You are on page 1of 64

NORTHWEST FILM FORUM

CELEBRATES 10 YEARS

CONTENTS
foreward by jamie hook ............................................................................................................. 3
introduction by michael seiwerath ............................................................................................ 4
a brief history 5
wigglyworld 11
in the cinemas.............................................................................................................................19
photos .......... 46
timeline ........ 50
acknowledgements ..................................................................................................................58

edited by peter lucas and adam hart


designed by elisa haradon and peter lucas
special thanks to kathy fennesy, lainy bagwell, jennifer maas
and the great many folks who contributed words & images.

printed september 2005 northwest film forum 1515 12th avenue seattle, wa 98122 www.nwfilmforum.org
Sisters! Brothers! What is this parade we call Life? Is it not a race of Dreams against the Dawn?
Is it not a walk through the realms of the unreal, towards an unknowable answer, with a hungry
soul and eyes on fire? And how shall we take in the enchanted sights? A God would have us
humbled in fear and cowardice to make praise—but alas, thank our stars, there are no gods
anymore, and only Love deserves your praise. For we are a new species of innocent, one with
both eyes on the prize, but our blinders cast finally aside. And that which glitters to us is not the
raw shine of Gold, nor the soothing shimmer of Salvation. No, what sun shall break this darkness
is something far more luminous and ennobling.

It is Cinema.

And Cinema is It. Cinema is dogs crying and stadiums imploding. Cinema is old men acting spry
and young men grown haggard. Cinema is the constricting flux of time made slack, and the
Cinema is the slackness. Cinema is a bird released from its cage, and it is the cage as well. And
Cinema is love lost, lived, and dreamed of. But most of all, Cinema is the one substance mankind
has discovered that we still know to be infinite and eternal: Cinema is Hope.

Cinema is hope that this old world may yet be innocent. It is hope that there may still be a future
for something that has been thrown on the ash-heap of the past. It is hope that that we do not
know just might be the answer. And it is hope against the oppressive agenda of experience.

For experience is our enemy. Just because things have happened a certain way for eternity is
no proof that they shall happen that way again today. That old curmudgeon Time has told us
many times, “It Can’t Happen Here”—and yet, we are oblivious, irresponsible, and joyfully un-
der-prepared to face such fact. Here, floating on this castle in the sky, we find ourselves immune
to the pragmatic concerns of the fallen earth. Our faith, illogical, unreasonable, and foolhardy,
keeps us beating against the current, forever sure that if we just stretch out our arms further,
tomorrow may yet best today. We might know that it is a romantic and confederate thought,
but is not all that is full of love thus?

And so Cinema is Hope renewed. We hope that we shall face our next decade with the pious
folly of the utopian still filling our breast; and the fog of sentiment yet clouding our vision. Wig-
glyWorld shall always be a dream, and even the cold light of the day shall not melt it to air.

Dear Sisters, Dear Brothers, let us touch the future, and hold it to our breast. Let us outflank
time itself, and race with the sun and the moon. Let us soldier on, blind with love and trailing
clouds of glory. And when they gaze upon us, let our sincerity forever be withering.

Jamie Hook
Co-founder of WigglyWorld / Northwest Film Forum
Northwest Film Forum started with a simple, bold mission: make the Northwest one of the best
places on earth to create and watch films. This came from a collective of artists putting together
resources so that they and others could work in a creative and supportive environment, unfet-
tered by commercial pressures. This idea has been applied to many mediums successfully, but
in the Pacific Northwest no one had aggressively embraced film. Fed by a vision to relentlessly
lower the costs and barriers of making great work, the fledgling organization provided editing
equipment, and then cameras, for as long as it took to make a work.

In the following years, this mission was expanded to include an early dream: showing films that
desperately needed to be seen. Without a publicly supported cinema, local audiences had been
severely limited in what they could see. The hope for a true cinematheque, long present in Se-
attle, was given new life. A place where old and new films are shown in conjunction with visiting
artists, lectures, live scores, and a library of films and books would provide proper context and
bring exciting new perspectives to the film-going experience. It would inspire and educate film-
makers, and raise awareness of cinema as art.

That all this could be realized in ten years, and collected under one roof, is a testament to the
founders, staff, volunteers, board, and one movie crazy city. We’ve grown from one windowless
edit suite, to a post-production facility and single-screen cinema, to a series of outposts around
the city, and finally to a cinematheque, showing hundreds of movies year-round and aiding in the
production of more than 80 films each year. We’re happy to be widening the horizons of a city
that is very good at watching films (with the highest per capita movie viewership in the nation)
and to help it become a city that’s getting very good at making films.

This book is a collage of information, ideas and images documenting the first ten years of North-
west Film Forum. With contributions from a great many filmmakers, programmers, critics and
extended family in the Seattle arts community, it provides glimpses into the history of the orga-
nization and the history of cinema. It’s the backstory and opening credits of a movie that’s just
begun.

Best,
Michael Seiwerath
Executive Director
September 21, 2005
al Film Festival. The films she saw in the festival spawned a
AFTER YEARS OF RELENTLESS WORK, revelation- a real love and appreciation for cinema.
growth, and change, it’s difficult to trace the steps Jamie and Debbie met on the set of Sam Redfield’s feature
that led Northwest Film Forum to become what film production, The Postman. Jamie was acting in it as well
it is today. It has not been uncommon for our as handling other aspects of the shoot (meanwhile continu-
various screenings, performances, special events, ing to edit with Gregg at night). Debbie was the Production
film shoots, rehearsals, and workshops to be back Manager and then, after the script was thrown out, became
to back or even simultaneous. Not to mention the Script Supervisor (code for impromptu writer and chron-
continual production of our film calendars, reno- icler of new ideas). They worked closely with Sam on the
vation of our facilities, or repairing of equipment. writing and direction of the film. Shot in Belltown, there was
For this reason, our records, and our memories, a tremendous energy on the set and the cast and crew was
are not completely thorough or clear. And in comprised of great people (including founding WigglyWorld
any case, an exhaustive history of this hyperac- member John Jeffcoat). But finally the film ran out of money
tive, multi-directional organization would be, and favors, and was never completed. Jamie and Debbie were
well, exhausting. But on our 10th anniversary, we inspired by the great creative spirit and collective process
thought we’d take a stab at chronicling some of of the production, and equally frustrated by the lack of a
the sparks, clouds, and shrapnel of our glorious support system for filmmakers to complete projects.
explosion of celluloid madness.
What follows is a brief, near-chronological WIGGLY BEGINNINGS
history of Northwest Film Forum’s first ten years, The two were inspired to form some kind of organization
assembled from the ramblings and murmurs of that supported Seattle filmmakers in the vulnerable post-pro-
founders Jamie Hook and Deborah Girdwood, duction phase after moral and financial support dwindles.
long-time captain Michael Seiwerath, and others. They envisioned an organization built on the backs of artists,
This should provide an appropriately informa- instead of the other way around. For around the same cost
tive and confusing whirlwind with which to begin as one production, they believed they could enable scores
your journey through the book. of filmmakers to complete work. Hearing their ideas, Mark
Murphy, then Director of Seattle performance center On
PRELUDE The Boards, suggested they apply for a King County Special
Our story begins in the early 1990s, when two people came Projects grant. The application was due in three days, and
from the East Coast to Seattle for no good reason. They they had never applied for a grant before. But they managed
didn’t know each other yet, but their future collaboration to pull it together. On the day it was due, after missing the
would change the landscape of the arts in Seattle. last post office pick-up, Jamie frantically photocopied and
Jamie Hook had studied Asian literature and history before addressed the application while Debbie stood in the road and
coming to Seattle and getting involved in his real love, film- stopped a passing mail truck. And away it went.
making. He landed a job on the set of Bertollucci’s Little Soon after, they went camping in the Cascades with a
Buddha, but was disappointed to find that his sole duty was marriage license in their back pocket. When they returned
to pick up the Italian crew’s cigarette butts. He learned more to Seattle, they were married and also found out they had
from working with local filmmakers Steve Les on his film received the $10,000 they had asked for. They used the first
The Red Ball and Gregg Lachow on The Seven Mysteries $2000 to purchase 911’s
of Life. Jamie and Gregg edited that film on the Steenbeck underused 16mm film
16mm editing table at 911 Media Arts. They spent countless equipment, including the
hours in that room cutting and shaping the film, all the while Steenbeck (the editing table
lamenting the marginalization of celluloid, the expense of that Jamie and Gregg had
post-production, the lack of member power at 911 at the time, edited Seven Mysteries on,
and the lack of support in the city for film artists. and the very one that still
Meanwhile, Deborah Girdwood had arrived in Seattle after resides in WigglyWorld’s
studying English literature and art history in college and 16mm editing suite to this
living in New York City for a couple of years. Soon after she day). 911 was supportive of their efforts and happy to focus
arrived, she volunteered as an usher at the Seattle Internation- their own attention on new digital video tools.

5
Having already planned to spend the fall in Maine with to the ins and outs of film exhibition. She and Michael then
Jamie’s family, they rented a small storage space on Eastlake worked at Andy Pratt Negative Cutting, where Andy and the
Avenue to stow the equipment and left town. During their filmmakers working there were supportive of their efforts.
time in Maine, they did research, wrote the by-laws for Before and after long days of work, they managed to run the
their new non-profit organization, and filed the paperwork budding film organization, acquiring more film equipment,
with the IRS on Sept. 1, 1995. They called their new dream applying for more grants, involving more artists, and, yes,
factory WigglyWorld Studios. Taken from an early Devo even finally completing projects!
song, the name reflected moving image, the fluidity of the
creative process, and the fearless balancing act that the or- A GRAND EXPANSION
ganization would become known for. The structure of the In the summer of 1996, the Grand Illusion Cinema in the
organization ensured the importance of the members and University District was going out of business. The historic
the art above all else, and allowed for change and growth. independent theater had started as the Moviehouse in 1967
When they returned to Seattle with all of the ingredi- and was renamed after the Jean Renoir film in 1977, but
ents for a pioneering film arts organization in hand, they since the late-80s had dissipated into near obscurity. Owner
began recruiting their first members. The earliest members Paul Doyle approached WigglyWorld about buying the
included filmmakers John Jeffcoat, Tony Chiotti and Steve business. Even though the organization was only a year old,
Les, and the first board meetings attacked such hot topics as they loved the idea of
the acquisition of a disco ball and a keg. This was going to having an exhibition
be a work hard/play hard thing. space to show indepen-
It was not long before their first dedicated volunteer entered dent arthouse films,
the picture. After having studied history at the UW and repertory films, and un-
then spending a year in Chile, Michael Seiwerath returned distributed local work.
to Seattle and went to 911 Media Arts to become a member. They saw exhibition as
When he expressed that he was really more interested in film a way to provide Seattle
than video, they referred him to Jamie and Debbie’s new film artists with knowledge
arts organization. Over the next ten years, Michael would and inspiration for their
hold nearly every position in the organization (excluding only own work, the cinema
those tasks which required legible handwriting). as a place for artists and audiences to converge and mingle,
A month later, they and the potential revenue as a way to support future Wig-
joined forces with Gregg glyWorld productions. They knew that they could infuse the
Lachow, whose north dying filmhouse with energy, enthusiasm, and charm, and
Capitol Hill storefront they thought they could promote it better. The only obstacle
space on Turner Way was money. They began a grass roots capital campaign
became the first official to save the historic cinema, but it was not until business-
WigglyWorld Studios man Nick Hanauer entered the picture that the purchase
location and whose film really became a possibility. Nick’s father was a big film buff
The Wright Brothers and told him about the legacy and importance of the small
became the first feature film project awarded WigglyWorld’s cinema. He saw the potential of Jamie and Debbie’s plans
“Out Of The Can” post-production grant. In this small, hot for the space and agreed to contribute money as well as talk
space, with one computer, a phone, a 16mm editing room others into giving. He also suggested the use of an overarch-
in the back, and a long dark shooting studio in the middle ing name for the organization that would include both pro-
where they would also screen rough cuts of films in progress, duction and exhibition. Since Jamie and Debbie were fans
the organization was finally getting productive. Young of the Film Forum in New York, the name Northwest Film
animator Web Crowell (who would become a fixture at the Forum was adopted. By December 1996, they had raised
organization both making films and also fixing and building enough money, and in January, the Grand Illusion Cinema
everything under the sun) began creating a short film there. opened its doors under new management.
And many other new faces popped in to see what this whole The first film screened was D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a
WigglyWorld thing was about. Nation. The grand reopening of the cinema featured special
Meanwhile, the unpaid staff were juggling other odd jobs, guest Ray Carney, whose writing championed indepen-
from filing medical reports to driving busses to scooping dent cinema. Carney introduced a screening of Cassavetes’
tropical fish. Debbie worked for the Seattle International Woman Under The Influence. The season continued with the
Film Festival as Promotions Assistant, which opened her eyes work of independent filmmakers Su Freidrich and Cavey

6
Zahedi (with Zahedi in attendance), a special Valentine’s
Day screening of Sid & Nancy, and an outrageously eclectic
mixture of other cinematic experiences.
A couple of the theater’s existing projectionists stayed on,
including Scott Palmer (who ended up totaling 12 years at
the GI). Jamie worked on film productions during the day,
and worked at the theater every night (for nearly 90 nights
straight). Debbie programmed the new films as well as
handling the finances, and Michael did repertory programs
as well as managing the theater and handling the marketing.
Robert Graves also contributed programming, from
silent films to late-night oddities. Web Crowell created an
animated trailer for the theater, and would later become the
theater manager. Mainstays Matt Cunningham and Spenser
Hoyt soon began working as projectionists. The cinema was dertaken in the spring of 1998. Web Crowell headed up the
a success, and opened the organization up to the public. It renovation (and sadly even slept there on occasion.) Michael,
grew from a small group of filmmakers to a larger mem- Debbie, Randall Fehr, and a host of other dedicated volun-
bership base and audience, and of course a much bigger job teers poured all of their energy into the ridiculous, magical
with weekly movies to program and promote and a theater and exhausting communal effort. The theater narrowly
to run. escaped being shut down due to code violations, thanks to a
Meanwhile, WigglyWorld was buzzing with productions film-loving government official. After a month, when every
and filmmaker workshops. Gregg Lachow’s film, The Wright inch of the place had been given loving (if not tender) care,
Brothers, was completed and premiered at the Seattle Art the newly refurbished cinema re-opened its doors.
Museum. Alaskan filmmaker Matt Shields did post-produc-
tion for his film Misty Isle Out there, as did Mike Walker for LITTLE THEATRE, BIG PLANS
his film Letters At Midnight. There were intimate filmmaker On the heels of the Grand Illusion remodel and the Money
workshops/sessions at WigglyWorld as well as screenings Buys Happiness production, Jamie insisted that WigglyWorld
and discussions held at the Grand Illusion with local film- needed a new home and scoped out a new location on 19th
makers including David Russo, Web Crowell, John Jeffcoat, Avenue East that could not only house the office and pro-
Serge Gregory, Jessica Wilson, Zola Mumford, John Adair, duction facilities, but also the kind of venue they had always
Thom Harp, and Sue McNally. The Media School rented envisioned- a laboratory for workshops, film shoots, rehears-
WigglyWorld’s space to hold its classes (although they were als, and live theater as well as regular film screenings. The
kicked out after it was learned that they were using the script capital campaign for the move and remodel of this new
for Sister Act as the case study for their screenwriting class!) space began and ended with Nick Hanauer, with whom
A small gauge film group, “Super 8 Thugs,” began with film- Jamie, Debbie and Michael were fortunate to meet just days
makers Rachel Lord, Reed Harkness, Trish Van Huesen and after Amazon.com’s stock went public. An early investor in
others. WigglyWorld acquired more equipment and imple- the company, Nick was feeling particularly generous and
mented programs to grant free access to artists. In order wrote a check to cover nearly the entire project. So, ridic-
to start producing feature films, the ambitious “Start-To- ulously soon after the Grand Illusion remodel, here they
Finish” grant program was started, with Gregg Lachow’s were again building out a new space. Michael Chick led
Money Buys Happiness to be the inaugural project. And a the renovation. The crew salvaged every piece of projec-
young Dave Hanagan, current Studio Director, began as a tion equipment from the condemned Bay Theater and got
promotions intern. the Paramount Theatre’s old seats. During the construc-
Lumpy seats, water stained curtains and a miserable 35mm tion, Debbie was pregnant, broke her foot, and gave birth
platter system that made it impossible to show complex to their daughter Ivy (in her cast), seemingly never putting
programs or archival film down the paint brush. And, of course, WigglyWorld film
prints necessitated reno- productions and exhibition at the Grand Illusion continued
vating the Grand Illusion. through all of the harrowing construction process. But
The tremendous project of somehow it all got done without casualties.
expanding the projection In January 1999, the new space and venue, The Little
booth and refurbishing the Theatre (named, like the Grand Illusion, after a Renoir
theater’s interior was un-

7
film), opened its doors. And of course there was a big This led to some cast changes in the organization. Michael
party, including performances by Herbert Bergel’s band became the Executive Director, and Debbie became the
Rat Cat Hogan and the Typing Explosion, a dj set by Andy Program Director (working part-time to allow for more
Rohrman (aka Scien- time with her daughter). Lilith Piri, who had volunteered
tific American), and as Jamie’s assistant, became the new Studio Director. Peter
amazing food provided Lucas, who had just moved to Seattle from Austin, came on
by Monsoon. The as Promotions Director and contributing programmer. And
first film program Kat Bachert came on as Financial Director. This new crop
in the new venue of staff members did their best to make sense of the amazing
was a Renoir series, legacy and tremendous mess they had on their hands, while
starting with the film bringing their own new ideas to the organization.
for which the cinema After years of preparation, Seattle’s new music museum, Ex-
was named. Michael Seiwerath became the organization’s perience Music Project, opened and contracted Northwest
Program Director. John Deshazo had just moved to town Film Forum to present a weekly Music+Film series in their
and, with experience and a great enthusiasm for film and theater. Michael and Peter took the reigns of that program,
live theater, quickly became the theater Manager. It was presenting historic, rare, and new music films as well as
soon evident that The Little Theatre was a different beast bringing directors and musicians to town for screenings.
than the Grand Illusion. Repertory films did terribly there, The series opened in the fall of 2000 with guitarist Tom
while live events, specialized series’ and community festivals Verlaine performing a live score to classic avant-garde films.
did well. The Little Theatre presented Michael Chick’s Music+Film was one of the first programs of its kind in the
phenomenal serial play Local Union 608, regular Super 8 country, and music films and live score events would forever
Thugs screenings, and began hosting the Seattle Under- continue to be a strong part of NWFF’s programming.
ground Film Festival, Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Now with film exhibition in three different venues around
Arab Film Festival, and New Dance Cinema. There were art town and a bustling filmmaker’s collective, the organiza-
shows in the lobby curated by Eric Fredrickson (now curator tion needed to clarify its identity. Promotions focused more
of Western Bridge). During the day there were workshops on the name Northwest Film Forum and the calendars were
and film rehearsals. And if there was ever a lull in noise or consolidated into one single quarterly publication. The Little
movement, the aikido studio next door would break the Theatre programming was coming into its own, as special-
silence with occasional floor-shaking vibrations. ized annual programs were created and video documen-
The new space provided WigglyWorld with room to grow. taries began to take off (it was one of the first theaters in
A filmmaker’s lounge and library was added, as well as new the country to present theatrical runs of work on video).
equipment (including cameras, light kits, and a non-linear The Grand Illusion screen continued to flicker with every-
editing system) and new grant programs which included thing from classic Hollywood movies to new world cinema
insurance partnership for productions. to trashy cult flicks. And WigglyWorld was commission-
The inaugural “Start-To-Finish” feature project, Money ing short films from a variety of artists and expanding its
Buys Happiness, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival workshops to young people through its summer “Youth
and then locally at the Seattle International Film Festival, Voices” programs.
with the ticket sales from its sold out screenings at the With the organization blossoming, Debbie Girdwood left
Cinerama going toward future “Start-To-Finish” projects. her regular staff position in order to devote more time to
After its tremendous success at SIFF, WigglyWorld began the development of a feature film project, The Naked Proof,
producing a “performed film”, Silence!, to premiere in the which she and Jamie began writing the year before. Peter
following year’s festival at the Paramount Theater. Shot Lucas took on the Little Theatre programming in addition to
entirely within blocks of the Little Theatre (in the theatre, the Music+Film series. The following year, current Program
the office, and neighborhood), the project fused film with Director Jaime Keeling, a dedicated volunteer who had
live acting, dance, and music performance. It was also the moved to Seattle largely because of her enthusiasm for the or-
first WW film edited digitally. Silence! premiered at SIFF ganization, became the Little Theatre programmer. Zack
in 2000, and the following year went on to performances Carlson, fresh from Olympia, became the Grand Illusion
around the country. programmer. And filmmaker and long-time volunteer Dave
Hanagan succeeded Lilith Piri in the position of Wig-
NEW DIRECTIONS glyWorld Studio Director.
Meanwhile, Jamie Hook left the staff (but stayed on the In 2003, Jamie and Debbie’s feature,The Naked Proof, was
Board of Directors) to become the film editor of The Stranger. completed through the “New Model Edit” program and

8
premiered at SIFF, “Start-To-Finish” feature projects Buffalo Finally, the space
Bill’s Defunct and Hedda Gabler both went into produc- was completed in
tion the same week (and would both later premiere at SIFF), September 2004, just
Gregg Lachow’s short film Working On A Building was com- in time for a fabulous
missioned for an event with composer Philip Glass, and short fall program to start.
films were commissioned and exhibited at the Little Theatre With two new
through the “Artists Make Movies” and “Trailer Training” cinemas and more
initiatives. The next year, WigglyWorld announced “Start- space for workshops
To-Finish” recipients Rob Devor and Charles Mudede for the and productions
ambitious feature film project Police Beat. than ever before, Northwest Film Forum was ready to
shine. An eclectic fall program began with a documenta-
A CINEMATHEQUE ry series including a visit from director Ross McElwee, and
In the midst of producing films, facilitating grant programs, continued with our 7th annual Local Sightings Festival. And,
conducting workshops, and exhibiting a diversity of films and of course, we just had to throw a party. The legendary grand
live performances, it became evident that the organization opening party, complete with spotlights and red carpet, filled
had outgrown its digs. One insane week in late Summer 2003 the space with great music, film and video projections, and
illustrated the point. Each day from 8am to 3pm there was a just about everybody in town. And the beloved “rock van”
youth filmmaking class in The Little Theatre. At 3pm sharp, made its final drop-off that night, transporting half a dozen
the teenage filmmakers left and the cast of Point Break Live “debutante” greeters to the red carpet.
ran in the theater for a quick rehearsal, only to get pushed Just months after the doors opened at the new facility,
out at 5 for two Childish Film Festival screenings. As kids and “Start-To Finish” production Police Beat premiered to great
parents left the lobby, they were confronted with a rowdy, acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to other
beer drinking crowd for Point Break Live at 8. With the space festivals around the world.
completely trashed, everyone went home after midnight, only After ten long, difficult and glorious years, Northwest Film
to have to return at 7am to clean up before the next day’s Forum is Seattle’s cultural crossroads and one of the few or-
workshops. ganizations of its kind in the world. What has made it all
At the 2003 annual member meeting, Northwest Film work from day one is passion. Northwest Film Forum is not
Forum’s staff, board, and members discussed the idea of just a moviehouse. It’s a place where the Executive Director is
moving to a new, bigger space that could house everything the first one to put on work gloves, where the audience loves
under one roof. Everyone expressed excitement, and plans film so much they will bolt down the theater seats them-
moved forward to create Seattle’s great cinematheque in an selves, and where the artists whose films are shown have also
open space on 12th Avenue. painted the walls and hung the curtains that surround their
After running the Grand Illusion Cinema for 8 years, the art. Northwest Film Forum has become a film society in the
theater was passed on to long-time employees Guerren Marter truest sense. It says a lot about the strong ideals of NWFF’s
and Spenser Hoyt, who were enthusiastic about continuing founders and the great many people who’ve helped to build
its legacy. Designer Jerry Garcia began planning the transfor- the organization. And it says even more about a city in which
mation of the 12th Avenue space into future theaters, offices, these things are possible.
and edit suites. Michael and Managing Director Susie Purves
began raising funds. Programmers began booking films and
events in advance for the not-yet-existent venue. And a used
van, formerly owned and souped-up by heavy metal radio
station KISW, was purchased to carry our dreams (and office
furniture, hundreds of films, wood, and sheet rock) to the
new location.
Once again, a mighty volunteer army converged for the
effort. Taking a break just long enough to enjoy the Seattle
premieres of “Start-To-Finish” films Hedda Gabler and
Buffalo Bill’s Defunct at SIFF, the organization spent ten long
months building-out its new home. Giant columns came
down. Huge curved walls went up. Concrete was sawed
through. People stood on tip-toes atop 20-foot scaffolds
to reach the highest points of the lobby walls with paint.

9
OUT OF THE CAN wigglyworld
The grant program that WigglyWorld WHAT IS WIGGLYWORLD? There has been a great deal of speculation and
was founded on, “Out of the Can” pro-
confusion as to the name WigglyWorld over the years. Is it a cult? Is it a strip
vides working film artists with free, un-
limited access to our 16mm edit suite. club? Is it a strange, far-away planet, or a giant tentacled brain controlling us all
The filmmakers listed below all received telepathically?
assistance from this program. It’s much simpler, and also much more complex than all of that. WigglyWorld
Gregg Lachow The Wright Brothers 1996 is the core of Northwest Film Forum. It is the artists and art at the center of ev-
Matt Shields Misty Isle Out 1996 erything we do. It is the spotlight. It’s the secret handshake and V.I.P. status
Matt Wilkins Interior Latex 1997 given to those who create moving images. WigglyWorld is a
Webster Crowell Progress 1997
support system for both established and aspiring film artists.
Serge Gregory Album 1997
Duncan McDougall Off Your Rocker 1997
And it’s the kick in the pants to make dreams a reality.
Susan McNally Dr. Proctor 1997 The name is a rebellion against people who take them-
Bill Schwartz Helpless 1997 selves too seriously. And the ideals are a rebellion against those
Mike Walker Letters at Midnite 1997 who don’t take not taking themselves too seriously seriously
Jessica Wilson Ferry 1997
Erik Hammond Love My Guts 1997
enough. Got it?
Jesse Howard Strike My Key 1997
Bill Schwartz Emma and Charles 1997 SOME NUMBER OF YEARS
David Russo Pan With Us 1997 AGO, Jamie Hook and I edited my first
Michael Seiwerath El Viejo 1997
feature film, The Seven Mysteries of Life, on the 8-
Jonas Batt Balancing Pies 1998
Eric Maahs Blue Coated Story 1998 plate Steenbeck editing table at 911 Media Arts. We
Joe Schlicta The Joke 1998 ‘d been granted 40 hours of editing time at a reduced
Cliff Schmidt Crime and Passion 1998 rate, but wound up needing almost 1000 hours to
Serge Gregory Flow 1998
complete the film. 911’s Media Director Alan Pruzan
Blake Hellman Cooking Up a Storm 1998
Michael Wilde Running Out of Time To Kill 1998
saw to it that we got the time we needed with our new mechanical friend.
Zola Mumford (untitled) 1998 The following year, Jamie received a grant to buy that Steenbeck from 911 and grant
Peter Wick Long Strange Trip 1998 it out to filmmakers. He described plans to build an entire organization devoted to
Robert Graves The Reasoning of Arrangements 1998 artistic film around this first purchase, an idea I gently scoffed at. Jamie had somehow
David Billingsley Hijack’d 1998
conned an amazing woman, Deb Girdwood, into sharing his dream, and I invited
Brian Thomas The Amazing Vibrating Man 1998
Chris Blanchett Matinee Delight 1999
them to share my new storefront space. Within a few months they had taken over my
Jen Peel Muerto Canyon 1999 lease, brought on a quiet guy named Michael, and had begun to turn the strangely
Renate Anderson Gimme the Trouble 1999 named WigglyWorld Studios into something that actually produced works of art on
James Prazak When the Day Ends 1999 this harshly beautiful editing contraption.
Serge Gregory Christmas 1999
Webster Crowell Borrowing Time 2000
It’s hard to recall (now that almost all films enter the digital realm at some point in
Michael Harring Cardinal 2000 the process), but back then we were still in the midst of the film vs. video war. All
Brady Hall Polterchrist 2001 filmmakers were in one camp or the other, and felt sorry for those who’d made the
Sean Kirby Clarice 2001 wrong choice. WigglyWorld was committed to the (far superior) film-based method
Brad Wilke Downsizing 2001
of shooting and editing. In the back room, we began to cut my film, The Wright
Martin Burga (untitled) 2002
Karry Fefer A Better Life 2002
Brothers. 2000 hours later, I had my second feature.
Serge Gregory Passion 2002 By then, my addiction to art-making had made my life a complete shambles. I fled
Corwin Fergus US 2002 to New York in 1998 in search of a bigger fix. But I was unable to launch a project
Andy Spletzer Eternal Return to Sender 2003 there, and when WigglyWorld offered to produce my next film, I returned to
Jon Behrens Anomalies of the Unconscious 2003
Seattle to make the desperately titled Money Buys Happiness. Once again, the cursed
Michael Wilde (untitled) 2003
Sarah Biagini Chicken Girl 2003
Steenbeck, seducer of men, waited with open arms. A few light-years later, I had my
Trish Van Huesen Resurrection 2003 third feature.
Herbert Bergel Birds in Winter 2004 Many years and digitally edited films have passed, and I now have an office in
Corneila Moore Dance With Me 2004 NWFF’s new building, working for The Film Company. Twice a day I pass by the
Hugh Kim The Lighted House 2004
Salise Hughes Tidal Wave 2005
room that tends my old flame, the ageless Steenbeck, deaf, for the most part, to its
siren call. —Gregg Lachow, Filmmaker and Executive Producer, The Film Company

12
I first met Debbie and Jamie on the set of a film that was never finished called
The Postman. We were trying to figure out how to make an independent film in
Seattle. By the following year, we were all applying for grants from King County-
me for a Bingo documentary and them for a FILM-ONLY organization that
would offer up the kind of film production services that we had available to us SUPER 8
in college: Super 8 and 16mm cameras and editing gear, the stuff that was being THUGS
discarded as video began to take the main stage.
From the abyss of sprocket holes
They needed a third person to join their organization to make it official, and sprung a ragtag team of enthusias-
they thought it would be a good idea for that person to be a filmmaker (although tic, energetic, self-taught filmmak-
I think it may have been because my credit was better than Jamie’s.) We were ers who brushed the cobwebs from
local haunts (like now defunct 2nd
soon collecting 16mm gear that had been gathering dust at 911 Media Arts and Ave Pizza and pre-hygenic/popular
elsewhere. There were a couple flat bed editors, projectors and a few other massive Jewelbox Theater) to fill the smoky
pieces of junk that we thought could somehow be useful in empowering motivated air with hand crafted images, hand-
processed, buried, painted and
independent filmmakers. It was slow going at first, but eventually the organization
smeared with the blood and sweat
started to catch on and actually began to help people produce films. of pure expression. We came, we
Things have come a long way since then and I think the organization is created, we entertained many, over
becoming something that has far exceeded our initial intentions. I’m proud to have a dozen shows with live music, drag
queens, cabaret acts and themes as
been, and continue to be, a part of it. —John Jeffcoat memorable as the illiterate ball (cliff
note inspired shorts), space cowboy
and infamous Halloween shows.
In 1996, I found out that I could rent a flatbed Moviola for a month from this or-
Most importantly, we inspired pen-
ganization called Wiggly World for practically nothing. Somehow Jamie Hook niless others with a dream: it IS pos-
managed to round up eight guys on a Sunday morning (some looking pretty hung- sible to make films.
over) to load the monster onto my neighbor’s pickup and haul it into my basement. —Rachel Lord-Kenaga,
I thought: “These guys must really love movies.” Filmmaker
A year later the first of seven short films I’ve made in collaboration with the Active members of the Super 8
Thugs included: Rachel Lord, Reed
NWFF premiered at the Grand Illusion Cinema. I’ve lived in Seattle for 35 years,
Harkness, Trish Van Huesen, Markus
but it was only with the birth of the NWFF that those in the city with a passion Krieg, and Mia Roosen.
for making and seeing films finally found a home. —Serge Gregory

The original WigglyWorld studio was


a trashed out storefront, redolent with TRAILER
unwashed food containers, overdue bills
and the din of near constant screaming
TRAINING
After acquiring the Grand Illusion
between Jamie Hook and Debbie Cinema, Jamie Hook and animator
Girdwood. It was an exhilarating twist of Webster Crowell had the very good
balls-out idealism and complete indiffer- idea of creating a short film to play
in the theater before feature films
ence to hygiene, manners or experience.
as a way to welcome people to the
Having just arrived in Seattle with no pro- cinema and connect our produc-
fessional contacts or any realistic approach to the career I imagined for myself, Jamie tion and exhibition initiatives. Soon
and Debbie saw the 3 minutes of film I had animated, applauded like parents, gave after opening our second venue,
The Little Theatre, WigglyWorld
me a grant, and asked if I knew how to build walls or maybe fix an editing bench. expanded on the idea by commis-
They took me on blind faith each time I had a new idea (even when each new sioning four of the most inventive
project had me as lost as the last). The great power of the place to me was trust - if local filmmakers (including Wendy
Jo Carlton, Steve Les, Serge
you have a good idea and believe you can pull it off, they want to give you the op- Gregory, and Rachel Lord-Kenaga)
portunity to either succeed or fail wildly. Supporting artists this way often results in to create shorts to play before
a familiar handful of crap, but it has also returned some sheer glory. And it certainly screenings at both cinemas.
changed my life. —Web Crowell

13
INTER-ACTION LOCAL UNION 608
Cinema is the evolution and
Local Union 608 was a dare, basically. We had just finished building the Little
convergence of every other
art form. Rather than separate Theater and even though everyone involved was utterly exhausted, Jamie Hook
it from its larger family, Wig- said something to me like, “Hey, you should write something for this space.”
glyWorld has long embraced I said, “Yeah, maybe someday.” He said, “No, now.” I said, “Get stuffed.” He
creative intersections of film called me a pussy, I think. Right then I decided I was going to do it. (I just made
with live theater, dance, music, him wait a while for my answer.)
visual art, photography, and By the end of the first night of
anything else you can think the first Episode – an episode that
of. The dialogue of a variety of should have come safely under two
mediums and perspectives is hours, but instead ate up nearly
necessary to make great art, four! - after the sets had fallen
and to build a thriving, inter-
apart, after I had stopped the show
esting arts community. Artists
to get the actors back on script,
normally working in other
mediums have come together after SeanJohn Walsh had melted
in collaborative WigglyWorld my favorite reel of super8 film and
projects. They’ve been en- Rick Farrs blood-bag exploded
couraged, supported and two scenes too early, after much,
even commissioned to make much more than all that, I locked
inspiring fusions. The results myself in an editing suite, waited for
have been tremendous. everyone to leave and planned – in
detail – how I would leave town the
next day and never see or be seen by
ARTISTS anyone in this town again. It was, I
figured, the biggest disaster any of
MAKE the actors or audience members had
MOVIES ever witnessed. And maybe it was. But when I finally thought it was safe to sneak
back into the theater to grab my things and disappear without a trace, I found
With the “Artist Make Movies”
that no one had left. I think even the whole audience was there, and all anyone
program, WigglyWorld invited
artists working in other medi- wanted to know was, What comes next?
ums to stretch their boundaries What came next totaled some
and create original short films. eight hours of time traveling,
We provided super 8 cameras,
film, and editing facilities. They political, toilet humored revolu-
provided unique new visions. In tionary theater that involved sex-
2000, we commissioned comic crazed bearded lady pirates, 23rd
artists Peter Bagge, Ellen Forney,
Roberta Gregory, Jason Lutes,
century Bolshevik garbage men,
Pat Moriarity, Brian Sendelbach, popes, perverts, iambic pentam-
and Jim Woodring to make eter, karaoke and cocktails made
shorts. We soon expanded on
on set and sold at intermission.
the idea, extending the pro-
gram to dancers including Sheri What was it about? I don’t know.
Cohen, Maureen Whiting, Peggy I think I was trying to figure out
Piacenza, Crispin Spaeth, and what brought people together, what unified mankind. But I don’t think that I
Karn Junkinsmith; poets includ-
ing Sarah Polle Ocampo, Richard found any answers in anything I wrote. The answers were in the looks on the faces
Jensen, Paul Hunter and Roberta of the audience and especially my actors who, after barely surviving each episode,
Olsen; and puppeteers Scott with strange smiles and burning eyes, always asked, Well, what comes next?
Auguston, Rob Witmer, Mike
Rowberg and Dmitri Carter.
—Michael Chick

14
SILENCE!
IN EARLY 2000, Wig-
glyWorld was commis-
sioned to create a new film
to premiere at the Seattle In-
ternational Film Festival
that spring. That film was
Silence!, directed by Gregg
Lachow, and written by
Gregg, Megan Murphy,
NEW
Deborah Girdwood, and MODEL EDIT
Jamie Hook. Film and theater In 1999, WigglyWorld broke
artists from all around Seattle from its film-purist dogma and
introduced a new era of technol-
came together in one glorious ogy to its studio. We added a
mad rush to create a sublime, video-based, non-linear edit suite
beautiful, and totally unique and immediately introduced a
35mm feature film and per- new grant program to make it
available for free to deserving
formance. projects. The inaugural project,
It was unlike just about any Gregg Lachow’s performed film
other project in the spon- Silence!, premiered at SIFF at the
Paramount theater. Other notable
taneous way in which the feature films that finished using
reality of the world on the set became the reality of the film. For the better part our non-linear edit grant include
of a month, the space behind the screen at the Little Theatre was transformed Jesse Moore’s The Trouble with
Boys and Girls, Webster Crowell’s
into an old school film studio, to function as one and also to play the part of Borrowing Time, Jamie Hook’s
one in the film. Richard Waugh (in one of his last theater projects before he The Naked Proof, and Rachel
passed away in January of 2001) created the fantastical set with shiny stars and Lordkenaga’s Visual Memories.
oddball furniture. Michael Chick and Megan Murphy became the characters
in the story that met and fell in love long ago on a film set. Jon Sampson hung
out with his bass during the whole shoot, dishing out the riffs that made the
magic happen, all the while composing the music that would later become the
performed score of the film. Jamie Hook not only shot most of the footage, but
also spent many long hard hours raising funds and securing donations of time
and equipment.
This production was
WigglyWorld at its
best, fully realizing
its mission to generate
great new film works
in the Northwest and to get them seen on the silver screen in packed movie
theaters. Silence! premiered at the Paramount Theatre as part of SIFF, and went
on to be performed at the Little Theatre, the American Cinemathèque in Los
Angeles, and at theaters in Portland and New York City. It could only have been
created with the generous spirits of all who worked on it and supported it.
—John DeShazo

15
START-TO-FINISH POLICE BEAT
Unique in this country, “Start-
to-Finish” is WigglyWorld’s
most ambitious grant program,
giving artists full support as a
co-producer to create a narra-
tive feature film from conception
through production, post-pro-
duction, festival exhibition and
distribution- for as long as the
project takes. The organiza-
tion throws the full force of its
resources behind the project, and
offers cash funding, equipment
and editing facilities, provides
an administrative headquarters
for the production, and extends
relationships with the city’s best
crew members, vendors and
post-production houses. In a
unique for-profit/ non-profit hy-
brid, to raise funds, NWFF seeks
donations and the production
forms a limited liability company
to accept investments. Unlike
other grant programs, Start-to-
Finish has no formal application
process. Artists are chosen from
nominations by staff and board FRESH FROM A DISMAL YEAR IN LA, I needed to find bold, unhinged
members. Recipients are artists
who have proven their artistic
filmmaking allies in my newly adopted city. From the moment I arrived in
vision through prior work. Seattle, I began receiving emails from a curious entity entitled WigglyWorld.
Start-to-Finish films have played Their news updates and screening notices were so damn cheeky and scrappy I was
at the Sundance, Thessaloniki, immediately hooked. And, judging from Northwest Film Forum’s exceptional
Seattle International, Stockholm taste in programming, this was clearly the outfit to work with.
and Vancouver Film Festivals, as
well as the Film Society of Lincoln Two years later, I was lucky enough to finish a WigglyWorld co-production,
Center, Smithsonian and gone Police Beat, which came about in no small part because of the organization’s
on to theatrical runs in cities
nationwide.
support. No one questioned the unorthodox nature of our script, nor the choice
of casting a non-actor in the lead. Freedom and support—unconditionally—were
Gregg Lachow Money Buys Happiness 1998
Sue McNally Out of the Blue 1999
the only things I felt during the long year and a half of shooting and editing.
Matt Wilkins Buffalo Bill’s Defunct 2000
Michael Seiwerath, our velveteen Executive Producer, sneered rarely when
Paul Willis Hedda Gabler 2002 watching the first rough cut of the film, which I appreciated. (I was scrutinizing
Robinson Devor Police Beat 2003 his face for ninety minutes in the semi-darkness, unbeknownst to him). In fact
David Russo #2 2005 it was Michael’s calm, experienced demeanor that convinced our producers and
investors not to panic, and us to keep working. Even though I went over the full
A MODEST PROPOSAL year of the grant by at least a few months, the keys to the edit suite were never
confiscated from us.
Over our heads in post-production
on two feature films, we launched
When we found out that Police
into Police Beat only because Beat was accepted at Sundance,
director Rob Devor convinced us sharing the happiness with NWFF’s
it would be a quick, all-handheld great staff was the best feeling
shoot on miniDV. Four months
later, production began: a six-week possible. The only thing better was
shoot, more than 50 speaking parts giving audiences an eighty-minute
and 100 locations captured on glimpse of this city’s dreamy beauty,
35mm cinemascope.
which I love so dearly.
Michael Seiwerath
—Robinson Devor

16
WORKSHOPS
SINCE ITS FOUNDING, WigglyWorld has
been putting folks face to face with both active
Seattle artists and visiting masters. WW’s
unique classes, workshops, and filmmaker dis-
cussions cover everything from aesthetic choices
to technical skills. We’ve had cinematographer
Haskell Wexler, designer/director Pablo Ferro,
animator Richard Reeves, experimental filmmaker
Peter Hutton, and countless other visiting artists
here to grace us with their ideas and techniques. These great learning experienc-
es happen year-round, often in conjunction with screenings and special series in
our cinemas. WigglyWorld also provides summer classes and internship programs
specifically for aspiring artists ages 10-18 (who we hope will one day conquer and
overthrow the entire organization).

THE LEGACY CONTINUES


LOCATED IN THE HEART of Northwest Film Forum’s cinematheque, Wig-
glyWorld continues to make it easy to make great stuff, providing filmmakers with
affordable classes, workshops, equipment access, and more.
Unique classes, panel discussions, and hands-on workshops offer instruction on
both technical and artistic aspects of filmmaking.
Cameras, sound recording gear, light packages and projectors are available for rent.
Our edit suites house video-based non-linear editing systems as well as traditional
16mm and Super8 edit tables. Our facilities also feature an Oxberry animation table
and a film-to-video telecine machine. All equipment is made available at low prices,
and granted free of charge through quarterly Artist Access Programs.
Members enjoy discounts at local vendors and labs, and have free access to a
number of other resources. Our lending library features books covering both the
history and how-to of cinema and a video collection containing hundreds of feature
films, documentaries and shorts, including the city’s largest collection of local
work. Over 1000 16mm educational films and shorts from our film vault are made
available for your perusal (that’s over 50 million frames!)
WigglyWorld gives numerous grants for equipment and services, we regularly
commission artists to produce new films, and we run a number of programs such as
the annual Washington State Screenplay Competition.
All of this culminates in the annual Local Sightings Film Festival. Each fall,
the festival celebrates the best work of our members and all Northwest filmmak-
ers. What started in 1998 as a modest screening of a few films is now a bustling,
weeklong event presenting over 50 films and giving cash awards to the best feature
and short films. And, of course, it’s free to enter.
In short, WigglyWorld offers everything from inspiration and education, to af-
fordable equipment access and grants, to the exhibition of new work. And we throw
darn good parties, too. The rest is up to you.
—Dave Hanagan, Studio Director

17
IN THE CINEMAS
OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS, NORTHWEST
FILM FORUM HAS SCREENED THOUSANDS
OF FILMS—FIRST SHOWCASING LOCALLY-
MADE WORK ON THE WIGGLYWORLD
STUDIO WALL AND AT VENUES INCLUDING
THE JEWEL BOX THEATER AND THE SEATTLE
ART MUSEUM, THEN PRESENTING A DIVERSITY
OF NEW FILMS, CLASSICS, RARITIES, DIRECTOR
RETROSPECTIVES AND THEMED PROGRAMS
AT THE GRAND ILLUSION CINEMA (1997-
2004), THE LITTLE THEATRE (1998-2004)
AND EXPERIENCE MUSIC PROJECT
(2000-2003), BEFORE BUILDING ITS
OWN CINEMATHEQUE IN 2004.
CELLULOID CONTINUES TO FLY
EVERY NIGHT IN NORTHWEST
FILM FORUM’S CINEMAS.
Since its invention, film has proven to be the most accessible of the art
forms, and in the largest numbers since the earth started hosting humans,
we find ourselves somewhat aware of our neighbors, not just geographical
but temporal ones as well. Even though most films represent fictions in one
form or another, good fictions or great art will always represent our immu-
table human truths; truths strangely made more durable by exaggeration,
twisting and convoluting to suit the artist’s agendas. The more we watch,
the more contradictory evidence is brought to bear in the cases for and
against humanity, and the more we must sort it all out until we understand
ourselves best. The jury may stay out forever as the confusing reams of
artist testimony unspool themselves in gorgeous perjuries, each lie oddly
bringing us closer to an anticipated truth.

The Northwest Film Forum has performed Seattle the great favor of bring-
ing to its thinking and unwitting film viewers alike this mass of ingenious
testimony, and without suspecting a thing you have all sat in judgment,
sifting through it all, perhaps subconsciously, perhaps with great purpose.
You’ve watched film from around the world, from the 19th, 20th and 21st
centuries, from big studio madhouses and quixotic crackpots acting alone,
from Golden Age Hollywood and the hungry upstarts of today, all of this
clamor made sensible to you in easy nightly doses. Now you sit atop the
world as we know it. You could never have done so without the Northwest
Film Forum. I’m just grateful to have been part of the last ten years. I hope
I get to throw more confusing truth onto the heap before I’m done walking
this planet.

Guy Maddin,
Filmmaker
The Seattle Film Society was a reality from 1970 or so until 1986. Over
the years, it showed hundreds of movies, brought terrific people to town
(among them Frank Capra, Samuel Fuller, and Sam Peckinpah) and pub-
lished a world-class film magazine, Movietone News. The tenacity of the
SFS was all the more impressive because we (I joined the Board in its final
years—as a child, obviously) didn’t have a theater of our own; we’d rent Fri-
days and Saturdays at a place that would become our home for a while.

Along with everything else it offers, a film society is fun. It was fun to take
tickets at the door, to imagine what would happen if you showed In a Lonely
Place on a double bill with Breathless, to watch people stagger outside af-
ter one of our film noir triple bills. It was cool to show How I Won the War
to a packed house a couple of weeks after John Lennon died. It was even
sort of interesting to catch people having sex on an upstairs ramp during
Masculin-Feminin one summer night.

I mention the SFS because a) it seems to have disappeared from Seattle’s


cultural memory, and b) the Northwest Film Forum is the first entity to
endure in its place. When I heard that somebody was going to try to make
a film forum out of the Grand Illusion theater—a previous graveyard for
doomed repertory dreams—my doubts were softened by meeting Jamie
Hook and Deb Girdwood: they had plans, true-believer momentum, and a
touch of madness (without which no enterprise like this has a chance). And
they had a theater. When they asked me to show up and talk about Tar-
kovsky or Fassbinder it was like getting a hit of the old Film Society spirit.

I am also amazed and impressed by what NWFF has done for local filmmak-
ing. But my heart will always be with what’s put up on screen, and in that
sense I am grateful to NWFF for such life-enriching experiences as the Bres-
son and Boetticher series and the recent Ozu extravaganza. As recently as
a few weeks ago, a NWFF movie was just exactly the right thing for asking
someone out on a first date on a Saturday night. We need movies on many
different levels and I am glad NWFF is here.

Robert Horton
Film critic and historian

21
When we acquired the Grand Illu-
sion Cinema, we knew we had got-
ten lucky. The vintage movie house
had everything we thought was sexy
about cinema: pressed tin ceilings,
red velvet curtains, psychedelic an-
tique chairs, a loveseat, and a screen
with a history. We produced our first
quarterly film calendar like a mixed
tape to woo our audience, and once we had folks in the door we’d try
to impress them. Sergio Leone films were accompanied by spaghetti and
BBQ served by the cinema staff. Kieslowski’s Decalogue was presented on
Sunday mornings, and we passed a collection plate to pay for shipping. It
was an elaborate courtship. We found fans for supposedly impenetrable
international cinema, and occasionally defied the industry by selling out
critically shamed, zero star, grade F, indie charms. We expounded upon
themes we could relate to—road movies, drinking, crackpots and obses-
sives, depression, blondes, and bitches. Working more from passion than
expertise, we relied upon instinct, impulse, and a lot of legwork. The re-
sponse was good.
Immediately on the heels of a Grand Illusion renovation, we began con-
struction on a second venue. The Little Theatre was a unique cinema space
designed to serve filmmakers and embrace all of the elements that con-
tribute to the collaborative art form. During off-hours, filmmakers used the
room for rehearsals, meetings, workshops, and private screenings. Visual
artists participated in monthly gallery shows in the lobby, and musicians
played live scores to accompany films. We staged Michael Chick’s unfor-
gettable fantasy serial play, Local Union 608, as well as original shows by
Seattle performers Matt Smith, John Kaufman, the Typing Explosion, and
Herbert Bergel. The Little Theatre developed strong community ties, host-
ing the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, New Dance Cinema, and
the Seattle Underground Film Festival. Wigglyworld filmmakers had open
screenings and the celebrated annual Local Sightings programs. While it’s
true we did hold mustache growing and man vs. pig hamburger-eating
contests, we also mounted more serious, museum-quality film exhibitions
such as ByDesign, First Person Cinema, and the Music+Film series at Ex-
perience Music Project.
Last year the Northwest Film Forum came of age, and built an ambitious
venue dedicated to the faithful, deserving audience that has grown along
with us. The new home looks to the future, and will enthrall cinema-lovers
for years to come. Looking back, the Northwest Film Forum realizes many
facets of the original, inordinately idealistic visions held by a handful of
aspiring filmmakers in 1995—a sweet surprise and no small feat.

Deb Girdwood,
Co-Founder, Northwest Film Forum

22
BUDD BOETTICHER
Budd Boetticher may be consid-
ered a “minor” American auteur
by most film historians, but his
highly underrated cycle of terse,
austere westerns written by Burt
Kennedy and starring the craggy,
lean Randolph Scott are among
the major accomplishments of
American cinema of the fifties.
Tight, taut, graceful and visceral,
often savage and always rich in
character, the so-called “Ranown
Cycle” (as they were nicknamed) are lean stories about men on the dangerous,
inhospitable frontier as evocative as the greatest works of Anthony Mann and
John Ford. Too bad you can’t see them. None of these films—from the seminal September–November 2001
RIDE LONESOME:
1956 Seven Men From Now to the elegiac 1960 Comanche Station—are available CLASSIC WESTERNS
on DVD and only fitfully available on VHS (and then in substandard releases FROM BUDD BOETTICHER
or pan-&-scan transfers, which destroy the elegant widescreen imagery and Bullfighter and the Lady (1950)
essential rhythms). The 2001 film series “Ride Lonesome: The Classic Westerns The Tall T (1957)
of Budd Boetticher” offered audiences the chance to really see and experience Decision at Sundown (1957)
these films as they are meant to be seen, and to appreciate perhaps the most un- Buchanan Rides Alone (1958)
derrated and understated cycle of works in American cinema. Ride Lonesome (1959)
Comanche Station (1960)
—Sean Axmaker, Film Critic

SCREWBALL COMEDY
Named after the unpredictable baseball pitch, Hollywood’s best screwball
comedies of the 1930s and ‘40s are filled with fast-talking innuendo and racy, an-
tagonistic fun. Using New York City’s wittiest Broadway writers to get around the
1934 Hays Code, these challenging, finely crafted stories entertained audiences
with sharp dialogue and hilarious farce, but also asked audiences to examine life’s
darker twists with profound optimism.
Evolving out of the situational, physical comedy of slapstick, the screwball
explored modern themes through relationships. Divorce emerged as a liberating
romantic device to get sexually active adults on screen, confronting timeless issues February 2002
of rebellion vs. commitment, professional life vs. domestic, the honeymoon vs. TIMING IS EVERYTHING:
THE ART OF THE
reality. Frequently, the set-ups inverted class and sex roles, reversing the nobility SCREWBALL COMEDY
of the rich and poor and the power struggle between men and women, respond-
Twentieth Century (1934)
ing to the social mayhem of the era as the rich lost their shirts and women started
It Happened One Night (1934)
wearing pants. My Man Godfrey (1936)
Northwest Film Forum’s 2002 screwball series, ‘Timing Is Everything,’ paid The Awful Truth (1937)
tribute to the unique individuals who broke through Hollywood’s commer- The Philadelphia Story (1940)
cial machinery and made great art with a healthy dose of inspirational, distinctly His Girl Friday (1940)
American humor. The Lady Eve (1941)
Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944)
—Deborah Girdwood

23
April 1997
GREAT DIRECTORS SERIES:
SERGIO LEONE
SERGIO LEONE
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1967)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

June 2003
BLOOD AND SAND:
THE WESTERNS
OF SERGIO LEONE
Fistful of Dollars (1964)
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Duck, You Sucker!
(A Fistful of Dynamite) (1971)

THE DRINKING SERIES


“REMEMBERED”
BY BLAMMO, THE
SURLY DRUNKEN CLOWN
They wanted my memories of their
movie series about the drinking.
The drinking series of drunk mov-
ies. And it was great. The whole
idea was great. I don’t remember it,
but they tell me I was there. Maybe
that’s where I lost my favorite flask. THE DAYS OF “SERGIO WHO?” are gone forever. Sergio Leone is now a
It had roses on it. Maybe I dropped
it in that theater. But the movies.
household name, even for people who don’t really know why. “Oh, he’s that
That’s the point of this. Movies by spaghetti western guy.” Right.
the glorious child-hating funny- Sergio Leone did not invent the spaghetti western. Like several dozen of his
man W.C. Fields to the drunk Brits Italian contemporaries, he embraced the western just as he had earlier embraced
of Hangnail and I [editor’s note:
he means Withnail and I], and a the “peplum” films of classical antiquity, after working on Biblical spectacu-
whole bunch of Hollywood drunks lars with Hollywood film crews who came to Italy to get the Mediterranean
in between. They say drinking is landscape, the good sunlight, and the cheap labor. But more so than those several
escapism. Well so is the movies.
Ain’t it grand?
dozen contemporaries, Sergio Leone had a truly original cinematic talent, a depth
and breadth of vision, a sensitivity to the eternal truths of myth, and a personal
commitment to the visualization of those truths. His talent and vision would
have emerged in any case, but they found their best expression in the transforma-
tion of the American western, which became the key project of Leone’s generation
of Italian directors. Some people say Leone satirized the western; others that
he fulfilled it; still others that he destroyed it. The truth is, he took a uniquely
American genre and made it universal. In doing so, he became personally respon-
sible for many new entries in the lexicon of film, and has become one of the most
influential and imitated of directors.
Northwest Film Forum has long been a champion of Leone, and a supporter and
proselytizer of his visionary work—even back in those early “Sergio who?” days. I thank
NWFF for its Leone Tributes, and for the honor to have been involved in them.
—Robert C. Cumbow,
Author of Once Upon a Time: The Films of Sergio Leone,
and principal lawyer for NWFF since Day One

24
SAMUEL FULLER
“WHAT IS CINEMA?” asks New Wave icon Jean-Pierre Belmondo of Sam
Fuller in Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le Fou. He answers: “Film is like a battle-
ground: love, hate, action, death... In one word, EMOTION.” It doesn’t matter
whether Godard or Fuller wrote the line (regardless, Fuller’s gruff, cigar chomping
delivery makes it his). It stands as a marvelous summation of a career of uncom-
promising films. Fuller straddled two generations: he was the last of that breed
of old Hollywood tough guy directors and, along with Orson Welles, one of the December 1998 – March 1999
GUNSHOT FOR ACTION!
first independent mavericks. THE FILMS OF SAMUEL FULLER
A former journalist, pulp
Shockproof (1949)
writer and soldier, he made Park Row (1952)
tough guy films with mad Pickup on South Street (1953)
passion and driving energy House of Bamboo (1955)
and found his style early on: Forty Guns (1957)
jagged cuts, abrupt transi- China Gate (1957)
tions, and increasingly out- Run of the Arrow (1957)
rageous cinematic shocks - Verboten! (1958)
Underworld, USA (1961)
all the better to shake the
Shock Corridor (1963)
audience out of passivity and Naked Kiss (1964)
engage his films head on. And for good reason: Fuller made films that examined Dead Pigeon on
the identity of America and took the country he loved to task for its shortcomings Beethoven Street (1972)
(I can’t think of another director who so consistently and insistently addressed White Dog (1982)
the issue of racism). His patriotic passion comes through every jagged, explosive
frame. The small screen simply can’t hold that much energy. —Sean Axmaker November 1999
UNIVERSAL SIRK

DOUGLAS SIRK Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952)


Magnificent Obsession (1954)
All that Heaven Allows (1955)
DOUGLAS SIRK ONCE Written on the Wind (1956)
NOTED, “There is a very short Tarnished Angels (1958)
distance between high art and Imitation of Life (1959)
trash.” Mentor to Rainer Werner April 2003
Fassbinder, inspiration to Todd HEARTBREAK AND TRIUMPH:
Haynes, few filmmakers from the THE WORLD OF DOUGLAS SIRK
buttoned-down 1950s have in- All that Heaven Allows (1955)
fluenced independent cinema Written on the Wind (1956)
more. His intelligent, yet theat- The Tarnished Angels (1958)
rical presence also lives on in the work of Pedro Almodóvar and François Ozon. Imitation of Life (1959)
Unlike his progeny, Sirk played by the rules, yet there’s more going on in his me-
ticulous melodramas than meets the eye (note the use of mirrors, TV screens,
and other reflective surfaces). From 1952-1959 he was at his peak, using the user-
friendly form of the “woman’s weepie” to comment on race (Imitation of Life),
conformity (All That Heaven Allows), and other matters beyond the usual pe-
rimeters of the form. Along the way, he coaxed performances out of matinee
idols like Robert Stack (Written on the Wind) and Rock Hudson (Magnificent
Obsession) that few would’ve believed possible, yet the proof is right there on the
screen—sometimes even in Cinemascope. —Kathy Fennessy, Film Critic

25
YASUJIRO OZU
EVEN IN 2005, long after his permanent enshrinement
in the canon of history’s greatest filmmakers, Yasujiro
Ozu was still largely waiting to be discovered. Sacred
Cinema, Northwest Film Forum’s massive retrospective
of “Japan’s greatest filmmaker,” brought the full scope
of his artistry to Seattle for the first time. For five weeks, NWFF’s cinemas were
filled with nothing but Ozu. For his silent films, some of Seattle’s most prominent
musicians—including talents as diverse as Naked City veteran Wayne Horvitz, indie
rocker John Atkins and alt-country mainstay Karla Torgerson—were commissioned
to create live scores. Ozu remained unknown to the West until 1972, when—post-
humously—Tokyo Story made its European debut. Within the space of a decade,
Ozu’s mastery of the cinema was almost universally acknowledged, but only among
February – March 2005
SACRED CINEMA: YASUJIRO OZU the lucky few who had actually seen his films. Besides one or two classics taught
RETROSPECTIVE in nearly every film class on the planet, the vast majority of his work has remained
That’s Night Wife (1930) unavailable. Ozu’s films are marked by the insistence that the most important
I Flunked, But... (1930) emotions, the ones whose influence proves the most monumental in our lives, are
Tokyo Chorus (1931) also the subtlest. Taken as a whole, Ozu’s forty years of filmmaking cover a sur-
The Lady and the Beard (1931) prisingly wide range, from the rebellious comedy of I was Born, But… to the lurid
I Was Born, But... (1932) melodrama of Woman of Tokyo to the quiet sadness of Late Spring, but his faithful-
Woman of Tokyo (1933) ness to the most delicate inner workings of humanity stayed constant. —Adam Hart
Dragnet Girl (1933)
Passing Fancy (1933)

NEW WAVE
A Mother Should Be Loved (1934)
An Inn in Tokyo (1935)
The Only Son (1936)
What Did the Lady Forget? (1937) IT’S EASY TO UNDERSTAND why the New
Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Wave has maintained its firm grip on our collec-
Family (1941) tive cinematic imagination for so long. It was fifty
There Was a Father (1942) years ago that a small group of energetic upstarts
Record of a Tenement Gentleman
(1947) first convened in Paris at the Cinematheque. As
Late Spring (1949) budding critics, they were bent on overthrow-
Early Summer (1951) ing the then-current lords of moviedom and in-
The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice stalling their own pantheon: Bresson and Renoir
(1952)
Tokyo Story (1953)
as well as Hitchcock, Hawks and Nicholas Ray.
Early Spring (1956) And they wrote like men possessed. Remarkable
Tokyo Twilight (1957) for their passion and excitability as much as for
Equinox Flower (1958) their considerable eloquence, they tended towards absolutes, hyperboles, and dire
Floating Weeds (1959) pronouncements about the state of cinema. Once they started making their own
Good Morning (Ohayo) (1959) movies it became clear that the appropriate medium for their ideas and criticism was
Late Autumn (1960) the moving image. They combined the energy of American genre films with themes
The End of Summer (1961)
and subjects intimately familiar to young men in Paris, circa 1960 (namely girls,
An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
lack of money and the movies). Exuberant, innovative films like Breathless and Paris
Silent films in the series were Belongs to Us seemed to process all of movie history, pointing out what was missing
accompanied by original live scores
from everything that came before. Today, the films of the New Wave have become
by Wayne Horvitz, Robin Hol-
comb, John Atkins, Lori Goldston, the very definition of “cinema”, and the condemnations and canonization that filled
Elizabeth Falconer, Aono Jikken the pages of Cahiers du cinema serve as a mission statement for young, passionate
Ensemble, and Carla Torgerson. cinephiles all around the world. —Adam Hart

26
January - February 2004
AKI KAURISMAKI HEAVEN AND HELSINKI:
THE COMPLETE AKI KAURISMAKI
RETROSPECTIVE
IN JANUARY 2004, Northwest Film Forum was one of only four organizations Crime and Punishment (1983)
in the country to show a complete Aki Kaurismaki retrospective. Calamari Union (1985)
I’ve gradually come to realize that Kaurismaki’s films are inverted melodra- Rocky VI (1986)
mas. That is to say, they are just as stylized and anti-naturalistic, just as reliant on Shadows in Paradise (1986)
music and decor, and just as socially critical as the melodramas of Douglas Sirk Hamlet Goes Business (1987)
or anybody else; only Kaurismaki’s films are stylized by restraint, where tradi- Thru the Wire (1987)
tional melodramas are stylized by excess. Kaurismaki’s deadpan minimalism - the Ariel (1988)
The Match Factory Girl (1989)
way the characters are stoic and restrained, and do not indulge in any emotional
Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989)
displays; but also the way the scenes are framed, and the way the camera lingers
I Hired a Contract Killer (1990)
on desolate details, or pauses while a melancholy song is being sung, but elides Those Were the Days (1991)
determinate action almost completely. As in more conventional melodrama, the These Boots (1992)
characters are crushed and betrayed by social forces beyond their control - by the La Vie de Boheme (1992)
bureaucratic uncaringness of the state, and the ruthlessness of big Capital. But Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses (1993)
sometimes, as in Floating Clouds and a very few others, Kaurismaki even allows Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatjana (1994)
himself a bit of hope at the end, which would be sentimental were it not so wry Total Balalaika Show (1994)
Drifting Clouds (1996)
and understated.
Juha (1999)

Sex in t he Boot h
When we updated the Grand
Illusion Cinema’s projection booth,
we were painfully aware that we
were losing one of the city’s best
sex-holes. The old booth at the
Grand Illusion, by its very limits,
made for some Lovely Nookie. The
thing was, the female in the pairing
generally had to have her leg up
on the rewind table, which meant
that the actually film was running
THROUGH her legs, even as pene-
I’ll just add that Match Factory Girl, from 1989, is a well-nigh perfect film.
tration was being undertaken. With
Minimal, deadpan, it’s about a young woman (Kaurismaki regular Kati the celluloid flying by at 1.5 ft/sec-
Outinen) who’s abused by her parents and lover, and takes appropriate revenge. ond, threatening an unexpected
Every shot is perfectly framed, and every shot is a surprise. The icy lighting is a vaginoplasty, the sex took on a truly
wonder to behold. And the film somehow combines world-weary fatalism with cinematic dimension. God knows
how many folks made it in that
(dare I call it?) a sense of justice, and Fassbinderian melodrama with Bresso-
booth. But you can extrapolate by
nian intensity. All this, and the film is modest and unpretentious as well. I’d seen recognizing that less than one year
Match Factory Girl before, but seeing it again reminded me of why I love Aki after we bought the GI, every one
Kaurismaki. (And it’s purely as a compliment that I named my dog after him). of our full-time staff was pregnant.

—Steven Shaviro, Film Critic Jamie Hook

27
January–April 2000
IMMACULATE REFLECTIONS:
THE FILMS OF HOU HSIAO-HSIEN
HOU HSIAO-HSIEN
A Time to Live, A Time to Die (1985)
A SELF-CONFESSED ROUGHNECK
Dust in the Wind (1986)
in his youth who even now admits to not
City of Sadness (1989)
The Puppetmaster (1993)
knowing the difference between Sweden and
Good Men, Good Women (1994) Switzerland, Hou Hsiao-hsien has long been
Goodbye South Goodbye (1996) one of the acknowledged masters of contem-
Flowers of Shanghai (1998) porary cinema with an almost unsurpassed
delicacy of touch, and a profound understand-
ing of human behavior. Often confound-
Hou Hsiao-hsien is among the few
contemporary filmmakers that can ing his admirers, his influences have been a
be called a “Master.” Without insti- frequent subject of speculation. For instance,
tutions like Northwest Film Forum, many learned articles ascribed the deeply-felt humanity of his films to admiration
he would largely be an unknown
figure in Seattle. The citizens of
for the great Japanese master Ozu, but during an on-stage appearance at London’s
Seattle rarely realize how fortunate National Film Theatre in January 1990, Hou admitted he had only recently seen his
they are to have these treasures first Ozu film. For him, he explained, a key influence had been a British film from
grace their screens.
the late 1960s, the title of which he could not remember. As he recalled the details of
Jonathan Marlow (né Robert Graves) this vital reference for the future of Asian—if not world—cinema, there was a collec-
tive gasp as we realized he was talking about the teen social drama Up the Junction by
Peter Collinson, not usually a name to cause sharp intakes of breath in the realms of
film studies. Taiwan’s isolated situation in world politics and heavy government cen-
sorship in the 60s and 70s meant that access to foreign films was somewhat limited, so
we do not know what else the young Hou was influenced by, but the Collinson film
is an example of what Hou has always sought to represent, real people in recogniz-
able human situations, whether it be in the refined parlors of yesteryear in The Flowers
of Shanghai or the modern-day lower class urban milieu of his 1986 masterpiece, The
Time to Live and the Time to Die. And if you are lucky enough one day, you might
find yourself in one of the most enjoyable human situations this writer has had the
pleasure to experience, a dinner and karaoke session in the presence of this most
amiable of hosts and great, great singer.
—Helen Loveridge, Former Executive Director of the Seattle International
Film Festival and co-founder of Fortissimo Film Sales

28
April–May 2003
CLAIRE DENIS BEAUTIFUL WORK:
FILMS BY CLAIRE DENIS

No Fear No Die (1990)


SMARTS AND SENSUALITY rarely
I Can’t Sleep (1994)
travel together in contemporary American
Nenette et Boni (1996)
movies. For cinema that gets deep under Beau Travail (1999)
the skin of human relations we must turn to Friday Night (2002)
three world-class women filmmakers-Claire
Denis, Catherine Breillat, Jane Campion.
And Claire Denis is especially incisive In April 2003, NWFF brought
Claire Denis to town for a five film
when it comes to the ways we lose or find program of her work, and the West
ourselves by transgressing the boundaries of sexual identity. Her films celebrate the Coast premiere of Friday Night.
terrible, ecstatic leap of faith we make in order to touch or know the Other-and she Program Director Jaime Keeling
encodes Otherness in gender, culture, race, age and extraordinary physical beauty. and I took her
to the Henry
Denis’s narratives rarely unreel in straight lines, playing out instead on the road Art Gallery to
or off the beaten path to signpost the unsettled, alienated state of the human see the James
psyche. Her displaced, marginalized folk find existential sustenance where they Turrell exhibit.
Denis was
can, in cockfighting, murder, dance, flesh and blood, one-night stands. In Chocolat completely en-
(1988) and S’en fout la mort (1990) she eroticizes the creative, sometimes killing tranced by the
connections between whites and men of color. J’ai pas sommeil (1994) taps into the exhibit, and the
insomniac buzz of a Paris populated by deracinated drifters dreaming of homes two block walk
back to my car
that never were. Denis’s controversial Trouble Every Day (2001) deconstructs lust, took well over
the desire to possess and devour, into the bloody appetite of the vampire. A traffic an hour. An
jam in Vendredi soir (2002) brings together a man and woman who are between artist enraptured with the world,
she stopped constantly to look at
chapters in their life stories. For one night, they find extraordinary emotional and and discuss the quality of the light
sexual anchorage in each other. in Seattle, and compare it to light
Audiences used to the cinematic dominance of the male gaze, consuming female around the world.
flesh on screen, are often disquieted by Denis’s frank appreciation of masculine Michael Seiwerath
beauty. When this director turns her camera eye on favored actors such as Isaach
de Bankolé or Grégoire Colin, she savors physical color, form and grace so
powerful the film frame is composed by it. In Denis’s superb Beau travail (1999),
Colin’s Foreign Legionnaire moves with such unconscious elegance, is so innocent-
ly at home in his own skin, that he drives a brooding, unattractive officer (Denis
Lavant) into a paroxysm of envy, murder—and modern dance!
An educated, intellectual, utterly passionate filmmaker, Claire Denis is always
a delight to interview or to partner in Q&A sessions. I met her first at the Film
Society of Lincoln Center, where I helped to field questions from an apprecia-
tive audience after Beau Travail was screened in the New York Film Festival.
When I was asked to perform the same role following the Northwest Film Forum’s
screening of Vendredi soir (Friday Night) at the Seattle Art Museum, I looked
forward to another opportunity to enjoy Denis’s conversation and company.
Denis never slacks off when it comes to movie talk. She’s sharp, witty, engaged,
thoughtful-wonderfully present as an artist and a woman. Small and blonde, she
occupies space with easy authority and fairly sparks with challenging ideas—which
she works hard to express precisely in a language not her own. She charmed her
NWFF audience as effortlessly as she had the folks at Lincoln Center. Good this
first-rate filmmaker came to Seattle—Claire Denis gives us all hope that movies
can still be art, brainy and erotic at once!
—Kathleen Murphy, Film Critic

29
GUY MADDIN
AN ARCH-STYLIST SEEMINGLY BENT on com-
mitting the human subconscious directly to film, Guy
Maddin has consistently populated his movies with
Freudian twists and signifiers in such an open, brazen
way that it’s hard to read them as anything but confes-
sional. His mock-serious use of anachronistic clichés,
loaded psychosexual characterisations and bizarre non-
“As a filmmaker who had first heard sequiturs bring his films to the edge of parody, and yet they often work as genuinely
of the NWFF’s far-reaching and emotional experiences. After all, his films—strange though they may be—are
scintillant reputation during my
many travels in the film world, then
melodramas. More than any other filmmaker, Maddin understands that the key to
visited the place twice, first in 1997 the great Cinemascope soap operas was a healthy balance of the ridiculous with the
for a retrospective of my stuff, then sublime, and he heaps large portions of both onto all his work. For Maddin, irony
again in 2005, not only for another does not negate sincerity but instead points towards its repression—which is, of
retrospective this time but also to course, one of his favorite themes. Maddin was an early favorite of Northwest Film
shoot a movie, I am truly teary-
eyed on the occasion of this great
Forum, and we’ve brought him and his films out several times over the years. I had
organization’s tenth anniversary. the intense pleasure of working on Guy’s latest film, a Proustian epic shot on super-
May there be a million more!” 8 called The Brand Upon the Brain!, a production that NWFF and our hardwork-
ing partners in crime, the Film Company, brought to Seattle. —Adam Hart
—Guy Maddin

“The high point of


my visit to Seattle in
AMERICAN FOREFRONT
1997 was meeting
Jamie Hook and Deb
WHEN A CONTEMPORARY FILM ARTS CENTER
Girdwood, two of is hitting on all cylinders, you have the chance to see the
the most wonderful early work of future acclaimed artists, which gives you
people I’d ever met- the wonderful “I told you so,” which you can share with
real characters, absolute American
originals. They put me up in their
friends. Northwest Film Forum has been going gang-
apartment, and it was one of those busters since it first started, giving Seattleites their first
magical weekends you never forget look into the minds and mindsets of directors.
and, on your deathbed, think back on Harmony Korine’s Gummo may have scared off main-
as one of those moments that made it
all worthwhile. I remember calling Har- stream audiences, what with its cat-killing protagonists in
mony Korine from their apartment (I small town America and a penchant for absurd visions and
was trying to talk Harmony into acting off-the-cuff statements, but it proved to be an early hit at the Grand Illusion.
in one of my films), and he was raving
With an equally strong, artistically narrative voice, Miranda July has burst from
about Will Oldham, whom I had never
heard of. When I hung up, I asked the bowels of the art film movement. Long before her debut feature Me and You
Jamie who Will Oldham was, and an and Everyone We Know won acclaim at Sundance and Cannes, NWFF hosted July
hour later he returned from the record for screenings of her short films and a work-in-progress performance of The Swan
store with a Will Oldham CD which he
had bought me as a gift. I loved that
Tool at The Little Theatre.
CD and played it almost constantly, And there are plenty more artists who have screened with the Northwest Film
which is how it ended up in a film I Forum who are either hitting it big or about to do so. For example, graphic
made entitled In the Bathtub of the designer turned music video director turned feature filmmaker Mike Mills is
World. When the Independent Film
Channel offered to buy the film, they
finally stepping out of the shadow of his namesake in the band REM with the
stipulated that I first clear all of the release of his first feature Thumbsucker. NWFF showed several of his short films
music rights, which is how I ended up and music videos back in June 2000, and had him here in person in 2002.
contacting Will Oldham, who not only Then there’s the endearing Caveh Zahedi and his diary-like feature films, which
gave me the rights, but also agreed
to take mushrooms together in a film
verge on being painfully honest. Or the entertaining Martha Colburn, whose
I made entitled Tripping with Caveh. animated short films have been gaining notoriety worldwide. These are but a
So if it hadn’t been for Jamie, that film couple of filmmakers on the verge of indie breakthroughs that NWFF has champi-
would never have been made.” oned and even brought to town. To find more exciting new voices in cinema, keep
—Caveh Zahedi, Filmmaker
your eyes peeled on upcoming calendars. —Andy Spletzer, Filmmaker and critic

30
FOR THE KIDS
WE DECIDED TO SHOW MOVIES
for kids at the Grand Illusion in 1997–
yes, before any of us even had kids
ourselves. (We were always trying to
expand demographics!) Programmer
Peter Pentz drove out to Eastern Wash-
ington to unearth a goldmine of mid-
century foreign children’s films held in
storage at the Washington State Uni-
versity. It began as a series for families
and daycare groups, which ran for three summers. Kids in the audience were
awarded special prizes and tours of the projection booth. We’d get a huge thrill
when the little hands raised. Children ask the best questions.
After we did breed our own new generation of captive cinephiles, I began to
hook into the international children’s film festival circuit. The first Childish
Film Festival was launched at The Little Theatre in 2002. Seeing as we often
had tall people sneaking into our children’s series, the festival was aimed at
childish people, age 3 and up.
—Deborah Girdwood

31
DOCUMENTARY
THE NUT OF DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING, the reason that some of us
consider it a basic reason to love movies, is this: it sets a warpy ditto of the regular
world before us, finding humor and pathos in the shapeless blot that is my blue
(and rumpled) heaven. Narrative films have a tendency to say that what is fasci-
nating is the thought that somewhere Darth is always facing off against Obi-Wan,
that Hugh Grant might plausibly buy the bookstore where you browse. But when
I look out my front door I don’t see drama so much as annoying, badly lit people
coming at me with the regularity of Immanuel Kant’s midday walk. What docu-
August 1999
DIRECT CINEMA: mentary filmmakers prove over and over, though, is that some strange refracting
DOCUMENTING THE SIXTIES thing happens when so-called reality gets recorded. All the dullards straighten up
Titicut Follies (1967, Fredrick Wiseman) and their life stories, dreams, lies, foul-ups and odd life turns become fascinating.
Showman / What’s Happening In The Thin Blue Line, Errol Morris makes dry hair and numb talking appear to
(1962/64, Albert and David Maysles)
have come from a David Lynch script. In High School, Frederick Wiseman’s camera
The Cool World (1964, Shirley Clarke)
makes the common brushcut seem lit from within, tense with dramatic conflict.
Don’t Look Back
(1967, D.A. Pennebaker) Fiction film also likes to remind us that the things we don’t notice are pregnant
1pm (1972, Jean-Luc Godard with meaning. But with documentary the act of noticing means that eleven other
and D.A. Pennebaker)
things are picked up by the sticky tape, too, including the crap in the corner that
High School (1969, Fredrick Wiseman)
Primary / Crisis (1960/63, Robert Drew)
wasn’t supposed to be there. Documentary sometimes seems, for this reason, both
rudimentary and visually loaded, sometimes to the point where the normal movie
dream matrix breaks down and, like Billy Pilgrim, you get to be unstuck in time.
Documentary film itself is something like a
wrangling of all those pathways, including your
private conversations, as they lead into the recon-
figured reality of the real world. A good documen-
tary filmmaker, like a good street photographer,
plays an improvisational 3-D chess match with all
the plausible and random drama in front of him,
too. Sometimes that turns out to be genius, too.
In 1965, D.A. Pennebaker followed Bob Dylan on
tour and the resulting film, Don’t Look Back, sits in
such a web of time that it’s like Pennebaker saw his
photography as forward ghost-hunting. Here’s one scene: a hotel room in London,
Bob Dylan singing a few verses of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” to an inside
circle late at night. It’s the end of a small drama that Dylan has created around
Donovan, a pretty folk singer whose pretty, old-fashioned folk song Bob is chloro-
forming and stuffing as everyone watches.
And while you’re considering the strangeness of how this small, fascinating
piece of pop history got recorded and preserved, and how there’s a funny lyrical
something in it all that’s hard to put your finger on but that has something to do
with all the sliding-away and disappearingness of most of life, the film cuts to a
junk scene in which Bob gets upset about a broken bottle, and suddenly what was
clear is dirtied by the intrusion of crapola, a semi-dramatic encounter with no arc
and a smeary ending and a window back onto the glowy semi-incoherence of your
own loaded life.

—Lyall Bush, Film Critic

32
GROWING UP in small
town USA, I didn’t realize
the affect of being “cul-
turally-averaged” by
the typical Hollywood
cineplex fare until I was September 2004
MEET ROSS: A ROSS MCELWEE
exposed to the local docu-
RETROSPECTIVE
mentary film festival.
Charlene (1980)
It changed cinema for
Backyard (1984)
me. I quit being angry at
Sherman’s March (1986)
the images on the screen Time Indefinite (1993)
and started to empathize Six O’Clock News (1997)
and love them. Bright Leaves (2004)
As Program Director at NWFF, it has been a privilege to continue in the
footsteps of our co-founder Deborah Girdwood, whose innovative documenta- “I loved being in Seattle at North-
ry programs such as Crackpots and Obsessives and First Person Cinema preceded west Film Forum last year to share
the current documentary craze. Long before documentaries dominated film my work with the filmmaking and
film-going community there. Sadly,
festivals and cable television, she was exploring the power of the non-fiction film
the Boston Film/Video Foundation
and especially championing those artists who captured intimate, personal stories. folded a few years back, so I was
The First Person Cinema series, later passed on to my curatorial discretion, thrilled to experi-
included the Seattle premiere of The Same River Twice, the extremely exposed ence the vibrancy
and dedication of
video diaries of schizophrenic filmmaker Anne Robertson, the deeply personal NWFF. May you
activist cinema of Judith Helfand’s Blue Vinyl Story, and even Andy Warhol’s continue to thrive
Screen Tests. Last fall, we were honored to have with us personal documentary and prosper.”
filmmaker Ross McElwee, in attendance for a retrospective of his films as part of —Ross McElwee, Filmmaker
First Person Cinema.
—Jaime Keeling, Program Director, Northwest Film Forum

IT’S NOT EXACTLY A MOVEMENT, but the underground/experimental/


indie/whatever documentary is shaping into a central subgenre of non-mainstream
film, and a valuable proving ground for talented filmmakers. It’s a genre that Matt
McCormick, one of its foremost innovators, defines as “artistic, nonfiction film-
making... the result of a head-
on collision between traditional,
information-laden documenta-
ries and abstract, craft-driven
filmmaking.” These experimen-
tally minded artists are not only
producing some of America’s
finest and most innovative
films, but have made enormous January 2003
gains in bringing a chroni- CHRIS MARKER
cally stigmatized avant-garde La Jetee (1962)
tradition out into the open. Grin Without A Cat (1978)
Sans Soleil (1982)
—Adam Hart

33
July 1998
MUSIC FILM FESTIVAL

The Films of Les Blank (1969-1983)


Modulations (1998)
Fred Frith:
Step Across The Border (1990)
The Music Room (1958)
Grass (1925) with live score
by Climax Golden Twins
Hardcore Logo (1996)
The Velvet Underground
and Nico (1966)
Gimme Shelter (1970)

MUSIC FILMS
BREAK OF DAWN:
ROOTS OF HIP HOP

Wild Style (1982)


Style Wars (1983) OVER THE LAST DECADE, Northwest Film Forum’s commitment to the
Beat Street (1984) marriage of music and film has been unrivaled. It’s worth noting that before
Graffiti Rock and More (1981-84) Jamie, Debbie, Michael et al came along, the idea that Seattle film program-
mers might actually know and
enjoy the music being chronicled
in music-based movies was pretty
much unheard of. From Wattstax
to We Jam Econo, from Negativ-
September 24-30 land Cinema to Blues for Lovers (in
EARLY CIRCUITS: PIONEERS OF which Ray Charles becomes best
ELECTRONIC MUSIC pals with a 12-year-old blind white
Moog (2004) British boy!), the crucial factor has
Haack: The King of Techno (2003) always been the NWFF bookers’
Sonic Acts (1999) obvious fascination with the son
behind the image; it feels like an extension of the impulse that leads filmmakers
to document the music to begin with. Case in point: My favorite NWFF memory
is of getting loaded with the founders of the organization on the Grand Illusion’s
back porch, then watching a, unbelievably gorgeous print of my favorite music
film of all, Bob Rafelson’s Dadaist
September/ October 2001
Monkees deconstruction Head. Then
ISLAND REVOLUTION:
JAMAICAN MUSIC ON FILM we talked about The Monkees all
night. Long may you run.
Reggae (1970)
The Harder They Come (1972) —Sean Nelson,
Roots Rock Reggae (1977) Musician and film critic
Rockers (1978)
Deep Roots Music (1981)
Dance Craze (1982)
Stepping Razor: Red X (1992)
Westway To The World (1999)
Rebel Music (2000)

34
JAZZ FILMS
WHAT BEGAN AS AN INDULGENCE FOR NWFF PROGRAMMERS, as SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS
passionate and discerning about music as they are about cinema, quickly turned OF OUR JAZZ PROGRAMS
2000-2005:
into a phenomenon as the city responded with overwhelming enthusiasm. From
the moment we began exhibiting films, our calendars were scattered with heavy Jammin’ The Blues (1944)
doses of music films and movies with great scores. In 1998, NWFF presented the The Sound Of Jazz (1957)
Summer Music Film Festival featuring a diversity of work, from Satyajit Ray’s The Shadows (1960)
Music Room to the Maysles’ Gimme Shelter, Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground and Too Late Blues (1961)
Nico to the films of Les Blank. Audiences reveled in the powerful connections of After Hours (1961)
music and moving image. In 2000, NWFF began its weekly Music+Film series at The Cool World (1963)
Experience Music Project, showing classics, rarities, new films, and often having Mickey One (1965)
guest filmmakers and musicians in attendance to introduce screenings. Blues For Lovers (1964)

All of this began before the recent boom in new music documentaries and before Mingus 1968 (1968)

the availability of ANY of the classic or rare music films on dvd. We were among Space Is The Place (1974)

just a few music-loving film programmers around the country who were swapping Nina Simone: Love Sorceress (1976)

rumors about “lost” music films, contacts for obscure directors, trails to finding Passing Through (1977)
Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise (1980)
rare prints, and news about new productions. It was
Imagine The Sound (1981)
really like a secret society of obsessives exchanging in-
Thelonious Monk—
formation and bootleg tapes. Straight, No Chaser (1988)
Many of the films were booked not through film dis- International Sweethearts of
tributors, but directly through the filmmakers them- Rhythm (1988)
selves. Often, they were surprised at our interest, but Charles Mingus:
would usually agree to something, if only to stop our Triumph of the Underdog (1997)

pestering phone calls. The classic 70s soul concert Charlie Bird Parker (2001)

film, Wattstax, had only been seen in a few screenings The Miles Davis Story (2001)

around the country in the decade before NWFF invited Strange Fruit (2002)
My Name Is Albert Ayler (2004)
director Mel Stuart to come to Seattle to present the one existing 35mm print.
The overwhelming response to that screening led him to start thinking seriously
about finally clearing up the rights issues and re-releasing a restored version of the
film. A similar momentum started with other films too, such as the classic hip hop
film, Wild Style, and the Sun Ra movie, Space Is The Place. Many of the new docu-
mentaries we championed were also given life, with the positive response of Seattle
audiences and press leading to further exhibition and dvd release.
And then there are those special, rare screenings
of films that we’ve been fortunate enough to have
been among the few or the last to witness. The
1971 documentary on boxer Jack Johnson featuring
an electric jazz score by Miles Davis. The raw
documents of late-70s New York punk and new
wave bands. The strange early-70s 16mm reggae
documentary. The final ever screening of the jazz
epic, Passing Through. The MC5 documentary
that was pulled from distribution just after we presented one of the country’s only
screenings. And countless other rare films that we’ve been able to wrangle despite
them being buried in filmmakers’ closets or the vaults of clueless distributors, or
shrouded with rights issues, or near fatal celluloid deterioration.
We are eternally grateful for this city’s vindication of our ongoing obsession
to explore great music and the stories, characters and sub-cultures that have
produced it. —Peter Lucas

35
TRASH CINEMA
PROGRAMMING LATE-NIGHT PSYCHOTRONICA for The Grand
Illusion Cinema has always been an act of juggling self-indulgence and audience
demands (while grabbing whatever grimy flick we could
get our greasy hands on.) The audience, usually, wants sex
and larfs. Consequently, evenings like The Big Dick Porno
Cartoon Show rank as some of the highest grossing nights.
Then there’s stuff like my swinging tribute to Albert
Zugsmith, a rare chance to see obscure stuff like Confes-
sions of an Opium Fiend. Nobody asked for it, but you got
June/July 2001
six weeks of this forgotten auteur’s unique epics. Somehow a balance is found.
THE WEIRD WORLD These sorts of films offer something for everyone from sleaze hounds to film
OF ALBERT ZUGSMITH snobs, and they tend to deliver the goods. Want unpredictable plotlines, cinema
Beauty and the Robot (1960) verite style photography, inventive soundtracks and bare-naked titties? Godard
Confessions of an Opium Eater (1962) has nothing on Al Adamson! We’ve even taken it one step further and eliminat-
Psychedelic Sexualis (1966) ed plotlines altogether with the
crowd-pleasing We Found It In
The Basement nights, showing
assorted found oddities and in-
September 2001
EXPLOITATION FILMS
stilling the unpredictable flavor
OF DAVID F FRIEDMAN that makes a night out all the
Starlet (1969)
spicier.
Trader Hornee (1970) Once, a long-time elderly
She Freak (1967) patron lamented the lack of
Two Thousand Maniacs (1964) sex in the late-night fare. He
The Erotic Adventures had noticed an upcoming
of Zorro (1973)
film featuring werewolves. Mumbling optimistically he said, “werewolf goes into
a cave—maybe there’ll be some sex!” Yes, there’s always that chance for on-
screen sex, but don’t forget about the cowboy dwarfs or outer space gorillas or
drug ‘n’ booze addled teens or one-armed kung fu experts or Don Knotts or time
traveling barbarians or
satanic fetuses or acid-
head hippie cannibals
or mutant garbage
monsters or beatnik
juvenile delinquents
on grass or knife
wielding maniacs or
the Unknown Comic?
January 2001 Whew…makes me
SQUARED STRAIGHT
dizzy just thinking about it. But I was there! Were you?
Sarah T. Portrait of a Teenage
Alcoholic (1976) —Spenser Hoyt, Grand Illusion Cinema Programmer
Go Ask Alice (1973)
Mind Control In The Classroom
(various shorts)
The People Next Door (1970)
Blue (1977)

36
ANIMATION
WHILE FILM’S ABILITY TO
capture time is its essence, it is the
filmmaker’s ability to stop time and
manipulate the world that has created
some of the most fantastic viewing
experiences. Soon after the advent of
the motion picture, painters, comic
artists and magicians were discov-
ering the great possibilities of visual
trickery inherent in the medium and January 2002
SUPERFLAT CINEMA
began to make object disappear and
drawings move. Alakazam The Great (1960)
Northwest Film Forum has Space Battleship Yamato (1974)
Galaxy Express 999 (1974)
presented a wide variety of animated
Adieu Galaxy Express 999 (1981)
films over the years. We’ve illumi-
Arcadia of My Youth (1982)
nated its histories, discovering the great animated masterpieces of the century and
recognizing the artists whose patience and painstaking work created the founda-
tion for the cinematic fantasies, hallucinations and dreams of today. We’ve screened
the classic films of comic artists-turned-cartoonists like Emile Cohl and Winsor
McCay, and also kinetic abstractions from the great experimental animation
pioneers Walter Ruttmann, Hans Richter, and Oskar Fischinger. We’ve explored the
“direct” animation of Norman McLaren and Len Lye, and stop-motion animation
from the insect films of Ladislas Starevitch to Art Clokey’s Gumby. We’ve shown
playful ‘60s films by Chuck Jones and Ernest Pintoff, and surveyed the Japanese
films of the ‘70s such as Galaxy Express 999 that preceded later anime spectacles. October 2000
THE BROTHERS QUAY
NWFF has also showcased the best of contemporary international animation, pre-
Street Of Crocodiles (1986)
miering features and short films from animators Bill Plympton, Don Hertzfeldt, the
Rehearsals For Extinct Anatomies (1987)
Brothers Quay, Michel Ocelot, Shynola, and many others. The Stille Nacht Series (1988-1993)
This journey has presented us with exciting new worlds, and it has uncovered alot In Absentia (2000)
of suprising connections, too. Renowned film historian William Moritz introduced
a special screening here in 2001 of early experimental animation (one of his final
public appearances before passing away in 2003), and revealed that the ideas and
early drawings for Disney’s masterpiece Fantasia came directly from German ex-
perimental animator Oskar Fischinger. When Pixar founder Alvy Ray Smith in-
troduced a screening of ‘60s animated films, he said it was his collaboration with
artist Ed Emshwiller that inspired him to continue to further develop computer
animation techniques. And when we had Pablo Ferro here, the legendary film title
designer who has collaborated with such directors as Stanley Kubrick cited Gerald
McBoing Boing as a major influence. ENTROPY

Animation is the factory that produces the Part of the annual ByDesign series
dream side of our visual culture. Thanks to (started in 2000), this program has
featured innovative new animated
all the adults and children who have travelled shorts and music videos from around
with us to animated experiences far beyond the world, including work by Shy-
the realm of Saturday morning cartoons. nola, Pleix, MK12, Katsura Moshino,
Francois Vogel, Graham Wood,
Geoff McFetridge, and others.
—Peter Lucas

37
EXPERIMENTAL
WHAT EXACTLY IS “EXPERIMENTAL FILM”? Strict categorization often
poses problems. But the appropriately non-descriptive label is fine if you under-
stand that its not a genre. Its not about the type of work, but the spirit in which
it is made. It includes a great diversity of artists who’ve seen from the beginning
a greater potential in the medium than simply to document dramatic plays, but
to incorporate elements of all kinds of art forms, to explore perception, and to
embrace the medium instead of hiding it. Understanding that great art is born
from experimentation, pioneering filmmakers have aggressively explored and
expanded cinematic language, opening countless creative avenues and constant-
ly pushing popular cinema to keep up.
With Northwest Film Forum, I’ve had the pleasure of presenting some of the
great discoveries from this realm, and bringing to light connections between
past and present work
and between ex-
perimental cinema
and popular visual
culture. From
Rhythmus to The
Flicker, Neighbors to
Flaming Creatures,
Man With A Movie
Camera to Mongoloid,
we’ve traveled
together off the
beaten path of con-
ventional cinema
and found treasures
of unique personal expressions, raw documents, abstract movements, poetic
vignettes and downright unbelievable images. I’ve come to a greater under-
standing of what can be achieved through moving image, and also of what “ex-
perimental” means. Experimental film is cinema’s incubator, its laboratory. And
its filmmakers, both scientists and lab rats, are our heroes constantly forging
ahead into unknown territories. I’ve also
realized that this spirit is not relegated
to one subculture, one category of art or
artists. The best films, of any kind, are the
ones trying new things and pushing bound-
aries, showing new worlds in new ways.
Throughout this book and throughout the
history of cinema you’ll find great experi-
ments of all kinds.

—Peter Lucas

38
2ND GENERATION FILMS
NORTHWEST FILM FORUM has long supported creative recycling. There
is a sort of magic that happens when artists re-edit and re-contextualize existing
elements to create completely new experiences. Since the 1930s, artists have been
taking control of their media environment, thrifting footage from Hollywood
movies, documentaries, educational films, commercials, home movies, and
whatever else they could get their hands on. Such assemblage filmmaking can
April 2002
create ironic juxtapositions, or find poetic connections between disparate elements. BRUCE CONNER: VISUAL
It can reclaim famous sequences, or resurrect beautiful moments lost inside terrible MUSIC IN THE PERMIAN AGE
old films. It can pay homage to an overlooked part of the past, or defiantly re-write A Movie (1958)
Cosmic Ray (1961)
history altogether. And, at its best, it can turn the seemingly banal into deeply
Looking For Mushrooms (1961-67)
moving works of art. Whether working with analog material or using digital tools, Report (1963-67)
no one more aggressively and directly explores moving image media than these Vivian (1964)
time-traveling dumpster-divers. NWFF has explored this realm of creative media Ten Second Film (1965)
archeology with special screenings of historic films by Joseph Cornell, Len Lye and Breakaway (1966)
The White Rose (1967)
Bruce Conner as well as premiering new films by contemporary artists such as Jay
Marilyn Times Five (1968-73)
Rosenblatt and Bill Morrison. We’ve commissioned new works from Northwest Permian Strata (1969)
artists Matt McCormick, Mark Brunke, Sebastian Del Castillo, Franklin Joyce, Take The 5:10 To Dreamland (1977)
Andy Rohrman and others. And in the dark rooms behind our cinemas, media Mongoloid (1978)
gleaners can often be spotted rustling around in our 1000 title archive of 16mm Valse Triste (1979)
America Is Waiting (1982)
educational films or repeatedly replaying television clips in an editing suite. We
love ‘em. The world needs re-examination. —Peter Lucas
ARCHEOLOGY OF THE UNREAL:
RARE FILMS BY JOSEPH CORNELL
The construction of collage films is both Cornell, 1965 (1965/78, Larry Jordan)
challenging and liberating. Challenging Cotillion (1940s)
because you are forced to connect disparate The Midnight Party (1940s)
images into some sort of cohesion. Liber- Children’s Party (1940s)
ating because you are taking images that Carrousel (1940s)
Jack’s Dream (1940s)
already exist and appropriating them for
Thimble Theatre (1940s)
your own vision. For me it can feel like
committing a subversive act. Not only am In October of 2004, Northwest
I creating a new and sometimes contradictory set of meanings from Film Forum presented an intimate
screening of rare films by Joseph
the footage in front of me but I am also bypassing production with all of its Cornell for an audience of cineas-
inherent constraints and limitations and going straight into post production. tes, artists and curiosity-seekers of
A new level of control is achieved, with endless possibilities, resulting in an all varieties. This magical event con-
jured the atmosphere and electric-
exhilarating form of artistic freedom. A period piece is made without having ity that attended initial screenings
to rent vintage cars; a location is obtained without getting a permit; images of these films in the 1940s. Cornell’s
from foreign countries are acquired without the plane fare. Such freedoms, transformation of found footage
into a new visual poetry made him
however, can be short lived; unfortunately the piper must ultimately be paid. an avatar of American avant-garde
Like so much else in our culture of greed and “trickle up” economics, a lot of film, and one of the most perfect
footage that is not in the public domain is now controlled by large corpora- artists to open in the new NWFF
tions and sometimes rights are prohibitively expensive. Maybe one day the art quarters on Capitol Hill.

of found footage filmmaking will find a way to transcend the impediments of Susan Rosenberg
Assoc. Curator of Contemporary Art,
ownership. We can only hope. —Jay Rosenblatt Seattle Art Museum

39
INTERSECTIONS
CINEMA IS BORN OF AN INTERESTING WORLD, created from elements
from just about every other art form. So it is a wonder that there isn’t more
mingling of film with its extended family, why more film schools don’t require
classes in music, dance, painting and poetry, why there isn’t more visual art and
performance in moviehouses, or more varied and open perspectives in cinema
June 2000
discourse. Many artists and presenters are working hard at exploding cinema,
THE FILMS OF bringing moving image out of the theater into public spaces and venues usually
CHARLES AND RAY EAMES reserved for performance. But Northwest Film Forum is one of the few orga-
Blacktop (1952) nizations in the country working diligently to invite everything into the cin-
House: After Five Years of Living (1955) ematheque. From the get-go, we’ve been bringing life to the film experience,
The Expanding Airport (1958) exploring angles and intersections through presenting and even commission-
Eames Lounge Chair (1956) ing unique hybrid works, hosting special guest speakers, and otherwise surround-
Kaleidoscope Jazz Chair (1960)
IBM Mathematics Peep Shows (1961) animation?
ing films with as much creative energy as we can wrangle. We do this not just to
take advantage of the diversity of great artists in the Pacific Northwest (although
IBM at the Fair (1965)
A Computer Glossary (1968)
the boundless talents around us certainly helps), but to bring everything together
Rough Sketch for a Proposed Film into one place– a “forum,” if you will. This kind of collaboration, whether divine
Dealing with the Powers of Ten...(1968) mingling or chaotic collision, brings about a dialogue between different ideas and
Fiberglass Chairs (1970) approaches, and often magical intersections of words, images, sounds, actions.
Design Q & A (1972)
We’ve created a number of live theatre performances that incorporate film over
SX-70 (1972)
Kepler’s Laws (1974)
the years, and commissioned many live scores for silent films. We’ve explored
Powers of Ten (1977)
historic intersections of art, design and architecture with moving image, and
Goods (1981?) showcased new work documenting and expanding the movements of dance.
We’ve had writers create startling
new narration for old films, and
puppeteers make new Super8
creations. And we’ve had a
diversity of artists and curators
introduce screenings. It has been
an exciting process that never
ceases to surprise and inspire us.
Basically, it’s the concept of
montage: if you put two things
together they produce something
different and often greater in
the mind. Northwest Film Forum is happy to be Seattle’s splicer, creating both
smooth transitions and alarming juxtapositions between art forms.
These films and events are difficult, often impossible, to classify. That’s fine with
DOUG AITKEN us. The best experiences usually are. We’ll just call them intersections. Thanks for
In June of 2001, Northwest Film meeting us at the corner. —Peter Lucas
Forum presented the Seattle
Premiere of Electric Earth by ac-
claimed video installation artist
Doug Aitken. It was the first time
his work had been shown in Seattle,
and the first time this piece had
been shown outside of a museum
or gallery setting.

40
I SOMETIMES FORGET that Northwest
Film Forum is primarily a movie theater. The
power of the place, to me, has to do with a
non-film-specific commitment to produc-
tion and presentation, with an open-endedness
toward media that somehow never lapses
into incoherence. My Northwest Film Forum
comprises Michael Chick’s baggy, brilliant
theatrical serial Local Union 608 from 1999,
Seattle artist Leo Berk’s first solo show in the
same year (with which I was involved), the
Typing Explosion’s Christmas show, the ar-
chitecture/music double bill of Matthijs Bouw
and Mount Eerie this year, Seattle dance/music/video company Locust’s 2004
piece deface, and, of course, the 1999 mustache pageant, at which I won “best April 2005
CITY SLIVERS AND FRESH KILLS:
groomed.” In between such glorious events, I spent lovely evenings watching THE FILMS OF
Harmony Korine’s sweet, gross Gummo, Stan Brakhage’s dreamy “…” movies, GORDON MATTA-CLARK
Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 5 and then Cremaster 2, just about everything Guy Fire Child (1971)
Maddin ever made, the Ray Johnson biography How to Draw a Bunny, David Fresh Kill (1972)
Cronenberg’s Shivers, William Castle’s The Tingler, and a pile of other movies that Clockshower (1973)
not only were barely shown anywhere else in this country, but were actual hits Bingo (1974)
at the Film Forum. So I guess it is a movie theater, actually, but I’d rather think Conical Intersect (1975)
of Northwest Film Forum as a community art center, except with less weaving Office Baroque (1977)
classes and better parties. —Eric Fredericksen, Director, Western Bridge City Slivers (1976)

Like finding an old home movie that


you didn’t know existed, finally see-
ing the sculptor Gordon Matta-Clark
IN THE EARLY 1990’s I was exposed move and speak in these rarely seen
to dance film—a groundbreak- films (after years of admiration)
ing genre that was in abundance in brought forth new understandings
of him and his work. Massive cuts
Europe in those days but was still in its in buildings, which appeared as
nascent stages in the U.S. Dance film frenzied ruptures of intent, became
transforms time-based choreography considered, contemplative, tedious,
into timeless revelation. By sending and even more determined.

movement through a filter of filmic —Jerry Garcia,


techniques, physical and emotional universal non-linear design
detail can be exaggerated in such a way
that is virtually impossible in live performance.
Nearly a decade after my initial exposure to dance film and stemming in part
from a selfish desire to see as much of it as possible, fellow choreographer Dayna
Hanson and I approached Northwest Film Forum about starting a festival in
Seattle. A co- production with our dance theater company 33 Fainting Spells and
Northwest Film Forum, the New Dance Cinema Festival has persisted since 1999,
bringing new and innovative dance films from around the world to Seattle and
fostering the art of dance film on a local level.
—Gaelen Hanson, Curator, New Dance Cinema,
Co-director, 33 Fainting Spells

41
Summer 1998

LIVE SCORES
Grass: A Nation’s Battle For Life (1925)
Climax Golden Twins
September 2000
Music For Films
Tom Verlaine
October 2000
SINCE CINEMA’S INCEPTION, it has been closely linked to music. It’s a
Gold Rush (1926)
Asylum Street Spankers
misnomer that we call early films “silent,” since nearly all of them were designed
February 2001 to be accompanied by live music. (The French more accurately called them
Broken Blossoms (1936)
William Zeitler “mute.”) The scores were sometimes improvised, sometimes strict compositions,
April 2001
Last Laugh (1924)
and often updated. Many people’s appreciation of early cinema has been hindered
Laurie Goldston by music that is less timeless than its image counterpart or not appropriate
October 2001
Incredible Insect Animations of Ladislaw NWFF has brought new life to many classic and rare masterpieces of the
Starewicz
Tin Hat Trio “silent” era, revisiting them with newly commissioned live scores by contempo-
October 2001
Nosferatu (1922)
rary musicians. Visiting artists such as Yo La Tengo, Tom Verlaine, San Fran-
C Average cisco’s Tin Hat Trio, Austin’s Asylum Street Spankers, Australian ensemble The
November 2001
Sounds of Science: The Films of Jean Clogs, and others have graced our stages with their aural interpretation of films.
Painleve
Yo La Tengo These special events have also featured great local musicians, including John
January 2002
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) Atkins, Climax Golden Twins, Mount Analog, Troy Swanson, Chris Ballew, Tad
Asylum Street Spankers
Hutchison, Wayne Horovitz, Robin Holcomb, Lori Goldston, Elizabeth Falconer,
February 2002
Faust (1926) Aono Jikken Ensemble, and others.
The Golden Arm Trio
May 2002 In addition to ending the silence of silents, we’ve explored the live scoring of
Buster Keaton Shorts
Chris Ballew and Tad Hutchison sound films, including seminal Cleveland art-punk band Pere Ubu’s live score for
May 2002 3-D film It Came From Outer Space and the new audio landscape created by elec-
The Plow That Broke The Plains (1936)
The River (1937) tronic musicians Scientific American and Plastiq Phantom for the 80s videogame
Mount Analog
May 2002 classic Tron. There have also been new audio/visual events such as Lee Ranaldo’s
Siegfried (1924)
Troy Swanson accompaniment to the film manipulations of Leah Singer and electronic artist
May 2002
Tron (1982)
Randy Jones’ live simultaneous generation of image and music. And we’ve even
Scientific American & Plastiq Phantom heard scores to imaginary films, as in the case of the Phonographers Union per-
March 2002
Projections formance last year in which the subtle, layered soundscapes in the dark theater
Lee Ranaldo with Climax Golden Twins
March 2003
created a cinema of its own.
It Came From Outer Space (1953)
Pere Ubu —Peter Lucas
September 2004
Lumiere Shorts
The Clogs
February 2005
I Was Born, But... (1932)
Lori Goldston and Elizabeth Falconer
February 2005
Woman Of Tokyo (1933)
Wayne Horovitz
Feb 2005
Dragnet Girl (1933)
John Atkins
February 2005
That Night’s Wife (1930)
Robin Holcomb
February 2005
The Lady and the Beard (1931)
Aono Jikken Ensemble
February 2005
An Inn In Tokyo (1935)
Aono Jikken Ensemble
Feb 2005
A Mother Should Be Loved (1934)
Elizabeth and John Falconer
March 2005
Tokyo Chorus (1931)
Karla Torgerson and friends
March 2005
I Flunked, But... (1930)
Dan Tyack and Christine Gunn
March 2005
Passing Fancy (1933)
Lori Goldston and Elizabeth Falconer

42
RE-ACTION
YEAH, OK, CINEMA IS
NORTHWEST FILM FORUM’S
RELIGION, and we shine from the
inspiration and intervention of the holy
masters. But that doesn’t stop us from
commenting on, paying homage to, cre-
atively updating, or even irreverently ma-
nipulating and dismantling movies.
We’ve had the pleasure of presenting
a number of films, performances, and
events which fearlessly and aggressively
explore cinema. Popular cinema has been
put through the ringer countless times
in our cinemas. After writer/performer
David Schmader’s hilariously annotated
screenings of Showgirls premiered at The
Little Theatre, he was actually invited to
do a commentary track on the dvd! Our
insane live production of Point Break,
featuring a different Keanu Reeves each
night (hand-picked off of the street at the Capitol Hill Block Party), filled the
theater with the sound of gunshots and the spray of “ocean waves.” To celebrate the
new year, media artist Franklin Joyce created a wall of video projections on which
twelve of the greatest sci-
fi visions of the future
were shown simultaneous-
ly. We’ve shown under-the-
radar re-edits of movies by
obsessive film fans. And
one of the greatest experi-
ences of the past year was
presenting rare screen-
ings of Raiders of the Lost
Ark: The Adaptation. The
famous adventure movie
was meticulously remade
by kids in their backyards
and basements over the course of many years in the 80s. Co-creator and star Chris
Strompolous was on hand to relate their harrowing adventures doing their own
stunts and effects, the recent re-surfacing of the tapes and surprising approval of
Steven Spielberg, and how the story behind their hilarious homemade homage is
now being made into a major motion picture.
Northwest Film Forum encourages you to explore the cinema landscape, take
control and do your own thing with it. It isn’t sacrilege, it’s creative worship!

—Peter Lucas

43
Productions,
Workshops
& Filmmaker
Resources

Cinema
Exhibition

Special Guests
1996 1997

Purchases sync sound 16mm camera and additional editing table


Moves into first proper home. Turner Way E., with Steenbeck 8-plate A resource library with videos and books begins
16mm film editor
Begins classes and “Pick a Filmmaker’s Brain” sessions including Zola
Gregg Lachow’s THE WRIGHT BROTHERS and MISTY ISLE OUT are Mumford, Gregg Lachow, Karry Fefer, David Russo, John Adair, Scott
the first two features in the Out of the Can program Crocker, Thom Harp, Meg Richman, Brion Rockwell, Sue McNally,
and others

Grand re-opening of the Grand Illusion Cinema


under NWFF’s management
D.W Griffith’s BIRTH OF A NATION
John Jeffcoat begins his annual SUPER 8 PARTY screenings in John Cassavettes’ WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE
his backyard
Caveh Zahedi’s A LITTLE STIFF
Sue Freidrich’s SINK OR SWIM
Abbas Kiarostami’s THROUGHT THE OLIVE TREES

Film critic RAY CARNEY introduces ‘Woman Under The Influence’ at


the grand opening of the Grand Illusion.
Filmmaker CAVEH ZAHEDI in attendance for the Seattle premiere of
his feature film ‘A Little Stiff’
1998 1999

Following world premiere at Los Angeles Film Festival, Seattle pre-


miere of MONEY BUYS HAPPINESS at SIFF sells out the Cinerama
Launches the “Start-To-Finish” program with first feature MONEY (Spring), with the money going toward funding the next ‘Start To
BUYS HAPPINESS Finish’ program

Begins a super 8 club called SUPER 8 THUGS using our super 8 cam- Announces ‘Start To Finish’ project OUT OF THE BLUE
eras and editing equipment. Legendary DP Haskell Wexler teaches cinematography workshop
Purchases Eclair 16mm camera, magnasync transfer station, and Nagra Moves to 19th Avenue studios
recorder with shotgun mic and boompole.
Opens filmmaker lounge with library
Begins the “Roll Camera” grant program to allow free equipment
access, and fiscal sponsorship program Purchases new equipment including a light kit, Bolex 16mm camera,
an optical printer, and a hotly controversial non-linear edit system.
Adds insurance partnership to its grant programs

Opens the Little Theatre on 19th Avenue


GUNSHOT FOR ACTION: THE FILMS OF SAMUEL FULLER
POETRY OF PRECISION: THE FILMS OF ROBERT BRESSON
Krzysztof Kieslowski’s THE DECALOGUE
DIRECT CINEMA: DOCUMENTING THE 60S
GUY MADDIN series
THE FILMS OF JEAN RENOIR
Harmony Korine’s GUMMO
CENTURY OF CINEMA Series
Werner Hertzog’s LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY
CONCERT OF WILLS
Jean Eustache’s THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE
CRACKPOTS AND OBSESSIVES
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ
Abbas Kiarostami’s CLOSE UP
MUSIC FILM FESTIVAL
Jean-Luc Godard’s BREATHLESS
DRUNK EVERY NIGHT: A TWO WEEK BENDER
Hal Hartley’s BOOK OF LIFE
SHOHEI IMAMURA series
DUTCH HARBOR with score by The Boxhead Ensemble
SHOWGIRLS with David Schmader
Local Union 608

Director and cinematographer HASKELL WEXLER presents his films


Documentary filmmaker LES BLANK presents his films as part of the and conducted a workshop.
Music Film Festival TROY HURTUBISE, subject of the documentary film ‘Project Grizzly’,
skipped the Seattle premiere of the film after a month-long argument.
2000 2001

Film/performance project SILENCE! premieres at the Paramount


Theatre as part of SIFF
Announces Matt Wilkins’ BUFFALO BILL’S DEFUNCT as the next ‘Start
Begins annual summer youth program, YOUTH VOICES
To Finish’ grant recipient
Begins TRAILER TRAINING project for four artists to make short films
Innaugural ARTISTS MAKE MOVIES program, commissioning Seattle
to play in the cinemas: Rachel Lord, Serge Gregory, Steve Les, Wendy
comic artists to create and exhibit super 8 films.
Jo Carlton.
TRENT HARRIS presents seminar on low-budget filmmaking
SILENCE! at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles and the Pioneer
Begin FILMMAKERS SALOON networking events Theatre in New York, plus performances in Portland and Olympia.
WigglyWorld adds its first non-linear editing system Paul Willis’ HEDDA GABLER announced as next
‘Start To Finish’ grant project
Produces the first of our ARTISTS MAKE MOVIES programs, commis-
sioning local comic artists to create and exhibit Super 8 films.
Deb Girdwood directs POPPERMAN trailer

Begins weekly MUSIC+FILM series at the Experience Music Project


REVOLUTION IN THE REVOLUTION: SOVIET CINEMA IN THE 1960S
1st annual BYDESIGN series
RIDE LONESOME: CLASSIC WESTERNS FROM BUDD BOETTICHER
PRE-CODE CRIME FILMS series
FESTIVAL OF DEPRESSION Presents two weeks of the most depress-
SUMMER BLONDES series
ing films ever made, shown in the dead of winter.
IMMACULATE REFLECTIONS: THE FILMS OF HOU HSIAO-HSIEN
First annual VISUAL MUSIC FESTIVAL
LEOS CARAX: DREAMER OF PARIS series
First annual FIRST PERSON CINEMA series
Matthew Barney’s CREMASTER 2
OUSMANE SEMBENE TRIBUTE
Hughes brothers’ AMERICAN PIMP
HANDS ON A HARDBODY
Lars von Trier’s THE IDIOTS
Christopher Nolan’s THE FOLLOWING
Rendezvous Reading Series
Agnès Varda’s THE GLEANERS AND I
Olivier Assayas’ COLD WATER
BITCHES IN HEAT: 6 SASSY CLASSICS 1935-66
SHOWGIRLS with David Schmader

Filmmaker and performance artist MIRANDA JULY presents short films


and performance. Film historian DR. WILLIAM MORITZ (1941-2004) presents the films of
Musician TOM VERLAINE (of Television) performs original live scores experimental animator Oskar Fischinger.
for avant-garde films. Documentary filmmaker ROBERT MUGGE presents his music docu-
Austin band the ASYLUM STREET SPANKERS performs their original mentaries.
live score for the Charlie Chaplin classic, ‘Gold Rush’. THOMAS COMERFORD presents his pinhole films and conducts a
Director LARRY CLARK presents the final ever screening of his influen- workshop.
tial 1977 film ‘Passing Through’. GRETA SNIDER presents films and a forum on personal filmmaking
Director CHARLES AHEARN in attendance for his classic hip hop film, British documentary filmmaker JEREMY MARRE presents his 1977 film
‘Wild Style’ ‘Roots Rock Reggae’ and excerpts of his unreleased first film.
Photographer HENRY CHALFANT presents early 80s graffiti docu- YO LA TENGO performs their original music for the underwater silent
mentary STYLE WARS films of Jean Painlevé.
Director MEL STUART presents his 70s soul concert doc WATTSTAX
2002 2003

BUFFALO BILL’S DEFUNCT and HEDDA GABLER goes into produc-


tion the same week.
Jamie Hook’s feature film THE NAKED PROOF goes into production.
NEW MODEL EDIT grant begins, offering free access to the
non-linear edit suite
Announces ‘Start To Finish’ recipients Rob Devor and Charles Mudede
Produces Gregg Lachow’s short film I’M WORKING ON A BUILDING for POLICE BEAT
commissioned by Cinema Seattle for Phillip Glass event.
Dave Hanagan directs auction film KODACHROME CONFIDENTIAL
Produces three special ARTISTS MAKE MOVIES programs, commis-
NAKED PROOF premieres at SIFF
sioning local puppeteers, poets and dancers to create and exhibit
Super 8 films. Purchases a digital video camera (Panasonic AG-DVX100)
Michael Wilde directs METROPOPLEX, the first of our annual
auction films.
Purchases a DAT sound package
New York filmmaker PETER HUTTON conducts filmmaking workshop

MERRY CHRISTMAS, ANYWAY holiday performance


CHRIS MARKER series
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: THE ART OF THE SCREWBALL COMEDY
HEARTBREAK AND TRIUMPH: THE WORLD OF DOUGLAS SIRK
FANTASTIKA: RUSSIAN FANTASY MASTER ALEKSANDR PTUSHKO BLOOD AND SAND: THE WESTERNS OF SERGIO LEONE
ETERNAL ROMANTIC: THE FILMS OF ERNST LUBITSCH BEAUTIFUL WORK: FILMS BY CLAIRE DENIS
FAT CITY: AMERICAN CINEMA IN THE 70S series Takashi Miike’s ICHI THE KILLER
SUPERFLAT CINEMA series THE OBSESSED WORLD OF JEFF KRULIK
First annual OSCAR SHORTS programs FISTS OF LOVE: THE EARLY FILMS OF GUS VAN SANT
First CHILDISH FILM FESTIVAL BONHOEFFER

First annual EARSHOT JAZZ FESTIVAL FILMS series MC5

First of our annual ULTRA counter consumer culture series’ POINT BREAK LIVE!
HOW TO DRAW A BUNNY
Lucrecia Martel’s LA CIENEGA
Guy Maddin’s DRACULA: PAGES FROM A VIRGIN’S DIARY
Béla Tarr’s WERKMEISTER HARMONIES
Dardenne brothers’ THE SON (LE FILS)
WELCOME TO KITTY HAWK by Printer’s Devil Theatre

Mexican director ARTURO RIPSTEIN presents the North American


premiere of his film ‘Virgin of Lust’
Director CLAIRE DENIS presents films, including the Seattle premiere
Director LEE HIRSCH presents the West Coast premiere of his docu-
of ‘Friday Night’
mentary ‘Amandla’
QUENTIN TARANTINO screens rare prints of westerns and trailers DECO DAWSON presents a retrospective of his films
from his personal collection JEFF KRULIK presents a special series of his offbeat documentaries
Portland-based artists BILL DANIEL and VANESSA RENWICK presents including the cult classic ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’
films and a slide installation. Animator and Pixar Founder ALVY RAY SMITH introduces a program
Experimental animator RICHARD REEVES presents films and conducts of experimental animation from the 1960s and 70s.
a direct animation workshop.
Director JOHN CONEY in attendance for the West Coast premiere of
Director MIKE MILLS presents a program of music videos. a new print of ‘Space Is The Place’
Musician LEE RANALDO (of Sonic Youth) and artist LEAH SINGER
Cleveland art-punk band PERE UBU performs an original live score for
present a special film and music performance.
the 1950s 3-D Sci-Fi classic ‘It Came From Outer Space’
Beat poet TED JOANS (1928-2003) reads his poetry and screens his
super 8 films.
2004 2005

Martha Colburn teaches a hands-on collage animation workshop


New film vault
New home on 12th Ave. with expanded facilities including a dedicated
workshop room and adding an animation suite featuring Oxberry New Bolex 16mm camera and grip equipment
Filmaker Stand Anna Oxygen teaches Loop Girls as part of Summer Youth program
Annual LOCAL SIGHTINGS FESTIVAL moves to the fall and begins POLICE BEAT premieres at Sundance competition. Its Seattle premiere
giving cash awards follows in the spring at Seattle International Film Festival, and it goes
Features BUFFALO BILL’S DEFUNCT and HEDDA GABLER both pre- on to show in festivals worldwide
miere at the Seattle Int’l Film Festival Start SIGNATURE SHORTS program commissioning regional artists to
Partner with composer Herbert Bergel to produce original film and make shorts to be shown in our cinemas before features
performance, BIRDS IN WINTER Begins running the annual WASHINGTON STATE
Rachel Kessler directs auction film PARADE SCREENPLAY COMPETITION
Jaime Keeling and Brandon Bay direct auction film
THE SIMPLEX PROJECT

HER PHANTOM LIMB by Curtis Taylor


SPIRIT UNDER THE INFLUENCE by Dayna Hanson
Neil Young’s GREENDALE
PABLO FERRO: SPLIT SCREENS AND QUICK CUTS
NINA SIMONE: LOVE SORCERESS CITY SLIVERS AND FRESH KILLS:
Terence Young’s WAIT UNTIL DARK THE FILMS OF GORDON MATTA-CLARK
SACRED CINEMA: YASUJIRO OZU RETROSPECTIVE
Julie Bertucelli’s SINCE OTAR LEFT
Guy Maddin’s COWARD BENDS THE KNEE
HEAVEN AND HELSINKI: THE FILMS OF AKI KAURISMAKI Jean-Luc Godard’s NOTRE MUSIQUE
HEY IS DEE DEE HOME THE OTHER SIDE OF INDIE: DISPATCHES FROM THE AMERICAN
UNDERGROUND
MONUMENTAL
TAKE NO PRISONERS: THE BOLD VISION OF KIRA MURATOVA
Opening of new cinematheque in September THE NOMI SONG
LOST & FOUND MEDIA ARCHEOLOGY series WE JAM ECONO: THE STORY OF THE MINUTEMEN
STATE OF ART: THE NEW SLOVENE AVANT-GARDE Begins hosting the Seattle International Film Festival’s
NEW PIONEERS program
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: THE ADAPTATION

Filmmaker GUY MADDIN in attendance for the Seattle Theatrical


Premiere of ‘Coward Bends The Knee’ and other films as well as
making a film with The Film Company.
GEORGE AND MIKE KUCHAR in attendance for special screenings of
their films Legendary filmmaker and designer PABLO FERRO present a program
of his film title sequences and trailers made over the past 40 years
Documentary filmmaker ROSS MCELWEE in attendance to present a and conducts a workshop.
retrospective and Seattle premiere of new film ‘Bright Leaves’
Renowned Dutch architect MATTHJS BOUW gives a presentation
Australian ensemble THE CLOGS perform an original live score with on architecture in the Pacific Northwest with live music from
Lumiere films MOUNT ERIE.
CHRIS STROMPOLOUS, star of ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark: Director CAMERON CROWE presents scenes from his
The Adaptation’, a homemade remake of the epic in which film ELIZABETHTOWN
he starred as Indiana Jones. Director HAL HARTLEY presents the Seattle premiere of his film ‘Girl
From Monday’
Director WILLIAM LUSTIG presents three of his classic cult movies.
NWFF NOW
TEN YEARS AFTER the founding
of Northwest Film Forum, we are
established in an 8,000 square foot
building and continuing to grow. We’re
completing work on our hand-picked new
home, in one of Seattle’s hottest neighbor-
hoods, positioned at a crossroads of several
incredibly rich and varied sections of the city.
We’ve dedicated ourselves to bringing Seattle the
very best in cinema, creating an environment that en-
courages new films and filmmakers both by exposing
the city to fantastic work from all over the world and by
making the techniques and equipment accessible to anyone
who wants to make a movie.
Inside a dramatic 1927 storefront, we’ve transformed an open
space of raw heavy timber columns, hardwood floors, brick, and
concrete into a contemporary cinemathèque that designer Jerry
Garcia describes as “the mingling of the rough and the fine, the natural
and the fake.” It boasts dramatic curving walls, a concession counter
and lobby bench made from reclaimed wood, a beautiful new chande-
lier made from vintage light fixtures by artist Ingrid Lahti, a dazzling new
piece from Leo Saul Berk lining our entryway and what the Seattle Post-
Intelligencer calls “the hippest restrooms in the city.”
Our two cinemas, operating 361 days a year, show the best in new work

“Northwest Film Forum has


evolved into the hub for Seat-
tle’s cultural life.”
—Regina Hackett, SEATTLE
POST-INTELLIGENCER

56
and repertory classics, with pro-
gramming that covers every “What would Seattle be like
possible area of film - from kid- without THE NORTHWEST FILM
friendly entertainment for the FORUM? This is a cruel question,
whole family to the innovative
for without it, Seattle’s film com-
experimentation of the avant-
munity and its very film identity
garde. Nearly every film we play
would be severely crippled—
is one that would otherwise
not a pretty scenario by any
never be shown in Washing-
means. From its classes on film
ton State (it’s not uncommon
artistry, to its screenings of rare
for members to drive 50 or 100 miles to see one of our movies). We’re
also one of the only film arts organizations nationally that presents live and underappreciated works, to
theater, music and dance performance, and commission new work from its actual film production, Hook
artists across all mediums to premiere in our cinemas. With the expanded and Girdwood’s creation has
capacity of our new home, we’re able to undertake ambitious projects bloomed into the driving force
such as our recent 27-film Yasujiro Ozu retrospective featuring 10 newly for cinema in Seattle.”
commissioned live musical scores for the silent films. — Bradley Steinbacher,
The building THE STRANGER
also houses our
filmmaking and ed-
ucational facilities,
unrivaled anywhere in
the Pacific Northwest.
We provide filmmak-
ers with equipment
(running the gamut
“The U.S.’s non-profit funding
from from 100 year-
old filmmaking world and the American
techniques to the independent filmmaking scene
latest in digital video gear), filmmaker offices, several workshops every have acted like estranged
week, and rehearsal and meeting rooms. The space is constantly buzzing cousins for the last two decades.
with new work. With NWFF members making more than 80 films a year, Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum
from animation to personal documentaries to narrative features, we’re is changing all of that.”
a hub for filmmaking in the Northwest. Our own features are playing at —Scott Macaulay
Sundance, the Smithsonian, Film Society of Lincoln Center, and screens FILMMAKER MAGAZINE
around the world.
Northwest Film Forum continues to work diligently toward a future in
which Seattle filmmaking is as robust as the city’s music and dance com-
munities, and has earned an international reputation. We’ll continue to
find inventive ways to get around the old distribution bottlenecks, both
bringing films that Seattle audiences would otherwise not see and aiding
in the creation and distribution of local films. Throwing ourselves into
the next ten years, we see a lot of challenges, but the potential for even
more triumphs.

57
b o a rd 1995 - 2005

Per Anderson Susan Corcoran Nick Hanauer Julie Mullaney Andy Spletzer
Betsey Brock Steve Costie Jamie Hook Zola Mumford Tonia Steed
Chris Bruce John De Shazo John Jeffcoat Alan Pruzan Lee Thelen
Sheila Benson Janice Findley Steve Les Diane Ragsdale Peter Vogt
Lyall Bush Deborah Girdwood Scott Lipsky Jennifer Roth Mike Walker
Tony Chiotti Serge Gregory Erik Maahs Michael Seiwerath Jessica Wilson

staff 1995 - 2005

Jamie Hook – Co-Founder Kat Bachert Jan-Henry Gray Ivan Peycheff Nora Weideman – current
(1995-2000) (2000-2003) (2001-2003) (2002-2003) Technical Director
(2003-present)
Deborah Girdwood – Shon Kayli Jaime Keeling – current Tanzania Roach
Co-Founder (2000-2001) Program Director (2002) Mike Seeley
(1995-2001) (2001-present) (2003)
Peter Lucas – current Chad Imhoff
Michael Seiwerath – Programmer Christine Felton (2002-2003) George Kloss
current Executive Director (2000-present) (2002-2003) (2003-2005)
Allison Lamoza
(1996-present)
Rhonda L Piri (Lilith) Kathlyn Albright (2002-2003) Wesley Hottot
Matt Cunningham – (2000-2002) (2002) (2004)
Sebastian DeCastillo
current Asst. Technical
Christine Dobson Patrick Mathewes (2002) Joe Moore
Director
(2001) (2002-2003) (2004)
(1998-present) Catherine Brooke Barrows
Evan Sult David Hanagan – current (2002) Adam Hart – current
Spencer Hoyt Communications Director
(1998-2004) (2001-2002) WigglyWorld Studio Mary Erickson
Director (2004-present)
Rebecca Fisher (2002-2004)
Guerren Marter (2002-present) Rob Coleman – current
(1999-2004) (2001) Paulina Berczynski
Zachariah Carlson Bookkeeper
Kathryn Mitchell (2002-2005) (2005)
John De Shazo (2002-2004)
(1999-2001) (2001-2002) Susan Purves – current
Marc Palm Managing Director
(2002) (2003-present)

v o l un t e e r s 1995 - 2005

Formidable and excellent, loyal and true, a good volunteer finds more than enough to do in Northwest Film Forum’s ill-defined atmosphere
of collegial hysteria. As we trod the path from catastrophe to incompetence to adequacy to excellence, our volunteers often hold the line
between the edge and the 30-story drop. Indeed, many volunteers have ratcheted up the ante, improved us so much, that the drop is even
more severe. We thank you for the thrill and hope to show our appreciation whether we saw you last Friday or drove you away years ago.
And we apologize to the hundreds more who would not fit.
In no particular order (perhaps):
Cathy Sarkowsky, all-time greatest no-nonsense approach to nonsense. Gracie Remington, finesse, grace and some day we’ll be working
for you. PJ Welsh, a rock star, a soldier, a positive force. Doug Stewart, thank you for keeping us in the dark. Sung Kim, yes, yes, yes! Amanda
Sloane, the bulwark between the you of you and the us of us. George Kloss, magnificent human cipher. E. Steven Fried, brainiac with a
paintbrush. Ashley Bellouin, what do you look like now? Allison Lamoza, Jaime misses you. Lena Scott, mysterious and out of our price
range. James Burdyshaw, beacon at the end of the work-week. John Nonnenmacher, mad-scientist of filmmaking. Jon Pintar, Jersey boy.
Harlan Snyder, a welcome breeze of looniness and provider of carbohydrates. Sebastian del Castillo, clever wrangler of equipment and
films. Michael Wilde, donor: Michael Wilde Memorial Liquor Cabinet. Cat Fraser, sensational yet Midwestern. Shinjiro Nishimura, mercenary
softball hero. Voleak Sip, comes bearing gifts. Mario Quintana, can move mountains at will. Kelly Payne, unflinching and willing to take us
seriously. Mark Brunke, celluloid archeologist. Bob Cumbow, saving us from ourselves. Shayna Banfe, personality plus! Brandon Bay, late
nite poster designer. Joff Hanauer, a sorely missed advisory board member. Lee Thelen, we can’t count the ways but luckily you can. Ann
Bradfield, ain’t just whistling Dixie. Randal Fehr, library card holder. Richard Waugh, mise-en-scene. Thomas, the bike-riding guy. Julie Fay, we
want you back! Andy Pratt, negative cutter. Jack Kopp, Voice of the Northwest Film Forum. Paulina Berczynski, tough – like a marshmallow.
John Evan Sult, Andy Rohrman, Mike Campbell, Carol Chapman, excellent, good, superior designers. John De Shazo, everything, always,
occasionally on-time. Kate Sweeny, moonlighting in Cinematic Splendor. Kimberlee Gillis-Bridges, using her powers for good. Ashley Dahl,
control through calmness. Joe Shapiro, professional enthusiast. Yma Munoz, provider of Dave Matthews and bare naked ladies. Wes Kim,
ceaseless. Sean Reid, will be missed. Trent and Heather Mathias, God’s gift to Northwest Film Forum. Geoff Gerson, patience. Mike Seely,
the ‘stache. Brendan Nunn, the adult we needed at the time we needed him. Lana Wilson, long tall drink of water. Joe Moore, human
jackhammer. Kate Knappett and Michelle Himple, two young women poised on the edge. Dominick Defino, more than we deserved. Jim
Anderson, lensman extrordinare. Sam Richert, secret agent librarian. Ryan Davis, psychotherapist and pornographer. Dave Rosencrans &
Beverly Breckenridge, the Ozzie & Harriet of non-profit film exhibition. John Atkins, like a rock. Web Crowell, familiar enigma. Jennifer Maas,
evil, evil bunny. Scott Palmer, projection superstar. Chad Imhoff, quiet man. Susannah Anderson, leading lady and scenic wonderment. And
all the staff that started in the volunteer position (next only to the missionary position in popularity), Adam Hart, Jaime Keeling, Michael
Seiwerath, Matt Cunningham, Nora Weideman and Dave Hanagan. And Kathy Fennesy, Lainy Bagwell, and Elisa Haradon, without whom
this publication would not be possible.
These folks have helped Northwest Film Forum in ways
that can be measured and ways that can’t.

Anonymous Martin Dickey Michael Hindery Jason Meininger & David Scudder, Flying Spot
Tonnvane Wiswell
4Culture Peter Donnelly, Artsfund Jana Hollingsworth The Seattle Foundation
Mary Metastasio
ACE Hotel Ruth Dunlop Eric Holtz & Jean Guth Dave & Mary Ann Seiwerath
Microsoft Matching Gifts
AKC Fund Virginia Dunn Dick & Mari Hook Michael Seiwerath
Miocrosoft Corporation
Per Anderson Paul Dwoskin, Broadway Video Jamie Hook Anne Seiwerath
Tom Milewski
Steve Appelo Andrew Dym & Stephanie Gail Dave Howe, Bad Animals Bryan Selner
Kowals Michele Miller & Kathy Holzer
Rebecca Banyas Kristine Hornung, Wandering Sam Severn, Dream Forest
Aaron Edison Cafe Howard Miller, The Johnson Pictures
Lorraine Barrick & Paul Maybee Partnership
Trent Elwing Shelagh & Hil Hornung Michael Shapiro
Russ & Janet Battaglia, Tall Grass Lincoln Miller & Nancy Sapiro
Bakery Mark Engle, Cultcuts Magazine Richard T. Howell Jennifer Shepherd
Fendall Moraitis
Brandon Bay, Clone Press Mary & Lucas Erickson Spenser Hoyt Kate & Amnon Shoenfeld
William Morgan
Antonio & Lovorka Bedalov Mary & Bruce Erickson Joseph Hudson & Cathy Hil- David Skinner, ShadowCatcher
lenbrand Robert Musburger Entertainment
Dana Behar & Rena Hoffman Max Estoque
Behar Grady & Heather Hughes National Endownment for the Hart Smith
Mike Ewanciw Arts
John S. Behnke, The Behnke Vulcan Productions Austin Smith
Foundation Kevin Fansler & Michael Wan- Sierra Nelson
nenwetsch Thomas Hussey Matt Smitherman & Jennifer
Misha Berson Reed O’Beirne McCormick
Rich Fassio, David Fassio, Daniel Ichinaga
Pam Biallas Modern Digital Daniel Odell The Sorrento Hotel
Mary Ingraham & Jim Brown
Christopher Bien Kathy Fennessy David & Melinda Olson Crispin Spaeth
Inn at Virginia Mason
Kim Bishop, The Bishop Family Corwin Fergus Linden Ontjes Speakeasy Network
Foundation John Jeffcoat, Jeffcoat Films
Elizabeth Fergus Foundation Brad Overbeck Andy Spletzer
Ken Block Don Jensen, Alphacine
Sam Fields Eric Ovestrud The Stranger
Bruce and Ann Blume Chris & Laurie Johnson
Janice Findley Pacific Coast Feather Co. Stewart Stern
Carol Bobo Matthew Johnston
Renate Fleischer-Anderson & Hannah Palin Sheila Strobel
Janet Boguch & Kelby Fletcher Croil Anderson Tim Keck & Abby Gross
Carole Palmer Cynthia Stroum
Robert Bohan Heidi & Bill Flora Kevin Keeker
Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Michael Sullivan
Lynn Booth Forrest Pruzan Creative L. Susanne Keller & Al Williams
Patricia & Bob Pearlman Tommy Swenson
Barbara & Peter Bradfield Rocky Friedman, Rachael Kessler
The Rose Theatre Richard Pena Kiyomi Taguchi
The Breneman Jaech Founda- KEXP
tion Michal Friedrich, DDS Deborah Person Tammy Talman
Nancy Kiefer
Bill Broadhead, GSM - Mercury Jeannette & Raymond Galante Michael & Susan Peskura Vicky Tamaru, Plexipixel
Bruce King
Betsey Brock & Eric Fredericksen Janet & Ed Galore Palmer & Marcia Pettersen Andrew Taper
Kingfish Cafe
Brande Brooking Jerry Garcia, u.n.d. Pagliacci Pizza Wm. Michael Thompson
Dieter Klippstein, Triage Wines
Martin Burga Dwight Gee & Barbara Wright Andy Pratt, Image Treasury Lisa Thompson
Todd Kluger, The Chocolate
Libby Burke & Brad Robison Anne George Company Peggy Printz Carolyn Thompson

Chris Burkhalter Jeff Gerson Mark Kostoff POCAAN Jordan and Tegan Tigani

Lyall Bush & Gael Zane John Gibbons John & Signe Kounts Alan & Juliet Pruzan Carol Tobin & Dave Aynardi

Justin Campbell Kimberlee Gillis-Bridges & KUOW Radio Herb & Lucy Pruzan Tim Trendall
Michael Bridges Robert Kunreuther Pruzan Family Foundation Rick Treston & Trina D’Angelo
Laurel Canan & Sara Jinks
Andrew and Bettina M. Gird- Andrew Kwatinetz & Jennifer David Quasha & Jennifer Crowe Paul Trice
Aaron Caplan wood Emrich
Alec Carlin Andrea & Alan Rabinowitz Ruth & Bill True, Gull Industries
Deborah Girdwood Gregg Lachow & Megan
Emmanuel & Patricia Cassimatis Murphy James & Sherry Raisbeck Sergei P. Tschernisch
Paul & Jennifer Goetz
Gil & Kristina Cerise Stan and Barbara Lachow Tommy & Leslie Ramier, Vertigo Janie Upton & Jeff Friederichsen
Peter Goldman & Martha High Access
Carol Chapman Kongsgaard Taso Lagos Marla Vandewater
Charlie Rathbun
Cheka Looka Anne Gould Hauberg Lars Larson, Optimistic Camera Diana Vernon
Thomas Reardon
Peg Cheng Brian & Lyn Grant Amii Legendre Frank Video
Jane & Jay Reich
S.J. Chiro Serge Gregory Terje Leiren, Department of Sander Viegers
Scandinavian Studies University Mark Remington
Matthew Clapp, Pioneer David Gross Peter & Ali Vogt
of Washington Richmond Public Relations
Enterprises Chris Gulick Mike Vraney, Something Weird
Ann Lennartz Bob Riopelle Video
City of Seattle, Mayor’s Office of Nancy and Joe Guppy
Arts & Cultural Affairs Dave Less Lincoln Ritter Ryan Waite
Hales Ales
Joseph Cole Stacey Levitan Chris Roberts, Alibi Room Victoria Walker
Yadviga Halsey
Community Foundation of North Wiley Lewis & Stefanie Ray y Elizabeth & Jon Roberts Doug & Maggie Walker
Central WA Jerry Hanauer Velarde
Eric Rockey & Steve Sicken- Jill Waller
Go City Kids Lenore Hanauer Marty Lindemann & Katharine berger
Lindemann Washington Building for the Arts
Susan Corcoran, Shanty Pig Nicholas Hanauer Marian & Peter Rose
Productions MK Linden Washington State Arts
Jeffrey Hansen Steve Rosen Commission
Cornish College of the Arts Richard Lintermans & Amy Bailey
Marlow Harris Lance S Rosen Esq. Catherine Watson
Jennifer Coursen Bob Lipman & Monique Richards
Jo David Joseph Rosenbaum Carol Weisbecker & Michael
Jennifer Creegan Marilyn & Russ Love Ernst
Pike Brewing Co Dave Rosencrans & Beverly
Bob Cumbow, Graham & Dunn Mark MacDonald, Victory Breckenridge Bob Weisel
Nancy Hartunian & Barak Gaster Studios
James Cunningham Lois Ruffner Maureen Welch
John Harvey Haruko Marquardt
Chris & Tim Curtis Resha & Stanley Sabre Jonathan Wenger
Phoebe Haas Charitable Trust Dianne Marsh
Rose Custer Sheppard Salusky Sean West
Michele & David Hasson George Marshall
John Davidson, Victory Studios Cathy Sarkowsky Tracey Wickersham
David Hawes Michelle Marshall & Lloyd David
Rachel & Dave DeBusk Herman and Faye Sarkowsky Fred Williamson
Robin Held Paul Marston
Georgeanne Delahanty Carlo & Lalie Scandiuzzi George & Jennifer Wing
Cathy Hern Marcie & John McHale
Frances DeMarco & Brian Scarecrow Video Philip & Chris Wohlstetter
Atwater Restaurant Le Pichet
Cheryll Hidalgo Meg McHutchison Robert Schilperoort Deborah Woodard & Dave Karp
John DeShazo & Susannah
Anderson Norm Hill Kathleen McInnis Amy Schottenstein & Justin Martha Wyckoff
Magaram
Dr. and Mrs. B.W. DeShazo Scarecrow Video Tina Meadows WymanYouth Trust
Mari Scimica
Northwest Film Forum’s
10th Anniversary Sponsors

ve
= Lo
lm
+Fi
s ic
u
M

QUEEN ANNE 20 MERCER ST • (206) 691-EASY


WEST SEATTLE 4559 CALIFORNIA AVE SW • (206) 938-EASY
A nniversary Wig
1 0 th gl
yW
py

o
Hap

rld

Steve Kodish
Lakeside Productions (206) 679-6889
they say the fittest shall survive

yet the unfit may live

wear gaudy colors or avoid display

hey it don’t matter it’s all the same

so i do this and i do that

it’s never straight up and down

oh you got a nickel and i got a dime

i’d like to get to know you but i haven’t got the time

you gotta walk like a mannequin, roll like a tire

act on reaction, dodge the big spud fryer

wiggle on the bottom, wiggle on the top

wiggle up the middle and laugh alot

cause I’ve been living in a wiggly world

wiggly world! wiggly world!

—Devo (1979)

64