PTTF ~ 2001
2001 Port Townsend Film Festival - September 28-30, 2001
The second annual PortTownsend Film Festival was held September 28-30, 2001, barely two weeks after what has since become known as 9/11. Just as the nation and the world was in shock after the tragic events of September 11, so was Port Townsend and the film festival staff. Continue or cancel? – that was the question. After several days of thought and debate, it was decided to move forward despite necessary last-minute changes, some cancellations, and numerous uncertainties.
With an undercurrent of sadness, festival-goers appreciated the opportunity to be out in the community with friends, neighbors, and visitors. They were even more appreciative of the many directors, producers, and actors who dealt with the worrisome and uncertain travel logistics at the time to bring their knowledge and enttusiasm to the audience.
Twenty-four films were shown; attendance was estimated at 1,200.
In addition to Eva Marie Saint, special guest character actor Vincent Schiavelli charmed the town with his friendliness and humor while showing his still-to-be-released road picture, American Saint. Schiavelli also captivated local cooks and chefs with a reading from and book-signing of his fourth cookbook about Sicilian cuisine at a downtown kitchen shop.
A Very Special Evening with Eva Marie Saint
Guest of honor for the Festival's second year was actress Eva Marie Saint, whose classic film, North by Northwest, was seen by more than 500 people sitting on straw bales downtown on Taylor Street under a full moon. Her rarely-seen drama, All Fall Down, played before a capacity house at the renovated Broughton Theatre, after which she was interviewd by Northwest film critic Robert Horton, who graciously substituted for Robert Osborne who was unable to leave New York. Miss Saint's graciousness, candor, and accessibility both entertained and inspired the audience.
Passholders were treated to an evening with Miss Saint and her husband, director-producer Jeffrey Hayden, who joined the audience to view All Fall Down. "I haven't seen it since it was released," she confided to a seatmate. Married just one month shy of fifty years, the couple was later honored at a reception where well-wishers joined them in consuming a special anniversary cake.
All Fall Down
US, 1962. 110 Minutes
Director: John Frankenheimer
Produced by John Houseman
Adapted by William Inge from a James Leo Herlihy novel, this ambitious and elaborately staged film is set deep in the Inge territory of homespun and gothic-"that strange area of nostalgic Americana where the familiar is the Freudian grotesque." So reviewed Pauline Kael. The film features Eva Marie Saint, Angelea Lansbury, Karl Maulden, Brandon de Wilde, and Warren Beaty in his second film
Joseph M. Castelo, USA, 2000
Producers: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Scott Ferguson, Jonathan V. Hludzinski.
American Saint employs a semi-documentary format and an improvisational style to comically explore the story of an aspiring young actor and his attempt to transform himself into one of the "coolest" characters of American literature, Jack Kerouac. One night, New York waiter-actor Miles Hotonian (Kevin Corrigan, Henry Fool, True Romance), is surfing the Internet when he finds an open casting call – in Hollywood in two weeks – for a film about Jack Kerouac by Milos Forman. Thinking the audition will be his big break, he convinces cabby, Charley (Vincent Schiavelli, Amadeus, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Fast Times at Ridgemont High), to drive him across country (with the meter running). With nothing to lose, the two set out for the open road in the hope of experiencing Kerouac's America. A Q&A with actor Vincent Schiavelli followed the screening.
The Bad and the Beautiful
Vincente Minelli, US, 1952
Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) is a driven young man who rose from making B-movies to become one of Hollywood's biggest producers; but he did it by using people in order to get to the top. In a series of flashbacks, three of those people - a director (Barry Sullivan), an actress (Lana Turner), and a writer (Dick Powell) – describe why they never want to work with him again. The film won five Oscars, including Screenplay (Charles Schnee) and Cinematography (Robert Surtees). Douglas received a nomination for Best Actor. Says film critic Robert Horton, "This is one of those movies that needs to be treated carefully, lest the audience be cued to expect some kind of 'camp' classic. It's a very well-made melodrama." Critic Robert Horton introducee the film and talked about it following the screening.
Before Leaving (Avant de Partir)
Marie De Laubier, France, 2000
Producer: TS Productions
This documentary is a frank, tempestuous, yet tender look at a French nursing home: not a detached clinical view, but a film that goes deeply into the personalities of the residents and their relationships to each other and the outside world. We become attached to sad Mrs. Martins who can't remember things; Lulu, obsessed with shopping; Mrs. Colizza, who was a boss all her life and cannot abide being told what to do; and Mr. Benetulier, who after his mother dies, has no other place to go. We meet manager Ms. Abbes, "The Master of the Poor (or Rich)." Through her, we learn how much a difference an attentive and compassionate person can make in people's lives. Before Leaving is a timely glimpse into a stage of life that is not often documented in the United States perhaps due to our reluctance to be at ease with death and the aging process.
The Big Animal (Duze Zwierze)
Jerzy Stuhr, Poland, 2000
Producers: Jamusz Morgenstern, Slawomir Rogowski
Working from an unfinished script written in 1973, by the late Polish director, Krzysztof Kies«lowski, actor/director Jerzy Stuhr (Decalogue 10, Three Colors: White) has fashioned a beguilingly gentle consideration of intolerance and stupidity. One evening the Sawickis look up from their supper to notice something curious in their garden – a huge camel. "Rubio," left behind by a traveling circus, in no time bonds with the Sawickis, especially husband Zygmunt (Jerzy Stuhr), a bank clerk and clarinet player, who takes Rubio on long country strolls. At first the camel is a big attraction in town, but it doesn't take long for his very existence to cue the bureaucracy into demanding special fees and taxes for keeping a "culturally foreign element," and a campaign against the Sawickis wells up in the community. The Big Animal shows us the price of individuality and how sad it is to love something that isn't the norm.
Cart Man (Czlowiek Wózków)
Mariusz Malec The, Poland, 2000
Producers: Slawomir Rogowski, Jacek Gwizdala
A far cry from a "shed boy," The Cart Man is about a man (Adam Leniec) who wanders across the countryside in Poland dragging his handmade cart behind him. Designed from junk he finds along the way, the cart carries all his possessions. A quiet man whose life is filled with silence and the change of seasons, he lives by his own rules and steers clear of people and civilization. Cart Man is based on a real story about a man who dropped out of society for his own traumatic reasons. But the world can't leave him alone; it dubs him homeless and insane, and tries to destroy this strange individual by jailing and institutionalizing him. It seems no one could believe that a man would choose to live the way he does. Mariusz Malec is a documentary filmmaker and this is his debut feature and its US premiere.
Delusions in Modern Primitivism (short)
Delusions in Modern Primitivism (short)
Comedy USA 2000
Produced by Ed Howe
Written/Directed by Daniel Loflin
We follow Jerome on his trek across Dallas for the next, newest form of body modification as he seeks meaning, identity, and acceptance from this harsh world in the form of a new scar.
Farewell to Harry
US, 2001, 100 minutes
Director: Garrett Bennett
A story about a young writer who returns home and runs into a local legend, an eccentric hatmaker named Harry Hoffstetter, featuring Joe Flanigan and William Hall, Jr. in the major roles. Cinematographer was Antonio Calvache, who also shot In the Bedroom, the critcally-acclaimed independent hit of 2001. Filmed in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, and Port Townsend.
Hilltop Hospital (short)
Writer/Director: Pascal Le Notre
With the star weather-poodle suddenly rushed to the hospital, how will everyone find out the forecast? A colorful collection of claymation characters comes up with a clever plan.
Patrice Cheréau, France, 2001
Producers: Patrick Cassavetti, Jacques Hinstin
Let's cut through the hype of this controversial film that won Best Film at 2001 Berlin Film Festival – it's not just about graphic sex! What sets this film apart is the protagonist's quest, albeit a blind quest, for intimacy. Jay's (Mark Rylance, Angels & Insects) life is a shambles ever since he left his wife and kids. Claire (Kerry Fox, Best Actress, Berlin Film Festival) is trapped in her marriage and dabbles in amateur dramatics. Without even knowing each other's names, they meet for sex in Jay's flat. When Claire doesn't appear one day, Jay begins to feel like a prisoner. In his first English language feature film, veteran French director Patrice Chéreau (Queen Margot) adapts screenwriter Hanif Kureishi's (My Beautiful Laundrette) short story collection, "Love in a Blue Time". Like Cassavetes, director Cheréau centers on his actors – drawing out courageous raw performances that are like "confessions of faith." With Marianne Faithfull and Timothy Spall. (Warning: this film contains graphic sexual images, no one under 18 will be admitted.)
Juliette Of The Herbs
Tish Streeten, USA, 1998
Producer: Tish Streeten
This film is a warm documentary portrait of the life and work of Juliette de Bairacli Levy: world-renowned herbalist, author, breeder of Afghan hounds, friend of Gypsies, traveler in search of the wisdom of plants, and the grandmother of holistic veterinary medicine and today's herbal movement. Juliette's classic herbal remedies for animals and for children "The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable", Faber & Faber, 1991, "Common Herbs for Natural Health", Ash Tree Publishing, 1997), have been an inspiration for the present day renaissance in alternative medicine. For more than 60 years, Juliette has learned the healing arts from people who live close to nature. Shot on location in Europe and America, the new footage is interwoven with Juliette's own vast collection of archival photographs in a rich, visual tapestry. Juliette's lectures draw crowds of people and her books on animals are vet bibles. She is without a doubt, a true Renaissance woman. With clear vision she reveals to us how humans and nature can coexist. Director Tish Streeten attended for a Q&A.
Director: Godfrey Reggio
Both breathtakingly entertaining and daringly experimental, Koyaanisqatsi (a Hopi Indian word meaning "life out of balnace") represents a non-esoteric alternative to the commercial mainstream. There is no story or dialogue, just a cascade of staggering images keyed to Philip Glass's soaring, reverberant score and organized around the theme of contrasts and similarities between natural and manmade grandeur. The point of it all is defamiliarization on an immense, all-embracing scale: a thought-provoking, sense-shattering experience, Koyaanisqatsi is one of those rare films that truly makes one see the world anew. Shown as one of two free outdoor movies on Taylor Street.
Martin Sulík, Slovakia, 2000
Producer, Rudolf Biermann
This highly stylized, lush, apocryphal fresco paints a picture of Slovakia in the 20th century. Landscape is made up of ten mini-stories that create an overall image of the march of history – the invasions of Hungarians, Germans and Russians into a "country that never was." Against this movement of time, we are introduced to a host of characters: Wild Siebert, the eccentric village bully; two young brothers full of mischief and mayhem; hobo Cyril who is saved by St. Christopher; goatherd Vojta who ingests a snake while dozing; young soldier Imro (Czonger Kassai, Divided We Fall) who makes love to Madam Agatha and earns a clock; and an old maid who has tenderly saved her beloved braids. Landscape is a patchwork of the human topography of a country and its people: the country that no one seems to remember, and the people whom no one can forget.
Lana Turner: A Daughter's Memoir
Producer: Carole Lanager
Turner Classics Movies presents the premiere of acclaimed documentary filmmaker Carole Langer's look at the life and career of Lana Turner. Using film footage, exclusive photos, home movies, and interviews with colleagues and friends, Lanager has produced a revealing portrait of Turner's never-ending personal dramas, including seven marriages, the risky birth of her only child, an attempted suicide and the lurid murder/scandal that overshadowed her 15-year-reign as queen of M-G-M. Lana's daughter Chreyl Crane offers many personal observations from her troubled life.
Michael Cuesta, USA, 2001
Producers: Linda Moran, Rene Bastian
The Long Island Expressway (L.I.E.) – a road that both connects and takes away people – is director Michael Cuesta's symbol for danger and deceit. Well-made, well-acted, emotionally powerful, disturbing and disarmingly human, L.I.E. skirts exploitation and excess. Opening as 15-year-old Howie Blitzer (Paul Franklin Dano) balances on one foot on a freeway overpass – a young man tottering on the brink, over the artery of freeway that slices the angular landscape of suburbia. After his mother's death, Howie is left to fend for himself, occasionally attending school and hanging with a group of delinquents who, for kicks, break into houses. The only adult to give Howie attention is Big John (Shakespearean actor, Brian Cox, Braveheart), pillar of the Long Island community and a pedophile. Howie's emotional disorientation makes him an attractive target. L.I.E. is a film about lost innocence. It may not be for everyone, but movies that "tell the truth rarely have an easy coming-of-age." This film stays with you.
Little Otik (Otesánek)
Jan Svankmajer, Czech Republic
Producers: Keith Griffiths, Jaromr Kallista, Jan Svankmajer
Filmmaker, animator, poet, sculptor, graphic artist and card-carrying Surrealist, Jan Svankmajer has shocked, mesmerized, repulsed and delighted audiences around the world. Svankmajer's films are rich and diverse, combining live action with collage, animation and montage. His most accessible film to date, Little Otik is a fairy-tale – but no ordinary bedtime story. Everything is charged with a life of its own, and the world of nature is scary and limitless. Based on 19th Century writer Karel Jaromir Erben's fairy-tale, "Otes-nek," Svankmajer focuses on the Horaks, a heartbroken childless couple. One day Mr. Horak is digging in the garden and uncovers a tree stump. Pretending it's a baby, he gives it to his wife who immediately adopts it as her own. At first they hide this ruse from the neighbors, who might think them crazy dressing a stump in frilly white baby things. Eventually Otik, growing exponentially with Herculean hunger, begins to really shake up the neighborhood.
Made in Chile
Sergio M. Castilla, Chile
Producer: Segismundo Moskkowicz
In a society where there are too many bad memories too close to everyone, four teenagers struggle for normalcy where there is none. Chilean-born director Sergio Castilla presents a riveting tale about teenage angst and discovery set against the backdrop of Santiago, Chile. Between adolescence and adulthood, the young characters navigate the space between human isolation and connection – trying to ascertain who they are in relation to each other, their families, and the world. This is not always child's play. "There are secrets we keep from each other, and secrets we keep from ourselves," says Sammy. The secrets loom large, defining each young person and sometimes making them feel like outsiders even when they're together. The film opens with all four: Sammy, Daniela, Mike and Isabel driving to what will be their summer hangout, an abandoned house in the foothills of the Andes where they will hide from world and open up to each other.
Mehdi Sabaghzadeh, Iran, 2000
Producers: Mohammad H. Sabooki, Paria R. Sabooki
An older couple tests their spiritual stamina in a well-crafted tale of religious and moral hypocrisy. By Iranian standards, Maral is a frank drama about temptation. Haji (Hadis Fouladvand) and Rezvan (Soraya Ghasemi, Best Actress 2001 Tehran Film Festival) live together more like siblings than spouses. While Haji runs a factory, Rezvan's life revolves around doing good deeds; but it's hard to know if she does them for afterlife rewards or just to show off, as her husband suggests. Not content with collecting items for victims of an earthquake, Rezvan concocts a plan to prove her superior faith: she pushes her husband into a second marriage with the most unfortunate earthquake victim her social worker friend can find. This miserable creature, who lost her entire family, turns out to be Maral, a young and beautiful woman. Combined with Haji and Rezvan's ulterior motives, Maral turns their lives upside down.
A portrait of Jim Tom Hedrick's rebellious spirit, his relationship with his Southern Baptist sister, and the process of distilling moonshine liquor from corn mash.
Mr. Smile (short)
United States, 1999
Writer, Director: Fran Krause
A silly animated account of Mr. Smile inviting all of his strange friends to a party.
Mule Skinner Blues
Stephen Earnhart, USA
Producers: Victoria Ford, Stephen Earnhart
Mule Skinner Blues is a "psychedelic" documentary exploring the artistic aspirations of a group of ex-alcoholics who still allow themselves to dream – despite finding themselves in a trailer park in Maypole, Florida. Our ambassador through this hefty bite of Americana is Beanie Andrew, a man with the raw charisma of a circus ringmaster and an apocalyptic vision of rising out of the mud in an ape suit in a 15-minute horror movie. Beanie introduces us to his cast: Vietnam vet and troubadour Steve Walker; Ricky Lix, explosive blues guitarist; country singer Miss Jeannie; and Annabelle Lea, costume designer who keeps the carcass of her dearly departed bulldog in her backyard freezer. Stephen Earnhart, former Miramax producer, knows that reality is stranger than fiction. He decided to make a documentary about Beanies horror film. A more humanistic "American movie," Mule Skinner Blues proves that "art" is subjective and can thrive in unlikely places. It is the "craziest, wackiest most humanly surreal experience this side of the Mississippi" enter this parallel universe and sacrifice your cynical disbelief." (Exquisite Corpse)
Pirates of Central Park (short)
United States, 2000
Director: Rob Farber
A drama about power. Those who have it. And those who want it. All played out on the Central Park Boat Pond.
United States 2001
Writer/Director: Ed Howe
Producer: Heather Menicucci
There's a tiger on the bus! What will the commuters on a Boston bus do when their early morning routine is disrupted by a rider with orange stripes and a tail?
The State I Am In (Die innere Sicherheit)
Christian Petzold, Germany, 2000
Producers: Fln Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber
It's hard enough to be a teenager without your parents being fugitives. Christian Petzold assesses the ghost-like existence of two on-the-run ex-terrorists through the eyes of their 15-year-old daughter Jeanne. Parents Clara (Barbara Auer) and Hans (Richy Muller) broke the taboo of those living underground; they conceived a daughter. Since birth, Jeanne has followed her parents from town to town, country to country. Home tutored, she's never gone to school or hung out with school friends because she's never been in one place long enough. Hiding among the tourists on the beaches of Portugal, they try to live a normal life. But just when they are about to set up a legal identity for themselves in Brazil, a robbery causes things to go wrong and they are forced to return to Germany. Meanwhile, Jeanne has fallen in love, and that will have dire consequences in this tense and highly suspenseful film.
Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes To Town
Micha Peled, USA, 2001
Producer: Teddy Bear Films
A documentary about the impact of discount chain stores on America, Store Wars follows the conflict that polarizes Ashland, Virginia (population 7,200), when mega-store Wal-Mart announces plans to build a superstore at the edge of town. Ashland is proud of its small town character, where the grocery store allows charge accounts, the doctors make house calls and the school bus drivers and morticians serve on the town council. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, launches a PR campaign arguing that the store will bring tax revenues, low prices and jobs. The film covers the first stormy public hearings, where pros and cons are fiercely argued, and follows events as they unfold over a year, to the town council's final vote. The outcome of that ballot will determine whether Store Wars is a story about the triumph of a determined group of citizens, or a parable of our times about the expansion of global corporations. Director Micha Peled attended a Q&A after the screening.
Utica Cartoon (short)
United States 2001
Written/Directed: Fran Krause, Mike Overbeck, Will Krause, Jesse Schmal
Dan Bear and Micah Monkey find a neighborhood hot-dog store that has a contest: beat the hot-dog eating record and you eat for free! No problem for a seven-hundred pound bear.
Sara Sugarman, U.K./France, 2000
Producers: Graham Broadbent, Damian Jones
An engaging, eccentric comedy set in South Wales, Very Annie-Mary opens with Jack Pugh (Jonathan Pryce, Victoria & Albert, Adventures of Baron Munchausen) careening through town in his baker's van in a Pavarotti mask miming Puccini. This womanizing widower prides himself as "the voice of the valley" while he dominates his awkward daughter Annie-Mary (Rachel Griffiths, Blow, Hilary and Jackie). Despite being 30-something, Annie-Mary is overshadowed by her father and acts like a teenager, clandestinely smoking in her bedroom and curling like a dog at her dad's feet to keep him warm. No wonder when dad has a stroke Annie-Mary's behavior takes a drastic turn. While her dad is consigned to bed, she starts to run the bakery on her own. As she stumbles from one bread-making disaster to another, she wastes very little sympathy on her basket-case dad, and we applaud her audacity and her entertaining style of finally running her own life.
First Annual Film On The Fly
Welcome to Film on the Fly -a short film written and produced by a group of 15 local teenagers. The Port Townsend Film Festival held a seven-day intensive workshop on August 25-31, 2001 for 15 film-student participants ranging in age from 14 to 17. Over the course of one week, the students wrote, shot, edited and scored their own short film, assisted by screenwriter, Nancy Alvarez and documentary filmmaker, Dana Scheurholz. Please join us and experience the First Annual Film On The Fly. Witness for yourselves the strong spirits and creative minds of these young and up coming professional filmmakers. Thanks for your support!!!
The Port Townsend Film Festival gratefully acknowledges, Alaska Power and Telephone, the Food Co-op, Bagel Haven, Peter and Glenda Geerloffs, Alysha Waters, Jim Tolpin and all the parents who helped make this program possible.
The Culture of Digital Filmmaking
Here's your chance to learn some of the secrets of those great special effects in movies like; Space Cowboys, Men in Black, The Mummy Returns and Planet of the Apes. We are pleased to have as a guest this year, visual effects specialist for Industrial Light and Magic, Tad Leckman who will present a program on digital technology. Digital technology allows visual effects companies such as Industrial Light and Magic to create the impossible on screen for their clients. Tad will show how some of those effects, like dinosaurs in Jurassic Park III, are created. He will also discuss the current technological revolution that has put sophisticated film making tools, once only available to those with Hollywood budgets, in the hands of a new generation of hobbyist Hitchcocks.