Speed dating. Those two words sum up what it felt like to be this year’s judge for the Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival. I was attracted by the promise of finding true love or just a good time but most of all by the opportunity to be introduced to a whole region of talented people in a short period of time (kind of like a moving image orgy). I’m happy to report that the round-robin matchmaking worked. Not only were the entries astoundingly diverse and masterful, but the environment created by the staff at the Northwest Film Center was flawlessly organized and inviting. It was like speed dating at a spa.
You may note that I am especially drawn to experimental work, the oldest form in cinema (after all, the first moving images by Eadweard J. Muybridge were experiments). I am also enchanted by the short format, which has endless mutations despite having a 100+ year history. Each year, new technologies add to the range of possibilities within both the short format and the experimental genre. This year’s pool of submissions made clear that HD video has come of age, with some of the most impressive quality images from independent artists I’ve encountered.
There were some recurring motifs that may or may not be distinct to the region: images of monumental industry against majestic landscapes and narratives about hard times, human interest, or fringe culture. I also noted a number of works with no narration, just ambient soundtracks. Perhaps there are no words to convey certain stories. I hope my words here convey what an absolute pleasure it was to meet you all, and here’s my telephone number.
Andrea Grover is a curator, artist, and writer. In 1998, she founded Aurora Picture Show, a celebrated center for filmic art in Houston, Texas that began in Grover’s living room as “the world’s most public home theater.” She believes that watching movies together, like eating meals together, brings humanity closer. Grover also has extensive experience working at the intersection of art, technology, and social practice. She curated the first exhibition exploring the phenomenon of crowdsourcing in art (“Phantom Captain,” apexart, New York, 2006) and, with artist Jon Rubin, organized an exhibit in which worldwide participants created a photo-sharing album of their imaginings on Tehran (“Never Been to Tehran,” Parkingallery, Tehran, Iran, 2008). Grover is presently Associate Curator at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York, and a Warhol Curatorial Fellow with the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Her collaboratively authored book, NEW ART/SCIENCE AFFINITIES, was published by Carnegie Mellon University in September 2011, and a related exhibition opens at CMU in January 2012.
I AM INTO YOUR FIRE / Orland Nutt
THE BIG SAYONARA / Don Hamilton
WOMAN WAITING / Antoine Bourges
KOSMOS / Fantavious Fritz
LASZLO LASSU / Ben Popp