The Port Townsend Film Festival’s “Women & Film Festival” has logged at least as many years as a virtual event as it did an in-person event before the pandemic hit, but this …
The Port Townsend Film Festival’s “Women & Film Festival” has logged at least as many years as a virtual event as it did an in-person event before the pandemic hit, but this year, it’s both.
Danielle McClelland, executive director of the PT Film Fest, recalled how “Women & Film” was initiated as a means to keep the festival — and its attendant conversations — going year-round, albeit with the original plan being to focus on a different subject each spring.
McClelland noted the first “Women & Film” was so well-received, as it provided beneficial attention to all-too-often overlooked independent films by women and non-binary individuals from around the world, that it became the permanent focus of the spring film festival.
After a couple of years of in-person screenings, COVID’s sudden outbreak in March 2020 forced the Port Townsend Film Festival to quickly convert “Women & Film” to a virtual event, as each spring’s lineups of films, like those of the parent PT Film Fest in the fall, continued to be screened online through the next couple of years, as cases of infections remained high.
The PTFF’s 2023 “Women & Film Festival” of 27 films is taking place at four venues, both downtown and at Fort Worden, from April 19 to April 23, as well as online from April 24 to April 30. But that’s not the only way its organizers aim to make it more accessible than ever before.
McClelland touted the festival’s new outreach to film lovers of all income levels, through its Superstar and Donor passes. Superstar Passes are free, and intended for film fans or filmmakers with limited resources.
As McClelland said: “If you’re having a hard time financially, but you’re still dedicated to exploring the world of film, we think you’re a Superstar.”
People can contact the festival at 360-379-1333 or firstname.lastname@example.org to request a Superstar Pass.
On the flip side, each purchase of a Donor Pass will not only fund two Superstar Passes in turn, but will also guarantee those Donor Pass-holders access to the “Women & Film” screenings.
The PTFF and Fort Worden Hospitality have partnered to offer discounted rooms for those from out of town. Rooms will be available at the Reunion House of Fort Worden State Park, with transportation between Fort Worden and downtown Port Townsend available throughout the film festival.
Fort Worden is also set to host a “Women & Film Forum,” from April 19 to April 20.
Open to everyone, seminars will be separated into two tracks — one for film lovers, the other for filmmakers — and whose low-cost classes include catered breakfasts and lunches at the Commons Cafe.
McClelland said festival-goers will have other opportunities for coupling meals with informed conversations, as this year’s “Women & Film” also allows patrons to book reservations for “Dine-Arounds” at downtown restaurants, complete with fixed menus and guided conversations about the festival’s featured films.
“You get great food and fascinating discussions of compelling films,” McClelland said.
“Women & Film” also boasts a new online reservation system, through which patrons can purchase passes online, and reserve specific screenings in advance, allowing them to plan their entire film festival schedule before they arrive.
Prior to COVID, McClelland estimated “Women & Film” drew as many as 250 attendees per year, whereas she figured the streaming screenings came closer to booking 150 to 200 virtual “attendees” each.
She anticipates this year’s combination of in-person and online screenings could draw anywhere between 300 to 500 combined theatrical and streaming attendees.
“I’m really excited that one of our narrative features stars Karen Allen, who is practically one of us by now,” McClelland said of 2022’s “A Stage of Twilight,” directed by Sarah T. Schwab. “I just hope she’s able to fly in again.”
For more information, visit ptfilmfest.com/Festival-And-Events/Women-And-Film/Women-And-Film.html online.