Port Townsend wraps up ‘wonderful’ film festival

PORT TOWNSEND — It’s a wrap.

The 12 annual Port Townsend Film Festival closed Sunday night with special showings of the two films that won top honors, and a feeling that the event was one of the best in its class.

“The interest in our festival has been building for 12 years,” Executive Director Janette Force said at a gala on Saturday night.

“These awards represent our wonderful, eclectic community.”

Attendance was considered good, but exact numbers won’t be tabulated until later this week.

Taylor Street, for example, was packed for a Saturday night showing of “Back to the Future.”

“Koran By Heart” was recognized on Saturday as Best Documentary Feature while “Hello Lonesome” got the nod for Best Narrative Feature.

“This is a world-class film festival,” said “Hello Lonesome” director Adam Reid in his acceptance speech.

“I come here and make a lot of new friends, which I take home with me.”

Reid began Saturday teaching a screenwriting workshop and said at the gala that “today felt like it lasted for two weeks.

“There has never been a better time to be a creative mind,” he said at the workshop.

“All the tools are at your disposal to create and express yourself.”

Force lauded the festival for this creativity and the variety.

“With 12 years under our belt we have shown a true diversity in films, locations and nationalities,” she said.

“This year we have shown films from all over the world.”

“Koran By Heart,” a coming of age story about Islamic kids in modern times was one of the films that represented this diversity, according to Force.

Also receiving documentary awards was “With My Own Two Wheels,” Best Documentary Short; “Kadoma,” Best Adventure Film; “The Barber of Birmingham,” Honoring Historic and Artistic Courage; “Ten Years to Nashville,” Excellence in Direction and “How to Die in Oregon” for Extraordinary Grace Behind the Camera.

“Hello Lonesome” follows six people who are looking for love, and how their lives intersect.

Two other awards were given in the narrative category, “Pioneer” as Best Narrative Short and “INUK” for Excellence of Craft.

Also honored at Saturday night’s gala was film festival board member Cynthia Sears, who received the second annual Spirit of the Port Townsend Film Festival Award.

Force said that no attendance figures would be available until later this week, but many of the films were filled to capacity and the streets were filled with festival visitors and locals for the nightly free movie screenings.

“Back to the Future” was shown on Saturday night, when the mood was enhanced by a prop spaceship and an alien statue that peeked over the crowd from an adjacent building.

A DeLorean car — which figures prominently in the film — was also on display, loaned to the festival for the evening by Gabriel and Sarah Chrisman.

Sarah Chrisman, a massage therapist who wears period clothes from the 19th century, said their ownership of the car was not incongruous.

“Our favorite periods are the 1890s and the 1980s,” she said.

“And it fits right in with the third movie, where they go back in time.”

Force handled emcee duties at the gala, complementing filmmakers and participants, but she received her own spontaneous honor at he evening’s close when someone shouted “you’re a rock star.”

Force responded immediately.

“You do what you can, darlin’,” she said.


Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

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