Gig Harbor Film Festival

Cultivating a community of filmmakers and film-lovers

By Colin Anderson

The lights are back on at the Galaxy Theatre and, while it’s long been a favorite spot to catch Hollywood blockbusters, many around town look forward to September—when a completely different brand of movies takes center screen.


The Gig Harbor Film Festival is one of the premier film festivals in the Northwest and continues to gain national attention and attract a large audience of filmmakers and film-lovers.


With the 2020 festival having been canceled, filmmakers and attendees are very much looking forward to enjoying the festivities once again. The 2021 Film Festival will take place September 23 through September 26. Consistently named a Top-100 Film Festival in the world by FilmFreeway, Gig Harbor organizers are eager to put on another great show this year.


The red carpet is rolled out for filmmakers and guests with accommodations, a ride service, catered parties and their own on-site lounge. Organizers say filmmakers regularly comment on what a thrill it is to see their work in such a beautiful world-class theatre. Films shown at the festival come from a wide range of formats, styles and genres. Each is an independent production not backed by big-money studios. Independent filmmakers focus on the art of filmmaking and storytelling.


The mission of the Gig Harbor Film Festival is to cultivate a community of filmmakers and film-lovers while celebrating the power of the cinematic arts to educate, entertain and inspire. Film Festival organizers and volunteers strive to share the message that this festival is about people coming together to share the art of storytelling through film and that independent film is worth celebrating.


Filmmakers have already submitted more than 500 films for festival consideration. The fully digital theatre and IMAX screen ensure films are portrayed in the best possible setting. This is incredibly appealing for many filmmakers, who are accustomed to seeing their films shown in older art-house theatres, community centers and occasional makeshift venues.


One great benefit in attending this event is the chance to speak directly with the filmmakers. After many of the films there is a Q&A session with the director. Here the audience can dive deeper into the storyline or ask in-depth questions about the way a scene was shot or where the creative inspiration for the piece originated. While not every director attends in-person, a great many do, and this type of access isn’t especially common in other film festival settings.


Another reason many choose to attend the event is the surrounding ongoing party.Directors make appearances at hosted and catered parties, with the bigger ones happening at the conclusions of the screenings each day. Attendees can buy passes to these events and partake in yet another chance to socialize with and learn from filmmakers.


There are two ways to enjoy the festival. Ticket packages will be announced closer to the event day, but will include a weekend pass to all films or a VIP pass, which grants early access to all film screenings, access to the VIP lounge, Opening Night Gala, and afterparties.


The 2021 festival will include a carefully selected group of diverse films and feature everything from short films to longer format. It’s all part of the experience the Film Festival strives to present each year. For the Gig Harbor Film Festival, it’s about cultivating a community of filmmakers and film-lovers who come together to experience stories in their most pure and undiluted form.


For additional information, visit GigHarborFilm.org. Enjoy the show!

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