April 6, 2023

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CASCADIA to Host Special Event for 2023 Honored Guest: Barbara Kopple

CASCADIA welcomes renowned director, Barbara Kopple, with a special event in honor of this year’s film festival at Hotel Leo (1224 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham) on May 5, 2023 at 5 p.m. Kopple is a nine-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker with acclaimed work in documentaries, scripted films, episodic television, and commercials.

Attendees can experience the all-inclusive ticketed reception to meet and greet Kopple and enjoy appetizers, wine and beverages in the Hotel Leo’s Crystal Ballroom. The venue is a historic Bellingham treasure with two crystal-adorned chandeliers, a mirrored ball, and details dating back to 1929. With floor-to-ceiling windows and a 3000 sq ft. room, the venue will be light-filled and elegant.

Following the reception, CASCADIA Program Director, Claudia Puig, will conduct an interview with Kopple at 7:30 p.m at the Walton Theatre inside Mount Baker Theatre (104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham). A screening of Kopple’s latest film, “Gumbo Coalition,” will follow at 8 p.m. 

This cinematic exploration follows two overseers of social advocacy groups who join forces to fight against racism. Kopple observes these two as they navigate national tragedies such as the shooting in El Paso, George Floyd’s death, political polarization, and the storming of the Capitol.

Kopple is known best for her films “Harlan County USA" and “American Dream,” both winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. She also produces work in narrative TV and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Director's Guild of America, and New York Women in Film and Television’s Honorary Board. Kopple actively supports organizations that address social issues and promote independent filmmaking.

“Barbara Kopple is known as the ‘grand dame’ of documentary filmmaking,” says CASCADIA Executive Director Cheryl Crooks. “‘Harlan County USA’ is considered an American classic and is in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. Her distinguished career and commitment to social issues and independent film made her an obvious choice for this year’s Honored Guest.”

In addition to the “Gumbo Coalition,” CASCADIA will present a retrospective screening of “Harlan County, USA” at 12:30 p.m., Friday, May 5 at the Pickford Film Center (1318 Bay St., Bellingham). Kopple will be on hand for a Q&A with the audience afterwards. On Monday, May 8 at 5:15 p.m., the festival, in partnership with Pickford, will also show her “Woodstock: Now and Then” as a bonus film in the festival.

All-inclusive and independent interview/film screening tickets are available on Mount Baker Theatre’s website here. Tickets for “Harlan County, USA” are available through CASCADIA’s website and tickets for “Woodstock: Now and Then" will be for sale through the Pickford website.


CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and showcasing the work of women filmmakers, was formed in Bellingham, Washington, in 2015. The organization also works year-round to provide film production, exhibition, and distribution education. More information about CASCADIA may be found on their website at

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