Film fest back in full force | Jacqueline Bisset to attend, Jean-Marc Vallée to be honored

Orcas audiences will again be whisked away to lands near and far during the eighth annual Orcas Island Film Festival.

From Oct. 6-12, Sea View Theatre and Orcas Center will screen 36 of the season’s hottest new films from around the globe. This is the first full-scale return of the festival since the pandemic.

“OIFF celebrates artistic excellence and provides a unique opportunity for filmmakers and film lovers to share the cinematic experience in one of the most beautiful places in the world,” said co-director Donna Laslo.

The majority of the films selected are award contenders for the Oscars, and cinema-goers have the opportunity to see them weeks and months before their official release to the general public. For tickets and more information, visit

Hundreds of cinephiles from the island and beyond attend every year, reveling in the top-level curation. Seattle newspaper “The Stranger” published a Sept. 20 story, calling the Orcas Film Festival “our Cannes.”

The 2022 line-up includes eight documentary films and 28 feature films from 25 countries with 13 of the films directed by women.

Co-director and chief curator Carl Spence has secured top award winners from major film festivals, including Cannes (“Triangle of Sadness,” “Close,” “EO,” “Decision to Leave,” and “Broker”); Venice (“All The Beauty and the Bloodshed,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and “Tár”); Berlin (“Alcarràs”) and Sundance (“All That Breathes”). Official Oscar submission films for Best International Film will be showcased from around the world.

Legendary actress Jacqueline Bisset will headline the film festival to present her most recent project “Loren and Rose” with director Russell Brown. Other guests from the films “Bad Axe,” “Sam Now,” “Wildcat” and more will also make appearances.

Laslo and Spence will pay tribute to honorary festival director Jean-Marc Vallée, who died unexpectedly in 2021 at the age of 58. Vallée was a celebrated film and television director who was a beloved presence at the Orcas Island Film Festival since 2014. In addition to screening his own films and interacting with guests, he also DJ’ed after parties.

“We will celebrate his impact on the festival and to the world with his unforgettable filmmaking accomplishments from his early award-winning film ‘C.R.A.Z.Y.’ to ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ to ‘Sharp Objects’ and ‘Big Little Lies,’” said Laslo.