Faces of Familiar Filmmakers at the Spokane International Film Festival | Culture & Leisure
Light, camera, action. The Spokane International Film Festival (SpIFF) brings filmmakers’ dreams to the screen February 4-5.
The in-person festival will be held at the Bing Crosby Theater in downtown Spokane, with six different showcases showcasing the works of local, national and foreign filmmakers.
“It’s like a cross between an art exhibit and a film screening and I think it creates something really new when you can be in a room with the people who made a film,” said Pete Porter. , director of the Contemporary Arts Alliance which manages SpIFF.
In addition to feature and short films, SpIFF will invite the public to ask questions of several animators and directors present during the showcases.
The “Best of Northwest” showcase, which will take place on February 4, includes the work of filmmakers from the Pacific Northwest.
One such filmmaker, Jennifer Wolfe, says her short, “You Will See Us,” is inspired by the story of the lead actress who was working for Lyft when she was terrorized by a male passenger.
“The film is about a carpool driver who picks up someone the night of a men’s uprising — an uprising for men’s rights — in Portland, Oregon and has to drive them to the middle of nowhere,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe says his film is a cross between the horror and thriller genres, drawing inspiration from the events of January 6, 2021.
Another filmmaker, Stimson Snead, has made “Tim Travers & the Time Traveling Paradox”, a short film which will also be featured in the showcase. The premise of the film revolves around a man who bends the laws of time using a time machine. Snead says he is very happy to screen the film in front of the community that helped make it happen.
“It’s one thing to see your film screened at a festival among strangers. It’s another thing to be able to project it with all the people who put in the time and effort. It’s very exciting,” Snead said.
Events on Saturday, February 5 include an animation showcase and “World Shorts I,” which highlights several foreign shorts. Saturday’s program also includes the screening of three feature films: “Re-Opening”, “Casablanca Beats” and “Vinyl Nation”.
SpIFF offers an exclusive opportunity to see films that one would not typically find in theaters. Festivals like this are often how filmmakers get their start in the industry.
“Some filmmakers around the world are going to come up with something new, and we’re going to be one of the first places you can see that,” Porter said.
Even more films will be presented as part of the SpIFF online festival. The online film selection, which offers more than 90 films, documentaries and short films, offers countless possibilities for viewers to take another look.
“Find out a different perspective if you’re up for it,” said Alena Schoonmaker, former director of SpIFF and current senior programmer for films made by women and LQBTQ+. Schoonmaker has dedicated his time to ensuring the program features a wide variety of short and feature films.
“Let’s say a teenager is watching LGBTQIA+ short films [films] and they’re like, ‘oh look, there’s a non-binary short, and it’s totally similar to my story,’” Schoonmaker said.
SpIFF presents several LGBTQ+ films including “Aimee Victoria” directed by Chrystee Pharris. The film, which can be viewed as part of the festival online, explores the relationship of two women of color amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Filmmakers are there to tell their stories, but they want to tell them [the viewers]”, Porter said. “You finish what they do when you come to them to be part of it.”
Kaelyn New is a writer.