Northwest Film and Video Festival
Nov. 2-10, 7 p.m.
Guild Theater Southwest Ninth & Taylor
Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium 1219 S.W. Park.
The Northwest Film Center/Portland Art Museum’s 28th Annual Northwest Film and Video Festival will be in Portland Nov. 2-10. This festival is a great opportunity to view independent work by film and video artists. The over 300 entries this year were judged by local filmmaker Bill Plympton.
The grand prize winner this year was David Russo from Seattle for his eight-minute film “Populi.” The film uses an experimental pixilation/animation form and follows the creation and journey of humanoid sculptures through various time-lapsed environments of the Northwest. “Populi” is set to the music of Gustav Holst’s “Mars, Bringer of War.” The film was “originally commissioned as an independent, site-specific, public artwork … designed to run cyclically (in an endless segueing loop) on the external video panels of a new pro football/soccer stadium being built in Seattle” Russo said. He adds that “the continuously repeating silent version may or may not be shown publicly in the completed stadium in 2002.” No stranger to the festival, Russo’s last two films “Eggs and Soup” and “Ode to Crude” both won judges prizes in 1995 and 1996 respectively. His film can be seen along with the other short films in group number one on Nov. 2.
The first prize for animation went to the film “Frank was a Monster That Wanted to Dance.” This piece was a collaboration of the Lost Boys Studios of Vancouver, B.C. and director Ian Friedman.
The three-and-a-half minute short is a direct adaptation from the celebrated children’s author and illustrator Keith Graves. The filmmakers describe Frank as “a sweet monster who won’t let his quirky appearance nor his less-than-stellar coordination stop him from showing off his groovy moves at the local theatre. Only one small problem; Frank has a tendency to fall apart – literally.” This animated work will show on Nov. 3 and 9 in the third short film group.
The first prize in the narrative category went to Portland filmmakers Andrew Dixon and Bill Bailey for their film “autographhss.com.” The comic film is described in the synopsis as a “three-part time capsule of America right now. Where dot-com dreams have turned into tragedy, their fates sealed with cocktail napkin business plans.” The film follows Bob Swanson and Kenny Washankowski as “they venture to Nike World Headquarters to pursue big-time autographs.” Bob, a recovering rage-aholic and Kenny, his loyal assistant, are the epitome of the dot-com start up businessmen.
This film sounds hysterical, especially when Bob, fed up with his inability to get into the “right” places to get autographs, blames his problems on Kenny and sends him to an image consultant.
This film has biting satire written all over it and should not be missed. It will be shown in the shorts group number three on Nov. 3 and 9.
The first prize for experimental filmmaking went to Chel White of Portland for her short called “Passage.” The film is “one of the most elegant and magical films I’ve seen in a long time. The underwater people are totally mysterious and compelling” Plympton said. White describes her film as “underwater portraits of people juxtaposed with archival films of war and atrocities in a stylized film collage … the aqueous portraits allow each person’s vulnerable core to surface, exposing a deep primal innocence.” This film is meant to show that although humanity can be corrupt and harsh, there is still hope for each human being to retain his or her spirit. The film is accompanied by the music of Holst’s “Neptune” and made its world premier in “Film Harmonic,” a program of short films and live orchestral music preformed by the Oregon Symphony January 2001. White has been working as an independent filmmaker for 20 years, and her films have been exhibited in festivals around the world. This experimental film will be shown on Nov. 3 and 9 along with the shorts in group three.
Some other films that look interesting and you may want to check out are “Crash Fans,” a film about the demolition derby culture in America and “This is What Democracy Looks Like” about the WTO protests in November 1999.