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Couch Fest Films: When the Movie Theater is Your House


Going to the movies requires a few things. For one, it requires putting on pants and leaving the house. Once you arrive at the theater, one is required to pay a large amount of money to enter and even more to indulge in the requisite heart clogging treats. Then you must sit through previews and perhaps get your seat back kicked by an unruly child.

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the movies, but I love the idea of Couch Fest Films even more.

“Couch Fest is a film festival that takes place in people’s living rooms!” says assistant festival director Ryan Davis.

That’s right, voyeurs, you get to watch movies at a stranger’s house!

“It’s fun to see people come to the door and, until they can sit down, they still don’t quite believe that we’re just going to let them come in and sit on our couch and watch movies. They’re timid at first, but there’s an intermission so people can discuss the films at first and then the conversation always transitions to talking about themselves and their experience at the festival.”

The festival was started by Ryan’s filmmaking friend, Craig, five years ago, and he has since moved to Iceland, thereby expanding Couch Fest there and to 15 other countries. As far as what you will watch at Couch Fest:

“They are watching some really fantastic short films from all over the world. We cherry pick some of the best films that come from Sundance and other top-notch film festivals.”

Bonus round: It’s completely free! This year there are four houses participating in Seattle, but they’re always looking to expand.

“Rich people out there with living rooms! In Reykjavik we have a boat that’s hosting and in Germany we have a castle that’s hosting. We are all opportunity host location acceptors. So if you’ve got a really cool living room, let us know. Last year we had a Volkswagen van that hosted. We had a guy apply who had a Nissan Sentra but, unfortunately, we didn’t think that would work.”

Erin Knobler is hosting for the second time, and says she will probably cram about 20 people into her place.

“Last year I turned a little bit into 1960’s housewife and went a little crazy with the bite sized snacks,” Erin says. “So I had little mini sandwiches made out of baguettes. I had little toothpick skewers of caprese and I think I made mini brownies. The idea was short [films] so everything should be bite sized to go along with that theme.”

The film fest is this Saturday, November 10th, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Each house has it’s own genre and theme: animation, comedy, documentary and experimental, so film goers travel from house to house to take it all in.

Ryan says Couch Fest makes film festival films accessible to everyone.

“It’s hard to see a short film unless you are a film festival person,” Ryan says. “They don’t show in traditional movie theaters, so a lot of times this is the only time people are sitting down to watch a program of short films.”

Click here for more information on attending Couchfest this Saturday.

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