Posted November 15, 2012 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Entertainment

The 29th Annual Olympia Film Festival

This year, the Olympia Film Festival stepped up its game. The 29th annual film fest, running from November 9 to 18, has been hosting some high profile events and bringing in well-known names in the media industry. With Chantal Ackerman, Philip Kaufman, Fred Willard and Todd Hayes taking part, festival director Lisa Hurwitz has high hopes for the final tally of attendance.

“The festival is historically pretty consistent in turnout,” said Hurwitz. “OFS is looking for ways to turn around its financial troubles,” and having the annual festival is the main way the Olympia Film Society (OFS) gains revenue.

The film festival generates funding through ticket and ad sales, as well as sponsorships. One of the new events this year is a co-sponsored event with Seattle’s Alt-Weekly newspaper, The Stranger, called HUMP! Fest, an amateur porn showcase. The festival coordinators also brought in Big Tom’s, a local burger joint, to have a food truck during All Freakin’ Night—a marathon of cult horror films lasting from midnight until whenever they finish.

“We want to appeal to as much of Olympia as possible,” said Hurwitz, which is apparent by the diverse schedule of films including documentaries, a kung fu double feature, silent films accompanied by live music, and the new addition of amateur porn. They also have a “Locals Only” night, where Olympians have the opportunity to enter short films for a contest.

Since June the film festival coordinators have been busy planning for the event. Hurwitz, an Evergreen student in the “Non-fiction Media” program, applied and was hired as the film festival director.

“Working full time and going to school full time isn’t the easiest thing in the world,” Hurwitz admitted. In between having to make sure Fred Willard arrived on time for the “Best in Show” screening and staying on top of schoolwork, Hurwitz is “looking forward to getting back in the swing of school and finishing out senior year with a bang.”

Given her area of study, Hurwitz has been able to occasionally “kill two birds with one stone.” Over the weekend she documented All Freakin’ Night on 16mm film for class. She said she fortunately did not to “get any blood or organs on her camera” during the event.

As many people who work at the Olympia Film Society, Hurwitz began as a volunteer projectionist. However, her job may soon become obsolete, as the theater will be forced to change from classic 35mm film to digital projection.

The annual Olympia Film Festival is a chance to help broaden the community of arts patrons in South Sound in order to gain more support for the Olympia Film Society.

By Kelli Tokos