Local Sightings spotlight: Wheedle’s Groove

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This is kind of a re-post, but Wheedle’s Groove director Jennifer Maas posted something on our blog a few weeks ago that works perfectly as a lead up to her screening at Local Sightings (it was originally written after the film was accepted to premiere at Indie Memphis). Here goes:

Wheedle’s Groove wouldn’t exist without the Film Forum. Michael hooked me up with the Red Bull Music Academy — they needed a trailer for a music doc to go on their application cd-rom. I made one for my then non-existent movie. Then Michael urged me to apply for a grant. I got it and applied for a bigger grant.

After an internship with Rob Devor through the Film Forum, he agreed to Executive Produce the film and helped me get Sean Kirby to DP. I met Lynn Shelton when she needed a volunteer to film casting for her movie. She rooted for me on the grant board and because of Rob, Sean, and Lynn, I got it. And of course NWFF was my fiscal sponsor. Dave Hanagan was the gaffer on my first (and second to last) 16mm shoot shoot for the film.

While I was volunteering at the NWFF office, I met Ben Kasulke, who was working at The Film Company there in the back. He became my DP after Sean Kirby moved to New York. Last year, Michelle Witten and I connected at a women’s film night organized by Nora. She came on as an editor the next day and spent the next 11 months in my basement with me trying to find a story in 8 million hours of footage. We finally found a story and Michelle is now the Producer.

Peter and I had countless discussions along the way, and he warned me that this film was going to have to be pretty damned good for all how long he had to wait to see it. I sat on pins and needles waiting for him to give me feedback after I gave him a DVD screener. He came back with thoughtful discussion and amazing advice that enriched the film tremendously.

A month back Lyall, without actually seeing the film, told me definitively, “Jennifer, your film is done.” I finally realized that it was. Honestly, sometimes I didn’t want to be making this film, but wanting to justify all that love and encouragement was a huge motivating factor for me. And now it’s freaking finished. And I made a movie. And I’m going to [Local Sightings]. And I couldn’t be happier.

And here’s the official description:
Seattle, get ready for some Soul searching! Jennifer Maas’ work in progress Wheedle’s Groove provides a look back some thirty years before grunge music put Seattle on the map, when late 1960s groups like Black on White Affair, The Soul Swingers, and Cold, Bold & Together filled airwaves and packed clubs every night of the week. Many groups started to receive widespread attention with invitations to perform on national television and collaborate with mainstream acts. Just as many of the groups were on the verge of breaking out, the fickle public turned its ear to disco, and Seattle’s soul scene slipped into obscurity. Rediscover that history with local collector DJ Mr. Supreme, who uncovered Seattle’s soulful past after finding a dusty Black on White Affair 45 called ‘Bold Soul Sister’ in a 99-cent bin at a Seattle Center record show. By 2003, he had a rough impression of a once-thriving scene and a hefty collection of Seattle soul and funk 45s, some of which were fetching upwards of $5,000 on the collector circuit. Supreme approached local record label Light In The Attic with the idea of releasing a Seattle soul and funk compilation. Light In The Attic spent twelve months tracking down artists and fleshing out the story of Seattle’s funky past, and the result was a CD compilation entitled Wheedle’s Groove. At the CD release party in August of 2004, a line of nostalgic 60-somethings and funk-hungry 20-somethings wrapped around the building as the musicians inside, now janitors, graphic designers, and truck drivers, look back at careers derailed and prepare to perform together for the first time in 30 years.

Wheedle’s Groove: A Work-in-Progress Screening plays Local Sightings Saturday, October 3 at 7pm.

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