It might sound foreign, but “The Taiwan Oyster” is an American road movie with all that genre’s classic themes. The opening night film for the Tacoma Film Festival was shot in Taiwan, but its protagonists are American expatriates whose quest to find themselves turns instead into an epic “Weekend at Bernie’s” odyssey with one of their friend’s bodies after hijinks go tragically wrong.
“It has enough comedy and drama in it to be a crowd pleaser,” said festival director Emily Alm. Like many of the films at this year’s festival, “The Taiwan Oyster” will have its West Coast premiere here.
“It’s hardly played anywhere,” Alm said. “That’s what I like to do with this festival – cherry pick a film and bring it to Tacoma.”
The festival, which runs through Oct. 11, will have its usual mix of comedies and dramas, features and shorts, domestic and international films. Back this year will be the filmmaker’s workshop with Warren Etheredge. A new feature will be wine tasting in conjunction with the documentary “Boom Varietal.” The closing night’s film will be the Duplass brothers’ “The Do-Deca-Pentathlon.” Actor Mark Kelly will attend the screening.
At Thursday night’s gala, “The Taiwan Oyster” co-writer and producer Mitchell Jarrett will be in attendance for a post-film Q&A. Catering for the event will be provided by Maxwell’s Restaurant and Lounge.
Tacoma Film Festival Opening Night Gala and Film
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, film screens at 7:30
Where: Annie Wright School, 827 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma
Tickets: $20 Grand Cinema members; $25 nonmembers; $11 movie only
Information: 253-572-6062, grandcinema.com
Next week: Read the Oct. 5 Go section for a preview the festival’s other films and events in detail.
‘The Taiwan Oyster’
Cast: Billy Harvey, Jeff Palmiotti, Leonora Lim
Director: Mark Jarrett
Running time: 1:48
Rating: Unratedcraig.email@example.com 253-597-8541