The Port Townsend Film Fest features 60 films

PORT TOWNSEND – “The impact of the Port Townsend Film Festival lies in the stories our films tell and the tremendous resonance that those stories resonate with our audiences,” said Danielle McClelland, Executive Director of the Festival.

After two years of virtual festivals and some outdoor screenings in 2021, visitors can catch screenings of nearly 60 films at five indoor venues Thursday through Sunday and daily free outdoor films on Taylor Street.

“Independent filmmakers aim to have a deep impact on a specific audience rather than the mass appeal of studio productions,” McClelland said. “Our programmers are looking for films that they know will impact the people of Port Townsend and our guests.”

Venues include the Rose Theatre, the Rosebud and the Starlight Room on the 200 block of Taylor Street, and the American Legion Hall and Cotton Building, both on Water Street. All are within walking distance of each other.

Most of the 60 films on offer at the Port Townsend Film Festival (PTFF) will also be online this coming Monday through October 2nd for those wanting to watch a range of films from the comfort of their own home on their own schedule . alone or with a group.

In-person screenings and events begin Thursday with the Gathering the Storytellers Opening Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at the Taylor Street Outdoor Theater. The ceremony will be preceded by the free outdoor film A League of Their Own.

The following evening, Friday at 4:00pm, visiting filmmakers will arrive at the foot of the Taylor Street steps by the Haller Fountain on the red carpet in vintage cars provided by Rakers Car Club.

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On Friday at 4:45 p.m. Seattle’s Dekoboko Taiko will offer a drumming performance in conjunction with the documentary Finding Her Beat. The event will be held at the American Legion Hall at 209 Monroe St.

An awards ceremony for special guest John Cooper will be held at the Rose Theater on Friday at 6pm, honoring his three decades at the Sundance Film Festival culminating in his service as a director.

“From 2010 to 2020, he oversaw all aspects of the annual Sundance Film Festival and worked closely with Sundance founder Robert Redford,” says PTFF on its website at

After the ceremony, All is Lost is shown with Redford.

Two other special guests will be honored at the festival. Jared and Jerusha Hess are an American filmmaking couple best known for their work on Napoleon Dynamite (2004), Nacho Libre (2006) and Gentlemen Broncos (2009).

Napoleon Dynamite was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and won first place at the US Comedy Arts Festival.

It will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the American Legion Hall. After the screening there will be a discussion about the film.

Napoleon Dynamite is also showing as a free film on Taylor Street on Sunday.

Other Taylor Street films, all showing at 7pm, are Goonies on Friday and Sing on Saturday.

McClelland said the online version of the festival will have a total of 27 screening blocks ranging from 90 to 120 minutes. 22 of them are feature films and five of them short film blocks consisting of a group of short films.

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McClelland mentioned Daughter of a Lost Bird as “an exciting film to be offered online”. She said that “it has a special meaning for this area”.

According to the film’s website (, “The story follows Kendra, an adult Aboriginal adoptee, as she reconnects with her birth family, discovers her Lummi heritage and confronts issues of her own identity. Her unique story is reminiscent of many affected by the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Indian Adoption Project.”

See for a trailer of Daughter of a Lost Bird.

Some filmmaker interviews are only available at the online film festival and are included in the price of their films, while some films can only be viewed in person in Port Townsend.

“The great thing about the online festival is that you get access to unique interviews with most of the filmmakers,” said McClelland.

“Staff, community members and film industry professionals host engaging conversations with the writers/directors/producers behind these amazing films.

“A lot of the filmmaker interviews that are available online are with artists who can’t be here at PT, so it’s definitely an added value.”

Ten films will only be shown on site. They are Butterfly in the Sky, It Ain’t Over, Fashion Reimagined, The Territory, Sam Now, Finding Her Beat – a preview, Bad Axe, Pez Outlaw, Make People Better and Savage Waters. Everything else will be available online.

An online pass costs $135 for unlimited viewing, versus $250 for unlimited in-person viewing. Individual show passes are $15 for online viewing and $20 for in-person attendance. Sales of the single online pass will start on the day of the online festival, but other passes are available now.

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Visit for more information, a full listing and synopsis of each film, where and when to watch, and to purchase passes.

For online viewing details, see


Emily Matthiessen is a reporter for the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is made up of the Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at [email protected]

Executive Editor Leah Leach contributed to this story.

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