Feb 182010

Some upcoming Seattle events:

The NWFilmForum (a fantaculous film arts organization in Seattle) is starting their ‘ByDesign’ program March 5th-11th, with some really interesting looking stuff. Check out their listings.

I am especially interested in the panel discussion on March 6th, which includes our very own Britta Johnson and my friend Jayne Vidheecharoen recently of Digital Kitchen (a Seattle-based media agency behind the titles for True Blood, Dexter, and the SIFF trailer the past two years).  Also exciting is the Classic Film Titles talk on Sun, March 7th.

The Varsity Theatre in the U District is screening the Oscar nominated shorts for one week only from Feb 19th:

“Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see all five Academy Award nominees in the category of Best Animated Short and more! Program includes: French Roast (France), in which an uptight businessman in a fancy Parisian café who is about to pay his check finds out that he has lost his wallet; Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (Ireland), in which a grandmother loses the plot as she tells her version of “Sleeping Beauty” to her terrified granddaughter; The Lady and the Reaper (Spain), in which a sweet old lady who is waiting for death so she can see her beloved husband once again is invited to enter death’s domain—if someone doesn’t ruin it for her; Logorama (Argentina), featuring spectacular car chases, an intense hostage crisis, and wild animals rampaging through the city; and A Matter of Loaf and Death (UK), the latest adventure from Nick Park, in which Wallace & Gromit start a new bread baking business. Although business is booming, Gromit is concerned by the news that a dozen local bakers have ‘disappeared’ this year, so he turns sleuth to protect his master and solve the escalating murder mystery. Program also features three bonus shorts: Pixar’s Partly Cloudy (USA), Poland’s The Kinematograph and Canada’s Runaway. Official Web Site

The only ones of these I’d really like to see are Runaway and maybe the Kinematograph, but who knows, it could be fun in a way…as long as I ignore the blah CGI shorts.

Also the UW is screening some free movies, two of which are animated features:

Feb. 25: Persepolis, France, 2007, 96 minutes. An animated film based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novels about coming of age against the backdrop of the 1979 Iranian revolution. Roger Ebert wrote that “while so many films about coming of age involve manufactured dilemmas, here is one about a woman who indeed does come of age, and magnificently.”

This film will be introduced by Firoozeh Papan-Matin, assistant professor of near eastern languages and civilization. Papan-Matin wrote of Persepolis, “(T)his film depicts the complexities that are associated in a society that is radically transformed due to war and revolution, and also with the plight of the exiles and immigrants in diaspora.” The film’s protagonist, she said, “brings humor and hope into her narrative as she highlights the crucial moments in her and the life of a generation who closely identifies with her story.”

Mar. 4: Sita Sings the Blues, India, 2008, 82 minutes. Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama; Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by e-mail. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana.

This film will be introduced by Priti Ramamurthy, professor of women studies. Ramamurthy wrote that the film is “a hilarious, irreverent, brilliant and aesthetically turbocharged movie. A feminist take on the Indian epic, the Ramayana, the film also narrates a parallel story of the filmmaker’s own marriage unraveling.” For his part, Ebert just named Sita as one of the best animated films of 2009.

About the series…

A series of 10 films, each from a different country, will be offered Thursday evenings in Kane Hall from Jan. 14 through March 18. The series is called SMAK, for See Movies At Kane.

The screenings are free and no tickets or ID are required. All showings will be at 7 p.m. in 210 Kane. Each movie will be introduced by a faculty member who specializes in that area.

Felicia Hecker, associate director of the Jackson School’s Middle East Center, organized the film series. Hecker said in an e-mail, “The Jackson School of International Studies has a very strong commitment to public outreach and I felt in this time of economic downturn that we could offer the public free, educational entertainment through a film series using area experts to introduce each movie.”

Hecker said that in selecting the films “I wanted a combination of classics — things that everybody should see like Battle of Algiers and Seven Samurai … along with some more recent offerings such as Like Water for Chocolate and the latest trend toward animation such as Persepolis and Sita Sings the Blues.”

More info including location, parking, directions is here:  http://jsis.washington.edu/smak/

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