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The 17th Annual Tacoma Film Festival opens

The centerpiece film of the 2022 Tacoma Film Festival is Butterfly in the Sky, which is a documentary about the PBS show Reading Rainbow, hosted by LeVar Burton. Photo credit: Tacoma Film Festival

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The 17th Annual Tacoma Film Festival (TFF) kicks off Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022 with a preview of local filmmakers Isaac Olsen and Justin and Rob Peterson's new documentary of The Ventures, Tacoma's rock royalty. The Ventures are the most successful group to come out of Tacoma as well as being the best-selling instrumental group of all time. Walk Don't Run: The Story of the Ventures will not be finished until 2023 but the filmmakers wanted to give their hometown a sneak peek.

TFF takes place Oct. 6-13, 2022, at The Grand Cinema, Pierce County's only nonprofit, arthouse cinema. It has hosted the event since 2006. This year's festival offers in-person screenings, events, parties, and panels at the cinema and throughout Tacoma. The lineup is extensive with 32 feature documentary and fiction films and over 140 short works from over 29 countries. The Pacific Northwest is also highlighted with 46 works from a variety of genres and length. For those that are still wary of venturing out to public events, there will be a selection of online screenings.

According to Ernest Jasmin, Marketing Director for The Grand Cinema, "the centerpiece film is Butterfly in the Sky, which is a documentary about the PBS show Reading Rainbow, hosted by LeVar Burton." Reading Rainbow was a popular PBS children's show in the 1980s which helped inspire a lifelong love of reading to generations of children.

One of the events taking place in Tacoma is at ALMA which is hosting a special screening. The 16mm films are to be screened in an outdoor cinema created on the rooftop just after sunset. Two contemporary films, Instant Life (2022, directed by Anja Dornieden, Juan David González Monroy and Andrew Kim) and Babes in the Woods (2020, directed by Leanna Kaiser) will be preceded by legendary filmmaker Bruce Baillie's 1974 film Roslyn Romance (Is it Really True?). Program approx. 75 min. See TFF website for film details.

The closing film, Know Your Place, is an award-winning debut feature by writer-director Zia Mohajerjasbi. The film tells the odyssey of two teenage boys as they navigate the rapidly gentrifying city of Seattle to deliver a large, heavy suitcase destined for a sick family member in his parents' homeland. After the screening, there is a post-film discussion with Mohajerjasbi. The Closing Night Reception includes light fare and desserts, a complimentary drink, live DJ, and the Audience Awards will be announced.  

Individual tickets are available for each screening as well as a VIP Pass which includes all screenings and some extra perks. The Grand Cinema has a membership program beginning at $50 which offers several perks and discounts. Parking is available on the street and there is a paid parking lot next to The Grand Cinema. There are a variety of restaurants, and bars withing walking distance of The Grand Cinema perfect for a pre or post screening dinner.

TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL, times vary, Oct. 6-13, Grand Cinema, 606 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, Prices vary, 253.593.4474.

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