Film nerds of the world, unite!

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

Most surveys show that those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest see more than our share of movies.

I’d also venture to say that our taste in film, for a variety of reasons, tends to be more independent, international and eclectic than most.

Thanks to the Port of Tacoma, a large military base and a community with a tendency to travel and try new things, it is not surprising that many of us would have an appetite for odd and innovative film.

One of the best places to catch new or under-appreciated films is at local film festivals – and boy, do we have film festivals.

From full-blown high production festivals like the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) currently in its 45th year ( to the low key, but always wonderful Destiny City Film Festival, Tacoma’s Sister Cities Film Festival to the much newer Gig Harbor Film Festival (  (coming up in late September), we have film festivals for every age, interest and income.

And if you can’t make it to one of these festivals, or want to catch great films at home, you can peruse more than 30,000 independent films, popular films, and documentaries through Kanopy which is available at local libraries including Tacoma Public Library.




The 253 short film party

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

File this under “Activities unique to Tacoma”.

Enjoy film, creativity under pressure and an evening of local film and fun at the 253 Short Film Party.

Watch films from 31 local teams who were given 72 hours to create an original short film, each lasting no more than 253 seconds in length. For the math challenged among us, that’s just under 4 1/2 minutes.

You can meet and hang out with film makers, friends and fellow film nerds.

And maybe get inspired to gather some friends, a cinematic vision, a few props and the audacity to put together your own 253 second production.

Date: Friday, May 10, 2019

Doors open at 5:30 pm

Movies begin at 7:00pm

This event is held at Urban Grace, 902 Market Street, downtown Tacoma (just a few blocks from the Grand Cinema)

Tickets & Admission

Event tickets are available in advance at The Grand Cinema’s box office and online with discounts for members of The Grand.

Tickets available at

What to expect at the party:

Audience Choice Voting: vote for the film you think is most deserving of the Audience Choice Award and cash prize

Door Prizes: enter to win one of several giveaways simply by being at the event

Local Eats: enjoy locally made pizza, desserts and snacks for purchase

Local Drinks: snag a glass of beer or wine to wash down dinner

Photo Booth: capture memories in an interactive photo booth with friends and filmmakers

See you there!


The Rainier Independent Film Festival (May 17th – 19th)

The 13th Annual Rainier Independent Film Festival is excited to announce the Opening Night film, Return to Mount Kennedy. In 1965 Jim Whittaker led Senator Robert Kennedy to the first ascent of a remote mountain in the Yukon named after the late president, JFK. Fifty years later, the sons of the original climbing team—a raucous band manager, a candidate for governor, and a young mountaineer—embark on an expedition to the mountain to celebrate the special bond that connects them all. Featuring unreleased instrumentals by Eddie Vedder and never before seen footage and photos of Robert Kennedy, the feature-length documentary sits at the intersection of politics, human rights, environmentalism, and adventure.

This beautiful film is about family, friendship, loss, and discovery…it’s raw, real and inspirational. Bobby Whittaker will be joining us for a Q & A after the film.


The RIFF Opening Night Film and Gala is a magical experience. As filmmakers arrive, the town of Ashford begins to buzz. The tranquil mountain and the lush surrounding forest seem more alive than ever. The Lion’s Hall, artfully dressed in nature, is where we gather to celebrate independent film and the filmmakers that put their heart and soul into creating something beautiful, thought-provoking, educational and ultimately entertaining. The creative charge continues as filmmakers new and returning, community members, and avid film buffs share food, spirits, and conversation at the Opening Night Gala. You won’t want to miss this year’s line-up or the enchantment of what will be RIFF 2019.

We are excited to see the return and expansion of The Student Movie RIFF (TSMR), now in its third year. Students in grades 9 through 12 of the Eatonville, Morton, Yelm, Mineral, Orting, and Bethel school districts, sign up in teams to make a film five minutes or less. Students are given a prompt, have free creative reign and three weeks to complete and upload their work. The top 10 student films will be screened on Saturday morning at 10:00 AM, May 18th, in the Lions’ Theater. First place prize is a scholarship in the amount of $1441.10, a tribute to the elevation of Mt. Rainier.

The RIFF program guide will list a complete movie line-up and announce the filmmakers that will be in attendance.

For movie or workshop tickets, go online to or in person at Whittaker’s Bunkhouse in Ashford, Washington.

– The Rainier Independent Film Festival

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