Three Dollar Bill Cinema executive director Jason Plourde arrived in Seattle 21 years ago, took a volunteer job working with the nonprofit on its very first festival and never left the city or the organization.

“I became interested in film and film festivals during college,” Plourde said, “and ran an LGBT film festival in Connecticut for a few years. Serendipity stepped in once I moved to Seattle; Three Dollar Bill Cinema was in its infancy, and I connected with founders. I worked as a general volunteer, board member and outreach coordinator; then I became the programming director for 10 years, and more recently took on the executive director role.”

Three Dollar Bill Cinema put on Seattle’s first Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, ran it annually for years, and rebranded that as TWIST two years ago. This year’s venues for TWIST include the Broadway Performance Hall for some screenings, as well as the Egyptian, Northwest Film Forum, Pacific Place and SIFF Cinema Uptown from Oct. 12-22. 

“The number of queer people in Seattle has increased” over his years in Seattle, said Plourde, “but the population has also spread out —arguably pushed out — across the metropolitan region. Throughout Three Dollar Bill’s history, the queer community has been centralized on Capitol Hill. We are still based here, as are many LGBTQ organizations, but Capitol Hill is definitely less of the core that it used to be.”

Festival director Danny Tayara is ultimately responsible for selecting the final films in the festival schedule. More than five hundred film submissions came in this year. Tayara and Plourde work together to confirm the five festival gala films. Senior programmer Sam Berliner handles additional festival programming, such as workshops and panels. Two screening committees suggest shorts and features.

Plourde said he hopes people will tune into TWIST’s opening night film, “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin,” a study of the popular author and longtime Bay Area resident who wrote the “Tales of the City” books. Other prominent attractions include “Jeanne Cordova: Butches, Lies & Feminism,” a study of the lesbian activist and one-time nun; and “The Death And Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” about a legendary “street queen” in New York City, whose death, ruled suicide, might have been a covered-up murder.

“About two dozen features and an equal number of shorts Seattle, world or Northwest premieres,” Plourde said. “Bringing new films to our Seattle audiences as well, as adding a fresh spin on classic films, is something that TWIST always does well.”

 This year international drag superstar and burlesque sensation BenDeLaCreme [A star of the TV show ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’] will host the 1963 Robert Wise classic “The Haunting”; her participation will undoubtedly add a unique and entertaining perspective. 
Local filmmakers this year featured in the “Local Produce” section include “Something Like Summer,” written by Carlos Pedraza with Three Dollar Bill Cinema. Seattle-based director Wes Hurley will have two shorts at the festival, “Little Potato” and “Rusalka.” Danny Tayara from Three Dollar Bill Cinema has the shorts “Pizza Roles,” “You’ve Got Tail” and “The Curse.

The Three Dollar Bill Cinema Showcase on Oct. 22 includes local films from this year’s Reel Queer Youth summer filmmaking program, the Blanket Fort Films Motion Picture Program and films from the second annual TWIST 3-Day Filmmaking challenge. 

Asked about late-in-the-year post-TWIST programs for Three Dollar Bill, Plourde said, “Our annual holiday screening of ‘Auntie Mame’ is coming up on Dec. 13. Our big queer audiences pull out all the stops and love reminding everyone that ‘Life is a banquet and most poor bastards are starving to death!’
“Next year, we plan to expand our touring program of films, so we can bring queer cinema to other parts of Washington. We also hope to offer more filmmaking and LGBTQ film education opportunities.”

Find a full schedule of film showings, panels and programs here.