Top Ten Stories of 2013: No. 9; Film Festival draws enthusiastic crowd

“Pandora’s Promise” was among 25 documentaries at the FH Film Festival, Oct. 11-13.   - Journal file photo
“Pandora’s Promise” was among 25 documentaries at the FH Film Festival, Oct. 11-13.
— image credit: Journal file photo

Three days. Four venues. Twenty-five films.

An ambitious undertaking, to say the least, and scheduled for mid-October as well, sometimes an iffy month, weather-wise, in the San Juans.

But in the end, the first-ever Friday Harbor Film Festival: Stories from the Pacific Rim, proved a smashing success, defying skeptics and demonstrating that both visitors and islanders would turn out in big numbers to take part in a shoulder-season event that captivated their interest and imagination.

As many as 1,100 tickets were either sold or donated to volunteers or sponsors. Thirty percent went to people from off-island. Each of the 25 documentaries was aired multiple times over the three days. Many producers and directors were on-hand to talk about their films and answer audience questions. Several screenings drew standing-room-only crowds and some festival-goers saw as many as 18 films; more than a few saw up to 15.

Putting all the pieces in place didn’t come easy, according to Lynn Danaher, who, along with Karen Norris, were the event’s chief producers. Getting the word out and creating a buzz proved to be the biggest challenge, Danaher said. But as opening night drew near and anticipation grew, ticket sales surged and the ranks of local volunteers swelled.

The only question now is what will the festival do for an encore? Stayed tuned in 2014.

— Scott Rasmussen


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