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Originally published Monday, September 23, 2013 at 5:30 AM

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16th Local Sightings Film Festival comes into view

The Local Sightings Film Festival, an annual showcase of features and shorts produced by cinema talent from Alaska to Oregon, runs Sept. 27 through Oct. 3 at Northwest Film Forum in Seattle.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie preview

Local Sightings Film Festival

Friday through Oct. 3 , Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., Seattle; ticket prices vary (for complete schedule information and other details: 206-267-5380 or

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Has it really been 16 years?

The Local Sightings Film Festival, an annual showcase of worthy features and shorts produced by cinema talent from Alaska to Oregon, has certainly become an esteemed tradition at Northwest Film Forum. It is indeed the favorite festival of quite a few movie enthusiasts in Seattle.

The latest edition launches Friday with an impressive lineup of works by directors who, in some cases, have seen their earlier films get a boost during previous years of Local Sightings.

Among alumni with new titles to offer is Seattle’s Michael Harring, whose “Lauren Is Missing” is described as a “psychotronic thriller” about a woman who takes a job with a taxidermist. Corvallis’ Nandan Rao has “Hawaiian Punch,” about two young Mormons seeking spouses in the 50th state.

Olympia’s Zach Weintraub, whose “International Sign for Choking” opened last year’s fest, closes this one with “You Make Me Feel So Young.” It concerns a young woman quietly observing the deterioration of a relationship.

This year’s opener is Seattle’s Brendan Flynn’s debut feature, “Walking Against the Wind,” a brooding and stylish tale of a widower and his daughter trying to make ends meet.

Documentaries are plentiful in the festival schedule, and they are an eclectic bunch.

Among the highlights is “The Mountain Runners” by Mount Vernon residents Todd Warger and Brian Young. The delightful, surprising and true story concerns a century-old effort to draw tourists to Mount Baker by launching a race from Bellingham to the top of the mountain.

The sad and disturbing “Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse,” by Portland’s Brian Lindstrom, focuses on the influential, titular rocker who died horribly in 2006 while in police custody.

Yakima’s Dave Ohlson is behind the stirring “K2: Siren of the Himalayas,” in which archival footage of a 1909 ascent of K2 is cut with parallel images of a more recent expedition.

Closer to sea level, Gig Harbor’s Nicole Teeny offers “Bible Quiz,” a touching and sometimes funny look at an adolescent girl navigating her way through life while training for a National Bible Quiz Championship. Teeny’s film won the 2013 Slamdance Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Documentary.

Local Sightings will show films daily through Oct. 3. Various social events are on the schedule, as are several special programs, including bills of short films playing most nights in one of Northwest Film Forum’s theaters.

Another event, the Seattle Film Summit, is a conference for anyone in Washington involved with media content. Other professional development opportunities include the Digital Cinema Expo, presenting an array of the latest cameras; and “From Script to Screen with Lynn Shelton,” a chance to hear from the Seattle-based director of the new “Touchy Feely.”

Tom Keogh:

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