Blue Gull Inn

Women & Film Port Townsend, WA

March 21st, 2016 by bluegullinn

Women & Film Port Townsend, WA.“Women & Film introduces all of us to voices we would never hear and changes our perspective.
Janette Force, Executive Director, PTFF

“A weekend feast, deeply intriguing. The panel on Saturday night continues to inspire me, seeing how hard these women work to produce these films.” Debbi Steele, Founder Fund for Women & Girls

Choose from eleven contemporary films by the best independent filmmakers working today. Six film professionals for Q&A after their screenings, and a filmmakers’ roundtable on Saturday night, moderated by human rights poet and film scholar, Susan Rich.

All films screen during the day, Sat.-Sun., April 9-10 at the Rose and Rosebud Theatres. Special event: Screening of cinematographer Kirsten Johnson’s transcendent “Cameraperson,” premiered in February at Sundance to rave reviews. See schedule below. Click on film titles for trailers, synopsis of films and biography of our directors.


Passes $75

When you purchase your pass you will receive an email connecting you with the Women & Film Concierge. This email will allow you to select your film choices or request more information.

Click on Film title below for more information.
guestIndicates that a guest will attend
Saturday April 9, 2016 (Q&A follows all screenings)
Time Rosebud Cinema Rose Theatre Wheeler Theater Fort Worden
10 AM It Had To Be You

85 min

Driftwood guest

19 min
104 min Total

10:15 AM

Big Voiceguest

83 min.

1:00 PM


68 min


18 min
86 min Total

1:15 PM

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Storyguest

78 min.


7:00 PM


102 min
followed by

Film Professionals Roundtable

guest starstarstarstar

Sunday April 10, 2016 (Q&A follows all screenings)

Time Rosebud Cinema Rose Theatre NW Maritime Center
10 AM Polyfaces

92 min.

10:15 AM


80 min.




1:00 PM

Refugees of Shangri-La

55 min.guest

1:15 PM

East Side Sushi guest

100 min.


It Had To Be You
Director: Sasha Gordon

Women & Film Port Townsend, WA. Sonia is a neurotic and charming jingle writer who dreams of a big exciting life. When her boyfriend proposes suddenly with an ultimatum, she has to decide: domesticity or leap to pursue her fantasies. “A subversive, whimsical, romantic and raunchy comedy.”

Director Sasha Gordon is both an award-winning filmmaker and composer. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, she began studying piano at the age of 5. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1989, when she was 10 years old, and as a Brown University student won numerous competitions as a concert pianist.

Gordon wrote the full-length score for a reissue of the 1927 Oscar winning film, Wings, wrote the film score for the Oscar-winning God of Love, and has scored over 50 short and feature films. It Had To Be You is her first feature film.

She is currently scoring Amazon’s Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, and writing her next feature film.

it had to be

Director: Michelle Steffes

Blaire Farrow is sick of her life and her job as a client liaison for a wish-granting foundation. When she decides to take in a handsome amnesiac, she thinks she’s found everything she ever wanted. Do you think strings might be attached?

Director Michelle Steffes is a Los Angeles filmmaker and screenwriting consultant. She worked as Director of Development at Universal’s Larger than Life Productions where she worked on projects such as Seabiscuit and The Tale of Despereaux.

After leaving the company to pursue writing and directing, she was selected to participate in AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. Since then, most short films she’s directed or produced have won awards at such festivals as Sundance, SIFF and LA Comedy Shorts.

Steffes is a screenwriting mentor for non-profits such as WriteGirl, Act One and Cinestory and guides screenwriters undergoing the Writers Guild’s credits determination. She was shortlisted for the 2009 Academy Awards for Short Term 12. Her short film, The Interview, won Grand Prize for Best Fiction at the USA Film Festival.


Big Voice
Director: Varda Bar-Kar


Oh, what a roller coaster year in the life of high school choir director, Jeffe Huls. Huls’ passion for the choral arts and music literacy fuels his desire to exceed all expectations–and therein lies the thrilling uphill climb before the fall. Following a series of competitive auditions, he assembles the most ideal combination of voices he’s ever heard. But he also discovers his 32 talented teenagers suffer from too much ego, conflicts and angst—they’re the most unwieldy group he’s ever taught. Engaging, entertaining and funny: It’s as much a story about high school life as it is about music.

Award-winning director and writer, Varda Bar-Kar, director of Runaway Stars and Ode to Los Angeles, has screened her work in major festivals and on major networks. Her accolades include Heartland’s Crystal Heart Award, the Silver Telly Award, YouTube’s Most Innovative Non-Profit Video Award, NewFilmmakers/LA Grand Jury & Audience awards and SHOOT magazine’s 2010 New Director’s Showcase.

big Voice


Photo: Dennis Leight
Director: Delaney Ruston


Kids just can’t stop looking at their phones. Ruston’s Screenagersprobes the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director’s own, and messy struggles over social media, video games and Internet addiction. The good news: Brain scientists have a solution for how kids can navigate the digital world.

Director Delaney Ruston is a Stanford-trained physician working with marginalized groups and is the founder of MyDoc Productions. With postgraduate training in ethics and communications, her films have played pivotal roles to raise awareness of mental-health issues.

Her films include If She Knew–Withholding Bad News; Crossroads–The Intersection of Pain and Addiction and Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia. Unlisted has been part of an ongoing national awareness campaign about mental illness. Crisis in Control is a personal spin on a psychiatric advance directives.

Hidden Pictures, A Personal Journey Into Global Mental Health has been screening at festivals, the World Health Organization, the United Nations and other venues since its release in 2013.

Delaney recently returned from two years in India, where she completed a Fulbright Scholars Program creating films about mental health workers.



The Gnomist
Director: Sharon Liese


A stunningly beautiful documentary short about the power of kindness, revealed in the Firefly Forest, where fairy dwellings in the hollows of trees mysteriously began popping up in the spring of 2013.

Sharon Liest is the producer of High School Confidential, which followed a group of teenage girls throughout their entire four years in high school. She’s also a critically acclaimed filmmaker whose work airs on major television networks. Her storytelling takes audiences on a whirlwind ride of emotions, as she showcases the human condition.

Liese premiered her film Selfie, in collaboration with director Cynthia Wade, at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The film won a 2014 CLIO Image Award for excellence and gained over 6 million viewers online in fewer than two weeks.

In the past decade, she has produced content for Fox, Discovery ID, Lifetime, The Ophra Winfrey Network, MTV and PBS. Her credits include Utopia Hookers: Saved on the Strip; The Week Women Went; Blackboard Wars and three part series, Birthing Pains.



A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
Director: Sara Hirsh Bordo


Lizzie is 26, weighs 58 pounds, and is a victim of cyber-bullying. Hers is everyone’s story of looking inward for validation, self-love and the power of family to instill it. Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Elizabeth was first bullied as a child for her appearance, and it worsened when she was a teenager and discovered a You Tube video labeling her “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” The film follows her journey from bullied child, her TED Talk that helped her become a motivational speaker, and lobbyist for the first anti-bullying bill.

Director Sara Bordo has worked as a marketing director for Paramount Pictures, MGM and is the co-founder of NowLive, an events production company. She has produced live events that include the Hunger Games Premiere and Academy Awards Red Carpet.

She was nominated as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2013. Bardo most recently returned to her home town of Austin to work as executive producer for the first TEDxAustinWomen, viewed worldwide.

a  brave heart


Director: Kirsten Johnson


Lauded cinematographer Kirsten Johnson is regarded as one of the best documentary cinematographers in the world. Her autobiographical Cameraperson chronicles her 25-year professional career and personal life.

Partly a collage of her most daring work, this is a touching and complex look at the person behind the camera. Johnson is an award-winning cinematographer whose film credits include Derrida, Darfur Now, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, The Oath and Citizenfour.

The Oath is about Osama bin Laden’s personal driver, Abu Jandal. Citizenfour is about Edward Snowden and his revelations about the NSA. Her prescient film Innocent Until Proven Guilty (1999) examined the number of African American men imprisoned by the U.S. criminal justice system.



Women & Film Panelists
Moderator: Susan Rich

Fulbright scholar and poet Susan Rich is widely published and the author of four collections of poetry. She has won both the PEN USA and Peace Corps Writers award. Rich has worked for Amnesty International and Peace Corps in West Africa. Her international awards include the Times Literary Supplement Award, residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland and at Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain. She teaches Women and Film at Highline Community College in Seattle.

Panel: Avril Speaks joins W&F guests: Michelle Steffes, Varda Bar-Kar, Sara Hirsch Bordo, Doria Bramante and Diana Torres

Over 18 years as a producer, writer, director and film editor, Avril Speaks is an advocate of film education and training. She earned her masters degree in Film Directing from Columbia University, her bachelor degree from the University of Maryland in African American Studies, and studied film production at Howard University.

After graduating from Columbia, Speaks worked in Development for USA Films (now Focus Features). She has also been a full time professor at Howard University in Washington DC, teaches film at Azusa Pacific University in California and Greenway Arts Alliance. She is currently working on her second Masters degree at Fuller Theological Seminary.



Co-directors: Lisa Heenan and Isaebella Doherty


This joyful documentary is about innovative agricultural practices of Polyface Farm in Virginia’s stunning Shenandoah Valley. Polyfacestrives to work with nature and maintain a symbiotic relationships between local economies and communities. The farm was featured in Michael Pollan’s bestselling “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”.

Co-director Lisa Heenan is a professional actor, singer, acoustic guitarist, writer and director. Renown for her jazz and blues vocals, she starred in the cult-classic thriller The Long Line and acclaimed social drama, Shredded, as well as many Australian production and commercials over the past 25 years.

Isaebella Doherty is a multi-award winning writer, singer, filmmaker and editor, most well known for Swan, Filthy Youth, and the Australian television series, Polyfaces.



Photo: Isaebella Doherty


Photo: Alex Wilson
Director: Dawn Porter


The Supreme Court hears a landmark abortion case threatening to reverse Roe v. Wade, as states’ TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws shut down abortion clinics. Fresh from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Trapped is a look at how restrictive state laws are forcing abortion clinics to close in parts of the country, and mostly in the South.

Two of Trapped subjects are Dr. Willie Parker of Jackson Women’s Health (the last abortion clinic in Mississippi) and June Ayers, owner and director of Reproductive Health Services in Montgomery, Alabama, one of the few remaining abortion clinics in the state.

Director Dawn Porter is the founder of Trilogy Films, and a Sundance favorite. She is the Director/Producer of Gideon’s Armyabout three young public defenders in the south struggling against long hours, low pay, staggering caseloads and a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Her Trilogy Films productions include Spies of Mississippi and Serious Moonlight (starring Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton). Porter is also executive producer on The Green, premiering on Showtime Networks.

Before becoming a filmmaker Porter was a practicing attorney, and the Director of News Standards and Practices at ABC News and A&E Networks.



The Refugees of Shangri-La
Co-Directors Doria Bramante and Markus Weinfurter


In spite of being the creators of Gross National Happiness, more than 107,000 refugees of the Kingdom of Bhutan were forced to pack up and scatter across the sea into the buzz of a foreign civilization. For the first time, we hear the stories of refugees as they recount their happy lives in Bhutan, their painful eviction, 20 long years of struggle living as refugees in Nepal, and their brave decision to seek a future in North America. Over 80,000 Bhutanese have since settled in the U.S.; thousands more have moved to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.

Director Doria Bramante is a multi-award winning theater artist and singer who has performed all over the world. She devoted over six years to her film project. She’s been featured on NPR, the Smithsonian and her work supported by the U.S. Embassy, United Nations and humanitarian organizations.



East Side Sushi
Director: Anthony Lucero
Starring Diana Elizabeth Torres


Single mom, Juana, facing gender discrimination in a Japanese restaurant, imagines sushi “Mexican” style and finds a new life for herself. Years of working in the food industry have made Juana’s hands fast, very fast. She can slice and dice anything you throw at her with great speed and precision. Her creativity and passion for food, sparked by observing sushi chefs, is reignited and drives her to want more from her job and her life. Subtitled.

Actress Diana Elizabeth Torres is from Culiacan Sinaloa, northern Mexico. She received her three year conservatory training in Mexico City’s CasAzul and is the recipient of the “Celebrity Centre International Award” for improving the arts in Latin American culture.

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