Filmmakers flood Stanwood Library on rainy weekend

The Stanwood Library is about to get its 253 seconds of fame.

A rainy weekend, a kind librarian and a cast of creative educators were all in the script that will put the library up on the silver screen May 6 at Tacoma’s Grand Cinema 253 Short Film Party.

Filmmakers photo
The cast and crew of "How I Did It" at work in the Stanwood Library on April 23.

On film

“It all started about five years ago,” said Lance Cadena, who married into his wife’s family cabin on Camano Island’s Juniper Beach. The cabin became the site of an annual spring getaway for a Cadena, a Tacoma School District educator, and a group of fellow teachers and librarians from across the Puget Sound region.

“We used to bring our cameras and shoot photos during the weekend,” Cadena said. “Then, we saw that this film festival is the same weekend and said, ‘Let’s do a movie!’”

The 253 Film Competition is a quick-turnaround event, perfect for the group’s weekend plans. The rules are that the films can be no more than 253 seconds long, must include references to a list of “mystery items” that change each year and must be completed in just 72 hours.

The group calls itself Too Many Cooks Productions and their entry this year is titled “How I Did It,” an amusing look into the dream of making it big. The mystery items that all entries must include are a dialog line “That’s all she wrote,” an allergy, a toothbrush and a Tacoma business.

The library’s turn in front of the camera came in a book-signing scene with the help of group member Indie Berg, a Tacoma schools librarian.

“It was raining like crazy,” said Cadena, which washed out some anticipated locations. The library looked like a good and dry option. “Indie is a librarian so she says, ‘I’ll just go ask.” They said ‘yes’ and we started shooting.”

Berg said the library staff was very helpful. “When I asked and told them what wanted to do, they were just so accommodating,” she said.

Cadena said the crew for the weekend film-shoot is growing. “We’ve gotten so big that we now rent a house in addition to using the cabin,” he said, adding that the effort is starting to have local economic impact.

Still, the weekend getaway is all about having fun, Berg said.

“It’s like a 72-hour summer camp,” Berg said. “We’re all in charge of a meal. We bring our cameras and props and whatever we can scrounge up. Everybody brings sleeping bags, but we don’t get much sleep.”