Photo by Peter Berkley

That’s a wrap for the 13th Annual Tacoma Film Festival, and dare we say, may be our best yet! 
We had record attendance this year for 25 feature films, 150 short films, and 10 virtual reality presented October 4–11, 2018.

We experienced a fabulous opening night watching PROSPECT, a Washington-created sci-fi film shot at the Hoh Rain Forest about a teenage girl and her father on a remote alien moon,  and spent the next week celebrating films, panels, events, and workshops in our beautiful city.  

We attended rad parties all over Tacoma with local, national, and international filmmakers, experienced incredible virtual reality at King’s Books, watched mindblowing animated shorts, explored different perspectives from behind the camera, listened to expert panels on film criticism and local filmmaking, brought our families to fun short films, grooved to new music videos, and rocked out the end of the fest with BOOM!, a film about The Sonics, a Tacoma-bred proto-punk rock band that changed music forever.  

In all, the 2018 Tacoma Film Fest was filled with joyful discovery, deep insight, and local and international friendships made.

We’d like to send an enormous congratulations to all of our 2018 Juried Award Winners, as well as our Audience Choice Winners.

Narrative Features

Best Narrative Feature: DRIFT, directed by Helena Wittmann
It took us three years to make Drift. It was three years of intense experiences and encounters, it was three of the most beautiful years for me. The process became part of our lives and new relations between us and the life worlds surrounding our path were built. It is now one year that the film is on its journey and meets its audiences. The process continues whenever someone can relate to the film, when anyone accepts the invitation to drift with us, with the tide. Receiving this award is a feedback that informs us about new relations that had been built and this is the most wonderful thing to know. We are very thankful that Tacoma Film Festival gave us the space for new encounters between the film and the people who attended the screening. And we are very thankful that the jury let us know that they could relate to our work. We send warm and happy wishes over the oceans!

Best Director: Adam Khalil, Bayley Sweitzer (EMPTY METAL)
It’s such a huge honor for me and my co-director Bayley Sweitzer to receive the award for Best Directors! The film was cobbled together amongst friends over many years and required persistence of vision and a lot of risk taking. After three years of making the film, the opportunity to present it at TFF was such an honor! To be there in person and engage with the audience at Tacoma and receive this award from the Jury will fuel us to continue to make new work. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

Best Cinematography: Ashley Connor (MOUNTAIN REST)

Best Screenplay: Bryce Richardson (I WANT MORE, I WANT LESS)
I’m truly honored to receive this award at a festival with such an innovative program full of people who love film as an art form.

Best Performance: Sophia Mitri Schloss (SADIE)
Thank you so much! I'm honored and happy that the film resonates with audiences.

Narrative Shorts

Best Narrative Short: NETTLES, directed by Raven Jackson

Best Director: Faren Humes (MACHO)

Best Cinematography: Shawn Peters (PIU PIU)
Super proud and honored. This is my second time screening at Tacoma and I love this film festival. Wish I could be there. It was a pleasure working on Piu Piu with Shawn. We didn’t have much time in pre-production but with the one meeting we did have, I came with a million ideas and Shawn was receptive to all of them. And then the day came to shoot and we just sorta threw out the shot list and went with what Made sense in the moment. With someone of his caliber you can do that—just work off of instinct and trust that he’s going to make it beautiful and more importantly, make sure it hits the right tone emotionally. I want to thank him, Natalie Paul—the lead, Damani Pompey for the choreography, and Jason Hightower, Natalie Clunis for producing. Terence Nance for EPing. And of course Tacoma for inviting us here again. (Naima Ramos-Chapman, Director of Piu Piu)

Best Performance: Dymond Veve (KIRA BURNING)

Best Screenplay: Mariama Diallo (HAIR WOLF)

Documentary Features

Best Documentary Feature: DISTANT CONSTELLATION, directed by Shevaun Mizrahi

Best Director: Daniel Patrick Carbone (PHANTOM COWBOYS)

Best Cinematography: Erick Stoll (AMÉRICA)

Documentary Shorts

Best Documentary Short: SILICA, directed by Pia Borg

Best Directors: Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, Jackson Polys (THE VIOLENCE OF A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT SECRETS)

Best Cinematography: Luis Gutiérrez Arias, John Henry Theisen (IT'S GOING TO BE BEAUTIFUL)

Best Regional

Best Regional (Pierce County) Film: MEDIEVAL MARTHA STEWART, directed by Taylor Hawkins

Best Regional (Pacific Northwest) Film: CIVIL, directed by Stephen Takashima
I am so grateful to have been included in this amazing program; David and the rest of the TFF team put together something really special... It would have been honor enough simply to screen Civil with so many other fantastic films, but to receive an award and have people respond to my piece was deeply encouraging. 

TFF also has one of the most warm and welcoming teams I've ever met, constantly going above and beyond to make us feel at home. It really did blow me away. I will be working hard to make sure I can return again in the future!

Audience Choice

We’d also like to congratulate our Audience Choice winners, the winners determined by your ballots!

Audience Choice for Best Short Film: THE BURDEN (Min börda) by Niki Lindroth von Bahr

Audience Choice for Best Feature: DAWNLAND by Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip

PNW Audience Choice for Best Short Film: MEDIEVAL MARTHA STEWART by Taylor Hawkins

PNW Audience Choice for Best Feature: BOOM! by Jordan Albertsen

Virtual Reality

Of course, we can’t forget the 2018 Virtual Reality Winners, which were chosen by staff and enjoyed by all at The Veldt at King’s Books. This year there was a tie between two fantastic VR films: BIIDAABAN: FIRST LIGHT by Lisa Jackson and SWAMPSCAPES by Liz Miller, Juan Carlos Zaldívar, and Kim Grinfeder.
Wow, wonderful news! What an honour! I'm so pleased to have this recognition from the festival for our piece which brings the past and future together to give us a unique perspective that can help us think about our present moment. (Lisa Jackson, Biidaaban: First Light)
Finally, many festival-goers asked us about the winners for the TRACK 03 Music Video Showcase. We’d like to note that there was no separate competition portion of the showcase… but we did enjoy all of those beautiful videos.
Thank you all so much for coming out to support the Tacoma Film Festival this year. We had a fabulous time and hope that you all did, too. Don’t forget to stay updated about the festival on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and of course right here on The Grand Cinema website. See you next year!