Local film aficionados will be quite busy over the next two weekends as the Destiny City Film Festival takes over Proctor's historic Blue Mouse Theatre from Aug. 28 to 30, and the third annual Lakewood Asian Film Festival has its own three-day run at Lakewood Elks, from Sept. 5 to 7.
The Destiny City Festival will present 26 award-winning films from around the world. Festivities will kick off at 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 with new, indie drama, “A Rising Tide,” which tells an inspirational story of redemption about a young chef named Sam Rama (played by Hunter Parrish of “Weeds” and “The Following” fame). After the his family's well-established Atlantic City restaurant is destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, he must grow up quickly, taking the biggest risks of his life, both in business and in love.
There will be opportunities to interact with filmmakers on opening night as “A Rising Tide” writer and director Ben Hickernell takes questions after the opening film. Prior to the movie, writer Jeffrey Field will discuss his first place script in DCFF's short screenplay competition.
Over the next two days, Destiny City will be in full swing with a full slate of drama, comedy, animation, short film packages, thought-provoking documentaries and more. Highlights include “For Grace,” which follows the trial and tribulations of renowned chef Chris Duffy as he opens a new restaurant in Chicago; “Blood, Sweat and Beer,” about the explosive growth of the craft beer industry; “Tom Girl,” which follows Jake, a 7-year-old who defies traditional gender roles; and the award-winning HBO film, “Very Semi-Serious,” an offbeat documentary about humor, art and the genius of “New Yorker” cartoons.
All-Access VIP passes – which grant access to all films and events – are available for $65. A DCFF punch card, good for four general admission tickets, is available for $20.
The Blue Mouse is located at 2611 N. Proctor St., in Tacoma. For more information, trailers and a full festival schedule visit DestinyCityFilmFestival.com.
The Lakewood Asian Film Festival has migrated this year after scheduling conflicts with its previous home at Lakewood Playhouse. This year, the festival will host free screenings to four critically acclaimed films. “The lineup is our strongest one ever,” said Phil Raschke of festival sponsor Lakewood Arts Commission. “There are films from India, Japan, China, and they're all award-winning films. Some were highly controversial.”
In that category is the festival opening, the emotionally charged Indian drama, "Water." Set in the 1930s, the film highlights the plight of Chuyia, an 8-year-old Hindu girl who is suddenly widowed after being placed in an arranged marriage. Custom demands she be sent away to a home where widows must live in penitence, but her feisty nature soon affects the other widows and causes them to question their faith and social status.
Director Deepa Mehta faced death threats and arson attempts as she made the film, which Ebert and Roeper gave two thumbs up.
The stunning "The Painted Veil" is the film fest's second film, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 5. This PG-13 film is based on Somerset Maugham's classic novel of the same name and stars Edward Norton (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Fight Club”), Naomi Watts (“St. Vincent,” “Mulholland Drive”) and Diana Rigg, of the “Avengers” TV series fame. It follows an English doctor who takes his beautiful but unfaithful wife to a cholera ravaged village deep in China. Rolling Stone calls it "magnificent."
Next up is Australian film, “The Sapphires,” a PG-13 film that will show at 2 p.m. on Sept. 6. The film is set in 1968 and focuses on an aboriginal girl group that doesn't know what it's getting into when it pursues its first big break, performing for troops in Vietnam. It scored a 91 percent rating on review aggregation site, RottenTomatoes.com.
In the Chinese film “The Flowers of War” – up next at 7 p.m. on Sept. 6 – Christian Bale poses as a priest to try and save young schoolgirls and Chinese courtesans from invading Japanese troops during 1937 Rape of Nanking. The film, directed by the legendary Zhang Yimou, is rated R.
The Asian Film Fest's final selection, the Japanese drama “Departures,” will be shown at 2 p.m. on Labor Day, Sep 7. In it, a young husband loses his job in an orchestra and returns back to his small hometown where he accepts a socially degrading job preparing the deceased for the journey to the afterlife. "Departures" won the American Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film is rated PG-13. Raschke said attendees will be given a small, symbolic stone to commemorate their attendance at this “deeply moving film."
The Lakewood Elks is located at 6313 75th St. Seating is on a first come basis, and there will be a special lobby exhibit by the Philippine Scouts Historical Society. For further details, call (253) 983-7835 or (253) 861-1366.