Command performances
Thursday, August 21 | 9:45 a.m.

Washougal filmmaker Breven Angaelica Warren knows how hard it can be to break into the industry and find an audience. When she started working on movies in 2003, 29-year-old Warren submitted projects to film festivals and met with rejection. Since then, she's participated in festivals throughout North America and abroad, but she never forgot the frustration she felt early in her career.

To help others get their start in film, Warren organized the Washougal International Film Festival.
"I thought what a wonderful opportunity to help other filmmakers," she said.
About 300 films of varying lengths will be screened and compete for awards. People who attend the festival will be able to see movies from around the world, but they'll also get to watch films with local connections.
Several films were selected for the festival because they were produced by Oregon and Washington residents. Others focus on issues of particular interest to the Northwest, Warren said.

We checked in with five filmmakers to learn more about their projects and the inspiration behind them.
Here are their comments, edited for space and clarity.

Sharron Bates

AGE: 38.
RESIDENCE: Vancouver, B.C.
OCCUPATION: Videographer and editor.
FILM: “Strong Coffee: The Story of Café Femenino.”
GENRE: Documentary.
RUNNING TIME: 48 minutes.
A FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY: “Born into Brothels.”

Briefly, what's your movie about?

"Strong Coffee" tells the story of Café Femenino - a revolutionary idea that is helping people in need all over the world. A small group of coffee roasters travel to northern Peru to meet some of the impoverished women farmers who grow organic, fair-trade coffee. The film follows the roasters as they visit remote villages to see how coffee beans are grown, picked, processed and sold. We learn about the Peruvian women's struggles, their courage and incredible achievements, and meet some of the remarkable people involved in the formation of the Café Femenino project. Vancouver-based Organic Products Trading Co. (OPTCO), a coffee importer, played an important part in the development of the Café Femenino project.

How did it come together?

I am the cinematographer, and Carmen Klotz and I co-wrote, co-produced and co-edited the documentary. We filmed in Peru; Bellingham; Montreal, Quebec; and a little town in British Columbia called Salmon Arm. I heard about the Café Femenino project through Shuswap Coffee Co., a roaster in Salmon Arm. Several North American buyers of Café Femenino coffee were taking a trip to the "country of origin" (in this case, Peru) to see how the coffee is grown. My friend was one of the people going, and after talking with Gay and Garth Smith of OPTCO, who were arranging the trip, I decided to go and document the story through film.

What do you set out to do when making a film?

Tell a good story, in a way that will be entertaining and informative.

How does living in Vancouver, B.C., affect your work?

It's great living here because it kind of is a gateway to a huge number of communities. It's very multicultural and diverse, so there is a lot to draw from.

What do you hope to get out of the festival?

To share the Café Femenino story with as many people as possible. When we were in Peru, the women farmers said to me, "Please share our story and please buy our coffee." Getting to know the Peruvian women and their struggles affected me deeply, and their pleas hit me in a way that increased my motivation to do all I could to spread the word about Café Femenino. I feel our film accomplishes this.