmaker interviews available online are with artists who are not able to be here in PT, so it is an added value, no doubt about it.”

Ten films will be shown in-person only. They are Butterfly in the Sky, It Ain’t Over, Fashion Reimagined, The Territory, Sam Now, Finding Her Beat — an advance screening, Bad Axe, Pez Outlaw, Make People Better and Savage Waters. Everything else will be available online.

For unlimited viewing, an online pass is $135, versus the $250 for unlimited in-person viewing. Single show passes are $15 for online viewing, $20 for in person attendance. Sale of the single online pass begins the day of the online festival, but other passes are available now.

Visit ptfilmfest.com for more information, a thorough listing and synopsis of each film and where and when it can be viewed, and to buy passes.

For specifics about online viewing, visit ptff2022.eventive.org/HowtoFest-virtual.


Emily Matthiessen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at emily.matthiessen@sequimgazette.com.

Executive Editor Leah Leach contributed to this story.

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