Film Festival packs in variety

Film Festival

LA GRANDE — The genres, lengths and subjects of selections aren’t the only sources of variety during this year’s Eastern Oregon Film Festival. There will also be several types of events beyond film screenings.

First, there will be an after party each night of the festival, Oct. 19-21. The party will feature a beer garden provided by Side A Brewing and live music.

The Depot Street Syncopators is La Grande’s own horn-heavy, funky, jazzy big band. The Syncopators will perform during the Oct. 19 after party.

For the Oct. 20 after party, Seattle’s pop duo Sisters takes the stage. The show will also feature Holiday Friends, a pop trio from Astoria.

The third and final after party will feature Kory Quinn’s Americana Music. The Portland performer will be joined on stage by Elwood, Joey Carper, Jay Colton Hughes and David Lipkind, according to the EOFF website.

There will also be a number of discussions centered on the topic of filmmaking.

“How a Story Becomes a Movie” is a conversation and screenplay workshop with Jonathan Raymond. Raymond is an author from Portland whose novel led to a long partnership with Kelly Reichardt. Together they made four movies.

“From Page to Screen” is a multimedia presentation featuring director Andy Mingo and novelist Lidia Yuknavitch. The artists will discuss their collaboration to bring Yuknavitch’s novel to the screen.

This presentation, which will be held at Eastern Oregon University’s McKenzie Theater, is one aspect of EOFF’s new partnership with EOU.

There will also be Q&A sessions with many of the featured directors throughout the weekend. Those discussions will follow their respective film screenings.

Finally, there will be a live broadcast with Oregon Public Broadcasting’s show “State of Wonder.” The radio show is dedicated to exploring Oregon’s arts, music and literature.

“It’s one thing to bring great artists to La Grande, but it’s awesome to have an opportunity to get the word out across the state about our local artists and arts community,” Festival Director Chris Jennings said. He said he believes the OPB show will do just that.

This year’s films

EOFF will present 16 featured selections. Among the documentary features is “Love and Saucers,” the story of a 73-year-old New Jersey man who claims to have had a lifetime of
encounters with aliens. “The Perfect Selfie” documents a 16-year-old girl’s coming of age as reflected through her social media presence. “Buzz One Four” looks at an ill-fated Cold War B-52 bomber.

There are also several narrative features, such as “Frank & Zed,” an undead monster movie featuring puppets. “Everything Beautiful is Far Away” follows two people and a robot head in search of a mythical lake. “Sylvio” is the story of a small-town gorilla who feels stuck.

For complete film descriptions and trailers, go to

This year’s shorts

All the screenings will pair a featured film with one or more short films. There are 20 shorts this year, according to the schedule.

Again, some depict original narratives, such as “Kookie,” in which a child is visited by a terrifying visitor. A woman finds herself trapped in a Red Lobster commercial in “Great Choice.” There’s also a comedy with the tagline “Crystal robs a liquor store — It goes pretty OK.”

The documentary shorts include one about three men whose families in Romania are depending upon their sand sculpture creations.

For more details about the shorts, visit

National recognition

The Eastern Oregon Film Festival is one of the “Coolest Film Festivals in the World,” according to the national magazine MovieMaker.

The publication put together a ranking of the top 25 festivals in 2017, and EOFF made the list.

“With a 13,000-odd population, the tiny city of La Grande has quietly fostered a hand-crafted festival that delivers quality and a wide-open sensibility without much hubbub,” the magazine reads.

Tickets and passes

Passes are available online at The cost is $65 for an All-Access Festival Pass or $45 for EOU students.

Individual event rates are $9.50 at Granada 3 and $10 at HQ. The “From Page to Screen” discussion at EOU will cost $10 for the general public and is free to EOU students.

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