Inaugural Issaquah Film Festival features classic movie musicals

September 11, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

The stars on screen during the inaugural Issaquah Film Festival need no introduction.

Moviegoers can see The Beatles slog through “A Hard Day’s Night” and the fleet-footed Gene Kelly dance across the screen in “An American in Paris” as the festival runs from Sept. 14-16 at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre.

The festival lineup focuses on the evolution of musicals on film, from 1933 and “Footlight Parade” to 1980 and the last days of disco in the Village People farce “Can’t Stop the Music.”

The event is presented by the municipal Arts Commission with support from the King County cultural services agency, 4Culture. Organizers intend for the Issaquah Film Festival to morph into a yearly event.

If you go

Issaquah Film Festival

  • Sept. 14-16
  • Village Theatre — First Stage Theatre
  • 120 Front St. N.
  • Tickets: $10 per night or $25 for the entire festival
  • Purchase advance tickets online at the festival website,, or at the door during the event.


Sept. 14

4 p.m. — “Footlight Parade”
7:30 p.m. — “Stormy Weather”

Sept. 15

4 p.m. — “An American in Paris”
7:30 p.m. — “Can’t Stop the Music”

Sept. 16

4 p.m. — VIP reception
6 p.m. — “A Hard Day’s Night”

Organizers reached deep into the golden age of Hollywood for films in the festival. Busby Berkeley’s “Footlight Parade” opens the festival. Other selections introduce rock ‘n’ roll to audiences, as Elvis Presley sings and swivels in “Jailhouse Rock.”

The festival builds until the closing film, the groundbreaking “A Hard Day’s Night” — a mockumentary glimpse into the life of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Like glitzy film festivals in Cannes, Toronto and Park City, Utah, the Issaquah Film Festival includes a VIP reception centered on The Beatles’ film.

The guest speaker at the VIP reception is Howard A. DeWitt. The professor emeritus at Ohlone College in Fremont, Calif., has written 21 books about the Fab Four, including “The Beatles: Untold Tales,” “Paul McCartney: From Liverpool to Let It Be” and “Beatle Poems.”

DeWitt is working on another book, “The Beatles 1963: The Making of a Legend,” and plans to release a 2013 ebook about “A Hard Day’s Night.”

The attendees at the VIP reception can listen to Beatles songs performed by local cover band Undercover and sip vintages from Issaquah-based Twin Cedars Winery.

Downtown Issaquah Association Executive Director Karen Donovan said merchants near the theater hope the festival offers a boost for business.

“It’s certainly good for downtown to bring more people down there and make them aware of the theaters and all of the other good stuff we have down there,” she said.

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