Line-up announced for Destiny City Film Festival

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Films include Oscar nominees and nine local films

Proctor’s historic Blue Mouse Theater will host the seventh annual Destiny City Film Festival from Feb. 28 to March 1. This year’s program will feature 34 films from across the globe, and from the Pacific Northwest. One of this year’s films is nominated for the 2020 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. The three-day festival will highlight films across a variety of themes, and will bring filmmakers to Tacoma to participate in post-film Q&As. This celebration of art and film is an opportunity to bring together local filmmakers, artists, families and friends from the Tacoma community and beyond.

The festival will open Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. with “Sell By,” a full-length comedy directed by Mike Doyle that follows a group of friends navigating love, life, and relationships as they reach the mid-point. The film’s all-star cast includes Kate Walsh, Scott Evans, Augustus Prew, Patricia Clarkson, Michelle Buteau and Zoe Chao. Prior to the film, guests are invited to the opening night party at the Blue Mouse for food, drinks, live music from Tacoma’s own “The Happy Sinners,” and an opportunity to connect with other attendees and filmmakers. 

Saturday, Feb. 29 will begin with a morning of free family-friendly programming, featuring playful short films that feature whimsical realities of an animated pig, an aspiring young actor awaiting his breakout role, and a pair of lemurs who navigate their airships around the world. The mid-day programming focuses on documentary shorts that explore ideas of following your dreams, honoring your heritage, adapting to a changing climate, and fighting for what’s yours. “Maxima: This Land of Mine,” by Mariel Sosa, details a Peruvian farmer’s fight against a giant mining conglomerate trying to take over her land. “Lowland Kids,” by Sandra Winther, follows two teenagers on an island slowly being erased by climate change. “This Ink Runs Deep,” by Asia Youngman, shares intimate stories about first nations tattoo artists carrying on the traditions of their ancestors. Local filmmaker Michal Pietrzyk will be in attendance for the screening of his film “All on a Mardi Gras Day,” about a 200-year culture known as Mardi Gras Indians: African American men who spend all year sewing feathered suits they’ll wear only once, in a battle to decide who’s “the prettiest.” 

Don’t miss the very special event “Representation: Women in Film” panel, which will feature three accomplished women who have established themselves as leaders in the film industry: Laura Seay is an LA-based filmmaker, writer and actress; Rolla Selbak is an LA-based film producer and writer; and Nicole Pouchet is a Pacific Northwest-based writer and director. Award-winning producer Stefanie Malone will moderate the panel. The event will take place at 2:15 p.m. on Feb. 29; admission is free, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The Saturday afternoon programming features the Reel Q Shorts package, supported by Tacoma’s own Rainbow Center, that includes seven inspiring stories of love and finding yourself. “Sweetheart Dancers,” “Outdooring” and “Black Hat” tell stories of young people fighting to change the rules of their traditional cultures. “Wonder” shares the inspiring tale of a young boy who finally allows himself to embrace his true identity, and “Miller and Son” is about a transwoman mechanic who lives between running her family’s auto shop during the day and expressing her femininity at night. Saturday evening, DCFF will highlight the hilarious feature length comedy “International Falls,” about a woman (Rachael Harris) in a small, snowbound border town who has dreams of doing comedy when she meets a washed up, burned out comedian (Rob Huebel) with dreams of doing anything else. The day will wrap up with two films centered on sibling and family dynamics. Austin Milner will be in attendance for his local short ‘The Scooper,” which will precede the award-winning funny drama based on true events, “Mother’s Little Helpers,” which follows four siblings who return home to care for their terminally-ill, estranged mother. 

The closing day will be full of celebrating local films, including “Portal Runner,” a sci-fi thriller exploring parallel worlds, three short films, and “Taming Wild: Pura Vida,” about two Costa Rican horses rescued from lives of pain and hardship by two horse trainers. Cast and crew will be in attendance for a Q&A following all local films.

The festival will close on Sunday afternoon with a stellar group of short films in the block “The Stories We Tell,” featuring seven intimately personal stories. “The Neighbors’ Window” is an Academy Award-nominated short about a mother of young children who has grown frustrated with her daily routine, and soon develops a Rear Window-style obsession with two twenty-somethings who move in across the street. “Wanted: Strong Woman” and “Anna” are international films about women unenthused by their daily routines who venture into unknown worlds to once again find fulfillment. “Stepdaddy” tells a comedic and unexpected story of colliding worlds, “The Jog” brings divisive cultural trends to light, “Monsters in the Dark” illustrates the long-term effects of abuse, and the local film “Café Diem” explores the ever-too-common question: “What if?” The 2020 Storyteller Award winners will be announced prior to the films, and guests are invited to the closing night party at Peaks and Pints afterwards to celebrate the festival’s seventh year.

Come and enjoy a weekend that celebrates local and global film and the tradition of storytelling. Tickets purchased online and at the door are $15 for opening night, $10 for closing night, $9 for general admission, and $7 for military and seniors. Students can attend any film for free, with valid I.D. VIP all-access passes can be purchased online or at the box office for $70 ($56 until Feb. 9), and punch cards are available for $25.

The 2020 DCFF is funded in part by the Tacoma Arts Commission. The Destiny City Film Festival is a homegrown, community-based festival built to showcase the best independent films from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Our mission is to use the power of vibrant cinematic storytelling to curate an engaged community audience for independent film. DCFF is a 501(c)(3) not for-profit organization. Visit DestinyCityFilmFestival.com to volunteer, sponsor, and contribute.

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