Orcas Island Film Festival | Adventures in cinematic storytelling

The Orcas Island Film Festival is holding its own against other renowned venues like Telluride, Venice and Toronto.

Since its inception in 2014, the festival has presented films that have garnered 25 nominations and six Oscar wins. Slated for Oct. 6-9, this year will have 30 films, gala parties and filmmaker panel discussions.

“This year’s line up of films will deliver some extraordinary stories and Oscar-worthy performances,” said OIFF film curator Carl Spence.

Highly anticipated films include “Borg vs. McInroe,” the story of the epic rivalry between Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and his greatest adversary, the brash American John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf) and Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying,” a lyrical road movie about three aging Vietnam-era Navy buddies, Doc (Steve Carell), Sal (Bryan Cranston), and Mueller (Laurence Fishburne).

The theme of immigration is woven into a number of films, including “Human Flow” from renowned Chinese artist and filmmaker Ai WeiWei, who explores the contemporary wave of immigrant and refugee migration affecting 63 million displaced people from 22 countries, and Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki’s great fiction tragicomedy “The Other Side of Hope” about a Syrian refugee struggling to survive the maze of Scandinavian functionaries and bureaucracies after having successfully escaped bombed-out Aleppo.

There are a number of comic and charming films, including “EMO The Musical,” a winning Australian teenage angst musical, and dry humorist Bob Byington’s “Infinity Baby” starring Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Kieran Culkin.

Genre films are also highlighted with the thrilling car-racing crime/heist thriller “Racer” and the “Jailbird,” starring international superstars Matthias Schoenaerts and Adèle Exarchopoulos. There are a number of directors/filmmakers being hosted at the festival this year. Jean Marc Vallee (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Wild,” “Demolition”) will be at the entire festival. His HBO mini series “Big Little Lies” is currently nominated for 16 Emmy awards, including best director. He will be available for a Q&A after the screening of his never before released in the U.S. film “C.R.A.Z.Y.”

For those who are interested in a cutting edge film experience, visit the Rock Island Internet Cafe and try out a virtual reality/VR, augmented reality/AR and 360°immersion film experience curated by Wondertek and sponsored by Rock Island Communications.

The OIFF 2017 grant winners’ films are now posted on the festival website at www.orcasfilmfest.com and available for voting. Short films are: “It Takes An Island” by Tashi Litch; “Falling Into Place” by Einar Johnson; and “RIGGED! A Tail of Corruption” by Heidi Cuda.

The Random Howse will be the “festival party hub” this year, where the opening night reception, awards party and after-hours meet and greets will take place. It will also provide daily grab and go meals for film lovers rushing off to their next film.

“The film festival is made possible each year by generous donors and business sponsors,” said Co-Producer Donna Laslo. “If you’d like to help support the Orcas Island Film Festival there are a number of ways you can help. One of the best ways to support is to buy festival passes, which are on sale now. Individual tickets go on sale Sept. 15.”

On Sept. 23 at 6 p.m., Red Rabbit Farm will host a fundraiser and farm to table experience with special guest Spence, who is also the former Seattle International Film Festival director. Guests will be treated to a preview of the Orcas festival’s hottest new films followed by a Q&A. Dinner is $75 per person and all net proceeds benefit OIFF. Purchase dinner tickets at redrabbitfarm@rockisland.com.

“Being a part of this from the beginning has been such an honor,” said Co-Producer Jared Lovejoy. “It’s grown every year, and we are proud to bring such acclaimed films to the Orcas community.”