Friday Harbor Film Festival
Between 1,400 and 1,500 people are expected to attend the Friday Harbor Film Festival’s fifth annual documentary film festival November 3–5. Festival organizers Lynn Danaher and Karen Palmer founded the festival with an intention to share documentary films that tell relevant stories and encourage positive change. Danaher and Palmer run the festival with four pillars in mind: to entertain, inspire, enlighten, and encourage. Screened films must fit in with the first three pillars, while the fourth, encourage, is dedicated to future filmmakers. The festival includes the Young Filmmakers Project. The project allows mentorship and a place for middle-and high-school students interested in film to gain guidance and help develop their films.
The Opening Night Gala kicks off the festival on Friday night. The formal affair includes presenting the 2017 Lifetime Achievement winner, Elouise Cobell, and a screening of the film 100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice directed by Melinda Janko. The film recounts the story of Cobell’s fight for 300,000 Native Americans and their lands. It truly sets the tone for what the festival is all about: relevant issues that matter to the whole of society.
This festival strives to celebrate the filmmakers and does so with special question-and-answer sessions after every film screening. The Q&As allow filmmakers and audience members to connect, creating a more enriched viewing. More than 35 films have been selected for this year’s three-day festival, each film shown twice in one of the six venues, all within blocks of each other and the ferry terminal. Attendees can purchase food from concession stands in three of the venues and visit the Brickworks Building where food booths will be set up, or check out one of Friday Harbor’s many restaurants.
Each day’s schedule begins at 10 a.m. with the last screenings scheduled for 7 p.m. Hour-long “intermissions” are scheduled for noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The festival concludes with an awards night, distributing audience-voted awards to the filmmakers. Categories to win include Tales of the Heart, Things to Consider, and best Young Filmmaker Film. Even going to see one film is worth the trip. It’s sure to be a memorable event.