Orcas Film Festival is back for second year

Editor’s note: Watch the Sounder for a special film festival section in the Sept. 30 edition.




Orcas Island is on the cutting edge of cinema.

During the second annual Orcas Island Film Festival, viewers will be treated to award-winning, independent and studio films and documentaries from 17 countries.

“The majority of these films haven’t come out yet – they are early views,” said Seattle International Film Festival Artistic Director Carl Spence. “It’s sort of surprising how many amazing films we have. I am very impressed with the caliber of the line-up.”

Spence says many of the films are Academy Award contenders and will be in the New York Film Festival just prior to their debut on Orcas.

The Orcas Island Film Festival is presented by Orcas Opens Arts co-presented by the Seattle International Film Festival and runs Oct. 9 through 12. The films be shown at Seaview Theatre, Random Howse and Orcas Center. A full schedule of films, ticket information and more will be available at www.orcasfilmfest.com by Sept. 24.

“We are keeping the same format as last year,” Spence said. “It worked really well. But this time we have more top tier films.”

There are a total of 30 films from places like the U.S., Canada, Chile, France, Iceland, Ireland, Iran, Jordan, Mexico, Spain and Taiwan. Some of Spence’s favorite selections are:

Dheepan. Winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes, this powerful drama from director Jacques Audiard follows a former Tamil Tiger soldier as he flees from the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war to begin a new life in a Parisian suburb.

A Brilliant Young Mind. This film is about a socially awkward teenage math prodigy who finds new confidence and new friendships when he lands a spot on the British squad at the International Mathematics Olympiad.

45 Years. Starring British acting legends Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, “45 Years” is writer-director Andrew Haigh’s immensely moving and nuanced portrait of long-term love and marriage.

Good Ol Boy, a heartwarming comedy which follows a 10-year-old Indian immigrant boy in ’70s suburban America. His parents want to maintain his culture and all he wants is to watch “Happy Days” and eat Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Goose Bumps. The long-awaited film adaptation of R L Stein’s hugely popular “Goosebumps” books. Appropriate for the entire family.

James White. “Girls” alumni Christopher Abbott and Cynthia Nixon from “Sex in the City” star in this funny, angry and tender directorial debut about an excess-prone 20-something forced to get his act together for his ailing mother.

When procuring films for the festival, Spence says, “We are lucky in that there are some major film industry people who have a home on Orcas Island … The overall quality is strong and there is depth to these stories. We have some of the world’s best filmmakers, American Independent films and hard-hitting documentaries.”

Short film contest

The Orcas Island Film Festival awarded $2,500 grants to each of the following independent film makers: Lacey Leavitt from Seattle will make “Escape,” Cali Bagby of Orcas Island is making a film entitled “The Ghost in Red,” and Milla Prince of Lopez Island is presenting “The Commute.”

The three winning film makers received grant money to shoot and edit their film. They will be shown online starting in early October and during the film festival from October 9 to 12 at the venues. Stay tuned for more information.

The final winner will be selected by online voting at www.orcasfilmfest.com and in-person voting during the festival. This year’s winner will have the honor of being featured in the Seattle International Film Festival in 2016.