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| 08/02/2022 | Updated | Attend, Film |   

Enjoy Independent Film All Year Long with Pickford Film Center

Bellingham's Pickford Film Center (PFC) has been the place for independent film since it opened a small, 80-seat theater in 1998. Since then, this nonprofit organization has expanded their space and stayed focused on providing the community with the highest quality movie-going experience possible at an affordable price, while working to foster arts education and visual literacy. Through daily film screenings, annual festivals, and education programs, the Pickford Film Center offers continuous, sophisticated entertainment for locals and visitors alike. 

Public screenings, festivals, and educational events at the Pickford are augmented by partnerships with local business, community organizations, and sometimes the filmmakers themselves. No matter what time of year or day of the week, PFC offers both local and global quality independent film for all ages.

Coming soon: the Pickford Film Center will open a second theater in downtown Bellingham, on Grand Avenue! 

Guerilla Film Project

A component of PFC's expanding education programs, the annual Guerilla Film Project is a filmmaking competition where small teams of high school students write, shoot, and edit a three-minute film in less than 65 hours based on a surprise theme and props. Numerous teams throughout the Pacific Northwest participate each year. The festival concludes with a screening and celebration of the budding filmmakers.

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival 

BHRFF supports independent filmmakers from around the world while fostering dialogue and promoting action. The festival is shown at many Whatcom County locations including the Pickford Film Center. For more than 15 years, volunteer committee members have selected scores of insightful and moving films they hope will encourage the community to explore and engage with critical issues. Films are followed by facilitated discussion, some led by the filmmakers themselves. The festival has received a Mayor's Arts Award and was listed as one of nine "Film Festivals That Are Making A Difference" in the U.S.

Bellingham Children's Film Festival

The Pickford's annual Children's Film Festival showcases innovative films from around the globe. Bring the whole family to the Pickford for a weekend filled with creative film and interactive activities. Kids especially love the opening night red carpet ice-cream social and interactive art projects in the lobby. In 2023, kids can enjoy stop-motion animation workshops and a program that's all about cats. To further its education focus, PFC also offers weekday school screenings exclusively for classrooms.

Cascadia International Women's Film Festival

The annual Cascadia International Women's Film Festival is a community-based festival showcasing women-directed films from across the globe. The Pickford Film Center proudly partners with the festival to bring these exceptional films to audiences in Bellingham and Whatcom County. 

Rooftop Cinema at the Parkade

This outdoor summer film series in downtown Bellingham runs on Friday nights in July and August. The experience recalls the classic days of the drive-in as films are screened outdoors, just after you watch the sun set over beautiful Bellingham Bay. Movies are projected on a large screen on the rooftop of the parkade at 1300 Commercial Street above four floors of free parking. Although the events are all-ages, screenings begin after dusk and are generally PG-13 and R-rated cult classic films in sync with Bellingham's eclectic subdued style. Show up early to lay your blanket in the best spot while enjoying a beer garden sponsored by local brewers, plus live music, food trucks, and other activities. Each film is chosen and hosted by the Pickford Film Center.


Love horror movies? Than this festival is for you. Bellingham's annual two-day horror film festival provides Pacific Northwest filmmakers an opportunity to share their spookiest work while receiving critical feedback from a panel of judges chosen for their experience in horror, filmmaking, and digital storytelling. The short horror films are 12 minutes or less and compete for a grand prize based on the judges' scores and feedback. There is no better way to celebrate Halloween than with this local tradition.


Since 2008, the Pickford Film Center has celebrated the art of documentary filmmaking with their curated, month-long Doctober film festival. Throughout the month of October, the theater screens more than 50 films by filmmakers from all over the globe. Subjects range widely, from environmental and human rights issues to arts, music, and outdoor adventures. A few films are presented in partnership with Whatcom County organizations that aim to raise awareness and inform local audiences about a topic related to the documentary. Many organizations will offer pre-screening receptions or a panel discussion, local expert Q&A sessions, or filmmaker visits afterward to extend the film’s impact.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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