Sunday, November 09, 2008

Go See: Northwest Film & Video Festival 2008

I just started volunteering for the NW Film Center. My first assignment was tabling at Wordstock this weekend at the Portland Convention Center. The combination of a friendly, helpful, film-loving organization that offers film classes, equipment rentals to all, and marvelous festivals and screenings throughout the year, together with Portland's most enthusiastic readers, writers, authors and publishers was almost too much for my psyche to handle. I met so many nice people, including my NW Film Center cohorts.

The NW Film Center is hosting the 35th Northwest Film & Video Festival all this week. See films from all over the Northwest; shorts, documentaries, features and the always intriguing: unclassifiable. Check the schedule and get on over to the Whitsell Auditorium (at the Portland Art Museum) for screenings through Saturday, November 15th.

There's much to choose from. These caught my eye:

"Fast Break" - Director: Don Zavin; Tue., Nov. 11th, 9:00 p.m.
This singular time capsule of the 1977 NBA World Champion Trail Blazer season offers uncommonly intimate moments on and off the court...reflective conversations with Bill Walton and many of the other players of the era reveal the touching and surprising innocence of a time before the superstar era.

"She's a Boy I Knew" - Director: Gwen Haworth; Wed., Nov. 12th, 7:00 p.m.
Haworth's open-eyed autobiography shares the story of a boy making and sharing the decision to change his gender...

"Pig Roast & Tank of Fish" - Director: Ivy Lin; Sat., Nov. 15, 3:00 p.m.
Portland's Chinatown was once the second largest in the U.S., but today it is a struggling neighborhood in search of identity and rebirth...

"Shorts II" - various directors, Sat., Nov. 15th, 6:00 p.m.
There's a big variety here that looked really good to me. I'm intrigued by "Aboard The Pater Noster" by Daniel Conrad: This sequence of group dances choreographed by Aszure Barton was sumptuously filmed in Prague with, among other things, an odd people-moving contraption known as the Pater Noster. (Wha-? I've got to see that contraption. - CWW)
"Suffragette Slasher" by Julie Perini: Mary Richardson, a militant suffragette in the early 20th century, slashed a treasured painting in the National Gallery in London as a protest action. (Only 3 minutes long--that's gotta be good. - CWW)

"The Rifle Workbook" - Vincent Caldoni (from the Shorts II program)

"Wendy and Lucy" - Director: Kelly Reichardt; Sat., Nov. 15th, 8:00 p.m.
One of the best-received films at the Cannes, Toronto and New York Film festivals. Based on Portland writer John Raymond's short story, Wendy (Michelle Williams) and her dog Lucy (Reichardt's own) are on their way to Alaska for a summer of cannery work, when the car breaks down in a small Oregon town. Flat broke, Wendy must confront the realities of poverty, self-reliance, friendship and duty--that of the people she meets and painfully her own. (Opens at Cinema 21 in late December.)

Trailer from 2007 (couldn't find 2008--a victim of budget cuts, perhaps?)

This little write-up with the trailer describes the supportive and humorous atmosphere of the NW Film Center very well:

After 34 years (now 35) of Northwest Film & Video Festivals, we continue to draw our enthusiasm from the inspirational dedication we see from the filmmakers of the Northwest. We see the heroic feats of strength, tenaciousness and passion you engage to make your art and to make it good. We shudder at your financial turmoil, shake our fists to the wind for your technological breakdowns, and bleed for your rejections. You are a dedicated lot and this Festival is dedicated to you. (Find information about film classes here.)

"Perhaps, Tomorrow" - Jeff Frankenhauser; from the digital film editing class at NW Film Center with footage from the Prelinger Archives.

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