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Diversity Film Festival, Environmental Film Festival, 24 Hour Movie Marathon, 72 Hour Film Competition

A monthly look at film in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

"REEFER MADNESS": Quicker than you can say puff-puff-pass, the kids are swept up in a torrent of bad jazz, cheap booze, sleazy men, easy women and pork-based acting at 9:09 and 11:10 April 20 at The Grand.

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I see you now, peeking out your bedroom window with trepidation, scanning the skies for the next threat of rain. (Don't ask how I know where you live, just ignore the nondescript vehicle cruising slowly past your home ... YOU LOOKED! *tires squeal*)

Where was I? Right, your feeling of house arrest while winter blows its final chill up the Sound's spine. Luckily, I have the cinema to cure what ails ya. So throw on an extra sweater or two and trade one shelter for another as you spend the next several weeks on a theater crawl. We have a lot o' ground to cover, so let's get started:

Tacoma Community College has joined forces with The Grand Cinema for a third year to celebrate its Diversity Film Festival. The DFF runs until April 25, and seems particularly bent on revealing beauty in the unlikeliest of places. How does a trip to Rio de Janeiro sound? Let Waste Land (April 18) whisk you off to world's largest trash heap located on the city's outskirts. Haven't seen Rome in awhile? You haven't seen it like this - Caesar Must Die (April 23) transports viewers to lovely Rebibbia Prison, where criminals quoth the Bard. Find out more at

While filling up on diversity, enlarge your geo-wareness this weekend at the Capitol Theater's Environmental Film Festival (April 19-21). Sure, we must face a few inconvenient truths on the road to eco-lightenment - mankind's dwindling drinking water (Last Call at the Oasis, April 19), our simultaneous buildup of harmful global waste (Trashed, April 21). But we also get to share in the stories of individuals and groups taking steps to reverse these trends in their own communities and lives. EFF may just inspire your metaphorical pants off - purchase tickets through

In case this weekend already seems too hectic, allow me to complicate matters by quietly mentioning The Grand's historic first 24 Hour Movie Marathon, starting this Saturday at 10 a.m. and wrapping one day and 20 flicks later. The ‘Thon features the cherished (Hitchcock!), the new (Ryan Gosling!), and a movie called Hands On A Hard Body (not what you think!). This exhausting vegging out supports a superb cause: helping The Grand turn its celluloid projectors into shiny (and industry-required) digital ones. Both 12- and 24-Hour Passes are still available at the box office or through

Beware: this sudden cinematic rush may result in a long rest, or an acute artistic craving. Those folks over at The Grand again can help those suffering from the latter condition with another event involving numbers, the 72 Hour Film Competition. Replace the Marathon's sitting and snacking with frantic late-night film shoots, sleep-deprived editing sessions, and a delightful descent into panic and madness, and you get some idea of the Competition. As of this writing, The Grand's Laura Marshall reports only four available spots remaining for teams to register. Call 253.572.6062 for details, and sign up in person at the theater.

Then, on Friday May 10 at the Rialto Theater, everyone gets a peek at all the entries. Pre-event tickets cost $13 ($11 for Grand members), and $15 the night of the event. I'll see you in a hopefully sunnier May.   

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