The smell of buttery popcorn and clusters of friendly chatter filled the air on Friday night as Garland Theater gave a warm welcome to the 22nd annual Spokane International Film Festival (SpIFF).
The social hour crowd flooded into the cozy red theater just minutes before the lights dimmed, conversations settled down and films began.
“I really love foreign film and independent media because it’s better,” said Zanna Morrow, a volunteer for SpIFF and former manager at Magic Lantern Theater. “This place is a rich habitat for local creative arts.”
There is truly no other place in Spokane that has this much inspiration and positive energy being cultivated in one room.
“There are visiting directors from Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and even places as far as Chicago,” Morrow said.
People of all ages filled the Garland’s bouncy chairs on opening night to celebrate the success of independent media artists from across the Pacific Northwest, who were also in attendance to watch their film’s debut.
The relentless support of the crowd created a special atmosphere that felt comfortable and inspiring.
“This is the best experience in Spokane,” said Alena Schoomaker, first-year director of SpIFF.
Experiencing this energy and getting the chance to be part of filmmakers’ success is unique and fun, whether you’re a filmmaker yourself, or just someone who enjoys media.
The short films covered all kinds of genres. Everything from comedies, dramas and a documentary from two Gonzaga alumni, Sam Johnson and Cowan Jenkins, took over the big screen on opening night.
Matt McCormick, an integrated media and art professor at GU, showed up in quite a few credit reels as well.
More than just movies, SpIFF has created an inclusive platform by bringing together the top-six local musicians and videographers voted on by people in Spokane. SpIFF gives these artists one month to collaborate and create music videos that were also featured on opening night.
The motives of SpIFF are to support independent media and give each artist a larger platform where their work gets a chance to be recognized and celebrated.
The festival runs through Friday, so if you’re looking to support locals and see some neat independent media, tune in to the Spokane International Film Festival.