The big film enthusiast ‘get together’ of the Pacific Northwest is the Seattle International Film Festival. As one of the largest festivals in the nation, it mounts pretty stiff competition — but Tacoma has its own film festival entering its 14th year! Little did you know, this event brings just as much fun, interaction — and most importantly, films — as SIFF does. With a unique local flavor to its content offerings, this year’s Tacoma Film Festival is sure to be a smash.

The festival kicked off on October 3, and runs through October 10. If you hurry, there’s still a couple more days filled with opportunities left for you to drop in and enjoy all they have to offer. Most of the films will screen at The Grand Cinema, a small locally owned theater on the corner of Fawcett and 6th Avenue.

Individual screening tickets are affordable, at only $11 regular and $8 matinee. However, students just have to bring their husky student ID to the Grand Cinema box office, and they get a special student festival pass at no charge. This allows all students to see any of the festival’s films for free — so there’s no excuse to not take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

Some films have cast or crew offering a before or after discussion of the movie. Additionally, there are several panels and workshops to attend if you want to break up the monotony of watching movies. With all this in mind, here are some of the top films to watch check out:

“Los Reyes” — Oct. 7 at 7:15 p.m. and Oct. 9 at 2 p.m.

Shot over the course of two years, this documentary began life as a profile of the teens who hang out at their local skate park in Santiago, Chile. But soon the two cuddly stray dogs who frequented the park became the stars of the movie, as it covers them navigating life through the streets in this heartwarming story.

“Doing the Work! Short Film Program”  — Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.

This is one of the festival’s many collections of short films, promoting storytelling of all lengths and sizes. This particular lineup focuses on the plights of indigenous people.

“Creative Distribution In Depth (TFF Workshop)” — Oct. 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Not a film, but a discussion on how movies are distributed in the independent film world. Hosted by writer/director Liz Manashil, this talk gives movie-lovers an alternate perspective on how movies are made outside of corporate influence. If you don’t happen to have classes conflicting with it, it’s a must-see!

“Koko-di Koko-da” — Oct. 8 at 7:15 p.m.

A darkly comic echo of “Groundhog Day,” a couple go on a camping trip in an attempt to save their failing marriage. But things go wrong from the get go, and things seem to start strangely repeating.

“People Get Ready (the train’s not coming) Short Film Program” — Oct. 9 at 4:15 p.m.

A compilation of eight short films — each of which are fifteen minutes or less — and thematically tied together by modern political clashes.

“Mister America” — Oct. 9 at 9:15 p.m.

Offbeat Adult Swim comedy star Tim Heidecker writes, produces and stars in this pseudo documentary feature where he runs a campaign to become District Attorney of San Bernadino county. This is in spite of his just having beaten a murder charge in court, not being a resident of the district, and posessing zero political or lawyer experience.

“My Mother Was Here” — Oct. 10 at 5 p.m.

A heartbreaking documentary about the life of an 84 year old mother still working as a bus driver to pay the bills, and her quest to reconnect with her estranged family.

“To The Stars” — Oct. 10 7 p.m.

The movie to close this year’s festival is a hard hitting coming of age drama, with the director Martha Stephens in attendance. Stay after the movie for the closing night party, which includes the audience choice awards and refreshments.

“To The Stars”
COURTESY OF TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL
“Swarm Season”
COURTESY OF TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL
“Last Night I Saw You Smile”
COURTESY OF TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL
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