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Film festival reels in more than 70 movies
Whether you have more mainstream tastes or an independent flair, at least one film is bound to hit the right bud at the Port Townsend Film Festival.
Filmmakers and film connoisseurs from all over the world remain drawn 13 years later to Port Townsend's movie event, spanning Sept. 21-23 in five indoor venues: The Rose, Rosebud, The Uptown Theater, the Port Townsend Northwest Maritime Center, and Peter Simpson Free Cinema.
Films begin at 9 a.m. Friday and the opening ceremonies rev up at 4 p.m., on Taylor Street with filmmakers arriving by classic cars for a special dinner and ribbon cutting. On Saturday evening, this year's featured guest celebrity, actor Bruce Dern, shows and speaks about one of his favorite comedies, "Smile," followed by a Q & A beginning at 6:30 p.m. He'll also appear for National Public Radio's “West Coast Live” variety show 10 a.m. at The Uptown with Maria Semple, author of "Where’d You Go, Bernadette."
Country western singer and GLBT activist Chely Wright visits the peninsula for a showing of her film “Wish Me Away,” about her journey toward an authentic life as a gay activist. The film shows at 6:30 p.m. at The Uptown Theater followed by an interview by former Sequim Gazette columnist Rebecca Redshaw.
Producer Jeff Kusama-Hinte appears with his award-winning “The Kids Are All Right” at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at The Uptown. He'll share insight into the film's subtleties about relationships.
Film topics and genres range from shorts to feature documentaries to narratives. Some larger films open with smaller films, too. Documentary features include 19 films such as “The Eyes of Thailand,” about rescuing elephants, and "The Girls in the Band," which chronicles women in jazz.
The culturally diverse programming — with 20 nations represented — includes Wayne Horvitz' score for the 1933 silent Japanese film “Woman of Tokyo” at 6:15 p.m. Friday. It focuses on a woman's financial sacrifice for her brother's education while she leads a double life.
Now 91 years old, Sidney Rittenberg makes an appearance; he is the subject of “The Revolutionary,” which focuses on his journey as the only American member of the Chinese Communist Party, his hopes for positive change and his subsequent fall from grace and into prison.
For the whole community, free classics — “E.T.: The Extraterrestrial,” “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Tootsie" — appear on subsequent nights on Taylor Street where people can sit in lawn chairs on or hay bales.
Passes are available for one film or the whole weekend, starting at $35 with $10 rush tickets available 15 minutes before each showing that doesn't fill up with pass holders.
All funds support film experience and education for the region, and the film lovers' block party.
For more information on the festival, visit www.ptfilmfest.com.