Archive for March, 2008

BOARDING GATE held over!

March 31, 2008

We’ve added some additional screenings for Olivier Assayas’ BOARDING GATE:

The original run (daily at 7, 9pm through April 3) has been extended to include:

Friday, April 4 – Tuesday, April 8,  Daily at 7 & 9pm
plus additional  Saturday and Sunday matinees at 5pm

BOARDING GATE must close April 8!

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NWFF in Macedonia

March 31, 2008

skopje cityscape

Zdravo NWFF fans!

This weekend I arrived in Macedonia (located between Greece and Serbia) to spread the wonderfulness that is Northwest Independent filmmaking to the outside world! (or at least a small corner of it). This is a snapshot of the capital, Skopje. Here, I’ll be presenting two programs of films made by Pacific Northwest artists. I’ve chosen films that represent what I think is a defining character of filmmaking in our region—they all share a modesty in their production means but are richly expressive and as a whole demonstrate a broad range of visual techniques and stylistic approaches. I will be spending time to find films here that characterize the artistic sensibilities of the South Balkan region and show them at NWFF this summer.

My first few days here have been very exciting! Skopje is presenting its own annual film festival (no english version available online, sorry), while my friends at Lokomotiva have just completed staging the two week leg of a traveling dance academy. This city is very colorful and lively, and is experiencing a historic moment as it neighbors Europe’s newest nation, Kosovo, and a long held feud with Greece over its name may (or may not) be coming to an end.

I’ll be posting images of my adventures in the region at my Flickr site. Much thanks to CEC Artslink for providing the grant that brought me here!

Cao,Dave

Karn Junkinsmith’s Otherwise

March 29, 2008

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it was only a few weeks ago, at the birthday party of a friend, that Karn Junkinsmith and I finally met one another. Maybe I wasn’t ready before now. It’s the precise combination of thinking about working in film again, finally getting a grasp on contemporary dance (!), and not taking things so seriously, that I’m convinced led me right to Karn. When asked to write about her evening of films at the NW Film Forum, it was another sign. The gods (and Ryan Davis) want me to see her work.

Not surprisingly, I showed up at the Film Forum on Thursday night and recognized most of the audience. It was an excellent ratio of film people, dance people, and dance film people. Karn’s paramour was playing the piano and the 16mm projector started clicking away and then I dropped into the rabbit hole. Karn’s films span genre and medium, but I am partial, I admit, to the black and white 16mm films she showed. In these there was a magical confluence of jerky jump cuts (real cuts on film, mind you, not virtual ones!), excellent spazzy choreography, and the jangly twinkly live piano music filling the space.

In almost every case, I’m a sucker for synchronized ensemble dancing, and in Karn’s choreography, the movements the phrases disintegrate into chaos and then return again, just off enough to be satisfying without being smug. Yes, it’s conceptual. Yes, it’s dancey dance. But damn, it’s also really hilarious! I’ve sat through enough tedious art films to feel entitled to a little entertainment with my culture. In fact, I made a mental to tell Karn about my friend Tom, whose criteria for going to see something are that 1. it’s under 30 min, 2. there is nudity, and 3. it’s funny. It’s like she made these films for him.

In the Q&A after the screenings, Karn admitted that she hoped to graduate to color 35 soon. While I love the intensity of 35mm as much as the next girl, I wanted to stand up in my seat, and shout, “Karn! Don’t graduate! Don’t give up the 16!” There’s a presence in her girls in chunky shoes, dancing through the monochrome streets, that evokes the Seattle landscape (and the local history of dance here) in a way that crystalizes all that’s lovely and disturbing and ridiculous about being an artist in this place.

Manohla Dargis says: See BOARDING GATE for the hot women!

March 28, 2008

BOARDING GATE has been a controversial film, and has earned little love from the critics, Seattle no exception.  But I think Manohla Dargis of the New York Times is on to something.  From her summary:

I’m fairly certain one reason that the French director Olivier Assayas made “Boarding Gate” is that he wanted to watch the Italian actress Asia Argento strut around in black underwear and punishing heels. And why not? Ms. Argento looks delectable if somewhat demented in “Boarding Gate,” in which she comes across as a postmodern Pearl White, who starred in silent adventure serials like “The Perils of Pauline.” Ms. Argento seems to invite trouble, and Mr. Assayas, who has a way of capturing the seemingly ineffable, has a thing for troubled, troubling women. “Boarding Gate,” a casually beautiful, preposterously plotted, elliptical thriller, earned little love last year when it played at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was shown out of competition. It didn’t do much for Mr. Assayas’s reputation, at least among some critics, who had been just as eager to dismiss his other recent films, among them “Clean” (2004) and the much-maligned “demonlover” (2002). What “Boarding Gate” did do was reconfirm Ms. Argento as one of contemporary cinema’s most fascinating creatures.

You can read her entire review, watch the BOARDING GATE trailer, and even buy what looks like the DVD (?) here.

You can form your own opinion beginning tonight.  BOARDING GATE plays through April 3.

Poster art for sale (or free with membership!)

March 27, 2008

NWFF is delighted to offer this limited edition Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait commemorative poster, designed by Jacob McMurray.  It will be available through April 6.

zidane_poster.gif

The Zidane Commemorative Poster is available at the NWFF box office.

$8/NWFF members, $10/non-members, FREE with purchase or renewal of your NWFF membership! 

Serial Dumping…. The Village Voice

March 27, 2008

My once cherished alternative weekly paper, the one that I used to sneak into Manhattan from my parents house in New Jersey just to get a copy of, continues to cut its extremely talented staff today.
This in from the Village Voice’s Nathan Lee today

 In great Village Voice tradition, I was abruptly laid off today for “economic reasons.” My employment at the paper ends immediately: someone else, alas, will be tasked with specifying the precise shade of periwinkle frosting atop the cupcakes in My Blueberry Nights.

And so I am, as they say, “looking for work,” though presumably not as a staff film critic as such jobs no longer appear to exist.

Read an interesting article from Lee, one of his last for the paper, on Asia Argento, the star of BOARDING GATE, which we open this Friday.

4Culture money for filmmakers

March 25, 2008

One of the best grant opportunities of the year, which is cash for actual arts creation, is 4Culture Arts Projects. This year they have stopped funding organizations with this program, so all the money will go to artists.

Every filmmaker in King County should apply, and the chances of getting up to $9,000 are better than ever.  Get it in by Monday.

Interview With Olivier Assayas

March 25, 2008

Boarding Gate “Italian director Marco Ferreri named one of his films The Future is Female. For Olivier Assayas, that’s a given.” Steve Erickson introduces his interview with the director of Boarding Gate. “Assayas’s later career has been a heady stew of class and crass, yet not even in his terrific, audience-baiting pseudo-technothriller demonlover, with its corporate-girls-gone-wild for the smart set, did he flirt as heavily with exploitation as he does here,” writes Michael Koresky at indieWIRE.

Boarding Gate, B-movie heir to Phil Karlson and Ingmar Bergman, screws any pretence of naturalism for hallucinatory confrontations,” writes David Pratt-Robson in Slant. “If, like its protagonist, the film is brutally forthright, in B-movie tradition, that’s because all it cares about is expressivity – raw impact and momentum…. Down and totally dirty, Boarding Gate is one of the best genre films in years.”

More here. 

Early Word On Shotgun Stories

March 25, 2008

Shotgun Stories is broadly in the category of what we sniggering urbanites used to call ‘deadbeat regionalism’ (before the indie movement was kicked into the mainstream by Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein),” writes New York’s David Edelstein. “But the sensibility here is more subversive, more attuned to the South’s subliminal violence. Adam Stone’s wide-screen cinematography captures the heat and the corrosive moisture, the lush green of the cotton fields and the rust of the pickup trucks, the natural beauty juxtaposed with the unnatural human debris…. Shotgun Stories has a flawless cast, but it’s the peculiarity of Michael Shannon that keeps it from becoming too obvious.”

More here.

The Duel is Coming

March 25, 2008

DUEL OF THE COOL