15th Anniversary Line-Up Announced


Have you still not seen Police Beat? Wondering what Lynn Shelton’s pre-Humday filmic career was like? Heard rumors about Polterchrist but not sure if it is real?

Catch up with the past 15 years of Northwest filmmaking with our series “Arboring Film,” a celebration of the past 15 years at the Film Forum.

In honor of its 15th anniversary, Northwest Film Forum presents “Arboring Film,” September 25-30, 2010. The program will feature 15 feature films and 15 short works to celebrate the many artistic accomplishments that would not have been without the efforts of the film arts center.

Founded in 1995,, the Film Forum shows films year-round and supports all phases of film creation, including production, post-production, exhibition and distribution. The Film Forum’s programming embraces these many facets of the art form, with two cinemas, film production and post-production facilities and equipment, classes and a film vault with over 1,000 titles.

Over 1,100 members strong, the Film Forum annually aids 250 filmmakers in the production of nearly 80 films, and offers more than 100 workshops annually.

Northwest Film Forum’s grant programs help filmmakers overcome the many roadblocks of independent filmmaking.

The Fiscal Sponsorship program lets artists receive tax-deductible donations using the organization’s non-profit umbrella. Fiscal Sponsorship recipients include the productions Naked Proof, First Aid for Choking, Sweet Crude, Thulium, The Gits, Alchemy of the Oracles, Brand Upon the Brain! and Interior Latex.

Comprehensive grants like the innovative Start-to-Finish program partnered with a local artist to produce a feature length film, using both for and non-profit funding, a model unique in the non-profit world. The most recent film, The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and screened at the Film Forum in August.

Signature Shorts is a program that commissions short films by regional filmmakers. The content of the films are at the discretion of the artists and vary from animation to live action. The Film Forum finishes the movies as 35mm prints so they can be shown in commercial theaters at no charge to the venue. Independent theaters from around the state commit to screening the shorts before feature films, allowing them to reach a broader, more diverse audience than most shorts ever would. Past Signature Shorts artists include Sarah Jane Lapp, Stefan Gruber, Britta Johnson and Wes Kim. (As I understand it, Matt McCormick never finished his film.)

The Film Forum also provides a variety of grant programs that help filmmakers with the costs of renting equipment and postproduction facilities. Over 30 Northwest filmmakers a year benefit from these programs.

In the past few years, the organization has expanded it support of artists by establishing a distribution network of likeminded independent theaters and venues, helping regional films and overlooked international work reach new audiences with the attention that commercial distribution companies are unable to provide. Titles distributed by Northwest Film Forum include Walking to Werner (Linas Phillips, 2005), La France (Serge Bozon, 2008) and Liverpool (Lisandro Alonso, 2009).

The work presented in “Arboring Film” was all completed with the support of at least one of these grant programs, or similar services provided by Northwest Film Forum since 1995.

Says Program Director Adam Sekuler, “So many people in Seattle know our fine weekly film offerings from around the globe, so I thought that our 15th anniversary seemed like the prime opportunity to showcase just how far our mission has aided in advancing Seattle filmmaking here at home. With this survey of incredible homegrown work, it’s evident that we’ve help create a legacy both for the city and for its filmmakers that is recognized throughout the international film world. It’s a truly impressive collection of films, and I think the city should be incredibly proud of what’s happened in just the last 15 years.”

Studio Director Dave Hanagan, who has overseen many of the Film Forum’s grant programs since 2002, reflected on the work he has seen created by saying, “If there is a Northwest style to independent filmmaking, then it is the furthest possible thing from what could be described as a ‘calling card.’ This small slice of films and artists that the Film Forum has supported is odd—odd in every possible good sense of the word. Oddness as a trait that is nurtured embraced and delivered with a passion. I’m proud to have had a small part to play in the work of these wonderfully offbeat people.”

Many of the directors of films participating in the program will be on hand to discuss their experience making movies in the Seattle area, and how their careers have continued in the last decade.

The week of “Arboring Film” will end with a giant party on October 1, which will also kick off the 13th annual Local Sightings Film Festival and usher a new generation of filmmakers into the Film Forum’s community. The party, held at the organization’s space on 12th Avenue, begins at 9pm and is open to the public.

Tickets can be purchased individually or, as a special offer to Northwest Film Forum members, a full series pass (good for admission to all 15 films) can be purchased for only $15, or $19.95 for non-members. Tickets are available online at www.nwfilmforum.org or by phone by calling 1 800 838 3006.

The full schedule can be found online at www.nwfilmforum.org.

Arboring Film: Celebrating 15 Years at Northwest Film Forum


Naked Proof

(Jamie Hook, USA, 2003, 35mm, 108 min)

In honor of our filmmaking co-founders, Debra Girdwood and Jamie Hook, we are giving Seattle another chance to see the film they wrote together. Proof is a philosophical romantic comedy about a PhD candidate whose questions about truth and life are further confused by the unexpected responsibility to care for a mysterious pregnant woman. Borrowing from classic screwball comedies, the sharp dialogue and real-life absurdities of Proof showcase a strong new voice in American cinema. Print courtesy of Pinwheel Pictures.

Screens with

Profiles In Science

(Wes Kim, USA, 2002, 5 min)

Winner of the best-animated short at the SxSW Film festival in 2003, Profiles tells the story of a determined scientist who discovers the reason why socks go missing from your laundry.


The Mountain, the River And the Road

(Michael Harring, USA, 2008, DigiBeta, 75 min)

Sometimes the Film Forum lobby serves as its own incubation zone. This was the case for Michael Harring’s The Mountain, the River And the Road, for which he cast “mumblecore” guru Joe Swanberg while Joe was in attendance to screen his Hannah Takes The Stairs. Mountain is filled with improvised dialog that exudes more feeling than most run of the mill first features. An ill-fated road trip leaves Jeff stranded in small town Kernville with the promise that his friend will return shortly. After initial regrets, Jeff’s decision to stay behind to wait is rewarded when he meets local cutie Cat. Growing closer, the couple embarks on adventures that include night sledding, cave exploring and meeting Cat’s family. The frequent, beautiful montages match the airy nature of the scenery and characters.

Screens with


(Dayna Hanson & Gaelen Hanson, USA, 2003, 16mm, 5 min)

A dance on a sidewalk, punctuated by a mistake, Entry engages movement and space dancing from beginning to end.



(Brady Hall, Calvin Reeder, USA, 2001)

Co-directed by Brady Hall (June And July) and Calvin Reeder, who was named one of the “25 New Faces in Film” by Filmmaker Magazine in 2007, this B-grade horror movie about Jesus Christ returning as a bloodthirsty zombie was made for a mere $5000. Rough around the edges, sure, but it marked the beginning of one of the city’s finest film collaborations.

Screens with

Gustav Braustache and the Auto-Debilitator

(Rob Cunningham, Tony Mullen, 2007, DV, 17 min)

Holed up in his cramped studio apartment and surviving on a diet of cocktail weenies and Ritz beer, legendary inventor Gustav Braustache is launched on a surreal and comedic journey when his Position Despecifier misfires.



(John Jeffcoat, 1999, USA, 59 min)

What is America’s favorite pastime outside of TV? BINGO! It draws more people than the movies, rock concerts or bowling. As John Jeffcoat (Outsourced) demonstrates in this offbeat documentary, which received support from the Film Forum back in 1997, bingo isn’t just for blue-haired old church ladies; it’s also for blue-haired drag queens, trendy hipsters, impoverished gambling addicts and everybody in between. Scenes from the United States, Europe and the Caribbean’s one-and-only Carnival Cruise Bingo Ship are featured in this illuminating look at a versatile game and its many subcultures. Group sales welcome!

Screens with


(Serge Gregory, USA, 1997, 16mm, 8 min)

This personal documentary of a boy who enters the world of pre-revolutionary Russia through a family photo album was one of the first films supported by the Film Forum. It screened in October of 1997 at the Grand Illusion for a full week!


First Aid For Choking

(Meghan Griffiths, USA, 2003, 99 min)

As seen in our Local Sightings Festival, the Film Forum can be an incubator of a regional aesthetic, which is how we ended up getting involved in Meghan Griffiths feature debut First Aid For Choking. Set in the director’s hometown of Moscow, Idaho, and funded through our fiscal sponsorship program, First Aid is filled with likeable and familiar characters that don’t always make the decisions you’d like them to. The film is a realistic portrait of the entrapments of small towns and family histories. Looking for some direction in her life, Gillian enrolls in beauty school where she bumps into the Jerry Springer past that she thought she had escaped.

Screens with

Donut Holes

(John Jeffcoat, USA, 2004, 6 min)

Keep your eye upon the donut…not the donut hole. An astounding interview and documentary on why on our favorite confectionery treat is missing its middle.


Money Buys Happiness

(Gregg Lachow, USA, 1999, 35mm, 109 min)

The first film to receive the innovative Start-to-Finish grant, this charming mid-life crisis comedy follows a Seattle couple as they attempt to push a free piano across the city. “This breezy, Seattle-made film is a charming black comedy with touches of poetic realism reminiscent of Godard or Renior.” —1999 Seattle Int’l Film Festival

Screens with

Interior Latex

(Matt Wilkins, 1999, USA, 16mm, 13 min)

Directed by Matt Wilkins (Buffalo Bill’s Defunct), this cruelly funny tale of a young man’s introduction to his girlfriend’s father reveals more about its characters in 13 minutes than most films do in 90.


Borrowing Time

(Web Crowell, USA, 2004, DV, 93 min)

Before he received the first Stranger Genius award for film, animator Web Crowell started his first feature Borrowing Time with a little help and love from Northwest Film Forum. Made on a shoestring, this epic about Victorian aliens, Atomic insects and all around outdated technology is a distillation of 1940s serial adventure films, complete with atomic insects, planes on string and the very theft of history itself. Borrowing played around the country and won Best Director, Best Editor (Joe Shapiro who later went on to edit Police Beat and Zoo), Best Visual Effects and Best Set Design at the Syracuse B Movie Festival.

Screens with

But Soft

(Britta Johnson, USA, 2006, 35mm, 2 min)

This short and sublime film about bird building nests was commissioned as part of our Signature Shorts series.



Buffalo Bill’s Defunct

(Matt Wilkins, USA, 2004, DV, 84 min)

Bill, the aging patriarch of a semi-rural Washington family, is hell-bent on tearing down his barn with a hundred foot cable and a winch. His family watches in horror and fascination as the man they love drifts away from them. The third feature produced through WigglyWorld’s Start-to-Finish grant program was made by acclaimed Seattle filmmaker Matt Wilkins.

Screens with a short film TBA.


Sweet Crude

(Sandy Cioffi, USA, 2009, DigiBeta, 90 min)

In 2008 filmmaker Sandy Cioffi and her crew were taken into custody by Nigerian officials for this Northwest Film Forum-supported documentary about the human and environmental consequences of 50 years of oil extraction in the Niger Delta. We posted a plea on our blog to help free our friends, which was picked up by a number of news sources and helped lead to their eventual release. We’re pleased to once again share this urgent film which chronicles the history of non-violent protest, and the members of a new insurgency, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) who are demanding an end to the environmental degradation (equivalent to 50 Exxon Valdez spills) and a share of the $700 billion oil profits.

Screens with

This True Story of Dad Club

(Craig Downing, 2008, USA, DVD, 5 min)

A memoir about the dark distance between a daughter and her dad made for our 48-hour Film Challenge.


Hedda Gabler

(Paul Willis, USA, 2004, DV, 73 min)

A woman in a small Central Washington town struggles against a new marriage and is forced to reckon with a life that falls short of her ideals. The fourth feature made through the Film Forum’s Start-to-Finish grant program, Hedda is a daring, urgent update of the Norwegian masterpiece. Finding rich inspiration in the Dogme movement, Willis uses digital video to create an indelible, claustrophobic portrait of Hedda. It was also edited by the great Lynn Shelton (Humpday)!

Screens with


(Stefan Gruber, USA, 2006, 35mm, 3 min)

This flash animated film, made as part of our Signature Shorts program, is narrated by the filmmaker who describes an experience of bonding with a young girl despite the barrier of speaking different languages. Vivid color fields and dreamy movement enhance the film’s magical conclusion as the pair shares a unique encounter with ladybugs.



(Daniel Gildark, USA, 2007, DigiBeta, 120 min)

We’re pleased to revive this sci-fi gem in the same year Hollywood filmmaker Steven Gyllenhaal came to town to direct the film adaptation of screenwriter and producer Grant Cogswell’s pre-filmmaking bid for city council. Cogswell’s feature film Chula, directed by Daniel Gildark, is a contemporary adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s mythos, was shot throughout the Pacific Northwest. It received support from our fiscal sponsorship program and also reunited much of the crew from Police Beat, including cinematographer Sean Kirby, production designer Etta Lilienthal and producer Alexis Ferris. It was also one of the few locally produced features to receive commercial distribution!

Bed Time Story
(Sarah Jane Lapp, 2009, USA, 35mm, 2 min)

A wonderfully wistful hand-drawn animation involving bats and dreams.


Police Beat

(Robinson Devor, USA, 2005, DigiBeta, 80 min)

This year’s Stranger Genius award winners Robinson Devor and Charles Mudede’s first collaboration was our 5th Start-To-Finish film, and our first to screen in the Sundance Film Festival! After premiering in competition, the film took the country by storm. Hailed by Art Forum as one of the top ten films of 2005, and proclaimed “the best film of Sundance” by Village Voice critic Dennis Lim, Police Beat follows Z, a young policeman hailing from Senegal, patrols the streets of Seattle by bike, but his thoughts are far, far away. By using his diary and reports as the foundation of the film, this crime movie that has more in common with the early works of Jean-Luc Godard than Michael Mann. Driven by form rather than story, the film revolves around about Z’s love and homesickness, and trouble understanding the misery that exists on Seattle’s streets.

Screens with

Pan With Us

(David Russo, 2003, USA, 35mm, 4 min)

A dexterous short from our 6th Start-To-Finish recipient David Russo, Pan is a conceptually pastoral poem-film about the creative retirement of the ancient Greek woodland god, Pan. It imagines his unseen, forgotten spirit moving amidst a modern world.


The Gits

(Kerri O’Kane, 2008, DigiBeta, 80 min)

In the pre-Film Forum years, Seattle was known for its thriving Grunge scene. The Gits were the resident musical underdogs with the unparalleled vocal power of front woman Mia Zapata they set the bar for indie rock in the Pacific Northwest. That was until tragedy struck in 1993 with Zapata’s murder right in the heart of Capitol Hill. Years later when filmmaker Kerri O’Kane decided to chronicle the bands rise and tragic demise, our filmmaking programs helped her create this one part The Filth and The Fury, one part CSI: Seattle, that is as engaging and powerful as the music that inspired it.

Screens with

The Clouds That Touch Us Out of Clear Skies

(Lynn Shelton, USA, 2000 16mm, 27 min)

Haunting, imagistic documentary about miscarriage from Seattle’s favorite film export Lynn Shelton.


We Go Way Back

(Lynn Shelton, 2006, USA, 35mm, 80 min)

Winner of both Best Narrative Feature and Best Cinematography at Slamdance, We Go Way Back was Lynn Shelton’s entry into the festival world that brought her later to Humpday fame. On her 23rd birthday, Kate (Amber Hubert) opens a letter that she wrote as a precocious adolescent to her imaginary grown-up self. The letter asks, “Are you happy?” Knowing the answer is “no,” Kate moves in a dreamlike state, passive and indifferent as Jiffy muffins burn and various men take advantage of her. Throughout, we hear 13-year-old Kate’s voice echo in adult Kate’s thoughts. Eventually, the young Kate character (Maggie Brown) makes an appearance, leading to a moving confrontation.

Screens with

Alchemy Of The Oracles

(Karn Junkinsmith, 2008, USA, 16mm, 9 min)

Edited on our 16mm flat bed, Karn Junkinsmith’s beautiful film is an extravaganza of bopping female bodies lacking wardrobe control, shot by Benjamin Kasulke (We Go Way Back).


Brand Upon The Brain!

(Guy Maddin, USA/Canada, 2006, 35mm, 95 min)

Back in 2004 Guy Maddin came to town for a Northwest Film Forum retrospective. As part of his stay we hooked him up with the non-profit film studio The Film Company, who were renting space from us and coordinating productions through our WigglyWorld Studios. When we asked him to produce a short film, he used the opportunity to change the way films are experienced! The semiautobiographical Brand upon the Brain! mines the rich territories of Maddin’s youth and spins them into a delirious fantasy of familial discontent. It originally premiered in our Local Sightings Film Festival in 2007 complete with live orchestra, foley artists and narration by Karen Black and Maddin himself. Here we screen the 35mm print that we toured around the country to overwhelming critical success.

Screens with

It Was A Crushing Defeat

(Matt McCormick, USA, 2007, 35mm, 4 min)

In hi-8 night vision, this film features beautiful images of a late night at the Portland Police horse paddock beside Centennial Mills.

SEPTEMBER 24-30, Starting at 6pm Nightly


Join us in Cinema 2 each night as we showcase our commissions of visiting artists, made through the One-Shot Film program! Visiting filmmakers are asked to shoot a one shot film with no edits. We provide gear, casting, locations and all the energy we can muster. Completed films feature wild animals (horses and chickens), street hustles, falling babies, mini-mart robberies and grass time musings. Films are by directors Barry Jenkins, Joe Swanberg, Todd Rohal, Aaron Katz, Andrew Bujalski, Lisandro Alonso and Josh and Benny Safdie.

3 Responses to “15th Anniversary Line-Up Announced”

  1. Dave Hanagan Says:

    “Chula”? Not even close. It’s “Cthulhu”

  2. ryan Says:

    you win this time, microsoft spell check. but i’ll be back…

  3. Craig Martin Says:

    Wish there were another chance to see Urban Scarecrow.

Comments are closed.

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