So, how DO you start your own film festival?

So, how DO you start your own film festival?

Well, I’ll let you know when I fully figure that out! There is no way I can predict everything that will come with planning the inaugural and first annual Destiny City Film Festival. But, that’s kind of the point. And I think that’s true with most any labor-of-love project out there. Why else would you venture into the dark and mysterious unknown except to chase something you knew you wanted and knew you had to do? At least I have that part nailed down – I know what I want and what I have to do. So, what comes next?

Fortunately, because of my nearly five-year tenure as Director of the Tacoma Film Festival, I’m already aware of many things that will have to be done. I wish you could see my mental checklist that swirls ideas, deadlines, fears, excitement, and questions around my brain all day, every day. Of course, the first thing you think about is the films. The movies. The movies, obviously! Now, those I know how to get. I’ll set up an account with an online submission website and, in addition, will solicit screeners from around the world, based on my constant film festival research. That no-name dark horse of a film that played to an awe-struck full house at the Tribeca, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Austin, Melbourne, or Seattle Film Festival – that’s the movie I want to bring to the Destiny City Film Festival. Those are the moments I live for. Uncovering those gems from under piles and piles of films all constantly fighting for attention, and having the sense that, yes! THAT’S the film that my city will love. In a way, I believe that whatever films end up in the program for the first annual fest, or whatever challenges or successes I encounter, it will all work out. That’s the funny thing about destiny… it’s what we make of it, it’s recognizing the desire, inspiration and capabilities within ourselves to achieve our goal and keeping our noses to the grindstone until we get there. The people of Tacoma know this well. Why else would our beloved city have the nickname, “The City of Destiny”? I can’t wait to share my labor of love with the city I love. And I can’t wait grow the Destiny City Film Festival over the next how-ever-many years to see my own dreams manifested, and inspire those that take part to recognize their destiny.

The festival was born out of my passion for film, for sharing incredible stories with my friends, neighbors, and fellow Tacoma citizens. But, it was also born out of that “a-ha!” moment where I knew there was no turning back. I found what I love to do, what drives me, and what I want to keep me busy day in and day out. What comes next is equal parts terrifying and exhilarating, and I’m ready to take that on. After all, it’s not about having all the answers, it’s about the experience.

Emily loves movies and Tacoma. Thus, the Destiny City Film Festival was born in 2013 and has been going strong ever since!


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