Film Festival volunteer Karen Putterman, right, of Port Townsend checks in volunteers on Thursday in preparation for the weekend’s festivities. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Film Festival volunteer Karen Putterman, right, of Port Townsend checks in volunteers on Thursday in preparation for the weekend’s festivities. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Film festival kicks off in Port Townsend

Stars to light up what should be a sell-out success.

PORT TOWNSEND — Ticket sales have been brisk for the three-day Port Townsend Film Festival, which starts today with films at 9 a.m.

“We’ve already sold out of our low-level passes,” said Janette Force, festival executive director. “We’ve also sold more patron and director level passes than ever before.”

Force said she expects to sell out of passes completely by Saturday afternoon.

Passes can be picked up or purchased at the hospitality room at 701 Water St., in Port Townsend, where attendees can purchase festival merchandise. Force said new merchandise ranges from T-shirts to notebooks, coffee mugs and key chains.

Also for sale are copies of director Charlie Soap’s movie “The Cherokee Word for Water,” which Force highly recommends to movie goers this year.

Soap, one of the festival’s special guests, will be interviewed by Bruce Hattendorf — dean of arts and sciences at Peninsula College — after the 6:30 p.m. Saturday screening of his film at the American Legion Hall at 209 Monroe St. The film will be shown again at 9 a.m. Sunday in the Starlight Room, which is on the third floor at 237 Taylor St.

Soap’s film previously sold out showings in Port Townsend so Force said she was eager to bring him back.

Two other special guests — actress Karen Allen and actor and director Andrew Perez, will be interviewed by Seattle film critic Robert Horton during “The Art of Acting” at the auditorium of the Port Townsend High School, 1500 Van Ness St. at 1:40 p..m. today. The public and pass holders are welcome to attend.

Pass holders can meet Allen as she is interviewed by Horton at the screening of her film “Year By the Sea,” when it screens at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at the American Legion Hall.

The director, screenwriter and composer of “Year By the Sea” Alexander Janko — another festival special guest — will be interviewed by Horton after a screening of the film at 6:15 p.m. today at the Rose Theatre, 235 Taylor St.

Other special guests are Pixar animator David Tart; Doug Blush, director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer; author and filmmaker Jon Gann; Legacy runner Johnnie Jameson; J.J.Kelley, National Geographic director and correspondent; Coffin Nachtmahr, featured in “Throw” during the festival; and producer Bill Borden, who returns to Port Townsend after 35 years. He was last in town as the location manager for the movie “An Officer and a Gentlemen,” which was filmed at Fort Worden State Park and in downtown Port Townsend.

Debuting this year will be “Phil’s Camino,” a documentary filmed on and about Vashon Island. The film is about a man with Stage 4 cancer who dreams of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, but when he is unable to fly to Spain, he decides to build his own Camino on Vashon Island.

That film will be showing at the American Legion at 6:30 p.m. today and in the Cotton Building, 607 Water St., at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Force also recommends “By Us,” especially to Port Townsend residents. The film is about small towns and features Port Townsend as a subject.

It is directed by Ron Colby and will be showing Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the American Legion and Saturday at 6:15 p.m. in the Rose Theater.

Free outdoor films will be shown every evening at 7:30 p.m. on Taylor Street. Magician Joey Pipia will start off with a show every evening.

Tonight, “Field of Dreams” will be screened. On Saturday, the film will be “Toy Story” with an introduction by Tart. On Sunday, Allen will introduce “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

“We try to make it a real family friendly event,” said Force. “We provide some straw bales but encourage everyone to bring their own seating.”

New this year will be concierge services for Patron and Director level pass holders. Force said the concierge will sit down with the pass holders and help them plan which films they will see that weekend so pass holders can simply collect their tickets at the door.

Force said the festival also will feature harpist Christine Bonner whose music will be playing in theaters as people walk in before the show.

Chris and Pat McFaul have created a website that will show festival goers how many seats are available in each of the theaters at any given time. The website can be accessed with a smart phone at

“This festival is the best block party,” said Pam Dionne, a writer from Port Townsend who has been attending the festival since day one.

“I think everyone looks forward to this event,” said Harvey Putterman, a Port Townsend local who has volunteered at the festival every year with his wife, Karen Putterman.

Anne Schneider, an artist from Port Townsend, said she appreciated how the festival brings in volunteers and patrons both locally and from around the world.

“I like what it brings to our town,” Schneider said. “It’s well managed and exposes our visitors to the best that we can offer.”

During the festival, each of the theaters in downtown Port Townsend will screen more than 42 feature films each day.

Pass prices range from $15 rush tickets, which are cash only and can be purchased 10 minutes before any film screening that still has seats available, to the $1,500 pass, which comes with guaranteed seating to unlimited films as well as entrance to invitation-only events.

A program of all the films — along with theater information, film summaries and trailers and ticket information — can be found at


Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at

Film Festival concierge Kara Johnson was at the Festival hospitality site to help pass holders make plans for the many films will be shown in Port Townsend this weekend. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Film Festival concierge Kara Johnson was at the Festival hospitality site to help pass holders make plans for the many films will be shown in Port Townsend this weekend. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

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