Friday, January 5, 2018

The 20th Spokane International Film Festival announces schedule

Shot-in-Spokane Benny and Joon and doc on Seattle rock climber Fred Beckey among highlights

Posted By on Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson in 1993's Benny & Joon, SpIFF's opening night film.
Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson in 1993's Benny & Joon, SpIFF's opening night film.

The Spokane International Film Festival is heading into its 20th year, and it has just announced a schedule of diverse and thought-provoking features and shorts that will screen between Feb. 2 and Feb. 9 at the Bing Crosby and Magic Lantern theaters.

This year’s opening night film is Benny and Joon, which is right up there with Vision Quest as one of the most famous films shot in Spokane. The 1993 comedy-drama stars Johnny Depp as a Buster Keaton-obsessed eccentric who begins an unlikely relationship with a mentally unstable artist played by Mary Stuart Masterson, whose brother (Aidan Quinn) is considering institutionalizing her. Notable locations in the film include the Peaceful Valley neighborhood and Riverfront Park, and the Garland Avenue restaurants Mary Lou's Milk Bottle and Ferguson's Cafe. Benny and Joon screens at the Bing on Friday, Feb. 2, at 8 pm.

click to enlarge Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey
Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey

SpIFF 2018 is set to close with the documentary Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey, the late Seattle mountaineer who made more first ascents of North American peaks than any other climber. The film will play at the Bing on Friday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 pm.

Also in this year’s lineup are the well-received animated features Window Horses and Tehran Taboo, the LGBTQ sex comedy The Feels, and the Estonian drama The Fencer, which received a 2016 Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film. Amongst the other feature documentaries are Bronx Gothic, a profile of performance artist Okwui Okpokwasili, and No Man's Land, about the recent Bundy family standoff in Burns, Oregon.

Local director Shaun Springer's anthology film The Garageland Chronicles, which we wrote about back in October, will have its premiere on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Magic Lantern. And keep an eye out for the festival's popular Best of the Northwest shorts program, which showcases the work of Washington, Idaho and Oregon filmmakers; it shows at 5:30 pm before Feb. 2's Benny and Joon screening.

Full festival passes run $100, and prices for individual screenings vary (typically, Magic Lantern screenings are $12, while Bing screenings are $13). To see a full festival schedule and to purchase tickets, visit

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Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Feb. 13
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About The Author

Nathan Weinbender

Nathan Weinbender is the Inlander's Music & Film editor. He is also a film critic for Spokane Public Radio, where he has co-hosted the weekly film review show Movies 101 since 2011.