Directors tells of their film born in Port Townsend
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Port Townsend Film Festival Program Director Jane Julian, left, shows filmmakers Alec Boehm and Stephanie Argy where their movie fits on the festival schedule this weekend. -- Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend Film Festival tends to develop movies and artists over time rather than hatch them whole and move along, according to a pair of filmmakers who are exhibiting at this year’s event, which starts today.

“When you go to a lot of festivals, you get the feeling that you have to get a camera right now and make a movie that you can show there the next year and that I can’t not be there,” said Stephanie Argy, who co-directed “A Person Known To Me” with Alec Boehm, both of whom are from of Los Angeles.

“Then there are others where you get a whole different perspective on your profession,” she said.

Their movie, which was shot in Port Townsend and set at the turn of the 20th century, is one of 93 films to be shown at a variety of venues at the festival that will run through Sunday.

“A Person Known To Me” will be shown twice: at noon today at the Peter Simpson Free Cinema in the American Legion, 209 Monroe St., and at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Silverwater Theatre, 237 Taylor St.

The film represents the fifth part of an 11-chapter story that will be told through both film and text.

The pair showed two films at the 2010 Port Townsend festival and have attended the past two years as judges.

“The festival changed our lives,” Argy said.

“This movie would not exist without the Port Townsend Film Festival.

“The people we met were so supportive and inspiring. The story was hatched here, and it gave us the strength to develop the story.”

After their first festival, the two decided to make a film in Port Townsend, first to audition actors and visit locations, then leaving town for several months to write the script.

The movie was filmed in the Hastings Building at the corner of Water and Tyler streets.

It provided the proper setting for the story, Argy said.

“When we went into the Hastings Building, we said: ‘This is gorgeous. How come people aren’t shooting here all the time?’” Argy said.

“We built a saloon inside, and it became part of the location.”

They adapted the script to both the location and the actors.

Peter Wiant of Port Townsend was cast as a bartender, and his teenage daughter, Maya, played, appropriately, a teenager. Since she had braces, the character was portrayed as mute.

Argy and Boehm, who are in their 50s, have been dating since they met as teenagers 33 years ago but have not married.

“For a lot of people, it seemed like when you got married, it was the end of working on the relationship,” Boehm said.

“It seemed like you stay a little more engaged if you don’t get married.”

The couple have no children, “but we have lots of actors, who are like professional teenagers,” Boehm said.

Some people think they are married due to a review by the late film critic Roger Ebert, who pronounced them as such.

“A movie wasn’t ready, so the theater owner showed him ‘The Red Machine,’ and he really liked it,” Boehm said.

“If he hadn’t died so quickly, we would have asked him to marry us because film critics are like ship captains: They can marry people.

“‘Two thumbs up’ changed our lives. It made us married and made us successful.”

For more information on venues and tickets, phone 360-379-1333 or visit www.ptfilmfest.com.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 19. 2013 6:07PM
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