• Kelly O

After watching 14 minutes of footage from Rob Devor and Charles Mudede's next experimental documentary—about Sarah Jane Moore, the first woman to fire a loaded gun at a U.S. president—the Genius Awards committee came to an awkward realization: We couldn't keep ignoring Devor and Mudede's films. Together, they have completed two feature films, Police Beat and Zoo, both of which premiered at Sundance. The third, currently titled Unnamed Sarah Jane Moore Project, is a Sundance 2011 hopeful. After months of deliberations and watching many other films, and then seeing Devor and Mudede's new work in progress, we simply couldn't justify not giving them the award, even though Mudede also obviously has a day job here at The Stranger.

A still from Unnamed Sarah Jane Moore Project (click to enlarge)
  • A still from Unnamed Sarah Jane Moore Project (click to enlarge)
New York Times critic Manohla Dargis called Police Beat one of the highlights of Sundance in 2006 and described it as "a delicately funny tale about everyday surrealism." And of Zoo, she said: "Characters don’t just walk in this film; they float across the frame, pouring like liquid toward their inexorable destinies." Unnamed Sarah Jane Moore Project chronicles the very weird existence of Moore, the seemingly innocuous wife/mother/accountant who tried to assassinate President Ford in 1975 and was released from prison in 2007 at age 77. It shares the previous two films' uncanny atmospherics, blending of reality and fiction, and hyper-choreographed visuals. This is major, genius-level filmmaking coming out of Seattle.

Rob Devor is in New York working an another film project, but we reached him in our offices via Skype. A technical snag kept us from hearing what he said, but he appeared bewildered and happy. They will split the $5,000 award; Mudede is donating his half of the award to local film nonprofit Northwest Film Forum.

Congratulations, Rob and Charles!

More information about this year's Genius Awards available HERE. The awards will be presented at a great, big, fun, bonkers party at the Moore Theater, September 17th. BE THERE.