The 27th annual Olympia Film Festival isn't just about films - and it isn't confined to the space inside historic Capitol Theater.
Tonight’s Opening Night Gala will stretch out into the street, regardless of the weather, thanks to a 40-foot-long tent that will stretch from the theater to the building across the street.
The indoor portion will include a screening of the 1927 silent classic “Metropolis,” reissued this year with 25 minutes of long-lost footage.
“There’s not a lot of room to party in the theater,” said festival director Sarah Adams of Olympia. “And when there have been outdoor parties, everyone has been stuffed under the awning.”
Tonight’s event, though, is not just a party but a carnival.
Under the big tent – which is set to be erected in two hours this afternoon – will be a luminary procession, music by Artesian Rumble Arkestra, clowns, psychics, sideshows and food.
At 7:30 p.m., festivities move inside with the aerialists and acrobats of Tallhouse Arts Consortium and music by Romanteek.
“The Capitol Theater stage was built for live shows, and you can really feel the theater humming with happiness when something live is happening on stage,” Adams said. “We have a vibrant performing-arts community that rarely gets access to that space.”
In keeping with that vibe, Adams and Peycheff have organized nine days packed with not only films but also speakers, concerts and workshops.
All that — and it’s still a film festival, with documentaries, local films, experimental options and family friendly flicks.
Probably the biggest film of the festival is longer, reissued “Metropolis.” The additional footage for the German expressionist film was found in 2008 by a museum curator in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“It’s no longer a science-fiction film,” Martin Koerber, a German film archivist and historian who supervised the restoration, told The New York Times in May. “It’s now a film that encompasses many genres, an epic about conflicts that are ages old.”
Adams said, “It’s a really big deal for people who love this movie and love film. It feels like a must-see if you are a student of film or a lover of film.”
“ ‘Metropolis’ is like ‘Citizen Kane,’ ” added festival programmer Ivan Peycheff of Seattle. “It’s such a classic that it can be released every couple of years with new footage and people will come out to see it.”
Even for those who aren’t film buffs, he added, the film fits with the gala’s vaudeville flavor. “It’s from the era of entertainment that we are trying to re-create with the opening-night theme.”
Beyond the gala, here are some highlights, according to festival director Sarah Adams and programmer Ivan Peycheff:
“The Animation Madness of Max Fleischer,” 10 a.m. Saturday: This will include Betty Boop, Popeye and a 1939 version of “Gulliver’s Travels.” “These are all from original Technicolor film prints,” Peycheff said. “They are incredible. Everything was done completely by hand back then, and animation was more of an art form.”
“Decline of Western Civilization I and III,” 6 p.m. Saturday: These documentaries by Penelope Spheeris cover the Los Angeles punk scene in the 1970s and 1990s, respectively. Spheeris, who’ll be available for a Q&A via Skype, wasn’t interested in presenting Part II, about ’80s metal bands.
Gossip and The Need, 10:30 p.m. Saturday: The feminist punk bands were beloved Olympia bands. Gossip moved to Portland and got really famous in Europe, and The Need recently reunited. “It’s a pretty special occasion to have these amazing queer feminist punk revolutionaries come and play this show for us,” Adams said. “They could be the next movie: ‘The Decline of Western Civilization IV.’ ”
“Roll Out, Cowboy,” with a performance by Chris Sand, 1 p.m. Sunday: This documentary follows what happened when Sand, also known as Sandman the Rappin’ Cowboy, left Olympia for Dunn Center, N.D., population 122.
“Stonewall Uprising,” with a pre-show by Marlayna McBride, the Jakettes and Stonewall Youth Drag Queens and Kings, 8 p.m. Wednesday: The documentary tells the story of the historic uprising, and the performance includes selections from “Queer Side Story,” a musical about the riots created by Olympia’s own Stonewall Youth.
“It,” with live music, 7:30 p.m. Thursday: The 1927 silent romantic comedy starring Clara Bow will be accompanied by Vince Brown, Dan Tyak, Lisa Seifert, Scuff Acuff and Rick Jarvela.
“All Freakin’ Night,” 11:55 p.m. Nov. 20: This is Peycheff’s first year as festival programmer, but his third year programming the all-night B-movie madness that traditionally wraps up the festival. This year’s lineup: “Treasure of the Four Crowns,” “Superstition,” “Freaked” and “Dead Heat.”
Olympia Film Festival
What: The 27th annual festival, with more live events than ever, kicks off tonight with an indoor-outdoor carnival and a screening of “Metropolis,” a 1927 German expressionist film that was the most expensive silent film ever made. It has been newly restored with 25 minutes of long-lost footage.
When: Gala at 5 p.m. today; festival through Nov. 20
Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. S.E., Olympia, with workshops at Northern, 321 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia
Tickets: Regular screenings are $9, $6 for Olympia Film Society members, $3 for children younger than 13. Opening Night is $13, $10 for members. “Decline of Western Civilization I and III” is $15, $10 for members. Gossip and The Need is $15, $13 for members. All Freakin’ Night horror film fest is $15 general admission, $10 for members. A full pass is $75; a partial pass providing admission to five regular screenings is $25. Available at www. brownpapertickets.com, Rainy Day Records and the box office.
More information: 360-754-6670, ext. 13, or www.olympiafilmfestival.org