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The Destiny City Film Festival returns for its third year

Cristin Milioti and Dan Soder star in It Had To Be You, playing Destiny City Film Festival’s opening night. Photo credit: Destiny City Film Festival

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If there is a good and decent force in this universe, the hot months of 2016 should be on their way out. While my desire for fall to get here already is mostly a selfish one, there are perks for the lot of you, as well; chiefly, we are approaching the time when the mostly terrible blockbusters start to have less of a stranglehold on movie theaters, and more thoughtful movies begin to take their place. Yes, you're free to be cynical and call these movies Oscar-bait, but please, all I want is a couple months without seeing superheroes demolish an entire city.

Getting in just a little bit early for awards season, but helping to symbolically usher in 2016's hopefully vibrant period for films, is the third annual Destiny City Film Festival, taking place this Friday and Saturday at the Blue Mouse Theatre. Featuring 18 movies over the course of its two days, DCFF promises something for everybody, including a night showcasing locally produced films. I spoke with DCFF founder and director Emily Alm about what we can expect from this year's festival, and what sets it apart from other local film festivals.

"Through the previous festivals, and especially this year, I think that DCFF has really developed and defined its identity and what it brings to the community," says Alm. "I'm still programming high-quality films you can't see anywhere else and maintaining a focus on cinematic storytelling - which were two of the main building blocks for the festival when I founded it in 2013. Now in 2016, the festival has expanded the storytelling platform from filmmakers and screenwriters to engage community members and moviegoers. It's become an event that encourages making connections with one another, telling our individual stories, and creating a collective experience at the movies."

Artists and businesses engaging with one another is one of the foundations of Tacoma, and festivals like DCFF expand that reach to people from elsewhere, getting eyes on our city and inspiring more far-flung collaboration. Of course, this net positivity wouldn't be possible if the films being displayed weren't good, and Alm assures me that the movies selected for this year's DCFF have a lot to offer.

"The opening and closing night films (It Had To Be You and Buddymoon, respectively) are particularly entertaining and make me so excited and optimistic about the future of independent filmmaking," said Alm. "The documentaries, Left on Purpose and The Other Kids, are superbly crafted and share unique stories and perspectives. Of course, we have several fantastic short films - international, documentary and narrative - and a great night of local films (Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia) on the 26th."

As DCFF enters its third year, the festival has decided to take the next step and gain not-for-profit status, which would be huge for its future. At the time of this writing, the Kickstarter to cover DCFF's costs of becoming not-for-profit is a little over halfway to its goal. To help ensure that the festival brings unique films to Tacoma for a long time to come, throw them a few bucks, won't you? Your money will be up on the screen.


Friday, August 26

It Had to Be You
7 p.m.
plays with Best Wishes from Millwood

Brides to Be
9 p.m.
plays with Kandahar Incident
and Rhino

Saturday, August 27

Free Family Shorts:
11:30 a.m.
Some Thing, Free the Snake,
Starry Night, The Orchestra

Left on Purpose
1 p.m.
plays with Cab Elvis

Around the World in 77 minutes
3 p.m.
The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere
Against Night

The Other Kids
5 p.m.

7 p.m.
plays with Rated

Destiny City Film Festival, Aug. 26-27, Blue Mouse Theatre, 2611 N. Proctor St., Tacoma,

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