Long Shorts

Reel NW

Long Shorts

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Four short films by Northwest filmmakers explore themes such as parental uncoolness and the fleeting time between youth and adulthood.

About the Films

Reel NW presents four award-winning films by five Northwest filmmakers – “The Day My Parents Became Cool” by Steve Edmiston, “Famous 4A” by Mike Attie, “Maria in the Kitchen” by Nik Perleros and Laurel Minter, and “Summer Snapshot” by Ian McCluskey.

About the Day My Parents Became Cool

About "The Day My Parents Became Cool"“The Day My Parents Became Cool” is a modern costume-comedy – and every teenager’s worst nightmare. When the 1,000-year comet crosses the night sky, a brave new world is created where adults instantly adopt every teen trend in attire and body image. Emo, Goth, Skater, Jock, Metal -- tattoos, piercings, thongs, and sagging jeans. On every adult, everywhere, planet-wide. “The Day My Parents Became Cool” tells the comic story of how one small group of teenagers fight back when every outward manifestation of their individuality is co-opted by the enemy.

Watch "The Day My Parents Became Cool" here.

About Filmmaker Steve Edmiston

About Filmmaker Steve EdmistonSteve Edmiston is a Seattle screenwriter, producer, entertainment attorney, and most recently, director.

He developed “The Day My Parents Became Cool” (2009) to provide professional arts experience to public high school students. It was produced in conjunction with two Washington school districts, seven schools, and 150 public education students. Edmiston served as writer, producer, and director. “The Day My Parents Became Cool” premiered at the Sedona International Film Festival and was an official selection of the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival. It also won Best Short Comedy at the International Family Film Festival that year.

Edmiston’s other projects include “Farewell to Harry” (2002, writer), “A Relative Thing” (2005, writer and producer), and “Crimes of the Past” (2009, writer and producer). He has two features currently in post-production, scheduled for release in 2012.

Filmmaker's Statement

"The Day My Parents Became Cool" has been an astonishing project for me for many reasons. Perhaps the first is that I'm just happy to have had the opportunity - in a very, very personal sense - to make this film. I was just in remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and had yet to be rediagnosed with a recurrence of the same cancer. With a sincerity that literally goes to my "marrow," I can tell you that showing up on that film set, with over a 100 high school kids and a phenomenal crew, was truly special. (I am pleased to share that after a stem-cell transplant, I am currently cancer-free!)

I also was amazed at the community support that enveloped the making of this film. We had two Washington State school districts, five schools, two cities, one county, a Rotary Club, dozens of small businesses, local politicians, our beloved "become cool" campaign private donors, hundreds of "sweat-equity" supporters, and, of course, all those kids, literally enveloping our project in a "can do" and "can't fail" environment.

Finally, we somehow discovered a group of special actors led by Megan Joy, who managed, in a very short format, to take characters through a comic fantasy and somehow bring a poignancy to the journey. As you will imagine, after seeing the film, they were truly funny, fun to work with, and of course, amazingly "cool."

About "Famous 4A"

About "Famous 4A" Meet veterans Edward, John, Henry, Angel, and George, residents of “Famous 4A,” the hospice unit at Palo Alto Hospice Care Center in California. With an astute sensitivity for his surroundings, director Mike Attie captures the rhythms of hospice life, where caring and patient hospital staff help the patients live out their final days. “Keyword is comfortable” is their mantra. The patients reflect on finding God before death, reminisce about fishing with the president during World War II, pose for pictures with Miss California, and claim minor medical victories.

“Famous 4A” captures the bond shared between patients and caregivers, grown children and their ailing parents, and challenges stereotypes of aging and dying. The film is a universal look at seeking out humor, truth, purpose, uplift, and grace in the final moments of life.

Watch "Famous 4A" here.

About Filmmaker Mike Attie

About Filmmaker Mike AttieMike Attie is Seattle-based documentary filmmaker and producer. Before earning a MFA from Stanford University’s Documentary Film program in 2009, he worked as a production assistant and assistant editor for Academy Award-winning filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond on films for HBO and PBS.

Attie’s MFA thesis film, “Famous 4A,” was nominated for the International Documentary Association’s David Wolper Award. It won first prize for short films at the Kos International Health Film Festival in 2010 and best documentary at the 2010 CILECT Congress.

Attie received a BA in American History from Vassar College. He works as a freelance film producer and as an instructor at Seattle University and the Seattle Film Institute. His other films include “Mr. Mack’s Kitchen” and “Bob’s Knee.”

About "Maria in the Kitchen"

About "Maria in the Kitchen"After Bob retires early and rich, his buddies Pete and Larry help him celebrate. But retirement is not the great adventure he imagined. Bored and lonely, Bob wakes up one morning to find Maria, his housecleaner, in his kitchen. Bob, a dedicated bachelor, is in over his head but they form an awkward friendship. And, when Pete crosses the line with Maria, Bob must choose between his buddies and this stranger.

About Filmmaker Nik Perleros

About Filmmaker Nik PerlerosNik Perleros is an award-winning Seattle-based filmmaker. In addition to “Maria in the Kitchen,” which he co-produced and co-directed, his film credits include “Hangman” (2008) and “Girl Code” (2010). Recently, Perleros directed and co-produced the raunchy, intellectual short comedy “How To Get Laid” (2011), as well as four episodes of the web series "#nitTWITS."

Perleros earned a BA in Theater Arts from the University of Puget Sound. He is a freelance producer and editor for the EMP Museum in Seattle, and has taught filmmaking at the Tacoma School of the Arts and Seattle Children's Theatre, where, together with Laurel Minter, he helped to create their first moviemaking program. His website is www.nikperleros.com.

About Filmmaker Laurel Minter

About Filmmaker Laurel MinterLaurel Minter is an award-winning script writer and filmmaker with a background in theater. She was the writer, co-director, and co-producer of “Maria in the Kitchen.” Her other film credits include "Man, Where's My Shoe?" (2004) and "Best Friends Forever" (2011), a teen comedy that she wrote and directed.

Minter earned her MFA in film from UCLA’s prestigious School of Theater, Film and Television. She's won several awards for her screenwriting, including a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Award. Minter has taught screenwriting for Stanford University and currently teaches filmmaking in the Seattle Central Community College film/video program. She also works as a script consultant. Her website is www.laurelminter.com

Filmmaker's Statement

Laurel Minter and Nik Perleros made several short films together before sitting down to create “Maria in the Kitchen.” The idea was originally generated by the location - an elegant bachelor home. The filmmakers wanted to say something about the power of intimacy - even in friendship - to change people. The location, a beautiful home on a lake, decorated in a masculine style, conjures up assumptions, as do the women, primarily Hispanic women, who clean them. “Maria in the Kitchen” is about two people forced by proximity into forming an awkward, not entirely successful, friendship and struggling to understand each other in the process.

About "Summer Snapshot"

About "Summer Snapshot""Summer Snapshot" plays out, shot by sun-kissed shot, an idyllic day at a mountain river where a group of friends spend an afternoon skinny-dipping, strumming guitars, and circling a campfire. Reminiscent of a 1970s home movie, Summer Snapshot is a nostalgic reflection on the fleeting window between youth and adulthood.

Watch "Summer Snapshot" here.

About Filmmaker Ian McCluskey

About Filmmaker Ian McCluskeyIan McCluskey takes a collaborative, DIY approach to making documentaries. In 2003, he founded NW Documentary, a non-profit that creates original documentaries and teaches others to craft their own stories.

McCluskey’s work directing, writing, shooting, and editing has led to more than two dozen national awards, including NW Emmy Awards, Chicago Film Festival’s Hugo Awards, and the CINE Golden Eagle Awards.

Besides “Summer Snapshot,” McCluskey's films include "Echo of Water Against Rocks: Remembering Celilo Falls" (2000), “Sun Gu Ja” (2004), and “Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson” (2007).

Filmmaker's Statement

When Kodak announced it was discontinuing Kodachrome and Polaroid film was fast disappearing from the shelves, it felt like more than a shift in technology; it felt like the end of a way of recording memories. The warm super-saturated colors of both Kodachrome and Polaroid had, for decades, defined the very look of growing up. Even if I was too young to really remember the '70s, I felt as if I'd lived through the flickering images of shaggy-haired kids in tube socks and cutoff shorts. “We've seen these old Polaroids, these old films," as one of the interviews in "Summer Snapshot" explains, "and we want in." So I set out to make a film about summer memories, sun-kissed and golden.

Super-8 has the look and feel of memory. So I used it to explore the idea of memory, and themes important to my own sense of coming of age, such as the first time being brave enough to skinny dip with friends, quiet times spent circling a campfire, road trips.

Gathering up thrift-store Super-8 cameras and Kodak film, I set out with a team of volunteers to capture a carefree summer day at a secret spot along Mount Hood's Sandy River. The Sandy is a 45-minute drive from Portland, Oregon, my hometown. As the years pass, specific trips to the river merge into a single composite day and take on an amber hue. As I began to talk to friends, they, too, held a memory of a special summer day involving a group of friends and a body of water.

"Summer Snapshot" is an ode to those memories. They are individual, yet universal. Weaving contemporary interviews underneath flickering Super-8 imagery blends past and present. The date of the river trip, the names, the ages, no information is given to fix the memory—rather it is left open, inviting the viewer to fill in those details and infuse their own memory onto the day.

"Summer Snapshot" suggests that the blurring haze of memory, the beauty of youth in nature, and the carefree times with friends may not be inconsequential, and that maybe it's OK to recall the past with nostalgia, maybe even important, because a good day can shape a sense of self and become a reference point as we grow older. As one interview in the film says: “That's what I'm going to look back on when I'm 80.” And it may be true.

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