In a city that embraces the decidedly different, the Olympia Film Festival provides no exception. Held at the historic Capitol Theater in downtown Olympia from November 9-17, the festival plays host to a selection of movie screenings, panel discussions, workshops and all out parties that celebrate this year’s theme of Inclusion, Independence, Discovery. Now in its 35th year, MovieMaker Magazine recently recognized the Olympia Film Festival among its Top 25 Coolest Fests in the World, citing that the “new director of programming, Rob Patrick, is going to build this fest, so it’s one to keep an eye on.”

Need more reasons to mark the calendar for the Olympia Film Festival? Here are five:

  1. Inclusion, Independence, Discovery. The theme of this year’s festival means the majority of featured films were created by minorities with fresh new voices.


  1. A Carefully Curated Collection. Films were selected by Director of Programming Robert Patrick, along with support from industry experts like Violet Lucca of the New York Film Critics Circle and Christopher Day of the Northwest Film Forum. Experts from the organization note excitement about Emily Esperanza’s short film “Make Out Party," a queer, colorful blast of chaos, as well as a graphic novel adaptation called “Virus Tropical,” a biographic about Colombian-Ecuadorian cartoonist Powerpaola.


  1. Free Fun.  All of the panels and workshops are free and open to the public. Movie passes are an additional fee, but many of the related activities and events are offered free of charge. Check out the makeup workshop with local artist Abby Hartung, and a production workshop with the producers behind the upcoming horror film They Reach.


  1. See the Stars. Director of Programming Rob Patrick notes, “the special guest list has doubled since last year.” Academy Award-nominated director Whit Stillman will present his three- film retrospective, including “The Last Days of Disco,” “Metropolitan” and “Damsels in Distress.” Filmmaker Sophy Romvari, fresh off of her appearance at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, will present her acclaimed short, “Norman Norman” and celebrated personality Avery Trufelman of 99% Invisible will participate in a panel about storytelling.


  1. Pizza and Movie Snacks. What’s a movie without the proper food and beverage pairings? The Capitol Theater’s famous popcorn is locally loved, it’s rumored to be the only place in town that uses nutritional yeast. Also, on November 14th, support the Olympia Film Festival with a pie from Pizzeria La Gitana, as 20 percent of all sales will go toward the Olympia Film Society. Of course, there are countless other options for pre or post theater dining and imbibing.


Find ticket information and a schedule of workshops, panels, screenings and special events check out the festival’s official program. Need some cinematic inspiration in the meantime? Check out the trailer for this year’s festival here.

Everyone’s a critic! Share your reviews, selfies with the stars or favorite movie snacks. Tag social posts #DecidedlyDifferent and connect on Facebook(@ExperienceOlympiaandBeyond), Twitter (@Experience_Oly) and Instagram (@ExperienceOly).

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