Local Sightings spotlight: The Mountain, the River and the Road

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We are pleased to include Mike Harring’s The Mountain, the River and the Road as this year’s opening night film at Local Sightings (and tickets are selling fast, so I’d get yours now).

Here’s the description:

The latest of Seattle’s forays into the new talkies drably bestowed with the moniker “mumblecore” stars some of the genre’s finest, Justin Rice (Mutual Appreciation, Alexander The Last), Tipper Newton (LOL, Hannah Takes The Stairs) and Joe Swanberg (Nights and Weekends, LOL). Born out of a chance encounter at our 2007 Local Sightings, Michael Harring’s 16mm feature debut finds Jeff (Rice) as his parents are kicking him out of the house. Faced with an uncertain future, Jeff starts out on a road trip to Austin, TX with his friend, Tom (Swanberg) who’s also escaping his own relationship problems. Half way through the journey Tom jets to sort out issues with his girl friend while Jeff decides to stay behind in the town of Kernville, CA in hopes that he will be struck with inspiration as he avoids the pressures of home. Unfortunately, all he ends up doing is wandering the sleepy small town and watching daytime television. Then one day, after locking himself out of his motel room, Jeff meets the beautiful Cat (Newton), a chainsaw- toting rural gal who happens to work at the front desk of the motel. After some of the genre’s finest moments of early relationship stumbling, it’s beginning to seem like Jeff just might stay on, but with Tom returning and reality setting in, could this be a life developing, or is he still just putting off his future? The Mountain, The River and The Road is a beautifully shot debut from another of Seattle’s up and coming talents.

One of the most exciting parts about this film is the story behind it’s creation. For those of you wondering if you really will connect with other filmmakers at Northwest Film Forum or Local Sightings, read what director Mike Harring has to say:

For the past ten years, the Northwest Film Forum has helped me with grants to make my films, but the most unique way they helped me was by solving a casting dilemma. I had cast two of my three lead roles, but despite several casting calls in Seattle and Los Angeles, I just never found my perfect Tom. When the opening night party for Local Sightings 2007 rolled around, I was about two months from shooting, and I had no idea how I was going to cast this role.

Still, when Joe Swanberg, filmmaker and Local Sightings judge, passed me in the lobby of the NWFF, I really only intended to tell him how much I admired his work. I never expected that our conversation would end with me offering him the part and he seriously considering it. It also helped that my girlfriend, Kirsten Barber, who would play Tom’s girlfriend in the movie, told him he would be absolutely perfect. She has a way of putting things that makes it hard to say no.

A day later, after Joe read the script, he called to tell me he’d do it. I got lucky, sure, but you need that opportunity before you can get lucky and that’s what the NWFF provides. The NWFF is a crucial part of having a thriving filmmaking community in Seattle; they provide a venue where local filmmakers can meet each other as well as visiting filmmakers.

This is just one example of why it’s important for us local filmmakers to get out there and participate in the events at the NWFF. I hope you can make it out to this year’s opening night film, my film, The Mountain, The River and The Road and to this year’s opening night party. Stop what you’re doing and come out and have a good time. Who knows, it could end with you finding the final crucial member of your dream cast.

The Mountain, the River and the Road plays Local Sightings October 2 at 7pm (as is followed by the Big Opening Night Party).

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