International Film Festival comes to Issaquah Feb. 1-2

January 28, 2014

By Joe Grove

The Issaquah Arts Commission, in partnership with the Seattle International Film Festival, presents the Issaquah International Film Festival Feb. 1 and 2 at the Issaquah High School Performing Arts Center.

Six films will be shown, starting at noon each day. SIFF selected the films after being asked by the arts commission to curate the festival. The films being shown Saturday are “Khumba” at noon, “Ghost Graduation” at 3 p.m. and “The Best Offer” at 6 p.m.

“If You Build It” will screen at noon Sunday, followed by “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” at 3 p.m. and “Populaire” at 6 p.m.

Amy Dukes, arts coordinator for Issaquah, said these are art films and not the kind you are apt to see in a commercial theater.

An added feature SIFF brings to the festival is an educational program, Crash Kids, according to Jason Dittmer, SIFF director of marketing. It is a daylong, noncompetitive film making challenge for kids. They will be given a list of items to include in a film — it might be a prop, character or theme. They will create a film, write it, act in it and film it.

The kids will work on these creations for a day, just before the festival, as part the Issaquah High School media courses. Their films will be screened at the festival.

Dittmer said it is a great program that gives young people the opportunity to spend a day with film professionals, creating and sharing their own stories.

“The films that come out of it are just amazing, beautiful short little films that are either funny or sad or scary. It’s really cool,” he said.

Dukes said one reason for selecting the high school Performing Arts Center was a desire to get kids involved in the festival. The Crash Kids program is part of that effort, as is letting students participate free.

Two of the films, “Khumba,” an animated film about a Zebra born with only half his stripes, and “If You Build It,” a documentary about a North Carolina school involving students in transforming their community and their lives, were selected to appeal to students.

Dukes said the arts commission makes grants every year to organizations to do programming for the community.

“We have Village Theatre, artEAST and visual arts, but we didn’t have film programming,” Dukes said. “About three years ago, the commission decided to offer a free film series on the second Saturday, and that’s been well-received, so we wanted to do a film festival.”

She said they did a film festival in 2012, but not in 2013.

“We decided to do another one this year, and we decided it would be best to partner with a film organization that has access to different kinds of films, films one does not often see in commercial theaters,” Dukes said.

Dittmer said SIFF works with other venues in the area. During the SIFF festival in May and June, it also has venues in Bellevue and Renton. In the past, it has had screenings in Kirkland and Everett, “so we have moved beyond the Seattle boarders,” he said.

“We would like to continue to develop a relationship with SIFF and see them do more programming in our community,” Dukes said.


If you go
Seattle International Film Festival films
Noon, 3 and 6 p.m. Feb. 1 and 2
Issaquah High School
Performing Arts Center
700 Second Ave. S.E.
Tickets are available at or call 206-324-9996.
Come at 11 a.m. Feb. 1 for complimentary coffee and doughnuts provided by Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts.
Read a description of each film at

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