Michael Seiwerath 's primary relationship with the art of cinema is as a facilitator; he helps make connections between artists and institutions, organizes funds for programs, promotes film projects, and, most importantly, discovers and launches local film careers. The Northwest Film Forum, which is currently on 19th Avenue East and is about to expand (it's planning to move to a bigger space for screenings and production work), is arguably the most vital film institution in the region. Very little in the way of local film production and screening exists outside of NWFF's field of influence. But Seiwerath's substance or value is not based so much on his position in this institution than his own character, which is broadly open to new ideas and possessed of great social and artistic instincts. CHARLES MUDEDE
At the end of his bio on the popular Rotten Tomatoes website,
Robert Horton , who describes himself as "button-cute and rapier-keen, firm yet gentle," writes, "He is at a loss to explain why he has written his profile in the third person, except to blame an over-developed sense of whimsy." This is the kind of gentlemanly humor one frequently finds in the erudite reviews of our area's top film critic. His credentials are impressive: Writing since 1979, he is presently the main reviewer for the Herald in Everett, and has written for Film Comment, Newsday, Amazon.com, and the Chicago Reader. He is also one of those big critics whose lists of best films, actors, directors appear yearly in the Village Voice, and last year he published a book, Billy Wilder: Interviews, as part of the University of Mississippi's highly regarded filmmakers interview series. Horton is America's go-to guy when it comes to the Austrian-American Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Double Indemnity), with whom he shares a charming lightness and an excellent ear for comic timing. Horton's film reviews are the product of a sensibility whose place is nowhere else at home but in the heart of a movie theater. CHARLES MUDEDE
Jesse Harris is 17 years old and he has just finished shooting his first feature-length film. The film's title: Living Life. Its premise: A teenager struggles with cancer.
Have we seen Harris' film? No. Have we heard it's brilliant? Nope. Still and all, though, the kid is 17 years old and he's already nearing completion on his first film. And this being "Ones to Watch," as in genius may already be there and/or looming over the horizon, the feeling here is that if Harris shows any sort of talent in writing/directing his first film, then he's already well ahead of the game. Whether or not he will one day turn out to be a genius remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Part of genius is drive, and Harris certainly has that already. BRADLEY STEINBACHER
For more than a decade,
David Russo was the type of film artist who would spend months and sometimes years on a project without showing it to more than a few friends and colleagues. That all changed when he got the Vulcan grant to create the short film Populi as public art for the video screens at the new Seahawks Stadium. He started entering that film into festivals--and winning them too. His lovely follow-up film, Pan with Us, ended up with an honorable mention at Sundance, won other international awards, and helped land him on Filmmaker magazine's list of the 25 new faces of indie film.
What makes Russo's films so amazing is the fact that they leave you wondering how the fuck he was able to make them in the first place. You can see how much work he puts into them, but not how he pulls them off. The music videos he made for the often-overlooked Seattle band the Purdins make me think he's got the potential to be the next Chris Cunningham or Michel Gondry. His script for the sci-fi janitor movie #2 tells me he might be the next Spike Jonze or a more visual Richard Linklater.
Then again, he's too much an individual to be anyone else. ANDY SPLETZER