I've long been an advocate for local film production in this column, and the recent increase in Seattle-area film shoots is, in a funny way, part of the reason that I'm now quitting. I've been getting more and more work in town as a script supervisor and the 12-hour days make it tough to find time to write this thing.
When I started the column I never explained where the title came from. A lot of you picked up on the reference to the Michelangelo Antonioni film Blow-Up, but the real reason was the supplemental definitions of the phrase: both to magnify and destroy. The column was born out of a desire to give extra publicity to those one-night-only screenings, to hype local filmmakers and local productions, and to draw attention to the boneheaded moves by the state government to pull support for film production in Seattle. In those regards, I feel the column was a success.
My work in the local film industry as a writer, programmer, and crew member has given me access to a host of talented filmmakers (David Russo, Sue Corcoran, Andy McAllister, Robinson Devor, Matt Wilkins, Jon Behrens, Web Crowell, Brian McDonald, George Wing, John Jeffcoat, Shannon Gee, and so many more), and despite my many conflicts of interest I was always happy to give them the attention they deserved.
Leaving the paper after 14 years is a difficult thing. I will always be proud of the fact that I helped start the paper back in 1991 (the entire print run of the 12-page paper fit in the back seats of two cars!). When I told publisher (and proud new father) Tim Keck that I was leaving, some new face in his office said that a sure way to write for the paper again is to write a farewell column. I hope she's right.
The timing of my departure is unfortunate, however, as it coincides with the promotion of Annie Wagner to film editor. Since taking over she's had good ideas and feedback for me, which I appreciated. She also told me she's going to focus even more on local shows and indie screenings in the Film Shorts section, which puts me at ease. I implore filmmakers to keep her in the loop, whether you're showing something locally or progressing through production or the festival rounds.
Finally, in my last bit of advocacy, I want to recommend the Bend Film Festival, a great new festival in Oregon that is incredibly filmmaker-friendly. If you're a local filmmaker, you should put it on your radar, not just because they treat you right when you go there, but because they've been giving more and more cash prizes to filmmakers. I was proud to be on a jury that gave money to Shakespeare Behind Bars and The Real Dirt on Farmer John, and recognition to Police Beat (Best Feature) and The Puffy Chair (Best Screenplay), among others. Maybe I'll see you there next year if I don't see you around town.