It may be smaller this year, but the Destiny City Film Festival still has a mission: to tell great stories. Running Friday night and Saturday at the Blue Mouse Theater in Tacoma’s Proctor District, the third annual edition of the festival is one day shorter than last year’s but still has a breadth of genres, from the opening night comedy to family shorts, real-life fiction, a Seattle-made supernatural drama and four other local films.
“We’re focusing on storytelling,” said director Emily Alm, of how she and her jury chose this year’s films. “We’re looking for well-structured films with a clear story and told cinematically. A good story engages you — you learn something, feel something.”
The festival opens at 7 p.m. Friday night with two comedies: a short, “Best Wishes from Millwood,” and the feature “It Had to be You” by Sasha Gordon. It’s about a neurotic jingle writer who has to choose between her big dreams and her boyfriend’s marriage proposal.
“I like to celebrate female filmmakers because the opportunities don’t come around as often for them,” explained Alm. “And this film is really cute — it’s a fun night out for people.”
Friday night continues with two locally produced films at 9 p.m.: Seattle-made “Brides to Be,” by filmmakers Kris and Lindy Boustedt, about two girls getting married in a haunted house, along with Tacoma-made short “Kandahar Incident” by Jason Daniel and Olympia-made “Rhino” by Syd Boyle. All the local filmmakers will attend for a Q&A session afterward.
Other festival highlights on Saturday include “The Other Kids,” an award-winning film that San Francisco director Chris Brown calls a “fictumentary.” It’s based on real teens telling their real stories in a small town north of Yosemite, and it was hailed as “genuine and relevant” by Variety magazine. Brown will also be at the festival.
There’s a set of family-friendly shorts at 11:30 a.m., another collection of international shorts at 3 p.m. and the festival closes at 7 p.m. with “Buddymoon” by filmmaker Alex Simmon. It’s a comedy about a man who’s dumped at the altar by his bride and goes off on a backcountry Oregon trek with his best man instead.
The festival is one day shorter than last year, dropping from 26 to 18 films in an effort to be more sustainable, said Alm. But the annual screenwriting competition was still held, with first prize of $150 and career opportunities going to Jeffrey Palmer.
“We want the festival to connect filmmakers and screenwriters and audiences,” said Alm. “When we share our stories we get stronger, more connected and more thoughtful.”
Destiny City Film Festival
Where: Blue Mouse Theater, 2611 N. Proctor St., Tacoma.
Tickets: $8 general, $6 senior and military, $5 student; $10 opening and closing films; $20 four-film punch card; $45 VIP pass.