Series Archive

ByDesign 2012


Co-Presented by Northwest Film Forum and AIGA-Seattle, sponsored by ARCADE and curated by Peter Lucas

Our long-running, annual ByDesign program brings together a diversity of people, ideas and creative visions to explore intersections of design and the moving image. The program celebrates artists who combine forms and disciplines to transform our visual culture.  

ByDesign 12 features an array of guest artists, documentaries, short films, music videos and presentations that illuminate the roots, currents and future of design in motion.

Series Pass Available! $40/members, $80/general 

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35MM: The Celluloid Dream

JUNE 29-AUGUST 23, 2012

The days of 35mm film are numbered, but celluloid 35mm has been the format of choice for the film industry since its inception in the late 1890s and has denied all comers until now, as the digital revolution affecting all aspects of our lives turns its eye on the cinema screen. As the era of celluloid comes to a close, we’re screening as many new prints in the next few months and years as possible.

>> Check out an interview with our Program Director in CityArts about film's digital destiny.

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Trader Joe's Silent Movie Mondays

JULY 9-30, MONDAYS AT 12 & 7PM

Lunchtime Matinees
Opulence & Epics Series

At the Paramount Theatre

This summer, get acquainted with the unique art of the silent film at The Paramount Theatre, as Seattle Theatre Group (STG) and Northwest Film Forum present Trader Joe’s Silent Movie Mondays. This all-classic silent film series is accompanied by live music from the historic Mighty Wurlitzer Organ, one of the last three remaining organs of its kind to reside in its original environment, played by critically-acclaimed organist Jim Riggs.

This summer, bring your lunch inside the air-conditioned Paramount Theatre to enjoy some great silent film shorts by Georges Méliès, Charles Chaplin, and Buster Keaton.  In the evenings, the Opulence and Epics series of silent features present sumptuous worlds, tragically flawed characters and biblical adaptations which are epic in scale and scope, melodramatic and operatic in their vision.


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Jan Svankmajer: The Surreal Puppet Poet


Sponsored by the Center for Czech Education and Culture

If Hieronymous Bosch had mounted puppet shows, he would have created something like the macabre dream world of Jan Svankmajer, one of the most dazzling film artists of our time whose fans include Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton. Born in 1934 in Prague, Svankmajer received a puppet theater as a Christmas gift when he was eight, launching his lifelong obsession. Using painstaking stop-motion animation, he has created dozens of shorts and six unsettling feature films.



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This week-long celebration of exciting new directions in documentary film brings together new work from innovative American practitioners in the craft of documentary filmmaking. We showcase artists who are stretching the aesthetics of documentaries, in an opportunity for discerning cinephiles to explore the boundaries between the world we see and the world we make.



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Joe Swanberg's Full Moon Trilogy


Director In Attendance!

Join us for the first series in what will be a yearlong tribute to the trilogy!

American filmmaker Joe Swanberg’s Full Moon Trilogy consists of films that are all autobiographical, based on experiences the prolific director and his filmmaking contemporaries had making so-called "mumblecore" films. 

The films are often self-critical examinations of accusations pointed at this particular artistic community, that it was lazy, sloppy, narcissistic, predatory, dull…the list goes on.

But Swanberg also enters new aesthetic territory with these films, experimenting with stationary long takes, shooting with two cameras and shooting in just one location. All three films take place on and around film sets and all of them directly address the complications that arise when life and work are blurred, as they often are with independent films.


Register for Series Pass! Joe Swanberg’s Full Moon Trilogy in Seattle, WA  on Eventbrite

Take a workshop with Joe Swanberg>

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Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences 
Support for the project provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts


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Earshot Jazz Film Festival

 Once again Northwest Film Forum partners with Earshot Jazz to present some of the finest Jazz films in recent memory. This year’s program offers a French chanteuse, a tribute to Thelonious Monk , a snapshot of Rodolphe Burger, and the teachings of legendary Lawrence D. ‘Butch’ Morris.

 Series passes are available. $20 Members / $30 General

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The Drifting States of Denis Cote

Director in attendance!

French-Canadian director Denis Côté became one of North America's most promising filmmakers after roaring onto the international film scene with his first feature, Drifting States, in 2005. With six features, his ouevre creates a sublimely minimal, genre-blending, hybridized offering that combines low-budget ingenuity with daring formal experimentation. Often concerned with the universal resonance and meaning of intimate relationships between marginal and marginalized characters, Côté’s work is consistently inventive, incorporating digital image-making technologies into the forms of his films, as well as having his characters use these devices in their daily lives.

Côté’s work pursues filmic familiars then side steps genre and formal conventions to divert the audience in directions that prove incredibly rewarding. His cinema is heart-wrenching, funny and redemptive—qualities that certainly make it masterful.

Series Passes available: $20 Members / $35 General

Take a workshop with Denis Cote>>


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Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences 
Support for the project provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts

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Remaking the Metropolis

From the gargantuan metropolises of the East Coast to the anywherescapes of small-town Mid-West and further to the low-rise, sunburnt valleys of California, American cities have defined our cultural landscape.  We love ambition, creativity, concrete and steel; the architecture of Gropius and Mies and SOM; Venturi’s Main Street; the engineered beauty of the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges; the unexpected openness of the gridiron street patterns where vistas appear between blocks revealing open skies and views far into the distance. Yet, across the Nation, recession, urban renewal and a changing industrial landscape are shaping cities in interesting ways — often leaving decay and displacement in their wake. This series presents three films that focus on the rise and decline of the great American city (to take Jane Jacobs’s phrase). With Battle For Brooklyn, filmmakers Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley examine Bloomberg’s newly minted "Millionaires Playground" of New York City; French filmmaker Florent Tillon explores the detritus of Detroit in Detroit Wild City; and Chad Freidrichs documentary, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is an analysis of the massive impact of the national urban renewal program of the 1950s and 1960s as seen from a single development in St. Louis, MO.

Series pass available: $15 Members / $25 General

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Success is the Best Revenge: The Films of Jerzy Skolimowski

Legendary Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski was one of a wave of directors from Eastern Europe who brought a take-no-prisoners artistic adventurousness to filmmaking; in his native Poland, he co-wrote Roman Polanski's seminal Knife in the Water (1962) and directed several psychological dramas of his own. Then, for twenty years, Skolimowski worked in Britain where he made his greatest film, Deep End (1970), revived at the Film Forum a few years back. His stardom dwindled and some time in the early '90s he disappeared altogether. Always diverse in his interests - he had been a jazz musician and poet back in Poland - he moved back home and decided to concentrate on painting.

In 2008 he broke his silence with the film Four Nights with Anna and he was in competition at the Venice Film Festival this year with the film Essential Killing, starring Vincent Gallo. We are pleased to offer this retrospective from various eras of Skolimowski’s career.

This Series is presented by the Northwest Forum in collaboration with the Harvard Film Archive, the Museum of the Moving Image and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York. Additional support comes from the Polish National Film Archive in Poland.

Series pass available: $20 Members / $30 General

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Cruel Cinema: New Tamil Film

This series is an unflinching introduction to the new wave of films and star directors from Tamil Nadu, the southern Indian state. These small-budget films, which have become blockbusters and critical darlings in their home country, are a far cry from extravagant Bollywood musicals, often graphically depicting the tumultuous, violent lives of criminals, beggars, and outcasts. All films are in Tamil with English subtitles.

The series is curated by Lalitha Gopalan, Associate Professor in Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin and Anuj Vaidya, co-director of 3rd I Films, which hosts the San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival. This series is a presentation of 3rd I Films. Logistical Support for the traveling series is provided by the Center for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley. Special support for the series provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Special Thanks To Venkateswaran Narayanan, Naman Ramachandran, Srinivas Bhashyam, Puneeta Kala, Tom Vick, and Ivan Jaigirdar. 35mm Prints for this series were provided by Selvaraghavan, K. Muralidharan, V. Swaminathan and G. Venugopal, Ameer Sultan, K. E. Gnanavelraja, Sasikumar, Bala and K.S. Sreenivasan.

Series pass available: $20 Members / $30 General

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New York Noise: Tales From the No Wave



Join us for a season of rarely-seen films from a defining period in the history of American underground cinema! New York Noise or Tales From the No Wave offers selected screenings from New York’s explosive yet fleeting era of underground filmmaking, known as “No Wave” Cinema.

Rising from the ashes of a bankrupt and destitute 1970s Manhattan, and reacting to the modernist aesthetic of 1960s avant-garde film, No Wave filmmakers threw out the rules and embraced their own brand of vanguard moviemaking. Inspired by the films of Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, John Waters and the French New Wave, many of the films combined elements of documentary and loose narrative structure with stark, even confrontational imagery. Much like the No Wave music of the period from which the movement garnered its label, these filmmakers freed themselves of the constraints of formal training and pillaged the nascent East Village arts scene for co-conspirators in the likes of Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Debbie Harry, Richard Hell, Vincent Gallo, Steve Buscemi, Nan Goldin, Cookie Mueller and many others.

With wildly varying styles, they shared the common mindset of fast-and-cheap, catalyzed by collaboration. Equipment could be begged, borrowed or stolen, your friends could be your actors and the city could be your set. 


Series passes $20/Film Forum members, $25/General


Sponsored by The Hideout!

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Nicolás Pereda: Perpetual Motions


 Happy Hour with Nicolas Pereda August 3rd 4-6pm

Director In Attendance August 1–4!

Nicolás Pereda: Perpetual Motions

“A distinctive voice from fertile Mexican soil!” —Jay Keuhner, Senses of Cinema

Recently selected to appear in the prestigious New Directors/New Films program, Nicolás Pereda stands as one of Mexico’s finest discoveries. Don’t be deceived by his assured style and risky subjects—Pereda is just 27, though he threatens to become one of world cinema's dominant voices. His ultra low-budget films were described by film critic Robert Koehler as each having "its own thrusts, quirks, obsessions and concerns, they flow together and interconnect, forming by the end of viewing a kind of gestalt which is rare with a director born as recently as 1982."

His latest film, Summer of Goliath (2010), was awarded the Orizzonti Jury Prize at the 67th edition of the Venice Film Festival by jury chair Shirin Neshat. Summer, along with his first films, Together, Perpetuum Mobile and Where Are Their Stories? provides a portrait of the difficult lives in 21st century working-class Mexico. Pereda is not just the latest to blur the lines between documentary and fiction; his films also have moments of humor and sadness. Simply put, he is one of the technique's finest practitioners.


Nicolás Pereda is the latest emerging Latin American filmmaker to be featured by the Film Forum (other recent retrospectives include the work of Pedro Costa, Lisandro Alonso and Miguel Gomes).


Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Series passes $15/Film Forum members, $25/General

Join Nicolás Pereda for a masterclass on August 2!


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Secret Country


Sponsored by Easy Street Records

Close your eyes and imagine a long ago world, where Nudie-suit clad legends stormed stages at county fairs and shaggy-haired outlaws lounged beneath live oak trees in Luckenback, Texas. The cares and the woes of the modern day will melt away when you slip into the world of Northwest Film Forum's summertime Secret Country Series — a place where hot live music, cheap frosty beers and vintage celluloid celebrations of country music converge to take you back to a shimmering and soulful place and time.

Each evening includes a secret country feature film and live performances by some of the Northwest's most talented and twanging musicians.


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Outlaw: Jean Genet on Film

APRIL 7-30

Presented by Three Dollar Bill Cinema

Three Dollar Bill Cinema presents Outlaw: Jean Genet on Film, four nights of provocative film classics based on the work of the radical queer writer, at Northwest Film Forum in April. Don’t miss these rarely seen prints showcasing Jean Genet's brilliant satire and celebration of beauty in evil. From prisons to mansions, bordellos to back alleys, prepare for a wild journey though power dynamics, shocking desires, and struggles against oppression.  

Screenings will take place April 7, 16, 21, 30. All films at 7pm, at Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Avenue, Seattle)

$12 General, $10 Three Dollar Bill Cinema Members, $40 series pass

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Fact Maverick: Three Films From Lionel Rogosin


“To tell the truth as you see it incidentally is not necessarily the truth. To tell the truth as someone else sees it is to me much more important and enlightening. Some documentaries are fantastic. Like Lionel Rogosin’s pictures, for instance; like On The Bowery. This guy—who’s probably the greatest documentary filmmaker of all time, in my opinion—he doesn’t care about what anyone thinks, the Cahiers du Cinema crowd, the underground, or anyone else.” —John Cassavetes

Long before the current wave of documentary fiction hybrids infiltrated international film production, New York-based Lionel Rogosin was charting his way through the nether-regions of this genre in-between. His films, all of which reflect a highly personal vision, include On the Bowery (1956), which showcased the harsh reality of life on New York's skid row and was nominated for an Academy Award; Come Back, Africa (1960), decades ahead of its time in its focus on the horrors of apartheid, was named to Time magazine's list of the top ten pictures of the year; and Good Times, Wonderful Times (1968), an effective anti-war documentary, timely in its release during the Vietnam War.

Rogosin’s style, influenced by Flaherty and the Italian neo-realists, complemented the mantras of the New American Cinema movement pioneered by Jonas Meekas. Refusing to work within Hollywood’s accepted boundaries, his independent films had tighter budget restrictions but more artistic freedom that enabled him to ignore clichéd conventions. His first film, On the Bowery, pioneered a production method that would come to dominate his work. For that film he combined a loose fictional plot with documentary footage shot on location in New York’s skid row. Instead of using professional actors, his cast consisted of amateur actors whose lives correlated with those of their fictional characters.

"Making On the Bowery taught me a method of molding reality into a form that could touch the imagination of others," said Rogosin. "The total reality of a community or a society is so vast that any attempt to detail its entirety would result in nothing more than a meaningless catalogue of stale, factual representation—a result which I call ‘documentary.’ Flaherty’s great work has no more to do with ‘documentary’ than great poetry has to do with the factual report of a sociologist."

Rogosin was also owner of the Bleeker Street Cinema in New York's Greenwich Village, during a time when the theater showcased some of the finest works being produced in cinema. Said Rogosin, speaking to the New York Times after the purchase, “There is a dearth of houses for certain kinds of pictures—the sort that may not be commercial, precisely, but ones which do deserve to be seen." The sentiment is unfortunately all the more true today.

It is our great pleasure to be able to share three of Rogosin’s films, two in new 35mm prints! His cinema and its influence have touched many of the films we’ve shared in the last few years, including Lisandro Alonso, Miguel Gomes, C.W. Winter and the Safdie Brothers, to name a few. It will likely continue to touch many more in the years to come.

Series pass $12/Film Forum members, $20/general


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Patricio Guzman’s Chile


“A country without documentaries is like a family without a photo album.” —Patricio Guzman


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The Formal Life of Thom Andersen


“A little formalism takes us away from life, and a lot of formalism brings us back to it.” —Roland Barthes

If you've attended any film festival or avant-garde film screening in the last ten years, you've almost certainly stumbled across the name Thom Andersen. Often thanked by scores of filmmakers in the contemporary American experimental vanguard, his name is synonymous with films and filmmakers whose work is pushing the boundaries of cinema. Andersen is also one of the preeminent film educators in the United States, teaching at Cal Arts in Los Angeles where he has lived for most of his life. However his own films are largely unknown except for his 2003 award-winning portrait of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Plays Itself, voted best documentary of 2004 in the Village Voice Film Critics’ Poll.

With The Formal Life of Thom Andersen, we’re pleased to share underappreciated works of one of America’s most important filmmakers. In the 1960s, he made short films, including Melting (1965), Olivia’s Place (1966), and --- ------- (1967, with Malcolm Brodwick). In 1974 he completed Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer, an hour-long documentation of Muybridge’s photographic work. In 1995, with Noël Burch, he completed Red Hollywood, about the film work created by the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist. Their work on the history of the Blacklist also produced a book, Les Communistes de Hollywood: Autre chose que des martyrs, published in 1994. His latest film Get Out of the Car (2010) responds to his award-winning documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself by recording the city's most evanescent signs, memorializing some of its vanished monuments and musical history.

This retrospective—which also features the unusually-named and rarely-screened "--- -------", Andersen's rock 'n roll doc from the mid-60s shot on location on the legendary Sunset Strip, and Olivia's Place, a survey of the diner on Santa Monica's Main Street that inspired The Doors' "Soul Kitchen"—offers a rare opportunity to see the works of one of America's most influential filmmakers and scholars, and one of Los Angeles' most dedicated chroniclers.

March 26 - Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer with --- -----, Olivia's Place, and Melting
March 27 - Los Angeles Plays Itself
March 28 - Red Hollywood
March 29 - Get Out of the Car followed by Artist lecture

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Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences 
Support for the project provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts

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Crispin Hellion Glover in Person!

Crispin Hellion Glover returns with What Is It? and It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine, the first two installments of a nearly completed trilogy, for an intimate screening of the two in the comforts of our big cinema.

All showings proceeded by Glover’s one-hour slide show, which consists of ten different stories dramatically narrated by Glover himself. The slides are from pages of books that he has reworked with original and transformed art.

Admission Price $17/Film Forum members, $20/General


Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 

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Cine-Constellation: Three Films by Amie Siegel

November 19-20, 2010
Director in attendance!


The work of American filmmaker, author and video installation artist Amie Siegel, as she puts it, “mines the voyeuristic gaze," while exploring and challenging various media and its capacity to communicate human perceptions and history. The films in this series explore themes of cultural memory and identity in particular relation to Germany, her adopted country. The restrained self-reflexivity and deadpan humor that unite Siegel’s films lend them richness that actively questions the limits of traditional nonfiction cinema.  

Exhibitions and screenings include The Talent Show, Walker Art Center; Auto-Kino! Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin; The Russian Linesman, The Hayward, London; 2008 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art; Forum Expanded, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Berlin International Film Festival; Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; BFI Southbank; Frankfurt Film Museum, and Film Forum in New York. Her first book of poetry, The Waking Life (North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA) was published in 1999. Siegel has been a guest artist of the DAAD Berliner-Künstlerprogramm, the Fulton Fellow in Non-Fiction Filmmaking at the Film Study Center at Harvard University and a recent recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship. 

Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 

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Earshot Jazz Films

October 29-November 4, 2010

Co-Presented by Earshot Jazz


All films $6.00/Film Forum and Earshot Jazz members, $6.50/Seniors, Children under 12 and Students  with valid photo student ID, $9/General.

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Trader Joe's Silent Movie Mondays

Silent Crime Spree
At the Paramount Theatre


Seattle Theatre Group (STG) and Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) present Trader Joe's Silent Movie Mondays this October at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Mondays at 7pm. This all-classic silent film series, Silent Crime Spree, is accompanied by live music from the historic Mighty Wurlitzer Organ, one of the last three remaining organs of its kind to reside in its original environment, played by critically acclaimed organist Jim Riggs.

Silent Crime Spree
stars crooked cops, double-dealing mistresses, and high-tension jewel thieves - perfect crimes that go perfectly wrong! All four films, A Cottage on Dartmore (1929), Beggars of Life (1928), Underworld (1927) and Regeneration (1915), were produced before censorship and the restrictive Hays Code, showing a time when criminals were more important than the enforcers of the law.

Though the street toughs of yesteryear have largely vanished in the modern-day millionaire's playground of our big cities, these silents capture the imagination in a way that the new breed of criminal - from Wall Street execs to smalltime fund managers - never could. The films featured in Silent Crime Spree display a fascination for the mechanics and motivations of crime, with, of course, plenty of dark and devilishly handsome men and swooning ladies.


Purchase your series pass now! 

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Tickets: Individual film tickets are $12.00 and are available online at, by phone at (877) 784-4849, in person at The Paramount Theatre box office, Monday through Friday 10:00am-6:00pm and The Paramount and Moore Theatre venue kiosks, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, powered by Group sales are available through STG's Group Sales Hotline at (206)315-8054. The Paramount Theatre is located at 911 Pine Street in downtown Seattle.

About The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ
: The Paramount Theatre is home to the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ, one of the last three remaining organs of its kind to reside in its original environment. Installed March 1, 1928 as part of the theatre's grand opening, The Paramount's Mighty Wurlitzer is one of the most ornate organ consoles ever produced. True to the Silent Film presentation of the day, each film is accompanied by Jim Riggs on the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ to present the series as part of our rich cultural identity. STG remains committed to showcasing these rare treasures in the way they were originally shown.

About Jim Riggs
: Jim Riggs is in his twentieth year as house organist at The Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California. He has previously appeared at the Grand Lake Theatre (in Oakland), Castro Theatre in San Francisco and at Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto. Having regularly appeared at every major Bay Area movie house equipped with a Mighty Wurlitzer, Riggs has entertained well over one million toe-tapping patrons and is know as the "Wizard of the Wurlitzer".

Though over one million movie patrons have been entertained by Riggs melodies on the organ, few realize he is in global demand as a silent film accompanist. From the Stanford Theater in California to the wilds of northwestern Pennsylvania to Manchester, England to Perth, Australia, Riggs has brought musical life into the silent shadows of the silver screen. He has composed and performed original scores for the films of such screen giants as Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Greta Garbo, Harold Lloyd, Lon Chaney, Buster Keaton, Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, Laurel & Hardy and many others.

Although Riggs appreciates the use of existing original music or light classics to provide scoring material, he prefers "...a much more creative and, for me, musically satisfying approach. I call my scores 'highly prepared improvisations.'" The key, he says, is to "...know the film very, very well. By that I mean everything from the general pacing and flow of the cinematic narrative to the length of the intertitles to where the dramatic action points are---you know, gunshots, pratfalls, quick cuts and so on." He then composes a short theme, or motif, for each major character, crafting it to reflect that character's film personality. Additionally, he says, "...there are often major---sometimes climactic---scenes which warrant their own special music. I'll compose suitable treatments for those, with an ear towards leaving room to slip in a character motif here and there." It all comes together during the performance. In his words: "There I am, sitting at the organ. My eyes are seeing images unfold on the screen, my brain's processing them, and my hands and feet are weaving together all that previously prepared material. I'm thinking about the action on screen plus I'm anticipating the action to come. And on top of it all, I'm manipulating the resources and dynamics of the organ itself. All of this happens simultaneously. The result, I think, is a completely fresh and dramatic blending of moving image and music. It's a very in-the-moment creative thing for me, almost Zen-like in nature. And it's my absolute favorite thing to do on the theatre organ."

About Puget Sound Theatre Organ Society
: The Theatre Pipe Organ and its music are a truly unique American art form.Puget Sound Theatre Organ Society (PSTOS) is a non-profit organization furthering the appreciation, preservation and use of the Theatre Pipe Organs of yesteryear. Our members include musicians, technicians, and enthusiastic listeners - all devoted to the preservation and continued enjoyment of what we believe to be a national treasure.

As movies changed to "talkies" in 1929, the organs soon became unnecessary. Many were lost to fire, flood, vandalism, and neglect. Just a very few today remain in their original homes-the Seattle Paramount Wurlitzer is one of those, and as such, has genuine historical significance. For the past 45 years, it has been lovingly maintained by members of the PSTOS.

About STG: STG is the 501 (c)(3) non-profit arts organization that operates the historic Paramount and Moore Theatres in Seattle, Washington. Our mission is to make diverse performing arts and education an integral part of our region's cultural identity while keeping these two landmark venues alive and vibrant. STG presents a range of performances from Broadway, off-Broadway, dance and jazz to comedy, concerts of all genres, speakers and family shows - at both historic theatres in Seattle and venues throughout the Puget Sound and Portland, Oregon.


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Arboring Film: Celebrating 15 Years at Northwest Film Forum

September 25-30, 2010

Fifteen years ago Northwest Film Forum opened its doors with the hope of establishing a local cinema, and the promise of cultivating a distinctly Northwest voice that would forever change the nature of filmmaking. It was a bold mission, inspired by the double notion that the region held in its light, soil and climate all the nutrients that a filmmaker's seeded idea needed to thrive, and that an ideal environment could be found in a habitat other than New York or Los Angeles. And so we began our quest to sow a new cinematic timberland.

Some fifteen years later, a forest of old growth trees now stands tall and is aiding the second growth beneath. Our cinematic promise of a dense Northwest film forest nurtured by a Forum of filmmakers has become reality, all birthed from the seedlings planted by Northwest Film Forum some fifteen years ago.

Join us as we admire the growth of our local filmmaking harvest! This week we present fifteen shorts and fifteen features whose roots are tethered tightly to our filmmaking programs and artist support.  

Series pass $15/Film Forum members, $19.95 general 

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The Portuguese Melodies of Miguel Gomes

September 14-16, 2010
Director in attendance!

The films of Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes ooze amazement. The viewer never ceases to wonder what will happen next. His two feature films and six short films are jammed with bizarre themes, wild and meandering structures and unrestrained fantasy. They are willful in many ways, while all the time inventive, playful, frisky, disorderly, anarchical and absurd. Gomes ignores genre boundaries and conventional methods of story telling; he doesn't play by the rules and is fearless in using all the tricks and tools of the filmmaking trade. He confuses perceptions of time, artfully blurs the line between documenting and directing and takes unexpected turns within each film, jumping from one genre to the next. His films are fairytales, musicals, comedies and melodramas, all at the same time. Very often he deals with the process of coming of age, or more specifically, with the fear and denial of adolescent men becoming adults. And music always plays an important role.

These films are unique, and yet they are closely connected to the history of cinema. It's impossible to watch his films without picking up references to some of cinemas greatest masters, from Rivette, Minelli, Sirk, Demy, or fairytales, screwball comedies, animated films and silent movies. Gomes is always moving us along, jumbling us up, spacing us out in simple but ingenious ways, creating what every great filmmaker should: a singular informed and engaging voice.

“Gomes’ film offers its own, remarkable vision of an ‘expanded cinema’, a cinema of multiple levels interacting in space and time—freeing the viewers’ minds and letting their emotions roam. It is, indeed, a revelation.” —Adrian Martin, Rouge

Special thanks: Cristina Garza, FiGa Films; Haden Guest, Harvard Film Archives; Jose Torrealba, NEIAFF.
Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences


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Vincent Moon Retrospective



Vincent Moon Retrospective

Director in attendance!

His real name is Mathieu Saura, but it's under the name of Vincent Moon that music fans from all over the world know the 30-year-old filmmaker, who has reinvented the music video as a documentary. After studying under photographers Michael Ackerman and Antoine D'Agata, the young music aficionado became increasingly interested in moving images. The combination of music and film could easily have ended in MTV-land. But according to Moon, the usual music video has long been stuck in this limited marketing world.

Starting in 2006 with his Take Away Shows, Moon has offered a non-commercial alternative: small, short films that capture musicians in the alleys, hallways and elevators of the real world, without amplifiers or special effects. The Take Away Shows paved the way for larger film projects and Moon's far-reaching résumé, which now includes concert films and documentaries, all equipped with the special shadow/light aesthetic that give his images a special abstract quality.

Moon's greatest strength may be his ability to capture music without superfluous embellishments. He is a sonic adventurer, constantly seeking new musical treasure chests. He not only discovers, he participates, with his camera as an instrument: while in Seattle for this retrospective Moon will, with a single extended tracking shot, produce a new one-shot film with local Seattle musicians. 

Films screening in this program include: REM 6 Days; Burning & Adelia I Want To Love (both about Mogwai); La Faute Des Fleur (with Kazuki Tomokawa); Little Blue Nothing (about the Czech cellists Irena and Vojtech Havel); Mirror Noir; Arcade Fire, Cheap Magic Inside(featuring Beirut); plus a live expanded cinema program in which Moon narrates some of his latest Take Away Shows. 


Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 


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The Genius of Insanity: Five Films From Joao Cesar Monteiro

JULY 30-AUGUST 5, 2010

"I think my film represents above all the proof, to those who want to understand and accept it, that poetry can't be filmed, that it is useless to try." —João César Monteiro

Look at a photograph of the underappreciated Portuguese auteur João César Monteiro, who died in 2003, and you will see a man resembling a cross between Nosferatu and Woody Allen. Its no wonder then that his cinematic fingerprints are some of the most memorable you’ll ever see. It's not clear under what influence Monteiro worked, but he was certainly international cinema's randiest rapscallion. Practicing his own brand of slowed-down slapstick, his films puncture preconceptions about power and age, beauty and desire. Never has the cinema dared to depict obsessiveness so unblinkingly and with such contained irony. Join us in sharing these indelible images as we honor the legendary man from Portugal who is remembered both for his madness and for his acts of overwhelming cinematic charity.

Special thanks to Haden Guest at Harvard Film Archive for organizing the retrospective, as well as Instituto Camoes Portugal

"Though far less of a household name, João César Monteiro was for Portuguese cinema what Luis Buñuel was for Spanish, a gleefully caustic satirist and libertine whose targets may have been the usual suspects of sexual, religious, and political propriety, but whose means of attack against them were highly unusual." —Art Forum

Read more about Monteiro and this series at the Village Voice

Read a conversation about the series with Series Curator Haden Guest (Harvard Film Archives)

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From the Land of the Midnight Sun

JULY 16-18, 2010

With saunas, reindeer and the summer’s midnight sun, Finland and its unique cinematic output remains one of the world well-kept secrets. From the Land of the Midnight Sun gives us three of Finland’s finest film exports of the last year, plus a Seattle remake of a Finnish classic. We start with a new package of short films from Finland, then move onto Peter von Bagh’s ode to the capital city, Helsinki Forever, and conclude with Jukka Kärkkäinen’s poetic, portrait-like view into six Finnish living rooms, Living Room of the Nation. These films collectively display the Finn’s enduring ability to surprise and please audiences, suggesting perhaps the camera’s iris is often best pointed at the midnight sun.


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Curator's Defense

MAY 16-20, 2010

Northwest Film Forum dares local arts curators to enter the cinematic ring in our Curator's Defense. We know how much effort goes into programming each film we play. What better way to spice up our summer calendar than putting our curatorial colleagues in the hot seat and asking them to program their favorite film from the last decade? We also asked them to prepare an oral argument in defense of their selection. The result is an amazing selection from gifted local curators. Come listen to defenses from Robin Held (The Frye Art Museum) on Chan-wook Park’s Lady Vengeance (May 16); Lane Czaplinski (On The Boards) on Julie Taymor’s Shakespeare adaptation Titus (May 17), Linda Bowers (Seattle Arts and Lectures) on David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (May 19), and Michael Hebb (One Pot) on Ondi Timoner’s Dig! (May 20).


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40 Years On: Murray Lerner's Isle of Wight Films

MAY 21–27, 2010

Director in Attendance Saturday-Monday (May 22-24)!

(Murray Lerner, USA, 1970, HD)


"This is the last festival, enough is enough, it began as a beautiful dream but it has got out of control and become a monster." —Ron Foulk, concert promoter, (on Monday morning, September 1, 1970)

Forty years ago this summer, the legendary third-annual Isle of Wight Festival hit the stage with some 600,000 screaming fans in attendance, the biggest ever rock festival in Europe. It was a chaotic affair that redefined festival madness. The attendees, most without tickets, descended on East Afton Farm, on the tiny unsuspecting English Channel island, to hear the likes of The Who, Jimi Hendrix (in his last live festival performance; he died 18 days later in London), Jethro Tull, the Moody Blues, Miles Davis, Joan Baez, the Doors (in their final U.K. gig with Jim Morrison), Joni Mitchell and Sly and the Family Stone. Fortunately for us New York based filmmaker Murray Lerner was there to document the entire event. To kick off summer, we present nine of Lerner’s films, including nearly complete performances from eight artists and the two-hour documentary that puts the entire event into perspective. We’ll be offering a festival pass for the series, so come out and experience one of music’s most renowned events in almost its entirety!

Series pass $40/Film Forum members, $50/general

Take a Documentary Workshop & Critique with Murray Lerner!


Sponsored by KBCS 91.3FM


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Innocence Lost

APRIL 3-22, 2010

Co-presented by Three Dollar Bill Cinema

Hard lessons! Soft lighting! Wild times!

Three Dollar Bill Cinema presents four nights of unforgettable queer classics at Northwest Film Forum in April. From frisky adult situations to the trials of teen angst, you’ll never forget your first time seeing these rarely screened films, and you’ll be crying in your pillow if you miss any one of them!

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Still from Oskar Fischinger's Kreise (Circles) (1933), 35mm, color, sound (c) Fischinger Trust, courtesy Center for Visual Music

Visual Music

Sensory Cinema 1920s-70

APRIL 9-13, 2010

Northwest Film Forum and The Sprocket Society, in association with Center For Visual Music, present this special series celebrating the history of Visual Music. Over the past century, there have been a number of prescient artists who’ve approached cinema as a tool for merging visual art and music in order to create a new synaesthetic art form and explore uncharted areas of experience. Through a vibrant history of cinematic experiments, these pioneers have been inventing the concepts, aesthetics, techniques and technologies on which our modern image-and-sound culture is based. Visual Music is a rare opportunity to see restored film prints of work by such master animators as Oskar Fischinger, Mary Ellen Bute, Jordan Belson and Robert Breer on the big screen. In addition, we’ll host a panel discussion on Seattle's own history of visual music in the 1960s and early 70s. 

Curated by Peter Lucas

Special thanks to the Center For Visual Music, Cindy Keefer, Cecile Starr, Spencer Sundell and Alex Bush. 

This program is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment For The Arts.


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Sunday Masters Series

APRIL 4-18, 2010

Join us this April as we explore the lives and working styles of some of cinema's undisputed master directors. We kick off the program with a tribute to the recently deceased grandfather of the French New Wave, Eric Rohmer, and continue with new documentaries on comic genius Jacques Tati and a reverent look back at Russia’s existential master Andrei Tarkovsky.

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Pan Chan-Wook's Vengeance Trilogy

March 7, 2010

Co-Presented by Scarecrow Video

Though he first gathered attention for his comparatively subdued thriller Joint Security Area (2000), an enormous hit in his native South Korea, writer and director Park Chan-Wook has since emerged as a world-cinema master with three visionary, violent, and equally popular revenge sagas. Created between 2002 and 2005, these powerhouse films have together been dubbed by international critics as “The Vengeance Trilogy.” Though each tells a separate, unrelated story,

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Lady Vengeance share Park’s distinctive auteurist touch, identifiable by a unique blend of ironic humor and blood-curdling horror. Comic book stories with elements of classical tragedy, the films feature morally ambiguous but fascinating protagonists who discover the true nature of evil.

Park is the rare contemporary filmmaker who has found a way to innovate with digitally created imagery while maintaining an emotional center. His expressionistic and frequently hallucinatory spaces, as well as his handling of suspense, has earned him comparisons with Alfred Hitchcock. Screening just before the release of the DVD box set, NWFF audiences will be able to see all three of these deliriously beautiful, pulse-pounding thrillers in their original 35mm wide-screen formats.

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MARCH 5-11, 2010

Presented by Northwest Film Forum and AIGA-Seattle
Sponsored by

ByDesign explores the intersection of graphic design and moving image, and celebrates multidisciplinary artists who push the boundaries to create new techniques, styles and forms. Over the past decade, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting a great number of special guest artists, and presenting hundreds of new and historic films. We’ve seen new technologies developed, old techniques revived and watched as interest has grown in this overlap of design and film.

The tenth annual ByDesign program features a range of film title sequences, animations, documentary portraits and guest presenters. We are especially pleased to present films by Charles and Ray Eames, as the work of the legendary multi-disciplinary husband and wife team was the main inspiration for our starting this program a decade ago.

Curator: Peter Lucas

Program Assistant: Katherine Jardine


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Red Riding Trilogy


This acclaimed British trilogy is a condensed version of David Peace’s quartet of cult-noir novels. While largely a fictionalized account of the Yorkshire Ripper’s murderous rampage against women and young girls in the 1970s and ‘80s, the films effectively mix fact and fiction while exploring police corruption and the modern city’s seedy underbelly. Each film was made with a different director, but Tony Grisoni, known in part for his work with Terry Gilliam, adapted and wrote all three. After screening on British TV, the trilogy has become a unlikely darling of the festival circuit, and negotiations are already underway for an American remake directed by Ridley Scott.

“Red Riding…is, collectively, the greatest thing I’ve seen since I discovered the first season of Twin Peaks on DVD.” —Cinematical

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W.T.F.? Wednesdays!


February 3 - 17, 2010
This quarter, Wednesdays in February are devoted to recent explorations in experimental cinema, focusing on three American filmmakers whose recent work represents major trends in durational cinema, hand-painted filmmaking and films that blur the line between abstract and documentary. It is rare for works such as these to find much play outside of the festival circuit, but we felt strongly that these films should see the light (or in our case cloudy light) of Seattle’s day.    


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Divided Cinema: German Cinema at The Wall

November 30 - December 16, 2009

Shaped by two world wars and three decades of imposed separation, Berlin bears the scars of the 20th century like no other city.  The currents of Cold War that overtook the world also swept up the metropolis’s many filmmakers. They turned to the city's most famous monument—the Berlin Wall—as a jumping-off point for their work.

Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, DividedCinema juxtaposes films from each Germany.  Though politically and geographically opposed, the films share a deep concern with separation.  Some, like Jürgen Vogel’s And For Your Love Too, embrace it; others, like Wim Wenders’ classic Wings Of Desire, cast a melancholy air of mourning over their divided home. Berlin-Schoenhauser Corner follows East German youth who push the boundaries of separation, while Yesterday Girl examines the aftermath of crossing those boundaries.  Pulling together these experiences with division, two documentaries chronicle the wall itself. Look At This City is a DEFA documentary by Karl Gass that recounts the history of West and East Berlin from the end of World War II to the building of the Wall on August 13, 1961. The wordless documentary The Wall recounts the construction, separation and destruction, before a backdrop of history both banal and iconic.

Twenty years after reunification, Divided Cinema looks back on forty years of German separation.  In doing so, we hope to reveal two cinematic histories intertwined by their past but forcibly separated by their present.

Special thanks to Alexandra Bush; Eric Ames, University of Washington; Cordula Brown, Seattle University; Jason Dorree, DEFA Film Library; Goethe Institute New York



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Live at the Film Forum

September 2009-May 2010

Cinema is a collaborative art form that combines writing, theater, performance and visual art in the creation of something unique. The final edit of a film may be fixed, but cinema has a long history of integrating live performance, from the earliest Magic Lantern lectures and live scores that accompanied silent films to avant-garde performers today.
Northwest Film Forum is proud to launch LIVE AT THE FILM FORUM, a showcase of dynamic new work that expands cinema beyond the limits of the screen. Our inaugural season brings together dozens of Northwest artists who wield paintbrush, chisel, musical instrument and camera to make innovative works of art. These projects bridge disciplines, connect artists with audiences and integrate the temporary with the lasting qualities of film. Enjoy performances and projections that engage the senses to create ephemeral and exceptional living cinema.


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Earshot Jazz Films

October 20 - November 2, 2009

Co-presented by the Earshot Jazz Festival

Curated by Peter Lucas

Northwest Film Forum and the Earshot Jazz Festival team up to present this annual film program celebrating the history, sounds and spirit of jazz as well its intersections with cinema.

Now in its 8th year, the program features the Seattle-made documentary Icons Among Us, the acclaimed new feature film Guy And Madeline On A Park Bench (featuring musician Jason Palmer) and a special live event in which bassist and composer Mark Dresser performs with the animations of Seattle filmmaker Sarah Jane Lapp. 

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At The Edge Of The World: The Cinema of Lisandro Alonso

November 11–19, 2009

Argentine director Lisandro Alonso's mesmerizing, enigmatic cinema is a buried treasure waiting to be discovered. Strangely, this recently crowned giant of world cinema with four films under his belt has never shown a film in Seattle. It is our great pleasure to introduce the work of one of world cinema's latest masters.

Lisandro Alonso is a fascinating figure, who probably thinks more about form than any other narrative filmmaker his age. His attempts at overall unity in his work are impressive if not fearsome; his three films, La Libertad (2001), Los Muertos (2004) and Liverpool (2008), constitute one of the most notable trilogies in contemporary film. Alonso creates an evocatively atemporal and even otherworldly experience with the depiction of lone men, wandering though landscapes at once beautiful and isolated. Alonso's remaining film, Fantasma (2006), works as a curious comment on the first two. In it, the lead actors of his first two features wander through a building looking for a screening of Los Muertos. These four features make up one of contemporary cinema's richest debuts in recent memory.

Join us as we welcome Lisandro Alonso to the cinema where he'll conduct a master class, and introduce the premiere screenings of all four of his wondrous features.


"The four films from director Lisandro Alonso that are having their Seattle premiers at the Northwest Film Forum from Nov, 11-19 deserve committed viewings from everyone who considers themselves serious about film." -Seattle PostGlobe

"[Alonso's filmmaking style is] a way of looking at and framing the world—the physical space of the external and the characters that inhabit it—on the screen in a way that favors the integrity of the quotidian and the immediacy of the moment." -The Stranger


Take a workshop with Lisandro Alonso!

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Short Exposure

Spring-Summer 2009

Northwest Film Forum celebrates the achievements of local film with a new slate of shorts by Pacific Northwest filmmakers shown before feature films.  Short Exposure offers up beautiful works by the regions best filmmakers. Enjoy our latest selection of films being made in our own backyard!

Sponsored by City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

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January-December, 2009

1969 was a moment between times. The year was simultaneously the epitome and the end of an era. With optimism and fear, triumphs and tragedies, freedoms and violations, love and war, a decade of diametric struggles was coming to an end. Filmmakers attempted to reconcile the clash of mixed emotions and a social, political and cultural landscape that had quickly become convoluted. Hollywood struggled to keep up with the great shifts of the time, and the studios made awkward dance partners with a new generation of irreverent independent, foreign and avant-garde filmmakers. Forty years later, as we close out the first decade of the 21st Century, 1969 is a reflection of the kinds of issues, dilemmas, creative sparks, contradictions and open future that we face today, in our world and our cinema. Northwest Film Forum presents an in-depth, yearlong exploration of the films of 1969, presenting a diversity of feature films, documentaries and experimental works that were seen on screens during that tumultuous year.

Vastly different visions from both veteran directors and emerging filmmakers (many of whom would come into prominence in the ‘70s) challenge traditional ideas of war, patriotism, faith, sexuality, human nature and the very boundaries of filmmaking. The films share a common sense of alienation, discontent and uncertainty toward the future. Outsiders and drifters of various incarnations grope for meaning, love and direction. Many take to the open road, embarking on quests for freedom, connection and the great unknown. Seen together, these must-see films comprise a fascinating mosaic of cinema in a significant time of transition when essential questions were being asked in bold new ways. And this is just the beginning of our ongoing series. 69 provides a rare opportunity to experience important works of modern filmmaking as well as the overlooked rarities of the time on the big screen. And it presents a vast cinematic landscape for one’s own personal road trip.


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Alternate Cinema

May 22-28, 2009

Co-presented with the Seattle International Film Festival

Alternate Cinema pushes at the boundaries of what is real and what is imagined, creating experiments in the laboratory of cinema that explore the vastness of cinematic possibility. Yet when we examine these works, they seem more in tune with our selves, with our thoughts and with the very medium of film itself.

This year's selection includes archival film clips (in FILM IST. a girl and a gun), a backyard safari (in Light Year) and the mix of fact and fiction (in Our Beloved Month of August). Documentaries include a look at underground film pioneers George and Mike Kuchar in It Came from Kuchar and a 16mm portrait of an abandoned planned community in California Company Town. The program also includes a playful imagining of Samuel Becket's Waiting for Godot in Beket. Short In the Dark is a collection of new and old, national and local, thought provoking short films.

Look beyond what traditional cinema presents and experience what Alternate Cinema can offer.  Open your mind and let the new ideas flow in.

Click here to purchase tickets to any Alternate Cinema program

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Queer Thursdays: God Save the Queens

April, 2009

Queer Thursdays in April are back! Starting April 9, Three Dollar Bill Cinema will present a four-part series celebrating classic queer film from "across the pond." The British film industry was producing compelling and creative films about gays and lesbians well before these themes were openly addressed in the U.S. Don't miss to the cinematic royalty, from Drama Queens to Fashion Queens and all that they command.  Films April 9, 16, 23, and 30 at 7pm.

Tickets are $9/Three Dollar Bill and NWFF members, $10/general

For more information and tickets visit

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ByDesign 09

March 6-12, 2009

This annual program explores design and the moving image, and celebrates multidisciplinary artists who combine forms and transform our visual culture.

ByDesign 09 examines the art and craft of motion graphics with a number of special guests including MK12 (Quantum of Solace) and Digital Kitchen (True Blood). Digital artists Kamran Sadeghi and Scott K. James create syneshtesia through their inventive live audio-visual performances. Our Entropy program surveys a variety of new short films and music videos from around the globe. And we present the Northwest premieres of new documentaries about legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser and visionary architect Rem Koolhaas. Join us in exploring these observations, ideas and the world re-imagined through design.

Curated by Peter Lucas
Series sponsored by Digital Kitchen


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At The Crossroads: Slovenian Cinema

December 5-14, 2008

Surrounded by powerful neighbors, with a population of barely two million and a language spoken only by its inhabitants, Slovenia has struggled for centuries to keep its own identity and culture. It was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the 14th century to the end of World War I, when it was included in the newly founded “Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes,” a political unit created at the Versailles Peace Conference that was later renamed Yugoslavia. During World War II, Slovenia was invaded and partitioned among Austria, Hungary and Italy. Afterwards, it was incorporated into Tito’s Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, where it became the country’s most prosperous and developed region. On June 25, 1991, the Republic of Slovenia declared its independence.
With this turbulent history, it’s remarkable that Slovenia has maintained a national cinema at all. Yet film, which first appeared in the capital Ljubljana as early as 1896, thrived within the socialist republic. Triglav Films, Slovenia’s first major film studio, was founded in 1947, and within a few years was producing popular domestic comedies such as Vesna. Many of the new currents in 1960s European cinema arrived early in Slovenia, and works such as Dance in the Rain and Paper Planes helped introduce a modernist sensibility into Yugoslav cinema. Following independence, many feared that an audience as small as Slovenia’s could not sustain a national cinema. Despite rough years, critical and commercial successes including Sweet Dreams have shown the viability of the country’s filmmaking.
Slovenian films, currently averaging about six to eight a year, have also become an increasingly familiar presence at international film festivals. The Slovenian Film Fund has been essential in fostering this remarkable growth. Founded in 1994, the SFF has supported over twenty directorial debuts, helping create a new generation of filmmakers. It has also promoted Slovenian film more actively internationally and encouraged co-production arrangements with other members of the European community. As a result, at a time in which most discussions of international cinema focus on the negative impact of globalization, Slovenia has become an uplifting and inspiring success story for the cinemas of other small nations.
Our first presentation of the Slovenian films took place in 2004, but featured only recent works. This year's series will be the first comprehensive overview of Slovenian cinema after WWII.

At The Crossroads: is presented by the Northwest Film Forum in collaboration and with major support from the Slovenian Film Fund. The series was programmed by Richard Peña and organized by Irena Kovarova, independent film programmer. Additional support provided by The Consulate General of Slovenia. Special thanks to Consul General Alenka Suhadolnik and Nerina T. Kocjancic, Head of Promotion, Slovenian Film Fund.


Sponsored by UW Slavic Languages and Literatures


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Festival of New Cinema from Spain

NOVEMBER 14 – 20, 2008

The success of Spain at this year’s Oscar awards serves as confirmation of the complexity and uniqueness of the Spanish artistic scene. Though characterized by the enthralling, the daring, and the unprecedented, Spanish cinema has taken many different directions. Exploring the riskiest visions, Spanish filmmakers have taken their place internationally, not only with renowned actors such as this year’s Oscar award–winning Javier Bardem, but with professionals behind the camera working on successful features like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Orphanage.

Year after year, Spain offers new fearless and passionate auteurs debuting feature films, including Félix Viscarret, Albert Serra, and Rafa Cortés. Festival of New Cinema from Spain brings them together, along with established directors such as Iciar Bollain, Carles Bosch, Gracia Querejeta, José Luis Guerin and Jaime Rosales. Their new films explore diverse storytelling, genre and subjects, and with their previous features form an enriching and impressive body of work.

A sampling of new short films, ShortMetraje includes the works of those who managed to find alternative ways of expression without relinquishing their message. Keep an eye out for young talents such as the promising Eduardo Chapero Jackson.

In a first–rate ensemble of vibrant, polemical, artful and eclectic films, NWFF is happy to offer Seattle audiences a variety of Spanish styles that range from drama to comedy, to experimentation.

Organized by Pragda and curated by Marta Sánchez. Support for the exhibition comes from Dirección General de Política e Industrias Culturales and Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA) of the Spanish Ministry of Culture, Tourist Office of Spain, Embassy of Spain, Washington, DC., Dirección General de Relaciones Culturales y Científicas, Filmoteca, AECI, of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Spanish and Portuguese Department of the University of Washington, SAPN Amigos de Espana, and Instituto Cervantes Seattle. Support for the opening reception provided by Freixenet and Tapeña. Special thanks to Honorary Consul of Spain, Seattle.

Series pass $30/NWFF members, $40/general

Special offer from Tango Restaurant!
Visit Tango Restaurant on your way to or from a film in the Festival of New Cinema from Spain and receive a free "Queso Azul" appetizer. Queso Azul is: Fallen Valdeon blue cheese soufflé, seasonal fruit compota, port wine syrup.  Bring your ticket stub or mention this offer to your server when ordering.

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Earshot Jazz Films

October 28 – November 6, 2008

Each year Northwest Film Forum presents the film component of the Earshot Jazz Festival, illuminating the lives, music and creative collaborations of great jazz artists. This year’s program features the Seattle area premieres of new documentaries Electric Heart and Martino Unstrung as well as archival presentations of the classic documentary Mingus (1968), the rarely seen feature film A Man Called Adam (1966), and animated jazz shorts by John and Faith Hubley (1957-75).

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Miloš Forman’s Formative Films


Miloš Forman is typically associated with the celebrated and award–winning films he has made in the United States over the past 30 years. Lesser–known is that he kick–started the Czech New Wave with his affecting and humorous satires of daily life. Northwest Film Forum is proud to present his early films to Seattle audiences. In addition to garnering international attention, his subversive films also drew the attention of the Soviet authorities. Forman's work is permeated with an anti–authoritarian spirit as well as by lucid representations of humanity. These films illustrate a thread that appears throughout Forman’s work-that of rigid political and social systems begging for rebellion.

This touring retrospective was organized originally by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art, NY, with the kind collaboration of the Czech Center New York; the National Film Archive, Prague; and Irena Kovarova, Independent Film Programmer and Tour Manager. All films are in Czech with English subtitles, except Taking Off, which is in English.

Series pass $20/NWFF members, $25/general

Sponsored by UW Russian and East European Studies and UW Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

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The Sprocket Society’s Secret Sunday Matinee

This fall, NWFF revives the classic weekend matinee! Every Sunday afternoon, thrill to a new cliffhanger episode of Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe, perhaps the greatest movie serial ever made! PLUS a different classic (or just fun) feature every week! What features? That’s the secret! But count on high adventure, monsters, distant worlds, and special surprises! PLUS cartoons and shorts! What better way to spend a rainy autumn Sunday?

Series passes available!

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Summer of '68 Revisited

AUGUST 22-24, 2008

A Texan was in office; the US was entrenched in war; there was a hotly contested Democratic presidential campaign in which both candidates opposed the war, sought social reforms, and sought improvement in civil rights in America. Inside a convention building, delegates voted for their presidential candidate, but they did not choose the candidate who had done well in the early primary elections. Instead they chose the more traditional candidate. Sound familiar? This short series, slated just days before this years’ Democratic Convention, delivers a films from 1968, and a return to an era both similar and dissimilar to our own.

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The Labrynthine Alain Robbe–Grillet

AUGUST 6-14, 2008

Revered for many years as the figurehead of the Nouveau Roman (The New Novel) with a resume that includes works such as Les Gommes, Le Voyeur and La Jalousie, Alain Robbe–Grillet, who passed away earlier this year, is perhaps one of the most undeservedly neglected of great film–makers. He is known by most only for his screenplay of New Wave cornerstone Last Year at Marienbad, directed by Alain Resnais and an international success of the time. However, Robbe–Grillet, like Marguerite Duras, afterwards devoted his time equally to novel writing and filmmaking. Since 1962 he directed nine full–length features as well as writing the screenplays for two others. He published twelve novels over the same period, the most recent of which comprise his semi–autobiographical trilogy, which was concluded in 1994 with Les Derniers Jours de Corinth. Even though Robbe-Grillet's films have long been a source of inspiration and discussion for directors and film theorists, as well as inciting much controversy due to the uncompromising nature both of the narrative technique and the graphic imagery, they have not been presented to a large public since they were first made.

Northwest Film Forum is pleased to take a long overdue corrective action, bringing recognition to this extraordinary artist with screenings of Robbe-Grillet's first four films, all presented here in new 35mm prints.

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The Transitional Orson Welles

Late Works and Adaptations

AUGUST 1-15, 2008

Co-Presented by Richard Hugo House

It is ironic that the three literary adaptations Orson Welles made in the 1960s are the least seen of his films, yet comprise some of his best and most adventurous work. He filmed Franz Kafka's THE TRIAL in 1962, CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT in 966 (Welles' version of Shakespeare's chronicle plays), and Isak Dinesen's THE IMMORTAL STORY in 1968. All three were shot in Europe, after Welles' second departure from Hollywood.

NWFF is pleased to (re)introduce Seattle to this least explored era of one of cinema's iconic yet misunderstood directors.

Series passes $10/NWFF members, $15/general

Sponsored by Scarecrow Video

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Hal Ashby's Commingling 70s

JULY 1 - AUGUST 20, 2008

Hal Ashby was one of the most prolific and successful filmmakers of the 1970s, producing a string of hits beginning with the cult success HAROLD AND MAUDE (1971) and lasting through BEING THERE (1979). Despite this, Ashby is little remembered today and, when he is mentioned in critical anthologies, it is often in condescending and even disparaging terms. David Thomson, for instance, in A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF FILM calls Ashby "a sad casualty who depended on strong collaborators." In addition, Ashby did not direct his first film until the age of 40, so the body of his work as a director is relatively small. But the films that he made show a remarkable sense of black humor and irony, a consistency of theme and characterization and an innovative use of music and editing. Ashby was the quintessential '70s director, one who spoke directly to the era - and lived it, acquiring and breaking a coke habit en route.

Like Bob Rafelson and Robert Altman, Ashby was a voice of the counter-culture, his films promoted radical change and embraced individual awakenings, especially in opposition to mainstream society. An actors' director, Ashby elicited career-highlight performances from Peter Sellers, Jane Fonda, Warren Beatty, Jon Voight, Jack Nicholson, Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Bruce Dern and Shirley MacLaine, among many others. Indeed, Hal Ashby produced an extraordinary group of films over a short period of time. His films from THE LANDLORD through BEING THERE impart a coherent vision that comments on the human condition, through its misfits, sees humanity as often absurd, though not without humor and dignity or beyond redemption. Moreover, his status as a pre-eminent director during the 1970s should be acknowledged and the fine films that he made during this period remembered.

Series passes $20/NWFF members, $35/general

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No Borders, No Limits: 1960s Nikkatsu Action Cinema

JULY 25-28, 2008

The label said it all: Nikkatsu Akushon. From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, action films from the Nikkatsu studio flooded the Japanese market. The genre included yakuza movies, urban dramas, jazz-inflected youth pictures, Eastern "Westerns," French New Wave-inspired emotional dramas and crime films. Less gritty realism than macho romanticism, Nikkatsu Action cinema was known for flashy stylistics, tortuous narratives, and a pantheon of male stars. In this series we present some of the studio's best films, featuring Nikkatsu's most enduring stars. Finally Seattle audiences can be exposed to this often artistic, always entertaining subgenre of Japanese cinema.

Special thanks to Marc Walkow who will be presenting the live soft titling of these films. Subtitles will be projected onto the screen during the film.

Series pass $15/NWFF members, $20/general

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Dream Screen: Three by Miyazaki

JUNE 24 - AUGUST 26, 2008

What better time than summer to bask in the glorious sunshine of Hayao Miyazaki's artistry, filled with brave children, epic adventures, enormous insects, unexpected journeys, magical transformations and miraculous dreams of flight. Whether you are seeing these astounding films for the first or fiftieth time, you will marvel at Miyzaki's ability to conjure stories that inspire and embolden audiences to see the world in a brand new way.

All films are dubbed in English.

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Pret-A-Filmer: A Week of Fashion Films

MAY 30 - JUNE 5, 2008

Sponsored by Three Dollar Bill Cinema


This series of five documentary films celebrates fashion icons— those who made fashion and those who wore fashion in ways that changed the definition of style. In LAGERFELD CONFIDENTIAL, director Rodolphe Marconi follows contemporary fashion's biggest star, Karl Lagerfeld, as he navigates his life in a black-and-white whirl of air kisses and endless rounds of black coffee and champagne. Two intimate documentaries by David Teboul track legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent as he prepares his final women’s collection before his retirement in 2002 — the first and last time St. Laurent allowed cameras into his atelier. The series also includes Loïc Prigent’s MARC JACOBS & LOUIS VUITTON, which journeys inside the professional world of designer Marc Jacobs as he had his team conceptualize, refine and execute two Spring 2007 collections. This series proves that though fashions may change over time, these icons are timeless.

Series pass $15/NWFF members, $25/general

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Duel of the Cool

APRIL 29 - MAY 14, 2008

In the 1960's, two actors defined the finger-snapping confidence of Europe’s post-war boom: France's Jean-Paul Belmondo and Italy's Marcello Mastroianni. These leading men found themselves cast as Casanovas, wanderers, gangsters and of course lady-killers. Belmondo was the brute, the thug in a fedora and tight pants with lips no woman could deny. Mastroianni was the lover, the romantic idealist with unattainable desires.

These men became stars thanks to two of Europe's top directors of the time, Jean-Luc Godard and Federico Fellini. Belmondo emerged with his performance as Michel Poiccard, the antihero of Jean-Luc Godard's groundbreaking BREATHLESS. The actor was one of the key figures of the 'New Wave' and became a major international star by the early 1970s. With the look of a boxer, Belmondo projects a tough yet sensuous persona. Fellini made Mastroianni into a sex symbol, casting him in such classics as LA DOLCE VITA and 8 1/2. He was an elegant, understated actor who could command the screen while never monopolizing it. The men performed opposite such bombshells as Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot, and Sophia Loren, and under direction of masters such as Ettore Scola, Francois Truffaut and Michelangelo Antonioni, among others. TE MAIN EVEN

In the cinematic bout of the century, Belmondo and Mastroianni duke it out in three rounds of classic European cinema! We'll be running a month-long audience survey to determine which actor wins the title of "King Of Cool."

Series Pass $25/NWFF Members, $40/General

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Sex Comedy Italian Style

APRIL 24 - MAY 1, 2008

After Neorealism failed to make a significant impact on the Italy's cinema-going public, a type of Italian film emerged that lasted from the late 1950s to the mid 1970s: Comedy - Italian Style. With elements of post-war social critique combined with comedy, one director in particular managed to satirize Italy in a highly popular way: Pietro Germi. Practically forgotten since his death in 1974, NWFF is extremely excited to present two recently restored prints in order to re-introduce audiences to this eclectic, visionary and fearless director.

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The Short Films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul

APRIL 15-23, 2008

"World cinema’s premier maker of mysterious objects, Apichatpong Weerasethakul is on a one-man mission to change the way we watch movies. Rich and strange, postmodern and prehistoric, his films foster an experience of serene bewilderment and –for the willing viewer – euphoric surrender. They are suffused with a sense of wide-open possibility that sometimes explodes into epiphany."–Dennis Lim, THE VILLAGE VOICE

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY, TROPICAL MALADY) is a key figure in modern Thai film and a highly original moving-image artist. He studied architecture at Khon Kaen University before completing a Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Influenced by American experimental film, Weerasethakul is one of a small group of independent filmmakers working outside the Thai studio system. His video installations, shorts and feature films explore the genres of documentary and fiction in uniquely Thai contexts. Thai television, radio and comics provide story elements that may be enacted or embroidered by the characters that drive Weerasethakul’s films. These two programs comprise rarely seen short works made by the acclaimed director over the past 14 years.

Special thanks to Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Jed Rapfogel (Anthology Film Archives), Lee Chatametikool, Mark McElhatten and Isabelle Park (Jeonju International Film Festival).

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Queer Thursdays

I Love the Nightlife

APRIL 3 – 24, 2008 - Every Thursday in April at 7pm

Looking for a hip homo hangout? Explore the "underground" gay social scene in the world of queer film. Every Thursday in April, Three Dollar Bill Cinema will screen a film in which queer gathering spaces play a memorable or central role.

From the seedy haunts of NYC to the "anything goes" bars of Berlin, see what the gays were doing back in the day...or what they were imagined to be doing!

Tickets are $10, $9 for TDBC and NWFF members
$32 for series pass

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MARCH 6-13, 2008

Sponsored by AIGA-Seattle, Cornish College of the Arts and Digital Kitchen

This special annual series explores the intersection of graphic design and moving image, and celebrates multidisciplinary artists who push at the boundaries to create new techniques, styles and forms. The eighth annual BYDESIGN program features short films, installations and performances by digital artists including Light Surgeons, Graham Wood, Semiconductor and Impactist; classic films by such pioneer designer/directors as Saul Bass, Charles and Ray Eames, Norman McLaren and Frank Mouris: a panel discussion with motion graphics designers from Digital Kitchen, SuperFad, and World Famous Inc.; a history of the evolution of computer animation with computer graphics pioneer and Pixar co-founder Alvy Ray Smith; and a feature documentary celebrating the ubiquitous Swiss typeface Helvetica and exploring the effects of type on our visual culture and daily lives. ByDesign explores the fertile hub between artistic, experimental, and commercial media and champions innovations that integrate design, art and cinema. Series curated by Peter Lucas.

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See You in the Funny Pages

MARCH 1 - MAY 3, 2008

Sponsored by Fantagraphics and Cupcake Royale

Northwest Film Forum presents a trio of classic comic strips turned big screen musicals! These family-friendly film adaptations of DICK TRACY, ANNIE and POPEYE are sure to win the hearts of new young viewers. Isn't it high time your kids knew about Dick Tracy's watch, Popeye's can of spinach and Little Orphan Annie's dog? And shouldn't they be humming the tunes of Stephen Sondheim, Harry Nilsson, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin? These films will be a treat for parents too, revisiting the delightful results of unlikely directorial assignments for John Houston (ANNIE), Robert Altman (POPEYE) and Warren Beatty (DICK TRACY). All this, plus unforgettable performances by Robin Williams, Albert Finney, Shelly Duvall, Carol Burnett, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman and even (gulp) Madonna!

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Keeping Score

FEBRUARY 12-13, 2008

Northwest Film Forum’s annual "Keeping Score" series celebrates cinema's greatest composers. This year we focus our attention on the extraordinary contributions of legendary Argentinean pianist, composer and conductor Lalo Schifrin. He's written over 100 scores for film and television since the early 1960s, among them COOL HAND LUKE, BULLITT, THE FOX, ENTER THE DRAGON, THX 1138, DIRTY HARRY, and most famously, the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE theme. Schifrin’s tremendous ability to blend classical, jazz and popular music forms has gained him the admiration of veteran cinephiles and composers as well as a new generation of djs. Join us for special 35mm screenings of the two classic films for which Schifrin is best known

(NOTE: The previously announced event with Lalo Schifrin in person has been cancelled.)

Sponsored by Easy Street Records and KBCS 91.3 FM

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Sisu Cinema: Nine From the Finnish New Wave

FEBRUARY 1 – 17, 2008

The Finnish word sisu means resilience and survival under difficult circumstances. In shorthand it's often translated as “guts,” and is regarded as a characteristic Finnish trait. This may explain the frequency in Finnish New Wave films of scrappy outsiders who persevere in spite of often overwhelming odds. The term could also apply to the story of the Finnish film industry itself. When the production system dominated by large companies collapsed in the early 1960s, a Finnish new wave emerged, films made by small companies and distinctive cinema personalities. Following on the heels of France's auteurist cinema, Finland introduced its own brand of dark comedic works exploring idealism and youth. This generation of transition steered the Finnish film industry into the mid 1970s. SISU CINEMA highlights the works of Finland's greatest practitioners of the era. The program begins with the most influential works by auteurs Jörn Donner (who would later produce Bergman’s FANNY AND ALEXANDER) and Mikko Niskanen, followed by films from notable directors Jaakko Pakkasvirta, Risto Jarva, and Eija-Elina Bergholm. From these films and filmmakers we learn that sisu is not just a plot device – it's Finland's indelible image of itself.

Curated with assistance from Satu Laaksonen at the Finnish Film Archive and Andrew Nestingen at the University of Washington.

Sponsored by the Finlandia Foundation, UW Department of Scandinavian Studies, American Scandinavian Foundation

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Still Lives: The Films of Pedro Costa

DECEMBER 3 – 12, 2007

Portuguese director Pedro Costa has long been recognized as a major auteur in Europe and Asia, and has been praised by artists as far-reaching as Jacques Rivette and Jeff Wall, but is often overlooked in North American film circles. Northwest Film Forum is thrilled to host this long overdue complete retrospective, which includes his latest feature COLOSSAL YOUTH, one of the best-reviewed films of the year. The series acts as primer and corrective, introduction and redress, advocating Costa’s unique and unforgettable cinema. Costa does away with conventional boundaries between fiction and documentary, masterfully shooting non-actors who share the drug problems and dire straits of the “characters” they play. Influenced by directors as diverse as John Ford, Ozu Yasujin, and Jean-Marie Straub, Costa’s fragmented narratives show us life in the most desperate conditions. These six feature films and two shorts reveal Costa as one of the world’s great filmmakers.

The Pedro Costa retrospective was organized by Ricardo Matos Cabo (Lisbon), with additional thanks to Mark Peranson (Vancouver).

"Like Béla Tarr, Costa has a propensity for the long take and tableaux structure, a fondness for haunted, life-battered faces and desolate landscapes, and a Dostoevskian sense of life as hell. His Vanda trilogy now joins Sátántangó as one of the most formidable works in contemporary cinema, a true arte povera epic." -James Quandt, Cinematheque Ontario

Sponsored by KBCS 91.3 FM

Series Pass $20/NWFF members, $30/general

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Eliptic and Unbridled: The Early Films of Bela Tarr

January 8-30, 2008

Continuing our exhaustive exhibition of the work of great Hungarian director Bela Tarr, Northwest Film Forum presents rare screenings of this master’s earliest works. For those who’ve seen SATANTANGO and WRECKMEISTER HARMONIES, these early films may come as something of a shock. Under the influence of the "documentary fiction" (politicized socialist realism) of Istvan Darday (under whom he had worked an assistant director) as well as the cinema vérité of John Cassavetes, and possibly even British "kitchen sink" dramas, Tarr created his first three features, known as the "proletarian trilogy:” FAMILY NEST (1979), THE OUTSIDER (1981), and PREFAB PEOPLE (1982). Tarr uses handheld camera, nonprofessional actors, improvisation, multiple close-ups, and more conventional editing rhythms than in his later work. The films delve into the melancholy of Hungarian life during the late 1970s and early 1980s, exploring social and economic conditions (especially a major housing shortage) that wreak havoc on the personal lives of his characters. Do not miss this rare chance to see the first works of this celebrated master of cinema.

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A Man Vanishes: The Legacy of Shohei Imamura

October 26 - November 12, 2007


Presented by NWFF, the Japan Foundation, and the Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution.

"The Films of Shohei Imamura are among the greatest ever made."-Jonathan Demme, Director

"Not merely a great filmmaker, but one of the greatest artists in the history of cinema."-John Harkness, NOW MAGAZINE

"I like to make messy films."-Shohei Imamura

Last June, international cinema lost one of it's most cherished filmmakers, Japan's Shohei Imamura. Imamura, whose credits include the masterpiece THE BALLAD OF NARAYAMA and PIGS AND BATTLESHIPS, was a true maverick. He's the first major post-humanist to emerge in Japan, starting out just before the other great rebel of Japanese cinema, Nagisa Oshima, went into feature filmmaking. While his peers busied themselves telling classical humanist tales such as THE HUMAN CONDITION and THE BURMESE HARP, Imamura scratched and got beneath our skin. Much like his mentor Yuzo Kawashima at Nikkatsu studios, Imamura had a preference for contemporary themes, explored with frankness, humor and a lack of cant. He also had an enduring interest in the inhabitants of cultural backwaters and the lower depths, particularly earthy, strong-willed women who disdained bourgeois morality. Gradually he emerged as one of the leading figures of postwar Japanese cinema, an insightful, creative artist with a near-scientific interest in Japanese society, new and old, and a flair for depicting the human condition audaciously and entertainingly. Northwest Film Forum honors Imamura on what would have been his eightieth year with a retrospective of his work, rarely shown in the U.S.

Touring program assembled by Adam Sekuler Northwest Film Forum; Tom Vick, Freer and Sackler Galleries; and the Smithsonian Institution. We thank the following individuals and institutions for their assistance with this retrospective: Mari Hiruta, The Japan Foundation, Tokyo; Yoshihiro Nihei, The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles; Imamura Productions, Tokyo; Brian Belovarac; Janus Films.

Sponsored by KBCS Radio and University of Washington's East Asia Center.

Northwest Film Forum is pleased to offer a commemorative tour book for A MAN VANISHES: THE LEGACY OF SHOHEI IMAMURA.

This special program features essays by
Martin Scorsese, Dennis Lim, Joan Mellen and Rob Nelson

Commemorative tour books will be free on opening night!

For the remainder of the series, books are $2 while supplies last. 

Available for purchase from the NWFF box office.

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Earshot Jazz Films 2007

October 23 – November 1, 2007

Co-presented by Northwest Film Forum and the Earshot Jazz Festival

Each year as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival, we present films that shed light on the vibrant history of this great American art form and the lives of some of its greatest composers and performers. Join us for the Seattle premiere of the new documentary ANITA O'DAY: THE LIFE OF A JAZZ SINGER and revivals of newly restored classics LET'S GET LOST, Bruce Weber's acclaimed documentary portrait of jazz singer/trumpeter Chet Baker, and Ron Mann's IMAGINE THE SOUND profiling free jazz innovators.

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Peter Greenaway

September 28 - 30, 2007

"Once you develop an interest in Greenaway, it cannot stop."-WASHINGTON POST

We are honoring the great British filmmaker Peter Greenaway (THE PILLOW BOOK; THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER) with new prints of two of his earliest and most engaging works. These films should be considered not as narrative stories and but more collections of ideas, thoughts, and philosophies. They are crammed full of lists and collected esoterica with metaphors piled on top of symbols, tottering under the weight of some obscure mathematical structuring device. Take them straight and you're liable to wind up drunk on invention. We offer you two cups of Greenway, for revelation and inspiration!

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Mumble Without A Cause

September 7 - October 3, 2007

Three new films and a discussion about the emerging "mumblecore" genre.

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The Singin' Sixties

Classic Family Musicals

Three weekends:
September 22 - 23; October 13 - 14; November 17 - 18, 2007

Join us for a trip back in time, when gorgeously costumed superstars of the 60s burst into Technicolor song and dance at the drop of a hat. This series of musicals has it all - gorgeous mise-en-scène, adorable child stars, award-winning performances, supercalifragilistic show tunes, heartwarming tales of human redemption, and extreme choreography! Whether you are returning to these musicals for the 100th viewing, or introducing your kids to them for the first time, rest assured the magic is timeless, especially when experienced on the big screen in glorious 35mm!

Sponsored by Broadway Market Video

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From the Tsars to the Stars: A Journey Through Russian Fantastik Cinema

July 28 - August 12, 2007

“This is why we have retro houses… Few high-powered legacies are as alien to us as the rarely screened fantasy cinema of the Soviet kingdom.” -Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

“Brave new worlds await the curious… An uncommonly bold blend of curatorial adventurousness and cultural excavation.” -Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

Wind demons and crystal palaces… Shimmering aquatic gill-men and limitless vistas of outer space… For over eight decades Russian cinema has had an inspired tradition of filmmaking that encompasses science fiction, folkloric fantasy and horror, and produces stunningly beautiful and entertaining movies -- only now being seen by American audiences in their original form.

Beginning with the pioneering animation of Ladislas Starewitch, through the silent classic AELITA: QUEEN OF MARS, and on to the astonishing visions of master filmmakers Alexander Ptushko and Pavel Klushantsev in the 1940s and 1950s, Russian genre cinema was amazingly colorful, technologically advanced and thematically ambitious. During the Cold War, sci-fi elements dominated, keeping with the Sputnik era space race between Russia and the U.S. More than a decade before 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, visual-effects pioneers Pavel Klushantsev and Mikhail Koryukov created breathtaking visions of man's voyage to outer space in such films as THE HEAVENS CALL and PLANET OF STORMS, drawing upon the latest technical advances to present a highly detailed and optimistic view of space exploration. And in 1962, Kazansky and Chebotarev’s charming THE AMPHIBIAN MAN, a cross between Jules Verne and Hans Christian Andersen, became one of the biggest hits in Soviet film history. Ironically, many of these astonishing works did end up on Western screens -- mauled almost beyond recognition. At the height of the Cold War, enterprising U.S. producers like Roger Corman purchased Soviet sci-fi films at bargain prices and gave them to up-and-coming American directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, Curtis Harrington and Peter Bogdanovich, to re-fashion using newly shot footage. With added scenes of space vampires and tentacled monsters, the Russian films were released in American drive-ins with titles like VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN and QUEEN OF BLOOD. Our series features prints of the legendary Russian originals (with English subtitles), seen for the very first time in the U.S.

This series examines the history of Russian Fantastika with rare screenings of many of the aforementioned films, as well as Aleksandr Rou’s classic adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s Christmas story, EVENINGS ON A FARM NEAR DIKANKA; a newly restored print of Richard Viktorov’s TO THE STARS BY HARD WAYS; and Alexei Fedorchenko’s pristine FIRST ON THE MOON. It’ll be revelatory, it’ll be mind-expanding, and it’ll be fun. (Adapted from the original introduction by Robert Skotak.)

From the Tsars to the Stars: A Journey Through Russian Fantastik Cinema is presented by Seagull Films, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the American Cinematheque, in collaboration with Concern Mosfilm, Russian State Archive Gosfilmofond and M-Film Studio. This series was curated by Alla Verlotsky, Robert Skotak and Dennis Bartok.

Sponsored by UW Russian and Eastern European Studies, KBCS Radio, Science Fiction Museum, and Something Weird Video.

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Serious Playtime: Jacques Tati Turns 100

July 18 - August 16, 2007

A century has passed since the birth of Jacques Tati, one of the great auteurs of the French cinema. What better way to celebrate than with this five-film retrospective? Tati's oeuvre is ever ripe for revelation and rediscovery by new audiences. Though relatively few in number, Tati's films have had an extraordinary impact. These free form physical comedies are often almost completely plotless and dialogue-free, yet they continue to fascinate and captivate, sometimes bringing to mind the work of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Harold Lloyd.

Recurring themes in Tati's filmic poetry are hilarious observations about technology's mad race to overtake ordinary lives, the misbegotten ambitions and skewed priorities of the bumbling bourgeoisie, and the absurd contrasts between the lives of children and their adult caretakers. Indeed, one of the miracles and mysteries of Tati's films is that they appeal to both children and adults, though for entirely different reasons. While children delight in the slapstick antics of Tati's characters and his fanciful, futuristic sets, adults are able to sense deeper, and sometimes more melancholy nuances behind the action. A Tati film does not look or sound like any other filmmaker, in large part due to Tati's striking cinematography, his innovative use of music and his casting of non-professional actors.

This series includes all of Tati's feature films featuring Mr. Hurlot, Tati’s bumbling alter ego and greatest comedic invention. Tati, who began his career as a mime, casts himself as the bland, middle-aged Hulot, who manages to become a catalyst for chaos wherever he goes. Accident-prone and endlessly clueless of the havoc he wreaks, Hulot could not differ more from the obsessive, meticulous filmmaker who portrayed him.

"Tati was a method, a way of looking at the world to discover comic rhythms never seen before or since in movies." -Vincent Canby

Sponsored by Scarecrow Video

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Swashbuckler Marathon

June 29 - July 1, 2007

School's out and we can't think of a better way to mark the true beginning of summer than with a marathon of macho derring-do, hungry cannibals, and treacherous terrain from the deepest jungles to the highest seas. Move over, Captain Jack Sparrow and Indiana Jones! Not only do these films have superior star power -- Errol Flynn, Burt Lancaster and Stewart Granger -- but these were also the movies that inspired all the action and adventure films that followed. They have all the sword fighting, plank walking, animal stampeding, high-seas highjinks, and romance worthy of the adventure genre, and none of the digital effects! Free popcorn to anyone who comes to these films dressed as a pirate or British explorer. Free candy bars to all Deborah Kerr impersonators!

Sponsored by Broadway Market Video

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20, 30, 40: A Trio of Concert Films

June 8-21, 2007

A program of music obsession captured on film by two of the medium’s greatest masters and one of music’s most enigmatic icons! 2007 is a staggering year for anniversaries with three of the genre’s finest examples to toast: Prince’s self-directed SIGN O' THE TIMES turns twenty, Sweden’s Lasse Hallström’s pop infectious ABBA: THE MOVIE hits thirty, and D.A. Pennebaker’s marvelous chronicle of Bob Dylan DON’T LOOK BACK reaches its fortieth year on the screen. Can twenty, thirty or forty years change our perspective of these classics, or do they stand the test of time? We’ve judged them ourselves, now it’s your turn. Join us in celebrating the “birthdays” of this trio of concert films!

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Queer Thursdays: Scandalous!

APRIL 2007

THREE DOLLAR BILL CINEMA PRESENTS SCANDALOUS!: a series of controversial queer films from the 1950s.

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MARCH 8-11, 2007

Co-presented by Northwest Film Forum,AIGA-Seattle and Henry Art Gallery
Sponsored by Digital Kitchen,Plexi Film and Modern Digital
Made possible by support from National Endowment For The Arts
Curator: Peter Lucas

This special series explores the intersection of graphic design and moving image, and celebrates multidisciplinary artists who push at the boundaries to create new techniques, styles and forms. The 7th annual BYDESIGN program showcases a wide range of artists and approaches with special screenings, presentations and live audio-visual performances. The series includes a program on legendary designer/filmmaker Robert Brownjohn, special guests including composer and software designer Randy Jones and motion graphics designers Matt Mulder (Digital Kitchen) and Will Hyde (Fad), the Seattle premieres of over a dozen new short films and music videos from around the globe, and the Northwest premiere the new documentary, 8 BIT. Join us in celebrating the convergence of design and cinema.

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A Festival of Fairytales

Three Weekends, Spring 2007

Get ready for a generous sprinkling of cinematic pixie dust with Cinema K's spring fling: A Festival of Fairy Tales! From Jacques Demy's 1972 atmospheric take on THE PIED PIPER, to a joyous program of INTERNATIONAL ANIMATED SHORT FILMS, to a trip back in time to see the classic silent version of PETER PAN accompanied by a live hapr, this series has something magical for everyone: Lost Boys, mermaids, dancing candles, singing frogs, naughty fairies, hungry wolves, resourceful children, and rodents gone wild!

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Clandestine Truth: The Canadian New Wave

APRIL 3-25, 2007

Sponsored by Canadian Studies Center
Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
and the Canadian Consulate

CLANDESTINE TRUTH captures the mood of an era when feelings counted more than reason. In the 1960s, most national cinemas were undergoing major transformations. It was an era of rebellion and questioning of identity. Many great European films were created in this era, including THE 400 BLOWS, BREATHLESS, and LA DOLCE VITA. Closer to home, Canadian filmmakers, inspired by many of these classics, created their own distinctive, innovative films. Their work, with its focus on a distinctly contemporary mood, life, and conditions, represented a sharp departure from the country’s rich cinematic history of documentary filmmaking. CLANDESTINE TRUTH provides an overview of four rarely seen films by filmmakers who defined modern Canadian cinema. Originally intended as a documentary but transformed into a feature-length narratives, Gilles Groulx’ LE CHAT DANS LE SAC and Don Owen’s NOBODY WAVED GOODBYE both feature disaffected youth, one in Anglophone and the other in Francophone Canada. These works are juxtaposed with two independently financed films: Michel Brault’s ENTRE LA MER ET L’EAU DOUCE and seminal documentary filmmaker Allan King’s A MARRIED COUPLE. All four films stand as landmarks in the creation of Canada’s contemporary national cinema.

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Thursdays with Beckett

MARCH 22 AND 29, 2007

The Northwest Film Forum and The San Quentin Drama Workshop (SQDW) are proud to present THURSDAYS WITH BECKETT, the Seattle premiere screenings of SQDW stagings of Samuel Beckett’s ENDGAME on March 22 and WAITING FOR GODOT on March 29. The screenings coincide with the touring Broadway production of Twelve Angry Men starring Alan Mandell, who helped found SQDW with life sentenced inmate Rick Cluchey, who will appear in person at the screening of ENDGAME. THURSDAYS WITH BECKETT reunites these founders of an extraordinary prison experiment to share their work with Seattle.

Alan Mandell, the former general manager for the Lincoln Center and consulting director at the Los Angeles Theater Center, had acted in the first performance of Waiting For Godot in San Quentin. It was after that performance that Cluchey and Mandell co-founded the SQDW. Mandell began a long mentorship with Cluchey; for more than six years, he made weekly visits to San Quentin, teaching directing, acting and writing.

Rick Cluchey, age 73, has been the mainstay of the San Quentin Drama Workshop for over 49 years and a directorial collaborator of Samuel Beckett’s. At the age of 21, was sentenced to life without parole in San Quentin Prison for his role in a botched robbery in which his victim was injured. Twelve years later he received word of Governor Jerry Brown’s pardon for him in Samuel Beckett's presence in the midst of their working collaboration.

SQDW is the only American company Beckett himself has directed, most often in ENDGAME and WAITING FOR GODOT. Both productions with SQDW toured throughout the world to wide acclaim. Before his death in 1989, Samuel Beckett’s visions of his famous plays were filmed for television (GODOT) and film (ENDGAME). Both productions featured players from SQDW. Series directors Walter Asmus (GODOT) and Alan Mandell (ENDGAME) acted as guarantors for Beckett’s directorial vision, which he would phone in on a daily basis. The resulting minimalism of the camera engages the viewer on a level that can only be described as Beckettian. These screenings mark the long overdue Seattle premieres of these important records of this influential social experiment.

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Lighter Than Air: The Films of Jacques Rivette

MARCH 2-18, 2007

“Rivette was more of a cinema nut than any of us, and his films prove that he is more of a moviemaker than any of us as well.” Francois Truffaut

Like his contemporaries of the French New Wave such as Godard and Truffaut, Jacques Rivette came to filmmaking from film criticism. Yet of those luminaries who turned the critic’s eye to the camera’s eye, Rivette remains the least known in this country due to the fact that a majority of his films have been unavailable here. LIGHTER THAN AIR, the first Rivette retrospective ever in the United States, uncovers a wealth of rarely seen masterpieces and reveals a true master of cinema.

Rivette’s films are mischievously playful with narrative, meaning, character and performance. He insists that his actors collaborate on the script and improvise in front of the camera, in fact crediting PARIS NOUS APPARTIENT as “mise en oeuvre” (implemented) by Jacques Rivette and CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING as written by “Berto, Labourier, Ogier, Pisier et Rivette.” Rivette’s work underscores the paradox of crediting a single auteur for a collective art form.

But, perhaps more than actors, places play key roles in his films. The city of Paris has never been filmed as it has in many of Rivette’s films. And the magical CELINE AND JULIE, the director’s most commercially successful work and arguably one of his best, is a vertiginous love poem to the city on the Seine.

What makes Rivette’s work unique in European cinema is its consistency of theme: a world controlled by sinister forces; the theatricality of all emotion, and of love in particular and the richness of detail which makes critical appraisal as varied (and contradictory) as the films themselves. Rivette’s films are intriguing journeys through wondrous labyrinths, which like Paris, can never really belong to us. Timeless, bemusing, continually fascinating, Rivette’s films have dated much less than the work of his contemporaries. We hope that this 12-film retrospective renews interest in the work of this far-too-rarely seen work by a pantheon director of French cinema, recruiting new acolytes along the way.

All films in French with English subtitles.
Series pass $60/$45 NWFF Members.

LIGHTER THAN AIR: THE FILMS OF JACQUES RIVETTE has been organized with the cooperation of Fleur Buckley, Simon Duffy, Sue Jones, and Waltraud Loges of the National Film Theatre, British Film Institute, Marie Bonnel, Delphine Selles, François Leloup-Collet, Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Special thanks to the UCLA Film and Television Archive, The British Film Institute, Celluloid Dreams, Cinema Parallel, Connasissance du Cinéma, New Yorker Films, Pierre Grise Productions and Société Solaris et Société Sunshine. Made possible by support from the National Endowment For The Arts

Sponsored by Center for West European Studies at the Jackson School at The University of Washington, Seattle Alliance Francaise

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Keeping Score

FEB 8-MARCH 1, 2007

Northwest Film Forum is proud to announce a new program exploring the art of film music and commemorating cinema's greatest scores. The first installment of KEEPING SCORE begins with a panel discussion among contemporary film composers Steve Fisk, Stephen Cavit and David Wingo and continues with three weeks of special screenings celebrating the work of masters Bernard Herrmann, Ennio Morricone and Michel Legrand. Each of these three great innovators is represented by two films: one undisputed "hit" ("Side A") and another whose score is often overlooked ("Side B"). Join us in examining an important aspect of cinema and, in the process, witness some of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of the past 50 years on glorious 35mm. Curator: Peter Lucas Series made possible by support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy of Arts and Sciences.<

Attend all the films in KEEPING SCORE with the Series Pass: $35/$25 NWFF members

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Long Take on Mizoguchi


Born impoverished in 1898 Tokyo and exposed first-hand from an early age to the systematic oppression of women in Japanese society - his sister was sold as a geisha and his father abused his mother and sister - pantheon film director Kenji Mizoguchi had numerous influences molding his worldview. From early silent films such as A PAPER DOLL'S WHISPER OF SPRING (KAMI NINGYORU NO SASAYAKI, 1926), to his first sound masterworks OSAKA ELEGY (NANIWA EREJI, 1936) and STORY OF THE LAST CHRYSANTHEMUM (ZANGIKU MONOGATARI, 1939), to such final treasures as UGETSU (1953) and SANSHO THE BAILIFF (SANSHO DAYU, 1954), Mizoguchi created a sublimely timeless body of work that transcends the aggression and exploitation of the world-at-large. A painstaking attention to period detail, lighting, frame composition and long takes, coupled with his intuitive outlook and empathy for his characters, reveal a simple poetry of supernatural power. Along with Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu, Mizoguchi remains at the pinnacle of not just Japan's motion picture legacy, but of international cinema. All films in Japanese with English subtitles. Seven New 35mm Prints!

Series Pass: $50/35 NWFF Members

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The Harmonic Resistance of Bela Tarr

December 1-17, 2006

"DAMNATION and SATANTANGO will be viewed as central works of east European cinema in the decades to come. They sit astride a momentous event in history, the dissolution of the communist world, and document this moment in a way that only great art can." -Piers Handling, Toronto International Film Festival

At the end of Pacific Northwest filmmaker's Gus van Sant's GERRY, an obscure but influential name appears: Bela Tarr. The Hungarian director is rightfully thanked; without films like SATANTANGO DAMNATION and WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES - Tarr's trilogy of Laszlo Krasznahorkai adaptations - GERRY wouldn't exist. These titles form a stylistic trilogy of some fifteen collective hours, all photographed by Gabor Medvigy in striking black-and-white, they come across as apocalyptic allegories unfolding in downbeat, isolated, film-noir settings: a mud-splattered nightclub called "Titanic Bar" in DAMNATION, an abandoned agricultural machinery plant in SATANTANGO and a small provincial town on the frosty Hungarian plain in WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES. Tarr's reputation remains legendary, partly because he represents a hardline belief in a cinema of patience and severity, of tableaux and long takes. THE HARMONIC RESISTANCE OF BELA TARR stands as a one-man exhibit of cinematic images that dance about for the engaged viewer. Special thanks to Katalin Vadja of Magyar Filmunio. All films in Hungarian with English subtitles.

Series pass: $25/$15 NWFF members

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Super Hits, Vol. 10


Northwest Film Forum celebrates 10 years of great cinema!

Join us in revisiting some of the most memorable films and events from our ten years as Seattle's hardest-working and most adventurous arts organization! For the first time ever, all your favorite movies, performers and personalities are jam-packed into one spectacular festival! Don't miss this rare opportunity to see over two dozen super cinema hits the way they're meant to be seen! From classics to oddballs, Seattle cineastes to world masters, and tons of stuff you just won't see anywhere else, this series has everything! Tickets can be purchased individually or, as a special offer to NWFF members, a full series pass, good for admission to all 30 films/programs, can be purchased for only $19.95!

Super Hits gives you all the great film and fun you've come to expect from the Northwest Film Forum. We invite you to sit in the dark with us, revisit those familiar flickers...and catch a few you missed! And don't forget about our huge 10th Anniversary Party on Wed, Sept 21 starting at 8pm.

What would you pay for a collection like this? $100? $200? More? Well we're offering the deal of a lifetime. For a limited time, Northwest Film Forum members can purchase a full series pass to Superhits for the unheard of price of only $19.95! (Not a member? Become one now!) 

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