This weekend, Snowy Owl Theater in Leavenworth will host the third annual Vox Docs Film Festival that features five award-winning documentaries. It's an opportunity for the community to take in outstanding films, including one Academy Award winner (20 Feet from Stardom) and another that received a nomination (The Square). Snowy Owl, just a year old, is an amazing place to see a performance so its a compelling opportunity.
Rick Wray, the Leavenworth resident who launched the festival with the support of the Sleeping Lady Foundation, knows about making documentaries. He has made a career out of teaching students the storytelling techniques of telling stories in video and more recently has turned his attention to training teachers in North Central Washington and elsewhere how to teach those skills in the classroom.
Wray told me that there's something special about seeing these provocative films in a larger setting with other community members, particularly when there will be discussions about the film following three of the documentaries.
The festival begins Friday night with Crash Reel, a film about the traumatic brain injury risks of extreme sports. On Saturday at noon, Black Fish explores the dark side of Orcas kept in captivity, followed at 2 p.m. by 20 Feet From Stardom, which focuses on backup vocalists. At 5 p.m., Blood Brother tells the story of a young man who moved to India to live with HIV positive orphans, followed by The Square at 7 p.m., a documentary about young Egyptian men who challenged their government.
Wray searches out films that he thinks will touch a chord and then matches up local nonprofit organizations to benefit from ticket sales. Half of the ticket price will go for Rebuilding Together, Upper Valley Mend and the Cascade Education Foundation.