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9th Annual Port Townsend Film Festival 2008
By Erik Schultz
Videos by Erik Schultz

Posted September 30, 2008

         Nine years ago the founders of the film festival wanted to create “A film lover’s block party celebrating great films and filmmakers.” This year was just that. A celebration of films, which there were many, and of filmmakers, which were present in body and spirit. This year’s guest of honor was the legendary Piper Laurie. Laurie is an Oscar-nominated actress and a Golden Globe and Emmy winner. Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies, interviewed Piper following a screening of The Hustler  during the festival on Saturday, September 27. The real haunting came that same morning with the news of actor Paul Newman’s death. Newman co-starred with Piper in The Hustler. The film became a memorial for Paul with tears and celebration about a truly great American actor. The festival organized a last minute public forum about Newman's life and work. 

            But within this saddening there was celebration. Celebration of films and filmmakers, just like the founders wanted. Throughout this packed weekend there were documentaries about life, shorts about kick-ass western females, spoofs of spoofs, burlesque, pottery and so much more. We had a chance to site down with an eclectic mix of filmmakers during this weekend and over the next week, we will be bringing you video interview segments from some of these folks. You will get a chance to learn about some amazing folks including Deanna Morse, writer and director of Forced Perspective: Odessa, a film about Morse's visit to the real steps at Odessa, where she found her visit profoundly affected by memories of The Odessa Steps sequence from Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein, 1925); Beck Peacock, director of Petals, a film that explores the beauty of the female anatomy; Jeff Huston, writer and director of Off Off Broadway, which spoofs the mockumentory genre. Look out Christopher Guest. You will also learn about Deirdre Allen Timmons, writer and director of A Wink and A Smile, which highlights the ever growing Seattle burlesque scene; and Bryan Skinner, director of Tumbling After, which begins to poke fun at the burlesque scene. As you see, there is a wide variety of films and filmmakers that make up the Port Townsend Film Festival. Keep your eyes on our blog for these amazing video interviews. We will also have video interviews with Marc Turtletaub, producer of Sunshine Cleaning (Yes, he also produced Little Miss Sunshine), Dennis Hauck, writer and director of AL's Beef (A western with a twist), Dawn Logsdon, director of Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (A film about the birthplace of Jazz and Civil Rights), Art Holbrook and Peter Campbell, directors of Killer Whale and Crocodile (A film about how two cultures can come together in the name of art), Tao Ruspoli, director of Fix (Staring Olivia Wilde and about getting what you need to save a life), Lucy Phenix, director of Don't Know, We'll See (A film about life and finding yourself), and Rachel Earnest and Alana Kearns-Green, the director and lead actress in Le Retour (A story that most of us have felt at some point in our life when we go on a great vacation and then return to our normal lives).  

            So, make sure you keep checking back so you are in the know of some of today’s hottest films and filmmakers.

Port Townsend Film Festival Part 1
Text courtesy of the Port Townsend Film Festival

Deanna Morse (Forced Perspective: Odessa) (Director) 

     When Morse visited the real steps at Odessa, she found her visit profoundly affected by memories of The Odessa Steps sequence from ‘Battleship Potemkin’ (Eisenstein, 1925). When she researched Eisenstein’s film, she found that he used three unique, cinematic design tricks. The steps have architectural elegance, and visual power. Media images have power. They shape our real-life experiences. The film considers how media images shape our real life experiences.  Forced Perspective: Odessa has been juried into a dozen festivals, and won awards in various categories including Best Documentary, Experimental/Narrative, short story.


Jeff Huston (Off Off Broadway) (Director) 

     It’s hard to spoof a spoof, but Off Off Broadway takes aim at Christopher Guest’s 1996 hit mocumentary, Waiting for Guffman, and hits the bulls . . . eye. Director/writer Jeff Huston carries his conceit even into the film’s synopsis: “Open letter to audience: I was recently convinced by a childhood friend to shoot a documentary which chronicled the making of his most current theatre production. His play, ‘Specific Conceptualism,’ is not only his contribution to avant garde theatre, but best sums up the tangled cobweb of circuits, gears, and tubes that make up his neural network.” With the way-off off Broadway stage substituting for Guest’s Midwest community theatre, Huston’s film is at least one up on its decade-old progenitor. In Huston’s film, Guffman (or, rather, his counterpart) arrives!


Did you attend the Port Townsend Film Festival 2008? If so, we would like to hear from you. Send us your comments to




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