Tacoma Sister Cities International Film Festival

Our 2021 International Film Festival was held from April 19 to April 25

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our 18th Annual Tacoma Sister City International Film Festival! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did bringing it to you. Please keep an eye on your email for our feedback survey. Your participation will help us to improve our film festival in the future!

The Tacoma Sister Cities International Film Festival spotlights and celebrates the power of storytelling and cultural exchange. This will be our 18th International Film Festival, and we are pleased to offer it as a Virtual event from April 19th to 25th, including 9 films presented by our Sister City Committees. Proceeds will be used to support the Tacoma Sister City mission and programs. Our ticketing platform is Elevent, and all films will be streamed through their site by CineSend, accessible via web enabled mobile devices and PC and directly on your TV if you have Apple TV or Roku.


You can purchase your tickets now via our Elevent site. We are offering general admission and a discounted option for seniors and students. And if you are feeling generous, you can purchase a family ticket for a little more. Or, you can opt for our VIP pass, which includes all 9 films. Please note that a few of our films are limited to certain geographic locations, such as the USA, North America or Washington State. Be sure to check the film description on the ticketing site for full details.

Tickets in the Elevent system display the first day the film is available for viewing, which is April 19th. However, all TSCIFF tickets allow the film to be viewed at your leisure from the date of purchase until the end of the Festival, Midnight on the 25th of April.

We wish you all good health and good spirits.
Mira Utz, Film Festival Chair & Clare Petrich, TSC Council Chair





Navigate the tabs to see each sister city movie! Follow movie links to see the trailer for each movie !

El Norte!  | Boca Del Rio, Mexico

El Norte (English: The North) is a 1983 British-American independent drama film, directed by Gregory Nava. The screenplay was written by Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas, based on Nava’s story. The picture was partly funded by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), a non-profit public broadcasting television service in the United States. El Norte received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay in 1985, the first Latin American independent film to be so honored. In 1995, the film was selected for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The drama features Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez and David Villalpando, in their first film roles, as two indigenous youths who flee Guatemala due to the ethnic and political persecution of the Guatemalan Civil War. They head north and travel through Mexico to the United States, arriving in Los Angeles, California, after an arduous journey.


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Sergio & Sergei | Cienfuegos, Cuba

In 1991, the USSR is falling apart and Cuba enters its hardest economic crisis. Sergio, a professor of Marxism who can’t provide for his family, and Sergei, a Soviet cosmonaut stranded in the Mir space station, share a common passion: amateur radio.

Through this hobby, both men will be able to help each other in facing the dramatic changes of their countries.


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The Great Buddha+  | Taichung, Taiwan

Pickle is a night security guard at a bronze statue factory. His colleague, Belly Bottom, works as a recycling collector during the day, and Pickle’s biggest pleasure in life is flicking through the porn magazines Belly Bottom collects in the small hours in the security room.

Having late night snacks and watching television are an integral part of their dull lives.

One day when the television is broken, their lives are changed forever. The story involves gods, the middle-aged men’s sexual desire and the conversation between ghosts and humans.


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Life is a Trumpet | Stari Grad, Croatia

Life Is a Trumpet has a loose jazz musician as the groom, a butcher as his father, and two families of different backgrounds whose members are not as different as one might expect.


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Sweat Rain | El Jadida, Morocco

Mbarek is a farmer who ekes out a living on a small plot of land in a rural Moroccan village. He lives there with his pregnant wife Ayda, his sick father and his teen-aged son Ayoub who has Down’s Syndrome. This small piece of land is the family’s sole source of income, and the family is devastated when the village is hit by a severe drought. Mbarek begins to dig a well in the desperate hope of finding a new source of water, when an official letter arrives threatening the confiscation of his land.



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Tongue Cutters  | Aalesund, Norway

In the northern part of Norway Tobias and many other children work as cod tongue cutters. The tongues are considered a delicacy, and they are exported around the world to countries like China and Japan. But in Northern Norway they are simply everyday food when in season. The children start from the age of 6, and can earn a lot of money during a winter season. This job has always been reserved for the children, as long as the fishing industry has existed. They even have their own cod tongue cutting championship every February. This winter city girl Ylva (9) from Oslo will spend her winter vacation up in the North. Normally she lives far away from cod heads, sharp knives, fish blood and intestines, but this winter …


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Shoplifters  | Kitakyushu, Japan

A Japanese family of small time thieves and cons take in a young child off the street but after the girl is shown on the news as missing, the family must go to even further elaborate lengths to avoid her being discovered.


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Life is Beautiful  | Porto Sant’Elpidio, Italy

An Italian Jew tries to protect his son in a Nazi concentration camp. An Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film.


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The Quest For The Lost Paintings of Siberia | Vladivostok, Russia

Jesse Coliver and Jack Gunter bring you the adventure of a lifetime in the no holds barred true life caper into the wilds of the Mongolian border to rescue seventeen paintings–trapped behind the Iron Curtain for a quarter of a century.


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There are several ways you can help making our Film Festival a success and reap some substantial benefits in the process!

The Sister Cities International Film Festival is the perfect opportunity to show your support to the various cultural communities of Tacoma.

Last year, our audience grew by 20% and engagement on our website and social media channels tripled, showing that the public is eager to support our Film Festival.

Your support is going to make this 18th edition of the Tacoma Sister Cities International Film Festival bigger and better than ever!

You will help fund : Venue rental, promotional materials and promotion for the festival, film fees, cultural demonstrations during the Film Festival, organization costs, etc.

By supporting our International Film Festival, you:

• Align your business/brand with the values of an organization creating a more peaceful world through people-to-people exchanges and initiatives.

• Support face-to-face meetings and personal relationships across borders which not only changes the lives of individuals, but helps communities all over the world to thrive.


The following Supporters congratulate all the Sister Cities Committees!

The following Supporters congratulate the Cienfuegos, Cuba Sister City Committee.

The following Supporter congratulates the Aalesund, Norway Sister City Committee.

The following Supporters congratulate the StariGrad, Croatia Sister City Committee.

The following Supporters congratulate the Kitakyushu, Japan Sister City Committee.


Tacoma Sister Cities has its own Film Festival!

The Tacoma Sister Cities International Film Festival is an annual event.

The festival presents films from the countries of the Sister Cities of Tacoma to foster connection and exploration of countries and cultures through an interactive experience.

The 2021 International Film Festival will run from April 19th to 25th, including 9 films presented by our Sister City Committees.

The Tacoma Sister Cities mission is to advance Tacoma as a global city and promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation through citizen diplomacy – one individual, one community at a time – for the benefit of Tacoma and its sister cities.

To accomplish its mission, The Sister Cities Council of Tacoma develops programs in the areas of cultural arts and tourism, global education, government relations, and international business. All proceeds from our film festival go towards the TSC programs and mission.

Thank you for supporting our efforts. We hope you enjoy these films and that the stories and experiences they represent inspire you and your family.

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