Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Sweet Onion Film Festival to premiere in October

The first annual International Sweet Onion Film Festival will kick off in about two weeks, on Friday, Oct. 26, and run through the weekend. The event will bring the works of independent filmmakers from around the globe to Walla Walla. The films will be shown in venues all over town, including Seven Hills Winery, the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Walla Walla University.

According to Festival Director Francesca Bush, the festival’s goal is to “introduce independent films to the community of Walla Walla…and enlighten people to an alternative form of entertainment.”

But the festival won’t market itself exclusively to the community. Bush hopes that the wineries and quaint downtown area will assist in attracting an audience form outside the community.

“Walla Walla’s really become a destination,” she said.

The festival will also rely heavily on Walla Walla’s college students.

“We hope the community will come in force, but we anticipate more students, especially at Walla Walla University,” said Bush. Her hopes are especially high for Walla Walla University because two of the festival’s venues are there. “We wanted to have it at Whitman…but it didn’t work out,” said Bush.

Bush is confident the festival will succeed. “We’re expecting 40-50 percent of the filmmakers that were officially selected to show up…the independent film community has really embraced this film festival,” she said.

There have been 178 submissions so far this year: “Not bad for our first year,” said Bush. Although the festival is no longer accepting submissions from outside the Walla Walla community, they have left the door open to local filmmakers until Oct. 15 in hopes that student filmmakers returning to school will submit.

The festival will have five categories: narrative feature, narrative shorts, documentaries, animations and music videos. For each category there will be three prizes. Two are for best director and best of category.

For the third award, audiences will participate, voting after each screening on a five-point scale. They collectively will choose the winner of the Audience Choice Award.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, there will be a panel discussion at the Marcus Whitman Hotel featuring Jeffery Townsend, filmmaker, designer and image consultant, as well as Steve Allen, a cast member in the movie “Double Trouble.” They will speak about their experiences in filmmaking and take questions.

The awards ceremony will also be free. Bush is trying to get the improv comedy troops from both Whitman and Walla Walla University to perform at the ceremony, so it promises to be an entertaining event.

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