Movie News & Reviews

Gig Harbor Film Festival expands showings

Staff report

Bruce Greenwood, left, and Ella Purnell star in “WildLike,” one of the featured films at the Gig Harbor Film Festival.
Bruce Greenwood, left, and Ella Purnell star in “WildLike,” one of the featured films at the Gig Harbor Film Festival. Courtesy of Alaska Film

More than 45 films, a 50 percent increase from last year, will be shown as the ninth annual Gig Harbor Film Festival kicks off Thursday.

Jenny Wellman, executive director of the festival, said she is excited by the films that make up this year’s festival.

“Not only did we have a record number of submissions, but we will be presenting what we consider to be the strongest slate of films we’ve had since our founding,” she said.

Opening night: The festival’s opening night includes a showing of “Harry Benson: Shoot First,” followed by a gala at the Harbor History Museum. The film follows Benson’s career as a photojournalist. He quickly gained fame while shooting the Beatles on their first trip to the United States in 1964. In addition to working with celebrities, Benson also photographed international refugees and war victims. He also captured historic images after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Tickets for opening night are $45 and include admission to the post-movie gala. The evening begins at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Featured films: The festival is highlighting three films this year. Friday (Oct. 21) at 6:30 p.m. is “It Had to be You” by director Sasha Gordon. The comedy focuses on Sonia, who is given three days to decide between accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal or pursuing her fantasies. At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, “WildLike” from director Frank Hall Green will be screened. The story follows a 14-year-old girl sent to live in Alaska with an abusive uncle, but opts to make her way home to Seattle. At 7 p.m. Saturday will be the showing of “Trespass Against Us” from director Adam Smith. Set in Britain, a man from a criminal family is torn between his respect for his father and wanting a better life for his own children.

Also on the schedule: The festival includes more than 30 films. Here is a sampling:

“3,000 Cups of Tea”: Looks at the effort of Greg Mortenson to build schools in Pakistan through the Central Asia Institute, and what happened after allegations surfaced that many of the schools did not exist.

“Bacon and God’s Wrath”: A 90-year-old Jewish woman looks back on her life experiences as she tries bacon for the first time.

“In the Blind”: While in a duck blind, two estranged brothers find emotional truth while dealing with their father’s apparent suicide.

“Occupy Texas”: A washed-out Occupy Wall Street protester returns to his Texas home after the death of his parents. He is now in charge of the estate and his two teenage sisters.

“The IF Project”: The story of a Seattle policewoman and the writing project she created with females in prison. The feature documentary was filmed at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor.

“Vehicular Romanticide”: This film looks at female loneliness through the eyes of a young woman who runs into the man of her dreams, literally.

Awards ceremony: The audience and director choices for Best Feature Film and Best Short Film will be announced at the It’s a Wrap party Sunday. Attendees will also have the chance to meet some of the 10 directors of some of this year’s films who will be at the festival. The event begins at 10 a.m. at The Hub at Tacoma Narrows Airport.

Gig Harbor Film Festival

When: Thursday-Sunday.

Where: Galaxy Theatre Uptown, 4649 Point Fosdick Drive NW, Gig Harbor.

Tickets: Films are shown in blocks. $11 for a single block; $8 for seniors (65 and older), children (11 and younger) and military; and $60 for an eight-block pass. $35 for the awards ceremony and brunch.