Port Townsend Film Festival event to put on the ritz for the Oscars
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Port Townsend Film Festival Executive Director Janette Force, left, and volunteer Carrie Rice stuff goodie bags for Sunday’s Oscar gala in Port Townsend. Right photo: Sherry Yard, Wolfgang Puck’s executive pastry chef, carries an Oscar cake down the red carpet at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, where the 85th Academy Awards will be presented.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

THE PORT TOWNSEND Film Festival’s Oscar Gala looks to be the one big public viewing on the North Olympic Peninsula of Sunday’s 85th annual Academy Awards.

The ceremonies will start at 5:30 p.m. on ABC. Since it’s a live telecast with acceptance speeches, no one is sure when it will end.

The show will light the screen at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St., Port Townsend, throughout the Oscar Gala.

But in Port Angeles and Sequim, neither the Olympic Medical Center Foundation nor Readers Theatre Plus, both of which have hosted Oscar parties in previous years, are doing it this Sunday.

The OMC Foundation’s “Hollywood Nights” fundraiser will be replaced by another event added to the Festival of Trees in November, said Bruce Skinner, foundation executive director.

Readers Theatre Plus, meanwhile, is planning other productions in lieu of its “Night at the Oscars,” last held in 2012, said co-founder Carol Swarbrick Dries.

Peninsula Daily News
PORT TOWNSEND — Hollywood may have the ball gowns and big diamonds, but Port Townsend has salmon from the Silverwater Cafe, a “Whiskey and Words” evening and fascinators hats.

Fascinators, those animated, all-the-rage headpieces, will be seen on people like Janette Force.

She’s director of the Port Townsend Film Festival, presenter of one of the bigger Oscar parties around Sunday.

Another wearer of many hats, comedian-actor-filmmaker Jonathan Browning, a veteran of comedy clubs like The Improv, will come up from Los Angeles to play ringmaster for the Port Townsend Oscar Gala at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.

The doors will be flung open at 3:30 p.m. as the televised red-carpet run-up to the Oscars begins.

To ease guests into the mood, Rex Rice and his jazz trio will play as the Champagne flows.

A buffet dinner — with temptations from the Silverwater, Pane d’Amore and other local purveyors — will be laid out at
5 p.m., and the 85th annual Academy Awards, broadcast on ABC, will light the maritime center’s big screen at 5:30.

Advance tickets are $45, including dinner, and at the door will be $50. Information can be found at www.PTFilmfest.com and 360-379-1333.

“This is our big fundraiser,” Force said of the gala, which skipped a year in 2012.

Last year, “people missed it. It’s a great party,” she added.

During commercial breaks in the telecast, Browning will bestow prizes for best Hollywood look-alike in the house, plus bottles of Domaine Ste. Michelle Champagne for those who guess the Oscar winners in five categories.

“It’s an exciting field,” Force said of the movies in the running:

“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” a picture up for four Academy Awards, is doing independent filmmakers, like those beloved at the Port Townsend Film Festival, proud.

So is “Before My Time,” a Best Original Song nominee from “Chasing Ice,” one of the documentaries that screened at the festival last September.

Force is equally excited, maybe more so, about the field of donations to the Oscar Gala auction.

Some 40 organizations have given gifts to the evening’s silent auction, so guests can bid on things like a Puget Sound Express party cruise, a visit to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo to feed the elephants and a private dinner catered by Mystery Bay Seafood. In it, “the tide comes in at your home,” Force said.

Then, there’s the auction item titled “Whiskey and Words.” Poet Tim McNulty will join the winning bidder for an evening of Irish whiskey, Irish stew and Irish poetry.

The silent auction will stay open until 7 p.m., Force noted, and people will have a chance to make guaranteed bids, as in bids that ensure, once and for all, they will take home that item.

Browning, for his part, said he is much happier to be in Port Townsend, not Hollywood, for the Oscars.

He’ll be rooting for his friend Tom Van Avermaet’s movie “Death of a Shadow,” up for a Best Live Action Short film award.

This year’s ceremonies are angled just a bit more toward independent film, he said, with “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and other non-mainstream movies enjoying lots of nominations.

“It’s not just about Hollywood anymore,” Browning said.

The Port Townsend Film Festival highlights filmmaking’s potential as an art form, he said. And Sunday’s gala is “a celebration of film, not an evening of gowns.”

Force differs on that one.

“We are totally wearing gowns,” she said.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 21. 2013 5:12PM
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