You can curate your own unique experience at North Bend Film Festival, with a mix of in-person and virtual screenings.
You can curate your own experience at North Bend Film Festival, with a mix of in-person and virtual screenings. Courtesy of NBFF
Starting on Thursday and running through Sunday, July 18, you can catch independent and eclectic feature films, short films, and programs hosted by North Bend Film Festival. As always, NBFF is shaping up to be a whole lot of weirdo fun.

Don't have a car to drive up to North Bend? You're still in luck. This year, the fest has a hybrid option, presenting viewers with the chance to either catch films in-person at the art deco North Bend Theatre or from the now overly familiar comfort of your computer screen (geo-blocked to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho). There's little title overlap between their virtual and in-person programs, which encourages you to curate your own unique festival experience.

Two festival passes are available to pick up for $95 each—a 10 features (or shorts!) package for the public (again, geo-restricted to WA, OR, and ID) and a 12 features (or shorts!) package for Industry Members (geo-blocked to the United States). There's a limited amount of tickets for virtual events, while all panel and podcast programming is free to ticket holders. You can also snag tickets to individual screenings.

If you're a North Bend local, take note: The fine people at NBFF offer locals a $3 discount to attend in-person screenings. Scoop tix here.

To help guide your selections, we've rounded up seven top picks from the fest:

We're All Going To The World's Fair
Directed by Jane Schoenbrun
Courtesy of NBFF
Jane Schoenbrun's We're All Going to the World's Fair is a coming-of-age horror film about a teen named Casey (Anna Cobb) who gets wrapped up in an online horror game. Slowly, the divide between real-life and fantasy become blurred as she uses her webcam to track the changes happening to her body that may or may not be real.

Featuring a soundtrack composed by everyone's favorite sadboy Alex G, We're All Going to the World's Fair debuted to a wave of praise at this year's Sundance Film Festival. And that wave is carrying the film to North Bend, where it is the inaugural winner of NBFF's Dulac Vanguard Filmmaker Award. Named after French filmmaker Germaine Dulac, the award honors "an extraordinary achievement in groundbreaking filmmaking with a director’s first or sophomore feature." Catch an interview with Schoenbrun before heading to North Bend to watch the film IRL. You won't be disappointed. JK

Friday, July 16, 6:30 PM at North Bend Theatre

Potato Dreams of America
Directed by Wes Hurley
Courtesy of NBFF
Having spent his entire young life in the Soviet Union, Potato is captivated by the big budget movies of Hollywood, particularly those that feature Jean-Claude Van Damme’s handsome face. Wanting to head to the U.S. to make a better life for her and her son, Potato’s mom quits her job and signs up to be a mail-order bride.

Local filmmaker Wes Hurley (creator of the Capitol Hill webseries) directs this autobiographical feature based on his short Little Potato as well as his actual childhood growing up gay in the crumbling USSR and moving to the Seattle suburbs with his mom in the 1980s. This offbeat, perfectly campy coming-of-age dramedy features a cast chock-full of local Seattle stage talent and recognizable locations. ES

Saturday July 17th, 4:00 PM at North Bend Theatre

Directed by Dash Shaw
Courtesy of NBFF

Cryptids and their lovers should really send Dash Shaw and Jane Samborski a fruit basket.

The husband and wife duo's expressionistic animated feature film Cryptozoo is an affectionate tribute to Earth's most mysterious beasts. Set in the 1960s in the United States, Cryptozoo follows cryptologists as they create a romantic zoo for cryptids, animals claimed to exist but without sufficient evidence. It's a space for all the fanged oddities to roam free—and also be gawked at, for a fee. The zoo has guided tours and a tanuki-themed lounge. It's a little like Zoo Tycoon but with harpies. As you can imagine of a zoo with kraken where seals should be, things do not go off without a hitch. If Cryptozoo gets away from itself, keyboardist and composer John Carroll Kirby's mystic and gentle score girds the plot. It gives the film a proper sense of wonder, which helps as things turn unexpectedly violent. CB

Saturday, July 17, 6:30 PM at North Bend Theatre

Directed by Lodewijk Crijns

Courtesy of NBFF
Car chase thrillers are something special — and I’m not talking about thrillers featuring a car chase (those can be boring). I’m talking about some real Joy Ride, Road Games, Unhinged-level movies. A violent slasher flick on wheels. Driving is terrifying, as you’re trusting a million other mysterious people (killers?!) not to ram into you headfirst or run you off the road. The maniacal and unyielding Tailgate won’t ease your road-rage fears but it will guarantee a good time at the movies. It’s only an 11-hour, 24-minute walk from North Bend back to Seattle in case you want to avoid vehicles after this one. ES

Virtual screening available July 15-July 18
Saturday July 17th, 9:10 PM at North Bend Theatre

La Veronica
Directed by Leonardo Medel
Courtesy of NBFF
Diving headfirst into the world between normalcy and unease that we’ve created around social media influencers, La Veronica is a modern Twilight Zone tale that begs you to follow, like and subscribe.

We learn about Veronica (Mariana di Girolamo in a pitch-perfect performance) and her life through her front-facing camera lens, as she creates one big selfie through a uniquely fragmented narrative. Veronica’s not only on a desperate quest for more followers so she can qualify to represent a top beauty company — she’s also being investigated by the police. Her unrelenting narcissism and odd attitude toward her new baby give cause for alarm, and we can only imagine the crimes Veronica could be responsible for. ES

Virtual screening available July 15-July 18

Directed by Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasim
Courtesy of NBFF
This unflinching documentary highlights four women luchadors (luchadoras) who live in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico — often called the most dangerous city in the world. Their defiant energy and glitzy performances are juxtaposed against the upsetting reality of what they have to go through off the mat. Dealing with the drug war, abduction, poor working conditions, trafficking, and the violent machismo of men in their community, the world of the luchadoras and their powerful personas is a place they can reclaim their agency and find their own power. These women are fighting a system rigged against them, and they’re not afraid to get hurt. Don’t miss out. ES

Virtual screening available July 15-July 18

Directed by Bareun Jo
Courtesy of NBFF

Yeon-hee (Ahn Ji-hye) has long dreamt of being a female action hero, so when the role for a heroine in a new action film opens up, she’s overjoyed. Reality’s harsh, and instead of front and center she settles for a stand-in body-double role. Movie endings don’t exist...or do they? Yeon-hee gets the chance to live her dream when she’s soon dropped into an alternate, lawless reality where she’s seen as a real heroine by a mysterious village that desperately needs her protection from evil. Quick-paced with a comic book vibe and impressive martial arts choreography, this action-fantasy film from Korea will leave you wanting more. Marvel who? ES

Virtual screening available July 15-July 18

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Opening night film Swan Song; closing night film, The Blazing World; the 20th anniversary celebration of Donnie Darko with director Richard Kelly; and any of these unhinged immersive experiences.