The Gig Harbor Film Festival turns 10 this year, and organizers are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the big milestone.
Festival attendees can celebrate this year by choosing from an unprecedented 82 films on the roster.
Plus, more than 60 filmmakers will be on hand to host audience Q&A sessions, attend events and mingle with the crowds throughout the four-day event, which runs Oct. 26 to 29 at Gig Harbor’s Uptown Galaxy Theatre.
The festival kicks off with a 7 p.m. showing of the opening night film, “Lives Well Lived,” (rated PG) with filmmaker Sky Bergman taking questions immediately following the screening.
At 9 p.m., the festival switches gears and migrates to Gig Harbor’s 7 Seas Tap Room Brewery for the after-party. Special events scheduled throughout the weekend will give fans additional opportunities to mingle with filmmakers and actors.
“Lives Well Lived” showcases the wit, wisdom and experiences of people ages 75 to 100 years old.
For Bergman, it all started with a video of her 99-year-old grandmother working out and sharing some words of wisdom. Because Bergman felt her grandmother epitomized the way to gracefully move through life and age with dignity, strength and humor, she started a quest to search out others who were living in a similar way.
Eventually, her quest turned into a compilation of 40 different personal stories about perseverance, the human spirit, and staying positive in the midst of great challenges. The shared perspectives reveal a treasure of life lessons and a reminder of the greatest role models in people’s own families.
“It’s not about people who are out of touch — it’s your neighbor, your friends, even you,” Bergman said. “This film is about everyday people, which makes it even more meaningful. You’ll laugh a bit, cry a bit, but everybody’s going to leave feeling inspired.”
Working on the film left its mark on Bergman, a professor of photography and video at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, California, as well.
“There are three quotes that came out of the film that have special meaning for me,” she said. “‘Be kind to everyone,’ (is) something my grandmother always said. ‘Happiness is a state of mind — you can choose to be happy with what you have or miserable with what you don’t have.’ And, ‘Your attitude is the only thing you really have control over.’ Every day, I think about these quotes, and how I can apply them to my life.”
To learn more, view the “Lives Well Lived” and additional movie trailers on the festival’s website.
Festival films will be presented in a series of blocks according to theme. Moviegoers can choose from a variety of themes: documentary, comedy, drama, foreign language, love and friendship and more, including two blocks of locally sourced short films made in Washington. Ticket prices vary for movie blocks and events but expect to pay $11 for a single block ticket and upward of $300 for a VIP pass that will allow for entry into all movies and events.
“These are independent films that you won’t see anywhere else,” said festival director Jenny Wellman.
A complete schedule of events, tickets and VIP passes to all the films and events are available at gigharborfilm.org or by calling the Gig Harbor Film Festival office at 253-851-3456.