Sixth annual Port Townsend film festival features Winger, 50 features

PORT TOWNSEND — The big screen came to Taylor Street this weekend — literally and figuratively — with filmmaking as art holding an edge over Hollywood’s glitz and glamour.

“We’re not about the pretty picture, we’re about the craft,” Karen Gates Hildt, a film festival board member, said Saturday at the sixth annual Port Townsend Film Festival.

When the event closes today, attendance is expected to at least match last year’s 5,000 attendees, said festival Executive Director Peter Simpson.

“There’s a great buzz about the movies,” Simpson said of the 50 feature films shown over the three-day affair.

The film festival is featuring diverse films, from the oddball documentary about a whimsical touring gay country music duo, “Life In A Box,” to the romantic drama “An Officer and a Gentleman,” which was filmed on location in Port Townsend in 1981, and co-starred Debra Winger.

Winger returns

Winger returned to Port Townsend for the first time since filming her role in “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

“I barely remember being in Port Townsend,” she said after a National Public Radio interview, then happily signed autographs in the Upstage Theatre & Restaurant parking lot.

Winger and her husband, Arliss Howard, enjoyed a picnic at Port Townsend’s Chetzemoka Park with film festival officials, and visited Copper Canyon Press at Fort Worden State Park, where their friend and poet, Ted Kooser, is published.

Kooser was appointed the Library of Congress’s 13th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in 2004.

Winger recalled a target painted on a sidewalk at one filming location, possibly the then-Town Tavern, now Water Street Brewing at Water and Quincy streets.

It was a place where several people had jumped out of the building, she remembered.

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