Friday, August 19, 2005

Reelin' in the Bumbershoot

This year, Bumbershoot is celebrating its 35th anniversary and they've put together one heck of a line-up, including such legendary performers as Iggy Pop & the Stooges, the New York Dolls and Elvis Costello. In addition, the 1 Reel Film Festival is celebrating its 10th. In recognition of this achievement, curator Warren Etheridge, who is celebrating his seventh, will be screening greatest hits throughout the weekend. All will be shown at the Intiman Theater. On Thursday, August 18th, he presented some of the highlights at Ballard's Tractor Tavern.

Etheridge and crew watched 1,500 shorts to put together this year's program of 140 films. Thirty are from the Northwest, 15 are from high school students. He noted that there was a preponderance of "brooding" and "introspective" films with a "serious undertone." He also mentioned that shorts these days are "becoming more of a political playground for filmmakers" and that there's "no financial gain in shorts," so most are made "purely for the love of the art." That said, over 70 of the filmmakers who've been involved with the 1 Reel Film Festival have gone on to make feature films. This includes Ivan Reitman's son, Jason, who agreed to take part in this year's 1 Reel Challenge, despite the fact that he's scrambling to complete his Christopher Buckley adaptation, Thank You For Smoking, in time for the Toronto International Film Festival.

Etheridge screened the following films: Son of Satan (a profane Charles Bukowski-based animation), Dimmer (a B&W doc about blind teenagers), 9 (a surrealistic animation), Milton is a Shitbag (a comic animation), The Double (with Eric Roberts), and The Big Empty (with Selma Blair and the always-watchable Elias Koteas). I liked all of them, but my favorites were Milton and The Big Empty. Due to technical problems, we only got to watch the first half of Milton, which is five minutes long. That said, what we saw was pretty hilarious (simply put, Milton the cat really is a shitbag). Etheridge described the star-studded Empty, which was produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, as a "vaginal Being John Malkovich." That about sums it up. I was also reminded of the B&W short in the middle of Pedro Almodovar's Talk to Her--imagine if that sequence was set in the present and filmed in color. Okay, Empty is a lot more discreet, but you get the idea.

As usual, the schedule is divided into themed blocks. Each is one hour long and there's a half hour break every three hours. As in years past, Etheridge will be giving out the "Iron Ass" award, so if you've got the stamina, this prestigious prize could be yours! Plus, Labor Day weekend in Seattle is usually pretty hot, so spending a little time in a cool, dark space is sure to do you good.

Friday, 9/2

Hollywood High (12-1pm), Hollywood High: Honor Roll (1-2pm), Problem Child (2-3pm), Help Wanted (3:30-4:30pm), Distance Learning (4:30-5:30pm), Memento (5:30-6:30pm), David Russo's World Premiere (7-8pm) and The Best of the Best of the Fest (8-10pm).

Saturday, 9/3

Saturday Morning Cartoons* (12-1pm), Crumbsnatchers (1-2pm), Wholly Quests (2-3pm), Role Models (3:30-4:30pm), Comedy Gold! (4:30-5:30pm), End of the Affair (5:30-6:30pm), Mating Rituals (7-8pm), Lady-Like** (8-9pm) and The Best Sex Ever!** (9-10pm).

*These are family friendly.
** These are not.

Sunday, 9/4

To the Extreme! (12-1pm), Gimme Shelter! (1-2pm), War Torn (2-3pm), Tainted Love (3:30-4:30pm), Undertow (4:30-5:30pm), Freak Your Melon! (5:30-6:30pm), Mother's Daze (7-8pm) and Curator's Classics (8-10pm).

Monday, 9/5

Homecoming (12-1pm), Pregnant Pause (1-2pm), Dearly Departed (2:30-3:30pm), The 1 Reel Challenge: Are You F**king Kidding Me!?! (3:30-5pm) and The Best of the Fest w/The Short Awards Ceremony (5:30-8pm).

For more information, see For more on Etheridge, check out his site at

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