October ushers in movie watching season with cooler weather, grayer skies and one of the crown jewels of Tacoma Arts Month: the 13th annual Tacoma Film Festival. TFF shares the best of new independent film and innovative storytelling Oct. 4-11 in multiple venues across downtown Tacoma. Experience more than 100 works from around the globe, a free virtual reality studio, secret screenings, workshops, parties and some of the best short film programming in the nation.
TFF opening night festivities, on Thur., Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m., include a feature film at the Grand Cinema and after party with appetizers, drinks, music, and a Q&A with directors Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell. Earl and Caldwell are Seattle-based filmmakers who made the film “Prospect,” which was screened at The Grand as part of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2015. Celebrate Washington-made film and stay for the TFF open mic where festival filmmakers share information about their upcoming screenings. Catering will be provided by Pacific Grill Events and Catering.
On Friday, Oct. 5, 9 p.m., venture over to Tacoma’s oldest cinema, the historic Blue Mouse Theatre (2611 N. Proctor, Tacoma) for a feature film perfect for a Friday date night: “Harold and Maude,” the story of a young, rich and obsessed-with-death boy who finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral. No true film lover’s life is complete without seeing this life-affirming cult masterpiece from Hal Ashby. Ashby and screenwriter Colin Higgins set the standard for independent, iconoclastic filmmaking with this unique work.
Also on Oct. 5, the Veldt Preview Party will allow TFF visitors to experience curated three-dimensional content at this year’s Veldt Virtual Reality Studio at Kings Books (218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma). The Veldt Virtual Reality Studio will run Oct. 6 and 7 beginning at 11 a.m. each day. Visitors can experience 10 new interactive stations featuring works that allow the viewer to experience both sensory wonder and empathy in ways that only VR can provide.
A series of panel discussions and workshops will cover everything from hearing from TFF jury and a panel of film critics, meeting the creators of the Veldt Immersive stories. TFF festivalgoers can learn the ins and outs of bringing a film to market, about the intricacies of media law with Washington Lawyers for the Arts, how to caption and subtitle films and how to pitch a film. There will be an opportunity to attend a happy hour function with women in film. The film 253 Forum is a discussion with Pierce County filmmakers.
The heart of TFF, however, is a lineup of great films that will be running at full steam during the course of the festival. Tickets for these are $8 matinee, $10 general admission (with discounts for students, seniors and military).
For details on panels and events, as well as the complete film schedule, visit www.tacomafilmfestival.com.