News Column

Tacoma to host free, Sundance-affiliated film festival

August 14, 2013


Aug. 14--Tacoma is getting a free film festival in early September and maybe some good community discussions along with it.

"Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue" -- sponsored by the Sundance Institute, the nonprofit founded by actor Robert Redford -- is an international touring program that fosters cross-cultural understanding through film screenings and discussions. Tacoma and Seattle will be the only two Washington stops on the tour; Tacoma hasn't been included before.

The five-day series will offer audiences eight films, both documentaries and dramas, at several locations around the city Sept. 3-7. Moderated discussions will follow each screening. The films cover topics that include global warming, skateboarders, interracial marriage and runners in Ethiopia.

The film tour is funded by several federal arts organizations including the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

The tour has already been to six locations, including California and China, and will continue to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Maine after it leaves Tacoma and Seattle. The Sundance Institute vetted Tacoma carefully before choosing the community as a stop on the tour, said Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride.

"They wanted to make sure we had good community support," McBride said.

Part of that support was a variety of screening venues that enable different populations to access the free films, McBride said. Screening locations in Tacoma are The Grand Cinema, University of Puget Sound, Jason Lee Middle School, Tacoma Public Library, Washington State History Museum and the STAR Center.

The eight films being screened are: "Town of Runners," "The Light in her Eyes," "Chasing Ice," "The Loving Story," "Bones Brigade," "Valley of Saints," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna)."

Two of the filmmakers, Jerry Rothwell ("Town of Runners") and Julia Meltzer ("The Light in Her Eyes"), will be present to screen their films.

Some of the films have been screened previously in Tacoma, either in a studio release or at other film festivals. Others are new to town. Louisiana-set drama "Beasts of the Southern Wild" garnered several Oscar nominations, including one for its star, Quvenzhane Wallis.

For details on the films, screening times and locations, go to


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