PORT TOWNSEND — Passes were handed out for the 18th annual Port Townsend Film Festival, and screenings began this morning in downtown Port Townsend.
“We live here and we love movies,” said Oliver Henry of Port Townsend, who picked up passes for his sixth festival Thursday afternoon.
“They always have such great choices. I enjoy the documentaries, but it sounds like there’s some great features this year as well.”
Documentaries are popular among film festival attendees, and this year won’t disappoint, with 19 featured documentaries and more than a dozen documentary shorts being screened this weekend at eight Port Townsend venues: the Starlight Room, the Cotton Building, the Rose Theatre and Rosebud Theatre, the Northwest Maritime Center, the American Legion Hall, the Key City Playhouse and outdoors on Taylor Street, where movies will be offered for free.
The Jefferson County Library in Port Hadlock also will offer films for free.
“I’m really looking forward to the documentaries,” said Nancee Braddock-Gurney, a new Port Townsend resident who will attend the festival for the first time this year.
“We’re just really interested in other people’s stories and adventures. It just opens the world up and you can travel without leaving home.”
The weekend’s screenings kicked off at 9 this morning. Eighty-nine films will be screened throughout the weekend.
There also are plenty of free screenings for people looking to experience the festival on a budget.
The movie “Chicken Run” will screen tonight at a free venue at the outdoor theater on Taylor Street starting at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s free movie is “20 Feet from Stardom,” a documentary by the festival’s special guest, director Morgan Neville. The film won the 2013 Oscar for best documentary.
Saturday’s movie starts at 7:30 p.m., right after a street dance with live Motown music is slated to run from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
On Sunday, the outdoor theater will screen the popular fairy tale movie “The Princess Bride” at 7:30 p.m.
Neville will introduce his film Saturday and also will answer questions from the audience after tonight’s screening of his film “The Music of Strangers” at the American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St., at 6:30.
He will speak to Port Townsend High School students at 1:30 p.m. today in the auditorium at the school at 1500 Van Ness St.
The Jefferson County Library at 620 Cedar Ave. in Port Hadlock will host three free screenings today and Saturday — at 10:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. — with one film at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Although admission is free, tickets are needed and will be available 30 minutes before the screening Sunday of “Different Flowers.”
This is the festival’s first year to expand out of Port Townsend.
More information on the screenings at the library can be found at www.jclibrary.info.
Those free screenings are made possible thanks to the festival pass holders, according to Port Townsend Film Festival Executive Director Janette Force.
Force said the festival offers free screenings each year to ensure everyone in the community gets the opportunity to experience the festival in some way.
The festival also offers $15 rush tickets to screenings that don’t fill up. Tickets will be handed out 10 minutes before each showing and are first-come, first-served and cash only.
Festival attendees and those looking to snag a rush ticket can track how many seats are available and how fast they’re filling up for each screening by using Reel Time Seats, a website that shows you in real time how many seats are available. The website can be found at www.ReelTime.ly/PTFF.
Festival passes, which range in price from $40 single-film passes to $1,500 Patron Passes, are available for purchase at www.ptfilmfest.com or at the hospitality desk at the Northwind Arts Center, 701 Water St.
Jefferson County Editor/