Archive for August, 2008

The proud, the bold, the Karaoke Film Challenge performers

August 13, 2008

Pics now up at Flickr.

And if this wasn’t a risky enough challenge, there’s always NWFF’s DRY HUMP! in September:

Entry deadline is September 26 – Films screen during Local Sightings Film Festival

In response to The Stranger’s annual skin-and-fluids porno fest, Northwest Film Forum ups the ante and screws with the screw. We are calling on filmmakers to imagine sexy without skin. That’s right. Give us the steamiest scenes possible but in situations that are traditionally unsexy. Whether its about lusty longing, haywire hormones, frustrating foreplay or funky frottage, throw some distance in there� and for god’s sake keep your pants on! Your cast must be fully clothed, and films must be no longer then 5 minutes in length. Its HUMP without the bump… you up for it?

Rules: 1). Films must be no longer than five minutes 2). Acceptable formats are mini-DV, DVD, Beta-SP, or if you’re feeling ambitious, Super-8 and 16mm 3). Include title, filmmaker’s name and contact info with submission. Send to: Northwest Film Forum, c/o Adam Sekuler, 1515 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122. Submissions are due September 26.

Email with questions.


Local Sightings 2008 Film Festival poster ready for action

August 12, 2008

Designed by Mr. David Hanagan, Esq.

Black Moses

August 11, 2008

If you haven’t heard, Isaac Hayes passed away yesterday at the age of 65. We here at the Film Forum love him, and in fact he has popped up a few of times in our programming this summer.

 Before becoming a 70s icon, Hayes was a session player and songwriter for Stax Records in the 60s. He co-wrote a string of hits with his songwriting partner David Porter, including many for Sam & Dave. He was featured in the documentary RESPECT YOURSELF which we showed in June. Those of you who came to our most recent SOUL NITE a couple of weeks ago saw Sam & Dave in a great 1967 performance doing one of the songs he co-wrote, “You Don’t Know Like I Know.”  And of course Hayes was the featured act in WATTSTAX, the 1973 concert film we showed this summer on its 35th anniversary.

I hope Hayes is remembered for more than a bald head, South Park and Scientology. Personally (even though I love the “Shaft” theme, and have a place in my heart for the film “Truck Turner”), its his’ early work for Stax and his 1969 solo breakout album “Hot Buttered Soul” that are my favorite Hayes contributions. In memory, I think everyone should get bare-chested, fix a strong drink, and give a listen to his fantastic reworking of Burt Bacharach’s “Walk On By.”


Media Outlaw Craig Baldwin Lands At NWFF on Friday!

August 11, 2008

Underground filmmaker Craig Baldwin arrives in Seattle this Friday to present his latest creation MOCK UP ON MU. For more than 20 years, Baldwin has been excavating (and rattling) the bones of the media age. Lord of the scissors, might be an appropriate name for him. His works are mounted from found footage, most of which Baldwin claims to find in dumpsters – film leftovers, outtakes, documentaries, educational films, B-movies, old newscasts, home movies etc. He takes these fragments and pieces them together to create new, subversive, political and – a rare thing in experimental film – funny films that are not easily classifiable either as documentaries or as fiction.

Baldwin bombards the audience with dense collages of images and sound, which, in contrast to many other collage films, have a coherent narrative. Baldwin considers collage an expression of the confusing diversity of our media and pop culture, and at the same time, a subversive infiltration of the statements that are made there.

His latest, MOCK UP ON MU spins sci-fi and history into a subversive spiral. Get your tickets here.

Here’s an interview with Baldwin at this year’s San Francisco Film Festival.


August 10, 2008

I know there has been press coverage, and you may have been among the 3 billion who watched it on television on Friday evening, but I just had to post something about the opening ceremony of the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing.

Created by filmmaker Yimou Zhang (Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Raise the Red Lantern), it was an awe-inspiring spectacle mixing ancient tradition and 21st century technology. Nearly two years in the making, this was definitely the largest-scale event ever created by a filmmaker, and perhaps the largest multimedia event ever. Its fantastic Busby Berkley moments unfolded with jaw-dropping projection, suspension and performance techniques, and inevitably came back down to the subtlest, low tech moments (ink drawing, the sound of a single plucked string). 

For those of you whose disinterest in sports or distaste for China’s politics prevented you from tuning in, I urge you (especially anyone interested or involved in film, video art, performance) to at least take a look at some of the photos online. (YouTube’s not really going to do this thing justice.)

I recorded the NBC broadcast, but I heard that the Canadian broadcast aired on cable channel 99 was longer and did not have commentary. If anyone recorded that version, please let me know. (Maybe we could do a little private viewing here?)


Some links of interest: Photos  NYT article

Behold, the Bike-In

August 7, 2008

Images from this year’s event over at NWFF’s Flickr page.
You know, speaking of Flickr, I can’t help but think I’m doing something wrong with this site.  I just don’t see why it’s caught on in such a big way.  As of now, NWFF has exactly 158 photos on Flickr, and we are getting prompted to start paying for their hosting services because we will soon max out and hit 200 photos.

I use Picasa for my personal photos and definitely have over 200 photos uploaded.  I’m not saying I’m indiscriminate, but these days it is incredibly easy to rack up over 200 shots in a single vacation, much less over the course of several months or years.

I’m thinking that when NWFF hits 200 photos on Flickr, it just might be worth the effort starting over at a more accommodating site.  That is, of course, unless I’m missing something with the whole Flickr appeal.

Full Battle Rattle

August 5, 2008

This film has to be seen to be believed. An American military base in the middle of the Mojave desert that is actually a training camp for troops before they go over to Iraq–a live simulation with Iraqi villages, actors, scenarios and special effects. Actually, a great idea in some ways. The fact it ends up like a Kubrick film (or Hamlet) shows once again how Americans are great at conceptualizing, but not so good at follow through. The idea of exposing soldiers (even in a staged way) to what the issues, culture and problems of the country they are about to inhabit (invade?) is sound. The mistake that is made is that no one actually talks over with the soldiers, their well-intentioned (and we know where that leads!) Commander, or (obviously prejudiced) Information Officer what they have done wrong, so they can correct it before they go to, say, Iraq, NEVER HAPPENS!! Thus negating the billion dollars plus the military has spent on the program. Ah, the dangers of half-assed psychology! It only gets worse, when, as each new deadly decision gets made, they decide to to bribe the native population with cash (for causing the deaths of family members–an American legal tradition!) and a new water plant. The arrogance of more soldiers than I would like to think about in this film (re: Generation Kill–which I love and certainly makes a case for for superior officers being killed by their own (much saner) men) makes you ashamed to be an American. Sigh. But don’t worry, it’s OK because everyone (fake) dies in the end!

So let’s talk about the filmmakers and their Pacific Northwest connections. Tony Gerber (Producer/Director) worked with Matthew Barney on DRAWING RESTRAINT 9 and CREMASTER IV. (Both he and fellow Producer/Director Jesse Moss have extensive and amazing filmmaking resumes.)  Jesse Moss worked with Oscar-winning documentary director Barbara Kopple (Harlan County U.S.A. and American Dream), a very popular director with cinephiles in the PNW. For the making of this film they did all their own photography, and sound (and I assume their own catering, janitorial and best boy work!). They chose to film, one in the American camp, and one in the Iraqi village, for 3 weeks. It is truly an impressive (and surprisingly neutral, which makes it MORE effective) accomplishment.

Did you know Northwest Film Forum Theatres are AIR CONDITIONED?!!

The Godfather

August 5, 2008

Northwest Film Forum loves James Brown. If you came to our JAMES BROWN LIVES memorial tribute not long after his passing or our regular SOUL NITE gatherings over the past year then you know this. Now, one the best JB performances is finally coming out on dvd. This year marks the 40th anniversary of James Brown’s legendary 1968 Boston Garden show. Less than 24 hours after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Soul Brother #1 kept the peace in Boston (one of the few major cities spared from riots and fires in the wake of Dr. King’s death) by keeping the attention focused on positivity and funky grooves. The concert was going to be cancelled, but at the last minute the city decided to go on with the show and to televise it live. The footage has been a holy grail for collectors for decades, but now- TODAY! – Shout Factory is releasing a new 3-disc dvd set  “I Got the  Feelin’: James Brown in the ’60s” which not only features the concert but also the new documentary “The Night James Brown Saved Boston.” The context is fascinating, and the concert is greatness (James’s dancing, Maceo, drummer Jabo Starks- GOOD GOD!) The set also includes a bunch of additional performance footage- including Apollo Theater and Paris concerts from the same year and a great song from his appearance on The TAMI Show in 1964. I don’t normally plug dvds here, but you gotta check out the “hardest working man in show business”…

You can buy it at Amazon… 

Be Your Own Maddin

August 5, 2008

This is a bit old, but hey – I’ve been on vacation.

For all those who ever watched Guy Maddin’s work and though “I can do that!” here is your chance.  Apparently the contest is open to anyone…who lives in the UK.  It’s still a fun idea.