25 New Faces of Independent Film at The Grand Cinema

A few weeks ago, Filmmaker Magazine released its annual list of 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Every year since 1998, the magazine has striven to cover the talent of newly emerging filmmakers and gives a nod to the current independent scene. Over the years, Filmmaker Magazine has proven its ability to identify arising talent as their picks go on to critical success, Sundance Grand Prizes, and Academy Awards.

The 25 New Faces of Independent Film gives a glimpse into a realm of independent filmmakers few moviegoers are able to experience.

Until now.

For the second year in the row, the Grand Cinema in Tacoma, WA, is the only cinema in America to present the films of the 25 New Faces. From August 19th-25th, the Grand Cinema will play films from 20 of the 25 filmmakers. In addition to the films, thirteen of the filmmakers will be in attendance for their showings. It’s like thirteen maraschino cherries on top of an independent sundae of Awesome.

The Grand Cinema’s screening series of the 25 New Faces is the only event of its kind in the nation. Orchestrating the event is the Grand’s executive director, Philip Cowan, who stated his original goal for hosting the event was, “to bring good film to Tacoma and to let the filmmakers know about Tacoma and the Grand.”

Showcasing the films of the 25 New Faces gives moviegoers an opportunity to access truly independent film. Cowan explains both the 25 New Faces series and the Tacoma Film Festival (in October) allow people “to get more comfortable taking chances on films and filmmakers they aren’t already familiar with.”  This event also presents social interaction between film and filmmakers, and creates “more of a personal, memorable experience for the audience than a typical film screening.”

I headed to the Grand Cinema and attended the showing of Homecoming (2011), the story of an Army medic returning to her hometown on leave. The film is directed, written, produced by and stars Sean Hackett. The film was screened to showcase the film’s composer, Gingger Shankar, who was named one of the 25 New Faces. The score was elegant, dramatic in all the right places and charming where it counts. Gingger Shankar has an undeniable talent to synchronize cinematic theme with the emotional conviction of music. Filmmaker Magazine did not disappoint with their selection.

Gingger Shankar attended the showing, and after the film participated in a Q&A session with the audience. Shankar fielded questions about her creative process, the instruments used, how she met filmmaker Sean Hackett, and discussed composing for the film Circumstance (2011), which was the winner of the Audience Award (Drama) at Sundance.

This was one of the goals of Executive Director Cowan—to connect filmmakers with the audience, and this screening gave clear evidence the series has accomplished just that. The 25 New Faces film series at the Grand in Tacoma allows moviegoers to engage with independent film, filmmakers, and emerging talent like the audience never has been able to before.


Brook is a teller of stories, giver of hugs, and is incapable of folding fitted sheets.

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