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Free Best of the Fest Films Begin Friday, January 26

Updated: Feb 7

Due to the weather, the Friday Harbor Film Festival’s FREE Best of the Fest series begins with showing The Space Race at the San Juan Island Grange on Friday, January 26 at 7 pm.

The First Film:  The Space Race

A film about connectivity, community, mentorship, and the importance of trailblazers, The Space Race explores the experiences of the first Black astronauts through decades of archival film and interviews.

Directed by Lisa Cortes and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, it captures the journey of space flight through the unrelenting spirit and resilience of the black community and those who would break down barriers for astronauts who would follow. This documentary uncovers the little-known stories of the first Black pilots, engineers, and scientists to become astronauts. It weaves together the stories of Black astronauts seeking to break the bonds of social injustice to reach for the stars, including Guion Bluford, Ed Dwight, Charles Bolden.


Addressing the racial injustice within NASA across several decades, the film follows these pioneers who fought to overcome both the obstacles encountered during their astronaut training, and the challenges that stemmed from the racial prejudice and discrimination present at the time. It highlights how their perseverance challenged the definition of “the right stuff,” even when their stories were omitted from the history books.



The Best of the Fest Series

Each month through September Best of the Fest will offer award-winning documentaries along with livestream Q&As.  Programs will begin at 7 pm.  Some are in collaboration with the San Juan Island Library; others are at the San Juan Island Grange.  Since they’re on Fridays, they are a great “date night” activity.  Here’s the schedule:


Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On – February 16 at the Grange

The Last Act and She Marches in Chinatown – March 8 at the Library

PUPS, The Bench, Call of the Orcas, and Island Marble Butterfly Conservation – April 12 at the Grange

Elemental – May 10 at the Grange

Mama Bears – June 14 at the Library

Patrick and the Whale – July 12 at the Library

Covenant of the Salmon People and Our Sacred Obligation – August 9 at the Library

Common Ground – September 13 at the Grange


Details about the films in the series are available on the website. Mark your calendar and plan to view the exceptional Best of the Fest documentaries.


Thank you to our 2024 Best of the Fest sponsors, SaviBank and Cascade Public Media | KCTS9!

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