Autumn film festivals in our region are plentiful, often with a particular focus and all offering features, shorts, guest artists, workshops and more.
A bounty of theme-driven film festivals commence in Seattle and nearby places this time of year, like pumpkins in front of grocery stores.
Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) kicks off its 21st iteration of the rewarding Local Sightings Film Festival, beginning 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, with a program of musical shorts by Seattle filmmakers, followed by some serious opening-night fun.
Local Sightings is dedicated to new and archival works from the Pacific Northwest, a mix of features, shorts, retrospectives, workshops and industry events. Highlights this year include several documentaries touching on rising income inequality in Northwest cities and its impact on affordable housing, homelessness and class division: “The Conversations” (about Seattle), “No Fixed Address” (Vancouver, B.C.) and “Essays of a City” (Portland).
Also promising is the documentary “Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii,” a study in how Japanese Americans from Hawaii helped bring down the imperial power of Japan in World War II.
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The fest runs through Sept. 29, 1515 12th Ave., Seattle; localsightings.org.
Right behind Local Sightings is TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival Oct. 11-21. Opening night brings “The Happy Prince,” written and directed by Rupert Everett, who also stars as Oscar Wilde during the beleaguered writer’s imprisonment (for being gay) and his final years. Colin Firth, Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson co-star.
Also in the mix is an award-winning documentary, “Transmilitary,” an up-close look at the daily challenges of transgender troops openly serving their country. There’s also “Riot,” another doc, this one about the struggle to decriminalize homosexuality in Australia during the 1970s.
TWIST’s screenings will take place at several Seattle locations. Panel discussions, parties and more are on the program, too. For the full schedule of events, see threedollarbillcinema.org/twist.
Also coming up is the 13th annual Tasveer South Asian Film Festival, celebrating works from India, Pakistan, Tibet and elsewhere. Running Sept. 28-Oct. 7, TSAFF’s opening night, at Seattle Art Museum, presents Asim Abbasi’s 2018 release “Cake,” the story of two sisters who come together to take care of ailing parents. Abbas and the film’s cast are expected to be on hand.
There are numerous strong entries in the festival’s ambitious schedule of features, shorts, panels and visiting artists. “Salam: The First ****** Nobel Laureate,” screening Oct. 4, is a documentary from Pakistan about that nation’s first recipient of the Nobel Prize for science: the remarkable theoretical physicist Abdus Salam.
TSAFF’s schedule also includes films for LGBTQ viewers, families, virtual-reality enthusiasts and more. The festival typically screens its films in a variety of places in Seattle, but this year TSAFF is spreading the wealth a bit to Bothell and the Eastside. For more information: tsaff.org.
The Cinerama’s 70mm Film Festival continues through Sept. 20, with a few cult classics such as 1982’s “TRON” and Stanley Kramer’s all-star 1963 comedy “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.” (Who’s funniest in the cast? Dick Shawn, of course!) And the desert scenes in David Lean’s 1962 “Lawrence of Arabia” are unlike anything else in cinema history when seen in 70mm.
Other goodies at the fest include “Back to the Future Part II,” the most inventive of the Michael J. Fox-starring trilogy; “Top Gun,” a chance to revisit the 1986 Tom Cruise hit before its long-awaited sequel shows up; an Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, “Vertigo”; and an “unrestored” print of “2001: A Space Odyssey” — which really needs restoration.
Cinerama is at 2100 Fourth Ave., Seattle; cinerama.com.
And SIFF is making it possible for cat-video addicts to keep their minds on task while at work by presenting the Cat Video Fest 2018, offering a sanity-testing 85 viral videos from Sept. 22-23 at the Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., Seattle. Cool detail: The fest will be hosted by local filmmaker Will Braden, mastermind behind the witty “Henri le Chat Noir” video series about feline existential dread. For additional information: catvideofest.com.
Mark your calendars; here’s more:
Issaquah International Film Festival, Sept. 15-16: Presented by SIFF at Cinnebarre Issaquah 8, 1490 11th Ave. N.W., Issaquah; siff.net.
Port Townsend Film Festival, Sept. 21-23: Directors Jane Campion and Charles Burnett, plus actor Danny Glover, will be visiting guests; eight locations; ptfilmfest.com.
French Cinema Now, Sept. 27-Oct. 4: It returns for its seventh year at SIFF Cinema Uptown; siff.net.
Orcas Island Film Festival, Oct. 4-8: Various locations on Orcas Island; orcasfilmfest.com.
Tacoma Film Festival, Oct. 4-11: Most events take place at the Grand Cinema, 606 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma; tacomafilmfestival.com.
Social Justice Film Festival, Oct. 5-14: Various Seattle venues; socialjusticefilmfestival.org.
Romanian Film Festival, Nov. 2-4: The fifth edition offers some interesting titles and visiting artists at the Uptown; arcsproject.org.