Tacoma Film Festival

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Photo courtesy Tacoma Film Festival

The Tacoma Film Festival has some exciting new programming for their 10th anniversary. On Oct. 11 at 12 p.m., in conjunction with Filmmaker Magazine, the Grand Cinema will host the 25 New Faces of Independent Film Q&A. TFF is the only event outside New York City where the new faces can meet face-to-face.

“It’s an opportunity for the people on the list to be in the same room with each other and meet,” said Laura Marshall, director and programmer of the Tacoma Film Festival. “It’s a great way for them to network and talk about film with the other people who made the list. They haven’t had that ability in past years.”

Also new this year is a celebrity guest. On Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. John Ratzenberger will be at the Great Hall of Annie Wright School for a speech and Q&A session. Ratzenberger is best known for his role as Cliff Calvin on Cheers, but he’s been a recurring voice actor in many Pixar productions as well. (You may know him as the voice of Ham, the piggy bank, in Toy Story).

Marshall is excited about the rapid growth TFF experienced this year. Filmmakers are asked to submit their entries online, with a small submission fee; then Marshal and 20 judges handpick the best films from the bunch. This year that was easier said than done.

“Last year we set a record with 500 submissions online,” she said. “And this year, we got over 1,000.”

Some of the submissions had surprising origins.

“One day we got over 100 shorts from a German production company,” Marshall said. “I don’t know where they heard about us, but we were watching a lot of subtitles for a few weeks.”

Amidst a growing international populous, TFF is dedicated to showcasing the premier filmmakers that reside in the Northwest. There’s no submission fee for local entries; and with a full program of local selections, TFF is an opportunity for Northwestern filmmakers to get wider distribution and more opportunities in the world of film.

With an eye toward growing TFF even further, Marshall and her colleagues have been working to network with other festivals. Reaching out to festivals like Telluride and Sundance, Marshall and her team hope to attract mainstream interest to TFF and continue their ascension of the film festival hierarchy.

“We have great filmmakers in the Northwest,” Marshall said. “It’s exciting they’re getting some recognition for their work.”

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