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Can't-miss Tacoma Film Festival offerings

BOOM is the story of Tacoma’s greatest rock band The Sonics. Photo credit: The Sonics

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While our usual advice, when confronted with an overwhelming festival, of any sort, is to take your chances on any random entertainment you may not have heard of, throwing a dart at a board isn't always enough. After all, we're also opinionated film nerds, and we can't pass over the opportunity to offer some recommendations. This being the case, here is a small selection of films we insist are worth your time at this year's TFF:

Thunder Road rose through the ranks from celebrated short to expanded feature film, eventually earning even more praise when it landed at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival this year. Writer-director-star Jim Cummings adapted his earlier short -- which screened at TFF in 2016 -- into a fully-formed portrait of a character that would otherwise be irredeemably loathsome: a emotionally damaged Texas police officer with undeniable women issues. Everything we've heard about Thunder Road suggests that it walks this treacherous tightrope deftly in service of a multi-layered character study.

"Through Her Indigenous Eyes" is a compilation of short films by Indigenous women, curated by Tracy Rector. Representation on film is still such a huge problem for so many cultures in America, with an especial silence surrounding the works of Indigenous artists. This shorts program runs the gamut of tones, from the introspection of Birds in the Earth and Abnormal Freedom to the spirited levity of I Like Girls and Laundry.

BOOM is a documentary exploring the undisputedly greatest rock band in Tacoma's history: the Sonics. Fittingly, the homegrown TFF is getting the U.S. premier of the film, which will help close out the festival by examining Tacoma's legendary proto-punks.

"TRACK 03: Music Video Showcase" is what it sounds like: a collection of some of the most innovative music videos stemming from both local filmmakers and musicians, as well as more far-reaching sources. The loving interplay between film and music will be on full display over the course of 17 videos.

Lastly, famed director Hal Ashby will be getting the retrospective treatment though screenings of his classics Being There and Harold and Maude, as well as the documentary of his life, Amy Scott's Hal. Ashby biographer Nick Dawson will be on hand to provide a Q&A after the showing of Hal.

Tickets and showtimes for these films can be found at

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