October 7, 2011 at 9:23am
AND SO IT BEGINS >>>
Last night the Tacoma Film Festival officially entered its sixth year of existence, and this time around I aim to embrace it in a slightly different way than in the past. Obviously I'll soak in as much cinema as time allows before Closing Night Oct. 13. But this event is just a much a celebration of our humble town as a way to honor art from distant points on the globe. In other words, I see TFF 2011 as my own private excuse to explore and appreciate a community I usually ignore.
Let's start where the festival has its beginnings: The Grand Cinema. A few hours before the Opening Night Gala I made my way down the street from the theater and walked, for the first time, into STINK Cheese and Meat. Within seconds I was greeted by Kris Blondin, owner and, as I soon found out, no stranger to the Volcano's loose-knit family of writers. I casually ordered a turkey sandwich, naive to the are-you-kidding, belly-bursting deliciousness headed to my table.
No more food for awhile I decided ... except dessert. So I went to Corina Bakery, another Grand Cinema neighbor I had yet to take in. (You've probably realized by now I don't get out much.) I bought a fluffy cookie from the man behind the counter; obscured by his black apron I could just make out the words "TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL."
So, somewhat foolishly, I entered the gala at Annie Wright School with no appetite whatsoever for tray upon tray of hors d'oeuvres on display. I felt even more foolish when Warren Etheredge (host of a free filmmaker's workshop this weekend) urged me to hop on stage and introduce my own film playing later in the fest. Hiding behind guys larger than myself didn't work; once he goaded the audience into a slow clap, I had no choice.
The filmmakers who spoke before me tackled some pretty serious subjects - Mick Flaaen's Paint looks at graffiti in Tacoma, Kate Connor has POW camps in her Fort McCoy, and Dancing on the Edge by Alexander MacKenzie focuses on addiction. My movie can't compete with this. So I stood at the podium and said,
"It Came First is about an egg that comes to life and tries to kill two guys."
Before the laughter came, the crowd took one beautiful moment to look at me with quiet confusion.
Here's to a week of new experiences at TFF.
LINK: Opening Night photos
LINK: TFF on twitter
LINK: TFF website
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