Film Flourishes with Three Fall Festivals in the San Juan Islands
Press Releases
Written by Barbara Marrett   
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 12:00 AM

(with a special guest appearance by actress Katharine Ross)
Orcas Island and Friday Harbor are alluring destinations for diverse film experiences

Friday Harbor, WA … Three young festivals are establishing the San Juan Islands as a cinema-lover’s paradise for fall film watching. Each festival—the Orcas Island Film Festival and the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, both on Orcas Island, and the Friday Harbor Film Festival on San Juan Island—celebrates a sense of place and our connection to nature. Opportunities to meet directors and actors, Q & As with filmmakers, discussion about important cultural and environmental issues and the chance to explore the autumnal beauty of the San Juan Islands are just part of the appeal.

October 9 - 12, 2015 - The 2nd annual Orcas Island Film Festival - Off the Edge (OIFF) (, takes place in the arts-rich village of Eastsound. Venues include the Orcas Center, the newly upgraded Sea View Theater, and a beloved Eastsound music venue, Random Howse. The festival includes a short film contest, awarding three grants to filmmakers to use the islands as a canvas to create short inspirational works. These shorts will be shown at the festival in addition to a curated selection of feature length and short films.

The festival focuses on films of the avant-garde, art house, trans-media and emerging edge film culture from around the world. OIFF curators work with the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) to choose the lineup.

November 6 - 8, 2015- On San Juan Island, the third annual Friday Harbor Film Festival – Stories from the Pacific Rim & Beyond(, carries forward the momentum of the past two years’ successes. In addition to award-winning documentary films and special events, Q & A periods with the filmmakers will enrich and engage participants. Five venues within easy walking distance of the ferry terminal present the opportunity to discover the historic waterfront town’s galleries, museums and shops without a car.

Alicia Malone a well-known film reporter, critic, TV host, writer, and all around movie geek will host the festival’s Gala, Forum and Awards night. The 2015 lineup will offer more documentaries focusing on the Pacific Ocean and its Rim, with films about island cultures, marine ecology, environmental issues, great adventures and individuals who live and work near the world’s largest ocean. A sampling of the over 30 films includes: Chihuly Fire & Light, which follows the renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly as he conceives and creates an extraordinary exhibition of his works; winner of the Audience Award at the 2015 Telluride Mountain Film Festival and Toronto’s HotDocs festival, Unbranded is a real-life adventure that makes the case for better land and wild horse management; and Dancing with Thoreau, an engaging environmental film told from the perspective of a naturalist and organic farmer.

The second Andrew V. McLaglen Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented at the festival’s Opening Night Gala on Friday, November 6 to actors Katharine Ross (who will be present to receive the award)and Sam Elliott, celebrating their outstanding careers in film and television.

November 14, 2015 - The 3rd-annual one-day Wild & Scenic Film Festival at Orcas Center features short films made by change makers that are rethinking how we inhabit our planet. This year’s short documentary films combine stellar filmmaking, beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling with the festival theme of "A Wild Life". Hosted by Orcas Center and the San Juan Preservation Trust.

Dropbox of film festival logos & photos:


Media Contacts:
Friday Harbor Film Festival
Lynn Danaher, Director
[email protected], 360-472-1050 
Karen Palmer, Producer
[email protected], 360-298-2240