Movie News & Reviews

This Tacoma film festival is Destiny

Movies are stories told with cinema. Sometimes films get sidetracked – by special effects, by mis-cast actors, and by bad scripts.

Emily Alm was focused on stories and story-telling when she conceived of the inaugural Destiny City Film Festival, which opens on July 31 and runs through Aug. 3 at the Blue Mouse Theatre in Tacoma’s Proctor business district.

“I think stories are sometimes lost in movies. At the heart of every good movie is a good story,” Alm said.

Alm has served as director of the Tacoma Film Festival, as managing director for the Rainier Independent Film Festival, and most recently as feature film programmer for the Seattle International Film Festival. She said there’s room for one more film festival in Puget Sound.

“There is so much talent and potential in Tacoma and the Puget Sound region and independent film making in general. It’s not like there’s a shortage of films to play,” Alm said.

Alm reviewed 162 entries and narrowed them down to 29 films, all the while asking herself, “Is there something that made me think, moved me?” about each film.

The festival includes local, national and international films. There will be filmmaker Q & As and a storytelling event.

“Warren” kicks off the inaugural festival at 7 p.m. Thursday. It tells the story of an aimless 20-something who reconnects with his ex-girlfriend and discovers the importance of following his own dream. The film is directed by up-and-coming director Alex Beh and stars John Hurd and Jean Smart.

The festival features short film packages, documentaries and features.

Feature length documentary “DamNation” chronicles the ecological and cultural impacts of dams. The film covers the recent removal of the Elwha River dam on the Olympic Peninsula.

Another documentary, “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story,” tells the story of the beloved Sesame Street character and the man who plays him.

In the Austin-made comedy “Arlo and Julie,” a couple receive puzzle pieces in the mail and soon find their lives turned upside down as they try to solve it. Executive producer Richelle Fatheree will be attending.

Several Northwest films are on the bill. “B.F.E.” follows four people in a small Northwest town trying to escape their lives. “Frink” is the debut for Seattle writer/director Phillip Nelson, a thriller about a couple in a cabin high in the Cascades Mountains. Nelson and some cast members will attend the screening. Also on the bill is a webisode from UFO themed “Look Up in the Sky.” Cast and crew will be attending.

At 10:45 a.m. Aug. 2, the festival will hold a free 45-minute screening of family-friendly shorts. A free screenwriting workshop led by Seattle writer/director Brian McDonald will be held at 2 p.m. Aug, 2.

“Copenhagen” closes the festival at 7 p.m. Aug. 3. It follows a man on a trek to discover his roots in Denmark. There he meets the exuberant Effy and the pair embark on a journey to find his grandfather. The film was the audience award winner at Slamdance.