The fifth annual Destiny City Film Festival brings film to February

The cast of local filmmaker Michael Swingler’s short film “All the Marbles” looks like a motley crew that will take viewers on a wild and wooly ride. Swingler will be present at the Feb. 24 showing of the film. The Destiny City Film Festival begins at the Blue Mouse Feb. 23. Photos Courtesy of Destiny City Film Fest.

Proctor’s historic Blue Mouse Theater will host the fifth annual Destiny City Film Festival from Feb. 23 to Feb. 25. This year’s program will feature 28 films from across the globe, alongside local films by directors in the Pacific Northwest. The three-day festival will highlight films across a variety of themes along with a screenwriting panel. 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. 23 at 7 p.m. with “The Song of Sway Lake,” a full-length drama directed by Ari Gold that follows the story of a jazz collector (Rory Culkin) who pursues a rare record from his grandmother’s collection. Following the film, guests are invited to the opening night party at the Blue Mouse for food, drinks and opportunities to connect with other attendees and filmmakers.

Saturday will begin with an afternoon of free, family-friendly programming featuring playful short films that explore whimsical realities of animated rocket ships and adventurous bears. Local filmmaker Michael Swingler will be in attendance for his short film “All the Marbles.” The afternoon programming focuses on international narratives that explore ideas of finding strength, facing fear against the odds, what it means to find home and finding the courage to leave it. “Facing Mecca” by Jan-Eric Mack and “Bon Voyage” by Marc Raymond Wilkins are two Swiss films that explore the stories of refugees.

“Iron Hands” by Johnson Cheng follows the journey of a 12-year-old girl who tries out for the Chinese youth Olympic weightlifting team. This program will also feature New Zealand filmmaker Zoe McIntosh’s short drama “The World in Your Window,” following the story of a young boy and his father liberated from their past through an unlikely friendship.

Saturday will also feature a free screenwriting panel at the nearby Wheelock Library at 1 p.m. This year’s panel is moderated by local author and storyteller Patric L. Rogers and will feature local writers Heather Hughes, David Margolis, Kevin Rexroat and Kristi Simkins who will share their insights and experiences on the art of crafting an effective cinematic story.

The Saturday afternoon programming features three diverse feature films including “Monkey Business: The Adventures of the Curious George Creators,” the Sundance-award-winning drama, “Gook” and the romantic comedy “Becks.” The evening will transition into “After Dark Shorts,” bringing together a combination of comedy, drama, sci-fi, and horror. “Prenatal,” directed by Bears Fonte, follows the surreal story of a young girl who becomes pregnant overnight. This program will also feature films from two Seattle filmmakers: “Mixtape Marauders,” a comedy short by Peter Edlund, and “Emiko,” a horror short by Justin Robert Vinall. These three filmmakers will be in attendance.

The closing day, Sunday, Feb. 25, will begin with an afternoon program titled “The Stories We Tell,” featuring five films that delve into deeper dimensions of the treasured relationships in life. Among them are two Oscar-nominated shorts. “My Nephew Emmett,” a short drama by Kevin Wilson Jr., zeroes in on a man with a mission to protect his son Emmett from two killers motivated by racist intentions. This is followed by a documentary by Laura Checkoway titled

“Edith+Eddie” surrounding the relationship between an elderly, interracial, newlywed couple caught in the turbulence of a family feud.

A scene from “Coin Operated”, one of the many animated films that will be shown at the festival.

The festival will close on Sunday evening with a documentary by Jack C. Newell titled “42 Grams,” which follows a chef through his rise to success and fame. The 2018 Storyteller Award winners will be announced prior to the film, and guests are invited to the closing night party at Peaks and Pints after the film to celebrate the festival’s final night.

The Destiny City Film will be a weekend that celebrates local and global film and the tradition of storytelling.  Tickets purchased at the door are $10 for opening and closing night, $9 for general admission, $7 for military and seniors, and $6 for students. VIP All-Access passes can be purchased online or at the box office for $60. Punch cards valid for 4 individual tickets can be purchased online or at the box office for $20.

The Destiny City Film Festival is a homegrown, community-based festival built to showcase the best independent films from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Its 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 for more information and for scheduling details.

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