Friday Harbor Film Festival, Oct. 25-27

Come one, come all to the seventh annual Friday Harbor Film Festival this weekend, Oct. 25-27. Over the course of three days, 31 new documentaries, 23 short films and 19 student-produced films will be presented across six venues.

The Opening Night Filmmakers Gala at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, at San Juan Community Theatre, features the Andrew V. McLaglen Lifetime Achievement Award, which is being presented to the late Paul G. Allen “for his extraordinary achievements in documentary filmmaking.” A film created by Allen’s company Vulcan Productions, titled “Ghost Fleet” will be streamed at the Gala.

According to the Friday Harbor Film Festival website: “Allen made significant contributions to filmmaking through his company, Vulcan Productions, providing critical support to filmmakers working to make the world a better place by telling important stories. Without the support of people like Allen, documentary filmmakers struggle to find the funds to get their stories told. Vulcan’s message aligns with the mission of the Festival: Entertaining, inspiring, and enlightening audience members so they create positive changes in the world.”

Filmgoers will have the opportunity to meet astronauts during the streaming of “Apollo 11” and “Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo.” These two movies highlight the work of astronauts and all the behind-the-scenes workers who make the space program possible. Pete Freeland, who was an aerospace engineer for the Space Shuttle Program, will speak Friday, Oct. 25 after the 10:15 a.m. screening of “Apollo 11” and after the 4 p.m. screening of “Mission Control.” The Friday Harbor High School Aerospace Design Team, which won the International Space Settlement Design Competition this summer, will join Freeland on stage.

John Creighton and Dr. Terry Stanford, a husband-and-wife pair who both worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut in the Space Shuttle Program, will speak after the screening of “Apollo 11” at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday. All three guests will speak following the screening of “Mission Control” at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26.

SeaDoc Society Science Director Joe Gaydos will receive the 2019 local hero award during the festival’s Audience Choice Awards Program on Oct. 27 at the San Juan Community Theater. The Local Hero Award is presented each year to a present or former resident of the San Juan Islands who has made outstanding contributions to our quality of life, impacting people, animals, the arts, health or the environment.

As the Science Director of SeaDoc Society, a UC Davis program located on Orcas Island, Gaydos has researched diseases that impact both human and wildlife health, including that of sea stars, harbor seals, orcas, porpoises and river otters. Gaydos served on Gov. Jay Inslee’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force. He also co-authored the best-selling book, “The Salish Sea: Jewel fo the Pacific Northwest,” which received the 2015 Nautilus Gold Award for Environmental books for a better world. His new book, “Explore the Salish Sea,” released in April, is geared toward fifth- and sixth-graders and is on the Pacific Northwest Bookseller Association’s bestseller list.

For the first time in its seven years, the Friday Harbor Film Festival added a new category of films — the student film showcase. All of the films to be presented were entered into The László Pal Emerging Filmmaker Award contest. This award recognizes young, emerging talent in filmmaking. The films will be shown for free at the Friday Harbor House, Thursday through Saturday. Audience members have the opportunity to vote for their favorite student-produced film, which will be awarded at the Audience Choice Awards at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27 in the San Juan Community Theatre. The categories for student films are ages 13-17 and 18-26. A panel of award-winning filmmakers will judge the students’ films and select the winner of The László Pal Emerging Filmmaker Award. László Pal was an Emmy Award-winning director, cinematographer, writer, editor and producer. He created films globally, all while educating young filmmakers at the University of Washington.

Patron passes for the Friday Harbor Film Festival are $500, which includes a tax-deductible donation of $300 to the film festival and one VIP pass. This pass guarantees priority seating for any screening up to 10 minutes prior to the show. The VIP pass includes access for one person to all special events including the Opening Night Gala.

All-access wrist bands, including entrance to the gala, are $200; the 10-film package is $120; the five-film package, $65. Tickets to the Opening Night Gala are $75 and a single film ticket is $15. All tickets are available at Free student wristbands are available to San Juan County students courtesy of Suzy Mygatt Wakefield and are available from the Film Festival Office, open noon-5 p.m.

The 2019 Friday Harbor Film Festival program is available at the FHFF office, 10 First St., Friday Harbor, and on the Washington State Ferries. Full information about the festival can also be found at