Port Townsend Film Festival

PTFF 10 Year Retrospective from Champion Video Productions on Vimeo.

This video portrait highlights the first ten years of the Port Townsend Film Festival. The festival celebrates great films, filmmakers and community spirit!


PTTF Founding Story Rocky and JIm

The Port Townsend Film Festival began life in 1999 as the vision of four film buffs who saw an opportunity to create a three-day event with something for everyone.

The event, modeled on the concept of the popular festival in Telluride, Colorado, was spearheaded by Rocky Friedman, who owns and operates the Rose Theatre. Joining Rocky were Linda Yakush, a landscape designer, Jim Ewing an international management consultant, and Jim Westall, the director of a nationally-recognized workshop for the developmentally-disabled. All four had previously spent several years attending the Colorado festival and had remarked how its community flavor would be a good approach for Port Townsend.

The foursome soon determined they would need additional help and enlisted Peter Simpson, a writer, poet, and candle factory manager. Peter remained active in the festival, becoming the director for the fifth festival. He remained director until is passing in 2009. With the efforts of more than two hundred local volunteers, the festival made its debut on September 22, 2000 with the motto, Peter"A film lover's block party celebrating great films and filmmakers." Closing off a downtown street for three days, the festival screened twenty-four documentaries, features and shorts in three venues. Dinner in the streetThis included the mammoth task of transforming a community gymnasium into a 350-seat movie theater for three days. That theater was named for the late independent filmmaker James Broughton. They also had one outdoor theater smack-dab in the middle of the downtown historic district. Writers, actors and filmmakers were on hand at many of the screenings to discuss their work with the audience. As a result of the sponsorship of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the Festival was able to present an appearance by TCM primetime host Robert Osborne and famed actor Tony Curtis. The two delivered a lively question-and-answer session after the screening of Curtis's classic film, Sweet Smell of Success. The first annual festival was such a smashing success that it guaranteed continuation.

Over the first decade, the Festival has seen its economic ups and downs much as any arts organization. But through it all the Festival has attracted amazing guests and a crew of filmmakers from across the world. And with the continued the dedication of the original five and so many talented and committed volunteers and with a town that chooses over and over to 'make it so', the Festival has a regular place on the September calendar and in the hearts of an expanding community of film lovers and filmmakers.