Bainbridge film festival that brings together world starts Friday

From Friday to Sunday, Nov. 14-16, the Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council will showcase works from Bainbridge film professionals through 28 films at its 16th annual Celluloid Bainbridge Film Festival.

Following the simple guideline that works must have been filmed on Bainbridge or feature a past or present Bainbridge Islander in the cast, crew or production, the goal of the three-day festival is to bring the Bainbridge community together to learn about and celebrate local filmmakers, according to a news release from the Arts & Humanities Council. This year’s films hail from aspiring students, young professionals and established artists in the field of film.

Admission to films screened on Saturday and Sunday are free of charge. Saturday morning of the festival will be at Bainbridge Cinemas, where three theaters will be showcasing a variety of family focused films, in addition to the Celluloid Bainbridge Film Challenge entries. On Sunday, the Historic Lynwood Theatre will offer films from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A full schedule and descriptions of the films and their Bainbridge Connections can be found on the festival’s website, http://bainbridgeartshumanities.org. The film schedule has been arranged for viewers to enjoy several movies in a row or come and go as they please throughout the weekend.

In addition to a diverse group of film professionals, the festival will also explore global and local topics throughout the weekend, diving deeper into social, economic and environmental issues, interpersonal relationships, historical documentation and even athletics.

In Matt Smith’s autobiographical tale “My Last Year with the Nuns,” the master storyteller himself spins a wild and surprising yarn of growing up in 1960s America. Simultaneously categorized as a comedy, avant-garde, mockumentary, dramedy and period/historical piece, the film seeks to explain why the 8th grade was the best year of Smith’s life.

Another local writer with a film in the festival is Matt K. Turner, creator of “Family Weekend.” This movie centers on a 16-year-old competition rope skipper who takes matters into her own hands to bring her parents, played by Hollywood actors Kristin Chenoweth and Matthew Modine, back to “normal.”

After well-deserved accolades at screenings in Malaysia, Australia, Myanmar, Korea, China and New York City, writer Hector Carosso will return to Bainbridge to show “Kayan Beauties” to friends and family. This film tells the story of three Kayan women who travel from their remote village to sell handicrafts in a distant city in Myanmar. They are accompanied by a Kayan girl, who has just had the tribe’s decorative, heavy brass coil rings placed around her neck. In the city, the girl is kidnapped by human traffickers. Far from home and out of their element, the Kayan women desperately search for the girl.

The multi-talented Robert Scott Crane will also return to the island, bringing with him from Los Angeles his newest film “Curio Shop,” an award-winning post apocalyptic acid western. Directed by two-time Emmy Award winning Eric S. Anderson and shot by the Academy Award- and Emmy Award-winning director of photograhy, DP David Stump A.S.C., this hallucinogenic fable stars Crane and Christopher Sweeney. Crane will be available for a question-and-answer session immediately following his film Sunday evening.

Local filmmaker and student at Bainbridge High School, Brendan Bennett has three of his short films in the festival this year, the highlight of which is “Listen.” A story about a boy and his drug-dealing brother and how the power of music shapes their lives, this film has been screened at festivals in Omaha, Hollywood and Ireland.

The Opening Night Celebration on Friday at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, will help to underwrite the otherwise free festival. This will be a festive evening with refreshments, a chance to Meet the Filmmakers and enjoy the feature film, The EDGE at the Movies, celebrating the best of the EDGE Improv. Tickets for opening night can be purchased at CelluloidBainbridge.org.

The educational highlight of the festival will be Sunday afternoon when three films on the topic of the Japanese American Exclusion during World War II will be shown with a discussion panel featuring the voices and stories from invited guests from the Bainbridge Japanese-American community.

In Lois Shelton’s film “After Silence: Civil Rights and the Japanese American Experience,” the past comes alive as the late Frank Kitamoto, who spent 3.5 years of his childhood in a United States concentration camp during WWII, and five students from Bainbridge Island High School develop archival photographic prints in the high school darkroom together as they discuss the need to safeguard the constitutional rights of those living in the U.S., especially in a time of crisis. Shelton offers this rescreening of the film as a fitting tribute to Kitamoto’s legacy. Kitamoto passed away in March at age 74.

“Only What They Could Carry” is a Brenda Berry film viewing the exclusion topic through the lens of a delegation of Bainbridge Islanders who journeyed to the former Manzanar concentration camp, where current Bainbridge Island educators and community leaders accompanied former incarcerated Islanders to the High Sierra desert of California on the 70th anniversary of their forced removal and relocation.

“The Manzanar Fishing Club” by Cory Shiozaki, about a small group of Japanese-Americans incarcerated at Manzanar who sought personal freedom by sneaking outside the barbed wire and machine gun towers to catch fresh fish in nearby streams, then return to camp, without ever being discovered by guards or camp officials.

The Celluloid Bainbridge Film Festival is funded by the Arts & Humanities Council and its donors, along with the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. The festival would not be possible without support from Northwest Films, BIMA, Bainbridge Cinemas and the Historic Lynwood Center.

For more information about the festival and all of the wonderful films, visit the Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council’s website, facebook and twitter pages.

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About Ethan Fowler

Ethan Fowler has more than 20 years of journalism experience with 19 years of daily and weekly newspaper experience covering news, features and sports, as well as being an editor for 14 of those years. He has won several writing awards over the years in Washington state, Virginia, Texas and Georgia, including award-winning investigative journalism. Fowler was paid by the Review & Herald Publishing Association in 2009 to co-author a book, "Brushed Back: The Story of Trevor Bullock," with his wife. The book details the real life of a top minor league pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization and his Christian faith. "Brushed Back" has sold more than 2,000 copies since its release.