Arts & Events

Pushing Boundaries With the Tacoma Film Fest

By Brynn Svenningsen

Remember how Bill Nye made you interested in science when you were a kid? Surely any of you science majors can give him some credit.  Well it’s time to forget about Bill Nye as he was, because in David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg’s new documentary “Bill Nye: The Science Guy,” there is a new Bill to be discovered. The film will be opening the 12th annual Tacoma Film Festival this year.
“Bill Nye” focuses on Nye’s movement from a children’s television host to an activist against global warming. This film shows the developing role of a former children’s television educator to an active member of the community who works to show the evidence of climate change and educate adults on the real problems occurring.

The festival has become a popular and important community event, educating the Tacoma community for many years and featuring dramas, documentaries, thrillers, comedies and more. Now it continues to strengthen the connections and appreciate the film community in the pacific northwest.

“It’s a great way to showcase people’s work that they have been putting a lot of time into. You never really think about just how much work from start to finish, whether it’s the first paper to pen to getting it distributed for people to see,” senior Chase Hutchinson said. Hutchinson is currently the marketing and outreach intern at the Grand Cinema and has been involved in the preparation of the festival.

Additionally, local businesses act as sponsors to the event and to specific films. The festival itself is centrally located at the Grand Cinema and but includes events like panels, workshops and opening and closing parties, which are housed in different venues including King’s Books, Union Club and Sota BlackBox.

In addition to being an important event for Tacoma residents, the festival is an important event for the film community as a whole. Many of the films featured will be premiering and the audience will be the first to get a glimpse. One film, “Meta-Dimensional,” will be premiering for the first time in the United States. The film, directed by Philip Plough and Michaella Vu, follows two sisters after the death of their father. The film is split into two parts with the first is shot in 360 degrees, while the second is in virtual reality.

There is something for everyone, including family friendly shorts and films of all genres. On Saturday, Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. there is a collection of animated and narrative stories that are for an audience of all ages. There will also be free doughnuts from Top Pot Doughnuts.

One of the panels the festival offers is “The Future of NW Film, Arts & Entrepreneurship,” a discussion with local leaders on Monday, Oct. 9 at 6:30 p.m. It will take place at King’s Books and will feature Northwest leaders, organizers and creators sharing their experiences working in film. It will also focus specifically on the trends in film and the arts that are prominent in the Puget Sound area as a whole. There is also a seminar held by Mark Stolaroff, a director of the movie “DRIVERX,” which will have its world premiere at the festival on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. The seminar will describe how to make a no-budget film and describe ways that an aspiring filmmaker can achieve this. Both seminars are free and are a good opportunity to learn more about film and hear people in the field speak about it.

“‘Dave Made a Maze’ is a fun quirky film about this guy who builds a giant cardboard maze in his apartment that looks from the outside to be only 10 by 10 feet but ends up being an entire labyrinth. And a couple of months ago, Nick Thune,  who’s one of the stars who is a local to the area, was there, the writer was there, the director was there, the producer was there. The producer is coming back to the film festival to do a workshop on producing an indie film,” Hutchinson said.

Executive producer of the film “Charles Mayer” will be hosting the panel “Strangers’ Couches and Lots of Popcorn: The DIY Guide to Touring Your Film” on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. at the Grand Cinema. Additionally, an encore screening of “Dave Made A Maze” will be shown at Dystopian State Brewing Company on Saturday Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. An informal Q&A with Charles Meyer will also be held.

Enjoy the closing night and view the showing of “The Ballad of Lefty Brown,” which is directed by Jared Mosme.  Mosme created a coming-of-age movie with western ties about a 60-year-old man. This will be the west coast premier of the film and will end the 12th annual Film Festival with a bang.

The Tacoma Film Festival will be running from Oct. 5 until Oct. 12. Tickets are $8 for students and can be purchased in advance at the Grand Cinema or 30 minutes before it is set to begin.