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Red Renewal: Seattle's Socialist Spring

MARCH 18—MAY 1, 2014

Presented in partnership with Town Hall, ARCADE, PubliCola at Seattle Met, Tasveer, DEFA Film Library, Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington and Charles Mudede 

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”  —Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

With Red Renewal: Seattle’s Socialist Spring, Northwest Film Forum opens our cinemas for collective contemplation of the 2014 spring fever: sparked by solidarity but marked by uncertainty, as Seattleites debate what the future should hold.  

How will this new season shape the city’s political, economic, and civic landscape? What will happen to workers’ rights and wages, and where will they live in a city gripped by ever sky-rocketing rents? “Is there something in the water in Seattle” that drives the city's labor movement to the forefront of national conversations? Revitalized by newly sown seeds, but a long way off from harvest, this Spring signals a moment ripe for cinematic exploration. 

Winter 2013 in Seattle began with changes of pace, both in the weather and for workers. Hardly a raindrop fell in typically dour November, and clear skies greeted Kshama Sawant on the 15th, when she won an historic victory to become the first socialist elected to Seattle City Council in living memory. Ten days later, Washington voters passed a $15 minimum wage for SeaTac workers.

The year wound down while workers got fed up. One hundred fast food employees and supporters marched 13 miles from SeaTac to Seattle City Hall to advocate for the $15 minimum wage. Machinists battled what (now former) union president Tom Wroblewski called a “piece of crap” benefits-slashing proposal from Boeing. Moved by the machinists’ struggle, Timothy Egan forlornly postulated: "So this is how the middle class dies. Not with a bang, but with a forced [pension] squeeze."  

As 2014 dawned, Sawant decried “the reality of international capitalism” and called for “organized mass movements of workers and young people” to a thousand citizens who packed City Hall for her inauguration. The same week saw the launch of 15 Now, a coalition of community groups and unions, mobilized to make $15 wages a reality first in Seattle, then across the nation. 

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, “the sign of a rising tide” marched through the city, with many marchers bearing $15 signs to form “a sea of red” that shone in the sun. Infusing Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with the rejuvenated fight for fair wages, former head of Seattle’s Black Panther Party chapter Aaron Dixon declared: “We got the power, we are the 99 percent.” 

During Red Renewal, community groups and citizens from across the city will host weekly screenings and discussions around films from many countries, eras and perspectives. From canonical propaganda to satirical critique, Red Renewal recasts cinema’s historical encounters with socialist themes in parallel to ongoing conversations about Seattle's economy and politics. 

Expect the shouts and songs of workers, Soviet crocodiles and Slovenian psychoanalysts, Gandhi’s teachings melded with Marx’s writings, a renegade East German and the return of Wilhem Reich, radical labors of love and public spheres—both real and virtual—primed for debate. It all begins with a screening and discussion with Kshama Sawant and Charles Mudede at Town Hall on March 18.

Kshama Sawant and Charles Mudede: Why Socialism, Why Now?
Presented by: Town Hall, Northwest Film Forum, and 12toRain Productions, as part of the Civics series.
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Please note: this event is held at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Avenue at Seneca Street

Seattle has a socialist on its city council for the first time in 100 years. Kshama Sawant’s recent election raised a lot of questions around the values of the Socialist Alternative Party and her platform of raising the minimum wage to $15. She’ll join Charles Mudede, Associate Editor at The Stranger, for an exploration of socialism’s impact on the city council and why, after seeing previous socialist candidates, the city is ready for socialism now. What circumstances made the election of a socialist not only possible, but timely? Living wages and the state of labor in the Puget Sound will also be discussed. Prior to the discussion, enjoy a brief screening to kick off Northwest Film Forum’s series Red Renewal: Seattle’s Socialist Spring

"Northwest Film Forum, the city's Mecca of indie movie programming, is bringing a batch of ultra left-wing films to the screen to celebrate (and speculate) about Seattle's recent shift to the left." —PubliCola at Seattle Met 

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MARCH 19—22, 2014

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) is the leading scholarly organization in the United States dedicated to promoting a broad understanding of film, television, and related media through research and teaching. The Society’s annual conference is an international gathering where scholars and teachers in the field come together to discuss new work and to promote the field of cinema and media studies among its practitioners, to other disciplines, and to the public at large, in part through public recognition of award-worthy achievements and other significant milestones within the field.

Seattle is the location for the 2014 SCMS conference, and Northwest Film Forum will host nightly events in conjunction with the conference. All events are open to the public and offer opportunities to see rarely screened films and meet film experts from across the country!

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Image from the film Wretches & Jabberers.

First Annual Seattle Autistic Film Festival

Co-presented with the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, we present the first annual Seattle Autistic Film Festival, in collaboration with the Washington state chapter of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Selected by autistic activists and self-advocates to promote the message of neurodiversity and autism acceptance, these films deconstruct the harmful “fear-and-tragedy” driven narratives around autism that dominate national conversation, and illustrate how an acceptance-based view of autism can counteract harmful messages and improve the lives of autistic people, and those who love them.

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a national disability rights organization run by and for autistic people. Please note this is a disability-friendly, sensory-friendly and fragrance-free event. All films will be captioned to keep events accessible to those with auditory processing difficulties or hearing loss. Lighting and sound levels will be adjusted to keep events accessible to those with sensory sensitivities.  Please do not wear scented products to this event, to keep it accessible for those with sensory and chemical sensitivities.  If you arrive wearing scented products, you may be asked to leave, for the safety of other attendees.

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Pulsos Latinos

Films from the frontier of Latin American cinema
Curated by Jay Kuehner
Presented with the support of Univision Seattle and Novo Fogo
Gracias to Gabriella de Castro for translations en Español
Special thanks to United Reprographics for print support

Explore a nueva ola in Latino cinema with us this April, as we mine the open veins of a transcontinental film movement—both native and diasporic (Spanish, Portuguese, and of course English-speaking)—filled with vibrant, insurgent film voices. 

An industry boom in production and funding, combined with digital technologies and an invigorated festival circuit (including FIC Valdivia in Chile, BAFICI in Argentina, Morelia FF and FICUNAM in Mexico, to name a few) has transformed a once marginally-exposed cinema region into a contemporary center of film gravity.

From lush Amazonia to the arid frontera, from cock-fighting comedy in Costa Rica to slacker drama in Ecuador, from tragedy in the Andes to growing up punk in Jalisco: there's a world waiting to be discovered. Come join us as we explore the new crystal frontier.

"complex, challenging, triumphant films. . .Pulsos Latinos parades choice fruits. . .before our eyes." —The Stranger

The Pick List: The Week's Recommended Events —Seattle Weekly

Del 18 al 26 de abril, VIERNES-SÁBADO
Películas de la frontera del cine latinoamericano
Comisariado por Jay Kuehner
Patrocinado por Univision SeattleNovo Fogo‚Ä®

Este abril, explore con nosotros una nueva ola de cine latino. Acompáñenos en un recorrido por un movimiento transcontinental de cine tanto autóctono como de diáspora (de habla hispana, portuguesa y por supuesto, inglesa), lleno de voces cinematográficas dinámicas e insurgentes. 

Atrás han quedado los años en que la región estaba al margen de la industria cinematográfica. Impulsada por un nuevo auge de producción y financiamiento, el surgimiento de nuevas tecnologías digitales y una revitalización del circuito de festivales de cine (FIC Valdivia en Chile, BAFICI en Argentina, Morelia FF and FICUNAM en México, entre otros), la región se ha convertido en un verdadero centro de gravedad cinematográfico contemporáneo. 

Desde las regiones frondosas amazónicas hasta las áridas fronteras; desde comedias sobre peleas de gallos en Costa Rica hasta dramas de jóvenes vagos en Ecuador; desde tragedias en los Andes hasta la experiencia de un joven punk en Jalisco: hay un mundo que espera ser descubierto. Acompáñenos a explorar la nueva frontera de cristal.


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