By Jackie Fender
The Washington terrain is a majestic sight to behold. Large metropolis-like cities bustle and buzz with activity and culture within an arm’s reach of lush forest scenery, sweeping ocean views, vast open, serene archipelagos and even dry, desert lands. It’s a wonder that more films don’t utilize this diverse, expanse of land as a backdrop. That being said, there are a number of films that take place in our lovely little state including “West of Redemption,” one of the many Pacific Northwest-inspired films screening at this year’s Destiny City Film Festival.
Produced by Larry Estes, “West of Redemption” (starring Billy Zane) starts as a dramatic mystery but becomes a thriller by the time it’s over. “[It’s] about an overprotective older husband and his younger bride who live on a farm a few miles out of a small town, and the stranger who comes calling to ask to borrow their telephone to call a tow truck to get his vehicle out of a nearby ditch,” explains Estes. “The husband doesn’t recognize him at first, and it appears the stranger doesn’t know the husband, but after the stranger completes his call and starts to head back to the road, the husband assaults the stranger and takes him prisoner in his barn, out of sight from his wife.”
Estes’ film background runs deep beginning in the 80’s as Senior Vice President of Feature Film Acquisitions at RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video, and later he developed and operated an arm of Columbia TriStar Home Video’s acquisition program, specializing in quality independent feature film development and financing. His films at Columbia TriStar Home Video include Steven Soderbergh’s “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” Carl Franklin’s “One False Move” (co-starring and co-written by Billy Bob Thornton), and John Turturro’s “Mac,” just to name a few. Estes was responsible for selection and supervision of more than 60 movies and more than $125 million in financing during his time at Columbia TriStar and his professional career boasts numerous accolades and awards for his work.
Being a filmmaker comes with many rewards, but Estes says the biggest is “When all the decisions and assumptions and campaigns come together and form a whole that the first few audiences come to see and stay to the end.” As for the greatest obstacle? “Matching the film budget’s needs with the available amount of funding provided,” explains Estes. “Sometimes compromises have to be made to accommodate the lack of money that impact the overall quality of the project.”
Este’s film “West of Redemption” will screen among others during Tacoma’s own Destiny City Film Festival set to take place Friday, August 28 through the Sunday, August 30 at Tacoma’s Blue Mouse Theatre and the Red Hot. During the festival visual storytellers of all genres will be represented across the silver screen.
The inclusion of “West of Redemption” reflects just how diverse of a selection the Destiny City Film Festival offers. Though an independent film by all standards, “West of Redemption” is an impressive display of Hollywood-sized talent. The film will be shown alongside a variety of films from up and coming filmmakers and will include everything from smaller productions to animated shorts.
Director of Destiny City Film Festival, Emily Alm, has worked in film festivals for seven years and says she’s continuously inspired by the quality films local filmmakers are producing these days. “I’ve had a passion for film in general since taking film history in high school, and being able to watch so many awesome films and to interact with inspiring filmmakers only strengthens and increases that passion,” she says. “I want to share that inspiration and passion with Tacoma — a community that is so artistically rich and diverse and one that is a mecca for independent filmmakers and artists of all kinds. Plus, going to the movies is one of our favorite pastimes, and I am thrilled to bring films to Tacoma that otherwise probably wouldn’t ever get here.”
This year, the Destiny City Film Festival has expanded in length and location. Now a three-day event, the festival will kick off on Friday with the feature “A Rising Tide” and a special Q&A opportunity with the director to follow immediately after. Alm says, “It is always special to have filmmakers at the festival to connect with each other and movie-goers and to talk about their work, but it’s especially meaningful to have the opening night director in attendance.” To sweeten the pot, there will also be free nibbles available, courtesy of Legendary Doughnuts.
Additionally, attendees can anticipate meeting the winner of this year’s screenplay competition, Jeffrey Field, who’s making it all the way from Kansas to present “Bad Heir Day.” This year also includes a Free Family Shorts program on Saturday morning at 11:00 am where young movie-goers can experience the magic of cinema and power of visual storytelling as well. The venue expansion means that Sunday evening, the Red Hot will be hosting a free screening of a new craft beer documentary,
The Destiny City Film Festival runs Friday, August 28 through Sunday, August 30. Visit DestinyCityFilmFestival.com to check out the full film line-up and schedule, sponsors, screenplay runner-ups and more.