Tonight in Seattle:  

Northwest Film Forum

A Very Imaginary Cause: Help the Northwest Film Forum Go Digital

There are Kickstarter campaigns galore, but I want to bring your attention to one that I think is MORE than worthy of your donations: the Northwest Film Forum needs to make the leap to DCP conversion, because eventually, whether we like it or not, 35mm is going to be gone for good. So, to help make sure NWFF can show as many new films as possible, and keep this amazing piece of Seattle film community going, they need to raise $50,000 to get new technology, as well as modernize a few other things. 

Where will your money go? 

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Latest comment by: Molly: "Amie, you guys at TIG are the best. Thanks for the shout-out!"

I'll be in KUOW's Chat Room TODAY with Rachel Flotard, Lyall Bush on the Weekday show

Fuel
{photo by Fnarf}

I am beyond honored to be join Rachel Flotard (Visqueen, Fretboard Journal, lady about town) and Lyall Bush (Executive Director of the Northwest Film Forum), along with host Steve Scher on KUOW's Weekday program TODAY around 10.40am.

We are all going to sit around the preverbal water cooler and chat about about a few of the topics making the rounds. The topics are subject to change at a moment's notice - but it looks like we might gab about the Grammys, George W. Bush's hidden painting talent and the state of the film industry.

Fill your mug with something warm and join the convo!  It starts at 10.40am today (TUESDAY 2/12) on KUOW.org / 94.9fm.

This chat room segment was recently been made famous by recent participants  Sir Mixalot and John Roderick who spent their "chat room" time talking about the gun buyback program here in Seattle (and a couple other lighter subjects like the Super Bowl and Macklemore's success).  You can listen to their the segment on the KUOW website, it starts about 36 minutes in.

Latest comment by: imaginary liz: "

In case you missed it, you can hear the segment on the KUOW.org website.  Can I mention a thousand times over how brillant Steve, Rachel, Lyall and KUOW are?

"

Pay attention to the soul-shaking ideas of Simone Weil at the Northwest Film Forum {9/24-27}

{The Seattle premiere of An Encounter with Simone Weil is at The Northwest Film Forum Monday, 9/24, and it screens through Thursday, 9/27. The Thursday showing includes a special introduciton by The Stranger editor Chrisopher Frizelle.} 

Totally intense philosopher, political agent, and spiritual worker Simone Weil was sort of the Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins, and Dave Bazan of the 20th century revolutionary world. Born in 1909 and raised in a standard French bourgeois home, she was obsessed with the plight of the suffering, and the mechanics of oppression. All over the world, on every level of human existence. The way that a lot of artists and musicians are, or want to be seen as if they are. But when it comes to revolution, her drive was actualized in her own habitual writing, union organizing, mystical visions, and eventual death in 1943.

Some might think of it all as a neuotic waste, but a lot of others (including cultural maven Susan Sontag) found deep inspiration from even its most pathological extremes. 

Weil's tornado of doubt-infused living is solemnly and seriously documented by historical and activist filmmaker Julia Haslett in An Encounter with Simone Weil, who approaches the material with the ferocious focus required.

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Bill W.: A fascinating doc about the A.A. founder

"Bill W." was a synthesizer. A human synthesizer, that is, someone who took an analogue expression and somehow craftily made something needed out of it for the world in a pinch. Something that was there before, but not easily accessible without a lot of training or experience on the part of the person who wanted in. He put together ideas about how we need so desperately to talk to each other, to earnestly fellowship in equality, to have secret societies where he can be utterly humble and deeply admit our weakness.

Like his fellow 20th century replicant of addiction-prophecy, "Wild Bill" Burroughs, their raspy, patrician voices start off in bomb-bursts of declaration ("laying it all outh there, no matter what you think of me") then likewise trail off into momentary flickers between naked universal connection and alien observation. As if they're both astronauts floating in a glass bowl spaceship above time, growing sadder and sadder at humanity (their own and in general) by the minute. They both made many mistakes, they both owned up to most. But the ideas they put together -- these are inside everything you are, make, and do now. Bill W., however, dove from the limelight, and would never have endorsed anything resembling celebrity. He also deeply changed a large chunk of humanity, more than just expressing ideas about it. 

William S. Burroughs has nothing to do with this documentary about the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, don't be deluded. But this is about the past, and the future, and seems like science fiction, which Burroughs wrote. What's even more astonishing is that the Bill we're actually talking about created a utopia, which serves citizens kindly to this day -- not a bitter-land of ancient impulses repeated into madness and murder. Bill W. is about William G. Wilson, who put together a movement in post-Depression era American based on the mathematics and manipulations he learned whilst a stockbroker before the big crash of '29, and oh yeah, his tragically driven desire to get well. 

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Latest comment by: Northwest Film Forum: "We're bringing BILL W back to our screens on October 6 & 7: http://www.nwfilmforum.org/live/page/calendar/2321"

I Want My Name Back

{I Want My Name Back plays at the Northwest Film Forum on 7/18 and 7/19}

There are times where it's hard to believe that the old school recording industry wasn't designed for the sole purpose of keeping artists from the money they'd earned. We've all heard stories of musicians battling to claim royalties or taking their "managers" to court to break free of one-sided contracts. After a few of these tales, one wonders if a film about groundbreaking musicians with a life of woe can tread new ground. And then one watches I Want My Name Back, which hits one upside the head with the truism "it can always get worse."

I Want My Name Back follows the Job like travails of The Sugar Hill Gang from 1979 to the present in what has got to be one of the craziest stories I've ever heard of the business. As a documentary, there are some significant flaws. But at a video based WTF? there's a fair amount to take away from the film. And for that I think it's worth taking a look -- or at least researching the story on one's own.

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This Is Not a Film

{This Is Not a Film opens at the Northwest Film Forum on Friday April 13th}

I've been wanting to see This Is Not a Film since hearing about it last year when it premiered at Cannes. Smuggled out of Iran on a USB key secreted within a cake, it's sadly the last thing the world may see from director Jafar Panahifor a long, long time.

Sentenced to 6 years in jail and a 20-year ban on filmmaking, the day in the life picture was shot by Jafar at his apartment as he struggles with the pain of waiting as his appeal is processed. The banality of life going on while his existence as an artist is crushed by that state is a staggeringly effective juxtaposition.

For much of the film it's hard to imagine how Iran's government sees a major threat from this gentle man. Who on one level putts around the house, while occasionally being climbed upon by the family pet Igi. By the end though, as you stand back and absorb Panahifor's ability with a professional camera (and occasionally an iphone), the threat he poses takes on true formidableness.

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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

 

{Once Upon a Time in Anatolia opens in Seattle at the Northwest Film Forum on Friday, April 6th, and runs through April 12th}

Hey guys, I highly recommend checking out Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. It's long, slow, cryptic to the point of confusing, and stuffed to the brim with symbolism and an array of characters suffering opaque yet significant life regrets. Oh, and it's in Turkish. Hey wait, come back! It's also really really good. Filled with beyond beautiful visuals, humor and insight (even if you argue the theme of "whenever there's trouble look for a woman" dialog). Sure ... maybe I've not yet 100% worked out everything that was going on over the course of the film. But I want to understand it. To the point where I'm likely going to watch it through again this week when it makes its Seattle appearance at the Northwest Film ForumA film that captures my attention and makes me want to be a wiser viewer deserves to be seen. 

The burnt copper/sepia palette combined with breathtaking held closeups of the story's murderer alone make for a super memorable watch. Just maybe don't check it out when you're tired. The Bourne Identity for ADD suffers it's not. Some folks may hate me later for this recommendation, but I think this is the real deal.

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Tonight's recommended activity: Calvin Johnson and Chris Estey chat doc at the NW Film Forum

Calvin Johnson and Chris Estey

As we announced back in January, there's a new film which captures the first meeting of Three Imaginary Girls' very own Chris Estey and the King of Indie, Calvin Johnson (wiki K Records, Beat Happening, all things rad)!

This meeting of the two mega-minds took place in the historic Columbia City Theater where Chris and Calvin chat and delve into their contrasting tones: Calvin's mysterious cosmos, mesmerizing baritone, and weighted works, with a concentration his latest solo incarnation ("he spits literary bop prosody in the form of three songs") versus Chris's torrential confessionals told with his signature unsurpassable jubilance that spills out like a spoken-word graphic novel (and inspired by Phil Ochs’ seminal Greatest Hits album).

Tonight (Monday, March 5th!!!) is the Seattle debut of this 35-minute film at the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle at 7 pm.  It is confirmed that both Calvin Johnson and Chris Estey will be there and Calvin will even play a couple of live songs!!!

It is going to fill up, so let's all get there early to grab seats!

(photo by Kathy Wolf)

Must-see Pre-Hunger Games viewing: Battle Royale at the NWFF {Fridays, 3/2-3/30}

I am a total freak and held out reading The Hunger Games for a long time because I am such a HUGE fan of the 2000 film Battle Royale, and I thought the premise sounded a little too similar…but I admit it! I was wrong. THG trilogy was fantastic and I can't wait for the movie. 

That said, I am beyond thrilled that the Northwest Film Forum is screening Battle Royale every Friday at 11pm, starting 3/2 and running through 3/30 - because if you haven't seen it, you NEED TO (regardless of if you're planning to see The Hunger Games or not). 

Battle Royale is all about discipline, or rather, how future Japan keeps unruly High School students in check - by selecting one class to participate in the "BR Act", which basically means a fight to the death, with only one winner. The students are released on an island and have 3 days to murder everyone else in sight, and are fitted with electronic collars that will blow their heads off if they refuse to comply. 

While BR doesn't have as much glamour and ceremony as THG, opting for a much starker vision of the future with less political maneuvering, it does have TONS of splatteriffic blood and gore (yay!). It also has, you know, a plot. With romance, and stuff. Anyway, my point is: GO SEE IT. 

{Battle Royale | Northwest Film Forum | Fridays, 3/2-3/30 at 11pm | Tix: $10, $6 NWFF members}

Recommended show + free tickets: American Film Week at NWFF

There's a great selection of films going on at the Northwest Film Forum next week (well, there's always good stuff at the NWFF, if you want to get technical about it) that we wanted to make sure you were hip to. It's called American Film Week, and it's running in the spirit of a mini- / non-festival: a series of "bold American films, offering you just one choice a night." Brilliant!

We're particularly excited about Fever Year, a documentary about the grueling of Andrew Bird's 165-date tour, and Bombay Beach, a "rich and emotional portrait of the lives of some of California's absolute poorest" with a musical score by Zach Condon {best known for directing many a Beirut video} -- but the whole week is worth a visit, so much so that we're giving away a pair of passes to the entire run of screenings.

More from the NWFF blog:

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