Kevin Clarke and Travis Vogt
Dude, fuck the highbrow. Local comics and Scarecrow Video employees (which means they know more about movies than you) Kevin Clarke and Travis Vogt have been bringing some of the best of Seattle's little-comedy-scene-that-could. The duo makes dirty, dirtbaggy, DIY video sketches about murder and ninjas and cancer and wiener fights. What makes it all work—it's more than just dicks 'n' farts—is their fearless weirdness and humble self-referentiality. Their feature-length science-fiction movie, Steel of Fire Warriors 2010 A.D., shot on a Viewfinder or something for negative eleventy fafillion dollars, is fucking ridiculous and actually funny. Do more, dudes! Do more! LINDY WEST
The Northwest Film Forum has the best program director in Seattle. Adam Sekuler started almost four years ago, after leaving the Minnesota Film Arts in Minneapolis, and in that time he has brought some of the most exciting films in contemporary cinema to the NWFF screens. This was simply an amazing year for Sekuler, who is also a talented experimental filmmaker. He obtained Claire Denis's 35 Shots of Rum, Barry Jenkins's Medicine for Melancholy, and Carlos Reygadas's Silent Light, one of the greatest movies ever made. If Sekuler has another year like 2009, we will have to give him something more than a shortlist mention. CHARLES MUDEDE
Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
As one of our fair nation's gayest cities, Seattle seems a logical home for a top-notch gay and lesbian film festival—a place to showcase, in shiny, cinematic glory, all the trials and triumphs and idiosyncrasies of big queer livin'. The Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival improves each year, moving away from marginalizing clichés and toward humanizing artistry, from Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement to a documentary about local boylesque superstar Waxie Moon. As Adrian Ryan wrote of this year's fest: "[There are] some very, very good films... which depart entirely from the tried-and-tired Gay Film Fest formula (victims + 'coming of age' + tortured gym shower scenes + lisping queens x disco / hate crime = movie)." Plus, they throw really good parties. LW
Not long after being named the Stranger Film Genius for 2008, director Lynn Shelton released Humpday, her mumblecore comedy that earned raves from Sundance to Cannes. Crucial to its success: Alycia Delmore, a Seattle theater actor whose first major film role required her to brutally downsize her craft. "At first, it didn't feel like I was doing anything," Delmore told me when Humpday played SIFF, but it's all there on the screen. As the wife of a good guy goaded into marriage-challenging idiocy, Delmore presents an instantly recognizable, endlessly relatable character, giving Humpday its emotional anchor and scoring the film's biggest laughs. She's a natural. DAVID SCHMADER