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Scarecrow on Seattle: SEATTLE WOMEN IN FILM

For the past few years, Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter. We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well.






Seattle Women In Film

Seattle filmmakers regularly create a steady output of outstanding short features, but aside from showcases at the Seattle International Film Festival, occasional exhibitions at venues like the Northwest Film Forum and Scarecrow Video's local filmmaker section, these mini-masterpieces tend to vanish after one or two public screenings. This particular collection, curated by local non-profit arts group 911 Media Arts Center, brings together some of the best shorts of the early 21st century. The disc itself was released by local film distribution company Typecast Releasing, who are probably best known for the Oscar-nominated documentary Iraq in Fragments though, clearly, they handle all sorts of productions.

Consisting of 21 films by 21 different female directors, Seattle Women in Film presents a wide range of style, structure, and execution throughout the various shorts. I gravitated towards the more comedic films, like an inventive silent riff called "Rents Due" and a mock "educational" offering called "How to go on a Man Date" that features a former Scarecrow employee. But really all of them are quite good and, thanks to the nature of short films, none overstay their welcome. Despite the various approaches there is a certain consistency of tone throughout the compilation as a sense of warmth is conveyed towards the individual subjects. I think the sympathetic nature of the shorts is more reflective of the disposition of Seattle's indigenous film community rather than any sort of gender specific inclination, but there isn't a Seattle Men in Film compilation available to further explore my hypothesis.

Seattle Women in Film offers up a roster of primo local talent including people currently making a national splash like Lynn Shelton and Megan Griffiths. The films themselves were created with the assistance of Seattle's numerous film arts organizations, like the aforementioned 911 Media Arts Center, Northwest Film Forum, Washington Film Works, Reel Grrls, SIFF's Fly Filmmaking program, Women in Film Seattle, Seattle Central Community College's Film and Video Program (which is unfortunately in danger of being eliminated), and the good old Seattle Office of Film and Music. And, of course, who could forget our lovely city and the versatile Pacific Northwest? These shorts are peppered with countless local landmarks like Kerry Park, The Grand Illusion Cinema, The Evergreen Washelli Cemetery, The Chinatown/International District, and The Buckaroo Tavern (RIP) just to name a few. But the acting award for a city must go to Tacoma as our neighbor to the south gives an utterly convincing performance in the role of Lake Charles, Louisiana in Virginia Bogert's "Tootie Pie."

Seattle Women In Film serves as a tidy showcase for the scene and the wide variety of excellent and inspiring work produced by northwest artists as well as the countless possibilities offered by our surroundings. The collection makes a good case for your continued support of local talent and arts organizations. Heck, you might even want to join in on the fun and make your own short film.

-Spenser Hoyt


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