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Category: Cinema


Seattle International Film Festival features two films with Tacoma and Gig Harbor connections

A scene from "The Geography Club" movie, screening this week at SIFF. Photo courtesy SIFF.
A scene from “The Geography Club” movie, screening this week at SIFF. Photo courtesy SIFF.

We’re used to the Tacoma Film Festival featuring plenty of local content, but this week the 39th Seattle International Film Festival chips in, with “Geography Club,” a Gary Entin film adapted from the 2003 novel of former Tacoman Brent Hartinger, and “Her Aim is True,” a documentary by British filmmaker Karen Whitehead on photographer Jini Dellacio, who shot albums and concert images of Tacoma’s most famous garage rock bands The Sonics, The Wailers and Girl Trouble.

“Geography Club” won Brent Hartinger a handful of awards, got him on some Banned Books lists and secured his place as a writer of young adult fiction. Hartinger was living in Tacoma at the time, and based a lot of the scenarios of the gay teen coming-of-age story on T-town. Entin filmed the screen adaptation last summer in Los Angeles, starring Cameron Deane Stewart as the protagonist Russel Middlebrook, and Justin Deely (“90210”), Nikki Blonsky (“Hairspray”) and Ally Maki (“Ten Things I Hate About You”) alongside. When I blogged about the filming back in January Hartinger was murmuring about a Tacoma Film Festival premiere, but instead it’s screening at SIFF this week, with Entin (and presumably Hartinger) attending.

7 p.m. May 22. $12/$11. Egyptian Theater, 805 E. Pine St., Seattle.

11 a.m. May 25. $7. Harvard Exit Theater, 807 E. Roy St., Seattle. siff.net Read more »


Ballet, art, music, film and fun all meet at Tacoma City Ballet’s 10th Mid-Winter Masquerade Ball Soirée, Saturday night at the Merlino Building

Masks by Tacoma City Ballet director Erin Ceragioli for the TCB Mid-Winter Masquerade Ball this Saturday. Courtesy photo.
Masks by Tacoma City Ballet director Erin Ceragioli for the TCB Mid-Winter Masquerade Ball this Saturday. Courtesy photo.

The Jan Collum Ballroom in the historic Merlino Building is perfect for a party: a sweeping balcony, gold Art Deco molding, the exotic whiff of ballet resin in the air. So that’s exactly what Tacoma City Ballet does every six months or so – transform its main rehearsal space into an elegant party scene filled with dance, music, fine art, film and food. On this Saturday, the next soirée has an added bit of fun: a masquerade ball.

Along with work by local photographers like Bill Hinsee, Jessie Felix, Denise Knudson and Scott Nelson, films by Ellington Tynes, poetry by Sandra King and original choreography by TCB’s Erin Ceragioli, Travis Goldman and Joel Myers, there’ll be live music by Touché: Eclectic Quintet, and guests are encouraged to dress up with masks.

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Twelve Tacoma Artist Gifts of Christmas – Day 10

Welcome to the Twelve Tacoma Artist Gifts of Christmas! Inspired by both the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song and fellow features writer Sue Kidd, who’s offering you her own “Twelve Tacoma Foodie Gifts of Christmas” on her TNT Diner blog, I’ve come up with 12 alternative gifts for Christmas: no partridges in pear trees, but something a lot more uniquely local. (See older posts for the other days.)

So here’s Day 10: On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Ten movie tickets, nine local poets, eight letterpress posters, seven concert tickets, six sumi paintings,

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Grit City Flicks bring T-town humor, rock and drama to the Tacoma Film Fest

Scene from "Tacoma's Rock-n-Roll Legends" at the Tacoma Film Fest. Courtesy image.

It’s Day Five of the 2012 Tacoma Film Fest, and finally I’ve hit a full house. The Grit City Flicks screened this afternoon at The Grand Cinema, and obviously what Tacomans love to see is films by Tacomans. But as usual the quality of the seven shorts – which screen again 6:30 p.m. Tuesday – varied wildly from must-sees to wish-you-hadn’ts.

Among the best was “Esrever,” a five-minute comedy by Bryan Johnson that’s just as good the second time as it was when it won the Audience Choice Award at the Grand’s 72 Hour Film Competition earlier this year. The concept – a self-infatuated film director who invents a new technique of filming movies backwards in order to play them in reverse – is made funnier by local actors, silly stunt scenes and the like.

Also well-made, “The One” (Jason Daniel) offers a behind-the-scenes version of video game avatars, with funny commentary and a big kick at the end.

“Tacoma’s Rock-n-Roll Legends,” meanwhile, is a 25-minute documentary by Randy Sparks that gives a primer on how the 1950s and ‘60s Tacoma garage rock scene bust out a national music identity and paved the way for 1990s grunge. Read more »


The Tacoma Film Festival winners, plus the poetic “Valley of Saints”

Gulzar Bhat at Dal Lake in "Valley of Saints." Courtesy image.

And the winners are…(drum roll)…The winners of each category in the Tacoma Film Festival were announced to an almost-full house at the Grand Cinema last night by filmmaker Warren Etheredge. Six of the seven winners will be screened again on Wednesday at the Grand, with a screening of the seventh later today.

Best Feature Documentary was “Lemon,” a powerful, tightly-edited telling of how three-time felon Lemon Anderson clawed his way back out of the ‘hood via spoken word poetry. “Lemon” will screen at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 10.

Best Regional Film was “Brightwood,” a 19-minute coming-of-age story beautifully shot on the San Juan islands. It will screen at 6:15 p.m. today at the Grand.

Best Narrative Feature was “Dead Man’s Burden,” a post-Civil War drama about rough justice with gorgeous wide-landscape cinematography. It screens at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Best Narrative Short was the black-humor-filled “Curfew”; while Best Documentary Short was “Odysseus’ Gambit” about a Cambodian American park chess player and Best Animated Film was the short “Thumb Snatchers from the Moon Cocoon,” a mock-horror flick on a Texas cow ranch. All the winning shorts will screen 4:15 p.m. Wednesday. Read more »


“Out on a Limb” shows Tacoma Film Festival’s strength (fascinating local film) and weakness (sparse audiences, lack of atmosphere)

The 2012 Tacoma Film Festival’s been up and running for three days now, but the first film I got to see was “Out on a Limb” by Northwest director Kevin Heutink. Screened Saturday morning in the cool grayness of Tacoma Art Museum’s lecture room, it wasn’t exactly the epitome of funky festival fun – an audience of ten, a 10-minute delay glitch and a room where the screen light is reflected off the shiny hard floor. Yet the film was a great example of what makes TFF shine: fascinating local stories told skillfully.

Heutink’s story of David Csaky, Seattle’s famous “Squirrelman” who hit national news when he was evicted from the treehouse he’d built for himself on east Lake Union a few years ago, raises more than the obvious issues of how we deal with our homeless population and how they cope with their own situations. Flipping between interviews with reluctantly-impressed neighbors, gawking tourists, sympathetic journalists and Csaky himself, Heutink probes into just why a treehouse touches us so deeply as humans.  From quotes (treehouse guru Pete Nelson’s psychoanalysis of trees as prehistoric security) to unabashedly admiring shots of the house itself to the down-home rawness of the folksy guitar score, Heutink connects the dots between civilization and the human need for nature. Read more »


The Grand Cinema celebrates 15 years of independent movies in Tacoma with 15 days of deals.

Fifteen years ago a group of Tacomans decided that indie cinema could flourish in this town. They’ve been proved right. The Grand Cinema, which reopened doors on April 18, 1997 as Pierce County’s only non-profit independent movie theater, is now celebrating 15 years of offering art-house, foreign and indie film to Tacoma, plus creating local events like the Tacoma Film Festival and 72-Hour Film Festival.

To celebrate, The Grand will offer 15 days of movie deals leading up to the anniversary. From April 4-18 there’ll be concession specials, $5 admission days, free member movies on Mondays and more, plus

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Wayz and Means Letterpress Film Festival celebrates King’s Books Tacoma and the Wayzgoose

It’s hard to believe King’s Books has only been in Tacoma for 12 years. The independent new-and-used bookstore on St. Helens Avenue downtown seems like an institution that’s been around forever, hosting community events from art festivals to Shakespeare, offering a home to Scrabble geeks and book fans, and of course selling a huge range of cheap books. But the bookstore is turning 12 this April with a paper-themed birthday party to match: the Wayz and Means Letterpress Film Festival this Sunday.


The festival’s also a fundraiser for the store’s annual letterpress get-together, the Wayzgoose, held this year

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