Tonight in Seattle:  


SIFF Review: The Family Picture Show

The Numberlys

This program is a highlight of the festival every year: 12 diverse short films united only by their appropriateness for all ages. Most but not all are animated, but you certainly needn’t be a child or a parent of children to enjoy the suite.

My 4-year-old daughter, 7-year-old son, and I went to see it last weekend, and herein are the ones we found most memorable, although there were none this year we truly disliked.

Overall Favorite: Forward March!

Perhaps you’ve wondered what would happen if several British soldiers with unshakeably rigid marching procedures were beset by a mischievous creature who resembles the furry hats they wear. Or what would happen if you stopped up a bagpipe with Jell-O. Wonder no more. The answer could never be anything else.

7-Year-Old’s Favorite: The Numberlys

Visually the most impressive entry, owing an explicit debt to Fritz Lang’s monumental Art Deco stylings, The Numberlys posits the origins of the alphabet. Logically, it was a bit thin for me—why exactly are numbers oppressive?—but is was transfixing to watch. This was an unqualified winner for both kids.

4-Year-Old’s Favorite: The Pink Helmet Posse


SIFF Takes: ShortsFest Family Picture Show

I always worry that it may be a bit impolite to recap the Shorts Fest films, since it’s not always easy to catch them outside of that one showing, but I so sincerely hope that you run across a chance to see them some time (for example, if any of them get nominated for Academy Awards and make the rounds before the ceremony) that I'll offer a rundown anyway. They showed 14 at this year's Family Picture Show on Saturday. And I’ve included links to trailers or to the full thing whenever I could dig them up.

My favorites

Hop Frog
My very favorite of the shorts this year was this little gem that shows how little it takes to generate a compelling narrative. Brightly-colored creatures hop in and out of holes in the ground (rather like the Nowhere Man from Yellow Submarine), establishing crystal-clear personalities with just one or two hops. One mutating magenta fellow hops blissfully alone until a green Philly-Phanatic-lookalike joins him in the hole adjacent. “Is there room in this world for both of them?” quickly gives way to “can they live without each other?” If I can ever manage to find a link to it anywhere I’ll be sure to post it for y’all later.

Hedgehogs in the City
A poignant social commentary smuggled in by adorable woodland creatures who hatch a genius plan to recapture their homeland after it’s paved over. Everybody wins!

Hannah and the Moon
This sweet fable about a girl seeking solace from the moon when she can’t seem to get it from her busy mom tells its own tale with written words woven into each scene. It has a dreamy, Etsy-drawing quality that suits the mood beautifully. Trailer here! 


Imaginary Watch This: Dirty Girls

Thanks to Metafilter, I found this cool short documentary shot in 1996 by Michael Lucid about a group of 13-year-old Riot Grrls trying to spread the message that society's expectations of the way women should act, dress, and groom themselves is Bullshit -- and sexism, racism, and homophobia are not okay, on any level. Because of their self-expression,  they earned the nickname "Dirty Girls" and the neverending scorn of most of their classmates ("That's the girl who didn't take a shower since Kurt Cobain died."), especially when they published their first zine. 

It's a really fascinating peek into the world of teenage girls, and I recommend you watch it. Props to the one guy at the end who actually stands up for these girls by saying their zine is a brilliant, Marxist critque of the world -- even though his friends are yelling at him that it's not. So great.

"The reason why people put so much negative energy towards us is to make themselves feel higher. And I totally believe that, because a lot of people -- if they're popular or not popular -- it doesn't matter. The reason why they put people down is to make themselves feel higher and give themselves more self-esteem, more self-power, more self-confidence. And that's SO dumb. To change somebody else, to make yourself different. The only way to change yourself is to change yourself." 

I'd LOVE to see an update on these ladies now. 

And VICE posted one a few days ago! YAY! 


Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "YAY! That is so rad, V. Thank you for finding and sharing! xoxo "

Recommended SIFF: ShortsFest Weekend {5/24-5/28}

ALERT: As of a few minutes ago, ShortsFest Opening Night was on standby! Get your umbrellas ready and line up early.

Y’all know how much I love the SIFF Shorts Packages, and I definitely found some gems this year in the packages I had time to preview. All shorts programs are showing at SIFF Cinema Uptown this year.

ShortsFest Opening Night {Thursday, May 25, 7pm}  
My very favorite this year is Bear, (teaser trailer above) which plays as part of the Opening Night package. It’s the “sequel” to a short called Spider, which is about how this guy Jack always takes things just a scoonch past too far when trying to impress his girlfriends.

In Bear, Jack plans an elaborate birthday surprise for his new girlfriend (watch Spider here, re: why she’s new) that goes horribly awry. Also endearing: both shorts include original songs by Ben Lee & wife Ione Skye that are super-cute! Diane Court! Singing! I love it. Go, Nash Edgerton (who also stars as Jack)!!!

Other Opening Night Shorts standouts: Fishing Without Nets, a documentary about Somali Pirates that is simply STUNNING; The Return, about a guy rejoining his family after many years in a Serbian prison, aka: the most depressing short film I’ve ever seen; and Friend Request Pending, which is maybe a little too precious for its own good (OMG old people! Using Facebook! Like teenagers!), but Dame Judy Dench can do almost anything and I’ll still like it.


Imaginary Watch This: Eagles are Turning People Into Horses! (what)

I don't even know what to say about this short film, except I liked it -- and apparently so did Slamdance and SXSW. Maybe you will too?

"Hannah, hit the button on the seismic reactor, which is definitely a real thing"


Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "

Rich, I think it was Slamdance 2010. In any case, I laughed and laughed and laughed at all the action movie cliches and general ridiculousness. So funny!


Imaginary Linkage: Stuff We Spied Online This Week {1/21-1/27}

We sure do love the internets! And we also love the millions and millions of things we see everyday while we're surfing around, trying to kill time or relieve stress, or just plain distract ourselves. Because we also love YOU, we wanted to share the following things that made us happy.

Social Media Madness: TIG jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon! It's fun (and time-consuming).

Awwwwww! We <3 this really sincere reaction to being nominated for an Academy Award.

Hipster heaven: create your own animated gifs with stenographs from the NYC Public Library.

Film nerd heaven: Watch short films from Sundance - for Free!

Seattle real estate porn: the revamped Sanctuary is back on sale (yet still too expensive for normal people) condo market. It sure is beautiful, though.

Seth Rogen speaks the truth at the Golden Globes. (hee!)

What'd you see on the 'net this week? Please share your imaginary awesomeness in the comments! 

Latest comment by: imaginary liz: "

Pin it, pin it!!!


Imaginary Watch This: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On Two

I can't really explain why I think Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is so damn funny, but it just is. In this second installment, I really love the "oh god, I can smell his face" part - and the explanation of where he sleeps when in a hotel. (part 1 here)


Tall Beers & Short Shorts: Films, Prizes & Beer Thursday, July 29 at Re-Bar

Now here's something I can get behind (HA! seewhatIdidthere?): a short film festival featuring filmmakers from the Pacific NW, with Beer! Contests! and Prizes!

But seriously, guys - I love me some shorts. And if $10 can get me a whole mess of 'em in a fun venue with other like-minded peoples, I'm down. Tall Beers and Short Shorts looks like a whole lot of awesome, so film lovers should definitely go check it out.

Deets from the press release:

Who: Tall Beers Short Shorts, produced by The Last Quest, along with The Levee Breaking, Britta Lundin and Katie Izak.

What: Tall Beers and Short Shorts is a quarterly short-film screening series, highlighting works of Pacific Northwest short filmmakers from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, British Columbia, The Yukon and Alaska.

When: Thursday, July 29. Doors at 7pm, screenings begin at 8pm. $10 Cover.

Where: Re-bar, 1114 Howell Street, Seattle.

Why: Tall Beers Short Shorts’ intention is to find and foster new audiences for short films and to seek new frontiers to engage audiences besides art house theaters and the Internet. Screening series takes place in a different location every quarter, sometimes in bars, sometimes in art spaces.