Local Sightings Film Festival 2008


Local Sightings 2008

October 3-8


Congratulations to Grant Aaker and Josh Wallaert, directors of Arid Lands, winners of our $4000 feature film prize. Arid Lands will also get a full week’s run at Northwest Film Forum.

And congratulations to Portland’s Kristian McKay, director of Orbita del Verano, winner of our $1700 short film prize

This year our jurors also decided to award a Special Jury Mention to Web Crowell’s animated short film Parasol.




Friday, Oct. 3, 9pm


Opening Night Party

Seattle filmmakers, movie buffs and partiers walk the red carpet at NWFF’s annual opening night bash. With booze flowing, music blaring, and performances tickling the eyes and imaginations, we begin our 11th Annual Local Sightings Festival in stylish debauchery. Look forward to special drinks, live music, DJs, and free haircuts!

Admission included with ticket to Stories of Reach (Friday at 7pm)

Screenings & Events


Saturday, Oct 4, 7pm
Good Food
(Melissa Young, Mark Dworkin, USA, 2008, 72 minutes)

As we face climate change, rising energy costs, and health concerns, regions need to produce more of their own food and grow crops more responsibly and sustainably. Luckily, a remarkable thing is happening in the fields and orchards of the Pacific Northwest. Family farmers are making a comeback, and they’re changing things. These small farms are growing healthier food – much of it organic – and producing more food per acre while using less energy and water than factory farms. Celebrating smart growing and healthy eating, Good Food introduces us to the farmers, ranchers, co-ops, stores, and restaurants in Washington and Oregon that are leading the nation in creating a new food system. This lively documentary inspires a new relationship with the food we eat and the land around us. Filmmakers and farmers scheduled to attend.



Saturday, Oct. 4, 7pm
(Eric Colley, Washington State, 2008, 98min.)

A fun and suspenseful thriller, GPS features a group of college friends (imagine a Timberland-wearing version of the 90210 cast) as they embark on a GPS treasure hunt in the Northwest backwoods. Expecting cash booties and reawakened flirtations, the line between the game and harsh reality quickly becomes blurred when they find a buried coffin with what appears to be photos of a kidnapped woman and clues to her location. Their trek follows a trail that gets bloodier and bloodier as they struggle against paranoia and a lurking menace. Rounded out with rivalries among friends, booze-inspired antics and a few spectacular action sequences, GPS provides a full-fledged thriller movie-going experience. Filmmaker and producer scheduled to attend.



Sunday, Oct. 5, 7pm
High and Outside
(Peter Vogt, Seattle, 2007, 84min)

High and Outside is a raucous, rousing, iconoclastic journey through the baseball life of Bill “Spaceman” Lee. One of the most colorful and controversial figures to play the game, Bill’s rebellious spirit, fun-loving attitude, and spirit-of-the-60s philosophy endeared him to fans but pitted him squarely in opposition to the corporate baseball establishment. And Bill did not back down. In the 1970s, Lee, aka “The Ace from Space,” became a folk hero to the Fenway Park faithful. He lived in a world like no other; where competitive fire, Tibetan Buddhism, slapstick comedy, and counter-cultural medication lived together in relative harmony. He baffled opposing hitters and management alike with a variety of pitches and verbal aerobatics. As a pioneer in the baseball labor movement, he beanballed corporate duplicity and worked to end the era of indentured servitude in baseball. Was he blackballed from the game as a result? You bet he was! Director Peter Vogt brings the legend down to earth and finds a legendary human being in “Spaceman”, whose carryover wisdom from the 60s still rings true today. Filmmaker scheduled to attend.



Monday, Oct. 6, 7pm
Arid Lands
(Grant Aaker, Josh Wallaert, 2007, 98min.)

Arid Lands is a documentary feature about the land and people of the Columbia Basin in southeastern Washington state. Sixty years ago, the Hanford nuclear site produced plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, and today the area is the focus of the largest environmental cleanup in history. It is a landscape of incredible contradictions. Coyotes roam among decommissioned nuclear reactors, salmon spawn in the middle of golf courses, wine grapes grow in the sagebrush, and federal cleanup dollars spur rapid urban expansion. Arid Lands takes us into a world of sports fishermen, tattoo artists, housing developers, ecologists, and radiation scientists living and working in the area. It tells the story of how people changed the landscape over time, and how the landscape affected their lives. Marked by conflicting perceptions of wilderness and nature, Arid Lands is a moving and complex essay on a unique landscape of the American West.



Tuesday, Oct. 7, 7pm
On a Wing and a Prayer: An American Muslim Learns to Fly
(Max Kaiser, 2007, 60min.)

On a Wing and a Prayer: An American Muslim Learns to Fly follows Monem Salam as he enrolls in an open-minded flying school, where he soon draws the attention of the FBI, which confirms his family’s fears. Monem is a portfolio manager, the son of a Pakistani commercial pilot. His wife Iman’s family is Palestinian and although initially dubious about the marriage, now accepts the cultural differences. With three young children, Iman’s prankish student days are behind her. She’s happy to find time to cultivate her inner domestic diva, wisecracking about her entertaining skills and her husband’s flight plans. Monem’s “green” decision to commute by scooter only heightens his likeability. These modern-day Americans cast off stereotypes and refuse to succumb to victimhood despite being denied privileges afforded most other Americans. This gently funny film follows Monem as he works towards his goal, engaging his wife, family and community in the process.



Wednesday, Oct 8, 7pm
March Point
(Annie Silverstein, Tracy Rector, Nick Clark, Cody Cayou, Travis Tom, Seattle, 2008, 54min.)

Cody, Nick, and Travis, three teens from the Swinomish Tribe, wanted to make a gangster movie. But they were asked to investigate the impact of two oil refineries on their tribal community. March Point follows their journey as they come to understand themselves, and the threat their people face. For centuries the Swinomish tribe has relied on the natural resources of the Skagit Valley, through clamming, crabbing, and fishing. Before white settlement, tribal people inhabited the valleys, rivers, and shorelines, living off the rich land. But in 1855 most of this land was taken away by the federal government in the Treaty of Point Elliott. The Swinomish people were left with basic health care, some fishing rights and a small reservation. In the late 1950s, two oil refineries were built on March Point, an area that was once part of the Swinomish reservation by treaty. Over time, the presence of the refineries has negatively affected the health of the water and land and the very fabric of cultural tradition itself. March Point is the story of three boys awakening to the destruction these refineries have wrought in their communities. Ambivalent environmental ambassadors at the onset, the boys grapple with their assignment through humor, sarcasm, and a candid self-knowledge. But as the filmmaking evolves, they begin to experience the need to understand and tell their stories, and the power of this process to change their lives. Filmmakers scheduled to attend.

Tracy Rector (Seminole) and Annie Silverstein, co-founders of Longhouse Media, collaborated with three Swinomish youth over a three year period to create the film project called March Point. Both Annie and Tracy have contributed greatly to the national and local film community and have brought much awareness to the use of digital media as a medium for education of Native American and indigenous youth. Their organization’s groundbreaking program, Native Lens, has worked with over 900 youth in the past three years across the state of Washington, New Mexico and in Colorado. Both reside in Seattle and work across Western Washington daily.



Saturday, Oct. 4, 5pm
The Rose City Revue

Portland, Oregon’s Karl Lind, curator of the two-year-old Odds and Ends screening series, presents a survey of recent Portland-made short films. The Rose City Revue is a Fall Harvest’s worth of Portland made goodies, featuring new works by: Melody Owen, John Bacone, Cat Tyc, Rob Tyler, Grace Carter, Peter Hermes, Liz Haley, Dicky Dahl, Ron Gassaway, Jeremy Bird, Chris Larson, Ice Cream Truck Face, Lars Larsen, Carl Diehl, Stephani Simak + Adam Keller, Karl Lind and more!




Sunday, Oct. 5, 5pm
In Conversation: Jim Ball

In the mid 1970s, photojournalist and artist Jim Ball converted his Post Alley studio into a make-shift theater and began screening independent and experimental films. Over the next couple of years, Ball brought to town such filmmakers as Stan Vanderbeek, the Kuchar brothers and Christo to present their work. Join us for this special event in which Ball will share stories about this nearly forgotten yet influential local micro-cinema, as well as his experiences shooting photos of and hanging with a range of notable figures including William Burroughs, Eldridge Cleaver, Richard Serra and Andy Warhol.



Sunday, Oct. 5, 7pm
In Conversation: Works In Progress

A group of Seattle filmmakers convene to show clips of work and discuss their current projects. Panelists include Lynn Shelton (Hump Day), Michael Harring (The Mountain, The River and The Road) and Jason Ryan (Ugly—Is a Movie).



Monday, Oct. 6, 7pm

Film Challenge
Dry Hump!

Counter to The Stranger’s annual skin-and-fluids porno fest, Hump!, Northwest Film Forum ups the ante and screws with the screw. We’ve called on Seattle filmmakers to imagine sexy without skin. In order to get down without getting explicit, they’re going to have to get creative. Expect lusty longing, haywire hormones, frustrating foreplay and funky frottage… but don’t worry, everyone keeps their pants on!


Tuesday, Oct. 7, 7pm
Century 20 – Historic Northwest Film
The Tribe and the Professor

Sponsored by Modern Digital

In Partnership with Time and The Tribe and the Professor are two gems from the Ruth and Louis Kirk Moving Image Collection housed at the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections. Ruth Kirk, a writer and photographer, along with husband Louis Kirk, a national park ranger and naturalist, produced numerous curriculum audio-visual materials and prime-time broadcast programs. Their film work, created primarily in the 1970s, included subjects such as Northwest Coast Native American fishing rights as guaranteed by treaty; the dilemma of whether totem poles still standing at abandoned villages should be preserved or left to rot; archaeology in Washington and British Columbia; and desert ecology and alpine meadow life.

In Partnership with Time: Historic Preservation in Washington (1981) is an exploration of historic preservation efforts in the state of Washington, including pop architecture like the Hat and Boots, local institutions like Pioneer Square and the Pike Place Market, and many other preservation projects.

The Tribe and the Professor, Ozette Archaeology (1978) is an award winning documentary following the work of Professor Richard Daughtery, his students from Washington State University, and their collaboration with the Makah tribe as they uncover and catalogue a longhouse buried in a 300-year-old mudslide at Cape Alava, Washington.



Tuesday, Oct. 7, 9pm
2nd Annual Spletz-O-Rama Invitational: Seven Deadly Sins!

Seven world premiere short films from seven acclaimed directors created around the Seven Deadly Sins! Plus brand new animation from Drew Christie… and more! Once again, Andy Spletzer has opened his rolodex and a cornucopia of filmmaking talent poured forth. This year’s talent includes feature filmmakers John Jeffcoat (“Pride”) and Megan Griffiths (“Lust”), cinematographers Ben Kasulke (“Envy”) and Sean Porter (“Gluttony”), playwright and storyteller Bret Fetzer (“Sloth”), the new Executive Director of the San Francisco Cinematheque Jonathan Marlow (“Greed”), and Seattle treasure John Kiester (“Anger”). In addition, the introductory film is being created by filmmaker Matthew Levinthal. Don’t commit the sin of omission. Cleanse your soul in the cathedral that is Northwest Film Forum. One night only!



Wednesday, Oct. 8, 7pm
Verve: Portraits of Seattle Artist

Verve is a half-hour program on the Seattle Channel showcasing local artists—those already known and those yet to be discovered. Verve producers, Patricia O’Brien and Gabriel Miller, will be on hand to present a sampling of the portraits they’ve created over the past year. Artists, filmed in their natural practicing, performing and creating spaces, share their worldviews: their creative processes, studio and work environments, and thoughts on inspiration. Verve is part of the Seattle Channel’s Art Zone, an innovative, first-in-the-nation TV project that creates programming celebrating local arts and culture and encourages people to go out and take part in the region’s rich cultural life in person.

Stick around afterwards to meet some of the profiled artists in our filmmaker lounge.





Friday, Oct. 3, 7pm
Stories of Reach

Human beings tend to end up wanting something out of reach. This collection of stories offer some different insights into the situations that drive our passions. Among the stories: dancers have operatic visions of escape, criminals find their world spun upside down and a few women attempt a new relationship with a special someone in their life.


Ticket price includes admission to the Big Opening Night Party.

Stumble and Fall
(Nathan Williams, Kent, 2008, 17min.)
A comical and touching portrait of two irreverent lovers enjoying a frivolous life of petty crime until their friendship is put to the test.

(Allison Beda, Vancouver B.C., 2008, 5min.)
A tennis match dance and a score composed with diegetic sounds of the tennis game chronicles a long-distance relationship and its demise.

Sarah in the Dark
(Jennifer Halley, Vancouver B.C., 2008, 11min.)
What do you do when the little voice in your head is not so little.

Orbita del Verano – (Summer Orbit)
(Kristian McKay, Portland, 2008, 24min.)
Love is being destroyed by the power and greed of the world. A man boards a train with only his memories and a dream folded up in his pocket.

The Mix-Up
(A.J. Eaton, Boise, 2007, 13min.)
Bill, a retired construction expert, is offered the job of Mr. Fix-It on a local television show. His debut seems to be a bit confused… although he does seem to be ‘fixing’ things.

Skies Falling
(Marly Reed, Vancouver B.C., 2008, 12min.)
In the end, there is no absolute reality; for where you see only an acorn, another may know that the sky is surely falling.

Bachianas No. 5
(Curtis Taylor, Seattle, 2007, 7min.)
In a Tacoma strip club, three women dream of an ideal place for love. Framed within the opera Bachianas Brasileiras (Movement No. 5) by Heitor Villa-Lobos.


Saturday, Oct. 4, 9pm


Stories of Circumstance

Place and time help to define the battles we choose and the adventures we fall into. Within these films, witness a bedroom as it becomes a theater of human drama, a nightclub that plays host to a dangerous crowd, and a taxicab that provides a little wisdom with your tip.

How to Enter a Bedroom
(Johan Liedgren, Seattle, 2008, 27min.)
The complex dance of intimacy and sexual politics is cracked open when investment banker Owen Pitchell decides to bring a curious and bitter wit into the bedroom.

(Tran Quoc Bao, Shoreline, 2007, 18min.)
Set at raucous soul R&B nightclub in 1963, a gambling bookie risks everything for a waitress down on her luck.

The Delivery
(Virginia Bogert, Seattle, 2006, 10min.)
Never underestimate the power of the written word. Some notes, a mouse, and a gift greater than chocolate work their magic.

The Mermaid Story
(Dawn Johnson, Craig Downing, Zach Carver, Seattle, 2008, 2min.)
While on a date, a couple find a surprise waiting as they row along the shores of Lake Union.

The Narrator
(Mark Ratzlaff, Richmond B.C., 2008, 4min.)
A narrator reads a script for a scene set in a park on the first day of spring, but perhaps a little too vividly.

In Transit
(Daniel Pierce, Vancouver B.C., 2008, 12min.)
Sheltered from the rain on an old trolley, several strangers find fundamental connections in their conversations about love, sex, and astrology.

(Megan Griffiths, Seattle, 2008, 10min.)
As Leah’s plans to move cross-country fall apart, she must make a decision that will impact more than just her own future.

A Fond Farewell
(Jack Bennett, Seattle, 2008, 8min.)
A lothario thinks twice about his abrupt departure from town and his latest relationship, but is advised that, “ain’t nothin’ ever the same twice, pal.”



Saturday, Oct. 4, 11pm
Fast, Cheap & Out Of Control

Irreverence and indecency abound in this hilarious selection of over-the-top short films – many of them made with slim budgets and tight timelines. Including unusual dinner conversation, unlikely game opponents, a bear’s jealous rage, a blasphemous Bible tale, and a ridiculous movie remake, these films inspire four words: oh no they didn’t.

(The Beta Society, Seattle, 2008, 28min.)
A homespun remake of the movie Armageddon, made for less than $100 and in less than 30 days. Explosions, heart-wrenching emotion, and, of course, animal crackers.

(Kellie Ann Benz, Vancouver B.C., 2008, 6min.)
The idea of decency is turned on its ear as conversation at a dinner party takes unexpected turns.

B + C
(George Kloss, Seattle, 2008, 7min.)
Housewife Cupcake, her bear husband, Brownie, and their landlord end up in a complicated triangle.

End Zone
(Rob Cunningham, Seattle, 2008, 6min.)
A robot challenges the Grim Reaper to a battle of wits in a rundown cafe.

A Whale of a Bible Tale! Genesis 18:16
(Justin Minich, E.J. Ruiz, Seattle, 2008, 13min.)
Christian Orca presents this irreverent interpretation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, featuring sock puppets, lasers and beer bongs.



Sunday, Oct. 5, 9pm
Movement in Place

This show offers an eclectic group of films that seek out an examination of movement and technique. In some cases you see the hand of the filmmaker withdraw to allow us a meditative view, while in others, the craft becomes the subject as innovative and non-traditional styles of image-making are employed.

Alchemy of the Oracles
(Karn Junkinsmith, Seattle, 2008, 8 min,)
A small regiment of vestals move from the heart and dance with ecstatic intensity to music by Lazy Lester and Betty James.

(Alexis Eggertsen, Seattle, 2008, 5min.)
In a psychosensual descent into the self, the filmmaker seeks the origins of cyclic, destructive behavior and of transformation.

(Scott Amos, Victoria B.C., 2008, 1min.)
This hand-processed, black and white 16mm film is a disconsolate examination of the unintentionality of beauty.

Holding This For You
(Marissa Niederhauser, Benjamin Kasulke, Seattle, 2008, 20min.)
A beautiful and affecting dance film in which the protagonist is in turns threatened and intoxicated by an unseen presence.

Inside Passage
(Jeff Carter, Diarmuid Conway, Chris Gestrin, Vancouver, B.C., 2008, 24 min)
A geographic jazz symphony tracing the routes of the Pacific Northwest by ferry and a meditation on the shared experience of ferry passengers.

Just a Minute
(Allison Beda, Vancouver B.C., 2008, 1min.)
Celebrating the beauty of the mundane and the importance of reflection, this short film shows the  ‘dance’ of a woman stuck in the urban rat race.

Magnuson Park February
(Mark O’Connell, Seattle, 2008, 5min.)
Shot in Seattle’s Magnuson Park this February, a collection of observations on the rhythms and tones of the changing season.

Portable Stories #1
(Jim Olson, Victoria B.C., 2008, 1min.)
The first in a series of encounters between the image of Russell Reilander and the affected mind of Jim Olson.

The Tourist
(Salise Hughes, Seattle, 2008, 7min.)
Manipulated fragments of Michelangelo Antonioni’s film The Passenger, reducing the background to a void of scratched remnants.
Made with support the of the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

(Scott Amos, Victoria B.C., 2008, 1min.)
This hand-processed color film is a poetic exploration of technological fear in a dreamscape.

The Wishing Nether
(Devin Anderson, Seattle, 2008, 7min.)
In limbo between life and death, a girl recounts her last moments to the spirits.



Monday, Oct. 6, 9pm
Imagined Worlds

Animators, more than any other kind of filmmaker, can deliver entirely new and unique landscapes to the screen. Among the worlds to explore are an unwelcoming zoo of trapped oddities, the high seas littered with gargantuan sea monsters (but very few eligible bachelors) and the fiery mindset of an early twentieth century poet and propagandist.

Bedtime Story
(Sarah Jane Lapp, Seattle, 2008, 1min.)
Hand-drawn animation, bats involved. Produced with the help of NWFF’s Signature Shorts program.

A Black Hole of Negativity
(Anton Bogaty, Seattle, 2007, 2min.)
A woman rights a wrong from her past, or so she thinks. Summer Heist
(Anton Bogaty, Seattle, 2007, 4min.)
A young couple rob a bank and attempt to escape police pursuit in this animated music video for Denelian.

The Nature of Battle
(Nat Dart, Vancouver B.C., 2008, 3min.)
This short animation draws parallels between creation and destruction and offers a dramatic solution to our careless warfare practices.

Petting Zoo (1 and 2)
(Stefan Gruber, Seattle, 2008, 7min.)
In a deserted petting zoo where animals were left in their ornate cages, hollow glassy spooks still haunt the area with fantasies of contact with the animals. Can a drifting stranger become their liberator?

Running (Heart, Body, Mind, Spirit)
(Ann Marie Fleming, Vancouver, B.C., 2008, 5 min.)
Playful hand-drawn sketches bring a fluid stick girl to life, with a rhythmic pace and a dynamic, layered orchestral score by Maxime Goulet.

(Line Severinsen, Vancouver B.C., 2008, 5min.)
Two modern Viking girls sail through the open seas looking for the men of their dreams. The dangers of their quest will take them on a journey through this world and the next.

For the Werewolf Have Sympathy
(Drew Christie, Sammamish, 2008, 3min.)
Charcoal and wax pastels on newsprint illustrate Cult-folk-genius Michael Hurley’s song The Werewolf from his 1971 album Armchair Boogie.

F.T. Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto
(Drew Christie, Sammamish, 2008, 6min.)
The 1909 futurist manifesto written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti is interpreted with live action and animation. Inspired by the artwork and design of Norman Bel Geddes and Raymond Loewy.

(Webster Crowell, Seattle, 2008, 8min.)
Dizzyingly kinetic animation, meticulously drawn on parasol umbrellas, unveils the beauty of a rainy first bicycle date.

Atlantis Unbound
(Lori Hiris, 16mm, 14 minutes, 2007)
Loosely inspired by the utopian novel The New Atlantis, myth and history are interwoven in the act of drawing and erasing, and the metamorphosis of images.



Wednesday, Oct. 8, 9pm
Documents and Profiles

This selection of new non-fiction films finds fascinating subjects in both distant lands and right under our noses. These films take us from mountainous Peru to the barren Yukon territory. They explore a range of subjects—as far out as experimental music and as personal as our own bodies, as complex as schizophrenia and as simple as a conversation with a stranger.

click whoosh
(Reid Keunnen, Amanda Hubbard, Ruth Gregory, Seattle, 2008, 8min.)
A short documentary about the disappearance of Polaroid film and cameras.

Forty Men for the Yukon
(Tony Massil, North Vancouver, B.C., 2008, 20min.)
An observational look at two storied men who’ve spent their lives in the wilds of the Yukon.

(Benjamin Kasulke, Seattle, 2007, 6min.)
An unusual conversation at a train station in Berlin, made by Seattle filmmaker Ben Kasulke for a special Slamdance Film Festival program.

Ed & Ed
(Galen Garwood, Seattle, 2007, 18min.)
An intimate documentary portrait of Port Townsend artist/poet Ed Cain and his troubled  relationship with his polar opposite brother.

Heavy Nectar
(Brent Roberts, Seattle, 2008, 14min.)
A look into the life of an eccentric Seattle musician and a unique musical instrument.

Never Again: A Story of Yaeko Nakano
(Meredith Swinehart, Seattle, 2008, 7min.)
A story of finding love and keeping faith during the era of Japanese internment, and one woman’s insight into what it means to be an American.

(Stephen Hyde, Seattle, 2008, 10min.)
Filmed in Peru, this rhythmic portrait documentary reveals the process of making a colorful shave ice called Shikashika.

The Girls
(Ashley Russell, Seattle, 2008, 14min.)
Explores women’s relationships with their breasts, from pin ups and pornography to personal stories and body image.

A modern browser is required to view this site.

Please update your browser.

Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

206 329 2629

Notify me when new films, events, and workshops are coming up!