Editor’s note: Given the persistently high COVID-19 case count, COVID protocols and other details for events are subject to change. Please check your event’s website for COVID requirements (many festivals require vaccination proof and masking) and the latest information, and heed local health authorities’ safety recommendations as they’re updated.
Fall always brings a flurry of local film festivals, now with a pandemic-appropriate twist: Most of these filmic feasts are available virtually. Here’s a sampling of some of the larger ones scheduled this season; do note that all programming is subject to change.
Local Sightings Film Festival
Northwest Film Forum’s annual celebration of Pacific Northwest filmmaking this year adopts a hybrid model, with both in-person and online options. The fest begins with an in-person screening of “Thin Skin,” Ahamefule J. Oluo’s gorgeous, music-filled drama about a Seattle single dad coping with the absence of his Nigerian father; cast and crew members will be present. After 12 days of features, short film packages, workshops and panels, the festival will end with the local documentary “Manifest Destiny Jesus,” directed by Josh Aaseng, Daemond Arrindell and T. Geronimo Johnson. With the exception of the opening- and closing-night films, all events can be viewed remotely.
Sept. 16-26; NWFF, 1515 12th Ave., Seattle; festival passes: $90-$140 virtual or in-person, or $100-$150 for a hybrid pass ($60 and $75, respectively, for NWFF members); nwfilmforum.org
Port Townsend Film Festival
The PTFF celebrates its 22nd birthday with an almost entirely virtual festival, though at press time a few outdoor events were still planned for the weekend of the 24th — including a screening of “Legally Blonde,” with screenwriter Kiwi Smith (a Chimacum High School graduate) on hand. More than 80 feature films and shorts will stream throughout the festival.
Sept. 23-Oct. 3; outdoor theater on Taylor Street in downtown Port Townsend; festival pass: $120 unlimited virtual pass; individual tickets go on sale Sept. 23; outdoor events are free; ptfilmfest.com
SIFF celebrates the reopening of the Egyptian — closed since the pandemic began — with its inaugural documentary film fest, which will include 13 nonfiction films from around the world. “A-ha: The Movie,” about the Norwegian pop band, will open the festival, and all screenings will include in-person introductions. Most films will also be available for streaming via the SIFF Channel.
Sept. 30-Oct. 7; SIFF Egyptian, 805 E. Pine St., Seattle. Festival passes: $100 ($75 SIFF members), individual tickets $14 ($9); siff.net
Tasveer South Asian Film Festival
Now in its 16th year, the Tasveer festival describes itself as the largest South Asian film festival in the United States. This year’s edition will combine in-person and virtual events — and will also fold in the Tasveer South Asian Literature Festival, a showcase for South Asian writers now in its third year. The romantic comedy “7 Days,” paired with the science fiction short “Coming Out with the Help of a Time Machine,” will open the festival at Seattle’s Broadway Performance Hall. The fest will also include a virtual keynote address from actor Riz Ahmed (Oscar-nominated star of “Sound of Metal”) and the comedy workshop Desi Girls Comedy Project.
Oct. 1-24; multiple locations; festival passes: all-access pass $100 ($75 for Tasveer members); tasveerfestival.org
Orcas Island Film Festival
This small but prestigious local festival (the 2019 edition included titles like “Parasite,” “Jojo Rabbit” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”) is presenting 15 films in-person this year at the Sea View Theatre in Eastsound on Orcas.
Oct. 7-11; Sea View Theatre, 234 A St., Eastsound; festival passes: $190; orcasfilmfest.com
Tacoma Film Festival
A rapidly growing festival that’s been around since 2006, this year’s TFF will be both virtual and in-person, with selected screenings at the Grand Cinema. Local filmmaker Wes Hurley’s semi-autobiographical comedy “Potato Dreams of America” will be the opening-night film, and the weeklong fest will include more than 125 films from 22 countries.
Oct. 7-14; Grand Cinema, 606 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma; festival passes: $150 ($125 Grand Cinema members); tacomafilmfestival.com
Seattle Latino Film Festival
Celebrating its lucky 13th annual edition, the SLFF unspools both virtually and in-person (primarily at The Beacon). Opening night will be a screening of the Uruguayan comedy “The Broken Glass Theory”; subsequent days will feature more than 100 feature-length and short films from 20 different countries, all subtitled in English.
Oct. 8-17; multiple locations; festival passes: on sale Sept. 25, price to be announced; slff.org
Seattle Queer Film Festival
One of Seattle’s largest festivals returns as a hybrid fest this year for its 26th edition. “Potato Dreams of America” will be its opening-night film, with actor Lea DeLaria and Grammy Award-winning artist Lady Rizo in attendance; numerous other local films will be showcased among the festival’s 10-day roster, which includes approximately 160 feature-length films and shorts. In-person events will be at multiple venues: SIFF Egyptian, Northwest Film Forum, Erickson Theatre, Broadway Performance Hall, Ark Lodge and Museum of Pop Culture.
Oct. 14-24; multiple locations; festival passes: $150 (virtual only), $200 (virtual and in-person); threedollarbillcinema.org
Friday Harbor Film Festival
This popular all-documentary local fest has an innovative all-virtual format this year: Its first four days, Oct. 14-17, will be livestreamed events, with live Zoom Q&As following each film; the festival will continue for an additional week with more films and prerecorded filmmaker Q&As.
Oct. 14-24; festival passes: to be announced; fhff.org