Fests range from the Port Townsend Film Festival, Sept. 15-17, to the Romanian Film Festival, Nov. 17-19.

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Autumn is nigh, and it’s time to start enjoying a busy fall-arts scene. Why not take in some exciting film festivals?

Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its invaluable Local Sightings Film Festival, kicking off at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 22 (preceded by a 7:30 p.m. happy hour) at NWFF with “Early Mistakes — Live!”, a fun and informative panel discussion featuring, among others, filmmaker Megan Griffiths (“The Night Stalker”) discussing “formative mistakes” all too common in a director’s early career. An opening-night party follows.

Local Sightings, dedicated to new and archival works from the Pacific Northwest, this year includes a mix of features, shorts, retrospectives, workshops, industry events and multidisciplinary mixes of live performance and projected images.

Among the highlights: Seattle video and performance company zoe/juniper will present its latest work, “Clear and Sweet”; Makah filmmaker Sandra Osawa will be celebrated with a program of her short documentaries; and a 20th-anniversary screening of Doug Pray’s “Hype!” will remind an audience of Seattle’s grunge music scene in the 1990s.

Features include Mark Andres’ graphic-novel-like animated “Three Days Drowning,” about an artist commissioned to paint a double portrait of a troubled couple. David Byars’ documentary “No Man’s Land” is a detailed account of the 41-day occupation by anti-government protesters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon last year. Byars gained the trust of some of the occupiers, who appear on camera. The promising comedy “Zilla and Zoe,” by Jessica Scalise, concerns a young filmmaker secretly trying to shoot her sister’s wedding as a horror flick.

For more information about Local Sightings, which runs through Sept. 30, go to localsightings.org.


Also coming up is the 22nd annual TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival, Oct. 12-22. Formerly known as the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, this year’s lineup of features includes some strong entries.

TWIST’s opening-night gala, 7:15 p.m. Oct. 12 at SIFF Cinema Uptown, offers Jennifer Kroot and Bill Weber’s documentary “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin,” a close-up look at the beloved storyteller, creator of “Tales of the City” and gay-rights pioneer. Kroot and Weber (“To Be Takei”) include interviews with Maupin, Neil Gaiman, Laura Linney, Ian McKellen, Amy Tan and Margaret Cho.

Also in the festival is Damon Cardasis’ well-received “Saturday Church,” a musical drama that has been likened to a cross between “Moonlight” and “La La Land.” Cardasis, a two-time Writers Guild Award nominee, cast Luka Kain (“Adam”) as Ulysses, a teen who escapes a dismal environment to find refuge at a shelter for homeless queer youth.

Closing night, 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at Pacific Place, sounds like another winner: “Freak Show,” the feature directorial debut of actress-producer (and Mrs. Sting) Trudie Styler. Based on a young-adult novel by James St. James, “Freak Show” stars Alex Lawther (“The Imitation Game”) as a high-school boy who runs for homecoming queen. Bette Midler and Laverne Cox are in the cast.

TWIST has panel discussions and parties on the schedule, too. For complete information, go to threedollarbillcinema.org.

More fests

Port Townsend Film Festival, Sept. 15-17: Special guests include actress-director Karen Allen (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”); information: ptfilmfest.com.

Tacoma Film Festival, Oct. 5-12: Most events take place at the Grand Cinema, 606 S. Fawcett Ave. in Tacoma; tacomafilmfestival.com.

Orcas Island Film Festival, Oct. 6-9: Various locations on Orcas Island; orcasfilmfest.com.

Tasveer South Asian Film Festival, Oct. 6-15: Works from India, Pakistan, Tibet and elsewhere, at Seattle Art Museum and Northwest Film Forum; tsaff.tasveer.org.

Seattle Polish Film Festival, October dates to be announced: It’s the 25th anniversary of this venerable fest. Most screenings are at SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., Seattle; polishfilms.org.

Social Justice Film Festival, Nov. 16-21: Various Seattle venues; socialjusticefilmfestival.org.

Romanian Film Festival, Nov. 17-19: Held at SIFF Cinema Uptown (arcsproject.org/film-festival).