Northwest Film Fund shortlist announced

Courtesy of tanjila, 2011, Flickr.

Next month, during our Local Sightings Film Festival, we will announce the recipients of our second annual Northwest Film Fund award (make sure to join us for closing night to hear the results in person). Forty-six applications were submitted in July, and our panel has selected eleven films that will advance to a final round – you can read the full shortlist below.

The films up for the award this year are remarkably diverse; fascinating characters abound in films like Bezango, WA (Cartoonists), The Winding Stream (American roots musicians) and In Country (Vietnam War re-enactors). There are some interesting thematic trends, including ecological issues (in The Breach and Clearwater—both films highlight our relationship with the waters of Puget Sound) and larger-than-life Northwest personalities (Catching Fire and Shot to Death feature inventor and humanitarian Peter Scott and film impresario Karl Krogstad).

It’s an intriguing group of films.  Subjects the short-listed documentaries tackle range from the venerable – a staple Northwest school of glass is the subject of Pilchuck: A Dance with Fire – to the sensational: criminal activity is examined in What’s Inside Paris Hilton’s Purse?, while Aurora Stories shows us, first-hand, women struggling with street prostitution and heroin addiction.

The two projects that we name as our 2012 awardees will hopefully follow in the footsteps of last year’s winning film, Off Label, which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival  in April, followed by screenings at HotDocs and the San Francisco International Film Festival. All of the submissions to this year’s Film Fund have remarkable effort and passion behind them, and I’m certain that many if not all of the projects will go on to reach audiences far and wide.

The Film Forum is in the fortunate position to contribute to the success of a few of these films. In the coming years, I hope to see the Film Fund grow and award more cash and services to excellent local projects, as we work to encourage and nurture the qualities that make the region’s filmmaking distinct. The eleven films in our final round this year paint a vivid picture of our region’s people and spaces; I can think of no better ambassador to the world than our talented film community.


The Breach
Directed by Mark Titus
The Breach documents the fight to restore and save the last wild salmon runs left on the planet.

Catching Fire—Peter Scott’s Stove Army
Directed by Ward Serrill
Catching Fire follows the improbable journey of passionate inventor, Peter Scott, and his eccentric ‘stove army’ as they attempt to overcome incredible odds to design and mass produce the world’s most revolutionary cook stove for the developing world.

Directed by Tracy Rector and Lou Karsen
Clearwater is the story of the unique relationship between tribal peoples and the waters of the Puget Sound, which is faced with unprecedented environmental challenges that threaten a way of life since time immemorial.

Bezango, WA
Directed by Ron Austin and Louise Amandes
Bezango, WA is a documentary chronicling the eccentric art and lives of prominent Northwest cartoonists, highlighting the history, struggles and evolution of the cartoon industry through their eyes.

Aurora Stories
Directed by Gabriel Miller and Elisa Haradon
Aurora Stories portrays three women fighting the twin trap of street prostitution and heroin addiction, and a man who invites them to kick drugs in his RV.

Shot to Death
Directed by Alex Gonzalez
Shot to Death exposes the outrageous forty-year history of Karl Krogstad’s filmmaking endeavors in the Pacific Northwest.

Open Road
Directed by Alain LeTourneau
Open Road is a 16mm black and white film about urban space designed for the movement and storage of private motor vehicles.

What’s Inside Paris Hiltons Purse?
Directed by Thomas Sammon
A feature length documentary film that tells the story of how a bag of cocaine ended up inside Paris Hilton’s purse… And how the greed of the world’s most violent criminal organizations is being driven by the behavior of Hollywood’s most familiar faces.

The Winding Stream
Directed by Beth Harrington
The Winding Stream tells the story of the dynasty at the very heart of American roots music—The Carters and The Cashes—and shows this family’s lasting influence across generations of musicians.

Pilchuck: A Dance with Fire
Directed by John Forsen
The documentary Pilchuck: A Dance with Fire will record and celebrate the art and artists of the Pilchuck Glass School on the occasion of its 40th anniversary.

In Country (working title)
Directed by Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara
In Country takes you deep into the world of Vietnam reenacting, where fantasy and reality collide as combat veterans from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan relive a war that most people want to forget.

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