The fourth annual Destiny City Film Festival is just around the corner. During the weekend of Aug. 25-27, the Blue Mouse Theatre will become a beehive of activity as film fans, celluloid aficionados and silver screen fanatics of all stripes will nestle into their seats with tubs of popcorn, boxes of candy and cups of soda pop to feast upon the magical sustenance that is cinema. Feature length and long-form movies will be sequenced amid clusters of short films. There will be animation, documentaries, dramas and comedies. The films come from all over the world. These are films that seek to make their impact on the viewer through storytelling rather than through the short-lived stimulation of glitzy effects or through prurient titillation. There is sure to be at least a little something for everyone and a whole lot for most of us.
The festival opens at 7 p.m. on a Friday evening (Aug. 25) with “Wash Up” (85 min.), a redemption story about a failed NHL star who returns to his small hometown for a fresh start. Following that is “Eliza Sherman’s Revenge” (80 min.), a Los Angeles-made supernatural comedy. The filmmaker will be on hand for a post-show Q&A session.
The festival continues at noon on Sat. (Aug. 26) with a series of family-friendly shorts that run 52 minutes all together. Free donuts will be on hand for this segment. There follows another sequence of short films called the “University in Diversity Shorts,” which features such titles as “Johan Stands Up” (16 min.), “Little Potato” (14 min.) and “The Gay Lifestyle” (8 min.).
At 2 p.m., festival-goers might want to quit the Blue Mouse for a spell and attend a screenwriting panel at Peaks & Pints. (See information at the end for a rundown on the screenwriting panel.)
The viewing resumes at the Blue Mouse in the afternoon with another series of shorts called “The Stories We Tell.” As the afternoon rolls into evening, audiences can watch “The Lure” (77 min.), a thought-provoking documentary about a hidden treasure in the Rocky Mountains. The second day of the festival comes to a close with the insightful drama “Kate Can’t Swim” (90 min.), about a young woman at a crossroads in her life.
On the final day, Sunday (Aug. 27), the festival resumes at noon with another series of short features called “Evergreen Shorts.” In the afternoon comes “The Blood is at the Doorstep” (98 min.), an award-winning documentary about a police shooting. Special guest Maria Hamilton and Seattle University professor Angelique Davis will engage in a post-film discussion regarding the film’s cultural and societal relevance.
The festival wraps up at 4:30 p.m. with a presentation of this year’s Storyteller awards and a screening of “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong,” an offbeat comedy about two would-be thieves who forge a surprising relationship with an unexpected house sitter when they accidentally trap themselves in a house they just broke into.
All-access VIP passes, available for just $60, grant access to all films and events. The DCFF punch card is good for four general admission tickets for $20. All tickets and passes can be purchased at DestinyCityFilmFestival.com or at the Blue Muse Theatre (2611 N. Proctor) during normal operating hours.
Aug. 26., 2 p.m., Peaks & Pints
This panel discusses the struggles, successes and failures encountered while pursuing a career as a screenwriter. In this moderated Q&A, local screenwriters will describe their strategies for success and perseverance in an industry that, at times, seems to be closed to outsiders.
Daryle Conners, moderator
Conners is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and video game designer, whose short film, “J’arrive,” shot in Paris, premiered at Seattle International Film Festival in 2015. She writes screenplays and interactive scripts and has designed many game titles for the PC and iPhone/iPad, including “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the first real-time rendered 3D game for children. She has interviewed everyone from Pope Benedict XVI to Madonna, and co-produced a five-hour documentary series for PBS called “The Faithful Revolution.” Conners is currently co-producing two feature film projects — “The Small Star Seminar,” with Cory McAbee, and “Idaho ’73” with Mischa Jakupcak and Diane Kurys.
Heather Hughes, panelist
Hughes is an award-winning screenwriter and the president of Heather Hughes Productions. She is a recipient of the Templeton Foundation Kairos Prize for Screenwriting, a Hedgebrook Residency, was a Sundance Institute finalist and is represented by the Nethercott Agency and literary agent Gayla Nethercott. She sits on the advisory board of The Film School and teaches screenwriting at the Seattle Film Institute.
Betty Kim, panelist
Kim is a screenwriter, singer, songwriter, actor and former ballet dancer. She has been president, treasurer, secretary, and head of the compendium for the Northwest Screenwriters’ Guild. Currently she chairs the membership committee for NWSG and focuses on writing feature length comedies. She is featured in Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat Strikes Back” for her pitching method. Her songs have been featured in television and film.
Kevin Rexroat, panelist
Rexroat has been hired to write or rewrite four feature-length films and a TV pilot. His screenplays and teleplays have finished as high as the finals in multiple competitions, including Emerging Screenwriters, The Austin Film Festival, Scriptapalooza, Final Draft’s Big Break, BlueCat, and others. His adaptation of Chris Crutcher’s “Deadline” has a producer attached and is currently under consideration at several production companies.
Kristi Simkins, panelist
Simkins is an award-winning screenwriter, director and editor. Her screenplays have won, or placed highly in, many acclaimed screenwriting competitions, including the BlueCat Screenplay Competition. She’s been hired to write and has sold several award-winning screenplays. She is currently an editor on a large-scale documentary project call The School of Life Project. Her multi award-winning short film, “Something Special,” which she wrote and directed, was a finalist in a New Zealand international filmmaking competition judged by Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson and producer Barrie Osborne (“Lord of the Rings,” “The Matrix”). “Something Special” screened at dozens of film festivals all over the world, including the Cannes Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the Palm Springs International ShortsFest. The film was also broadcast on television in the PBS series “Official Best Of Fest” and The Pentagon Channel.
Persephone Vandegrift, panelist
Vandegrift is a multi-award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker, passionate story coach and consultant. Current projects in development include WWII TV series “Esther’s Den,” (to be directed by Shannon Van Metre) feature romantic comedy. “The Water King” (to be directed by Ellen Gerstein, produced by Donna Wheeler) and historical feature and TV series, “Agrippina.” Besides screenwriting, she is also a playwright, author, and creator of “The Very Fairy” children’s book series. Her two short films, “All Things Hidden” and “The Last Light” were both filmed in the Pacific Northwest. She currently resides in Central Oregon.