The Tacoma Film Festival is back with in-person and virtual screenings for 2021. The festival begins its week in The Grand Cinema Thursday with a comedy made locally but partially shot in Russia.
Festival goers can attend the festival in person with social distancing or stay home to see 70 of the 150 new feature films, shorts, documentaries and other independent films on the schedule.
“It was complicated to set up, but we are happy to be back,” said festival spokesperson Ernest Jasmin.
This is a partial return to normal for the festival, now in its 16th year. The festival went completely virtual in 2020 due to security concerns related to the pandemic.
The opening night film (7:30 p.m. Thursday), “American potato dreamsIs an autobiographical comedy by Seattle writer-director Wes Hurley. Shot in late 2019 and early 2020, the film follows a Russian woman, Elena, and her gay son Potato through the difficult years of Perestroika where they watch pirated American films. The couple moved to the United States after Elena became a mail order bride.
If the story sounds familiar to you, it’s because its forerunner was the documentary “Small potato” which toured the film festival circuit in 2017.
The festival’s flagship film (8 p.m. Friday), “Youngstown,” is a comedic new take on the witness protection story from director Pete Ohs. The film centers on a young woman who is placed in the federal witness protection program but who is somehow transferred to her hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.
Closing film of the festival (7:30 p.m. on October 14), comedy with jazz accents “Thin skin”, was co-authored by “The Stranger” editor Charles Mudede. It stars Ahamefule Oluo playing a character of the same name as he spends his days at his soul-killing corporate job in Seattle and his nights at the city’s jazz clubs. Oluo is the brother of writer Ijeoma Oluo who also stars in the film.
Mudede is known for his previous films “Police Beat” and “Zoo” and co-wrote the film “You Can’t Win”, filmed in Tacoma but never released, with Michael Pitt.
Short films for children are offered this year in English and Spanish in two programs sponsored by the New York International Children’s Film Festival.
The 10 am Saturday screenings offer families the opportunity to see “Family Shorts” in English and “Viva Kids Flicks” in Spanish.
If you are going to:
Tacoma Film Festival
Or: The Grand Cinema, 606 avenue Fawcett, Tacoma
Tickets: $ 9-150. Tickets can be purchased for in-person and virtual screenings as well as a full festival pass. Free for students and EBT / Quest card holders.
COVID-19[FEMALE:[FEMININE: Masks and vaccination documents are required to attend live screenings. Empty seats will be maintained between customer groups.