OCCUPATIONS: Seattle Underground Film Festival (SUFF) founders/experimental filmmakers
How many films have you made?
Steve: Five. My last two films were shot in Mexico--shots of eyes and faces. Machines, people working on small printing presses, in little shops, churches. It is a diary form.
Jon: I've made maybe 40 or 50 experimental films. The beauty of experimental stuff, and the reason I'm able to do so many films, is because the types of films that I make require less money. I buy the film, I shoot it, I cut it myself, I cut the negative myself, I do all the titles, everything--even sound. No problem.
Do you ever work on mainstream films?
Jon: I've worked on, like, television shows. Remember that show Wise Guy? I worked on Trouble in Mind. Remember that? I guess my latest industry job was that Madonna film, Truth or Dare. Remember that film? Well I did some of that backstage cinematography. I just never liked doing that kind of work. I got so fed up with the attitude and the anal, pretentious shit that has infected the whole film industry that I just don't want to be part of it.
How has Seattle's exhibition climate changed since you started making films here?
Steve: Just in the last five years, I'd say film has really grown everywhere. It's become a part of almost every event, whether it's an art gallery opening, or....
Jon: And I think that's fabulous. You know, I'm actually showing my films in actual screening venues now. In the old days, it was like showing at, like, the Showbox before a punk show or some place like that. A porn theater--I had a showing of my work at the old Embassy Theater downtown. It's long gone, but it was a porno theater. That was my first solo exhibition.
What do you think are SUFF's strong points?
Steve: I think showing things that work around the specific taste of a couple people, doing it for passion. And our tastes are somewhat experimental, so it will hopefully introduce something of that voice to the city....
Jon: My whole things is, you have a film festival and model it on what film festivals used to be. I was inspired by the way SIFF was, like, 20 years ago. They didn't deteriorate to the point of where I lost interest in them until probably the early '90s. They're still a very successful film festival--there's no doubt about that. I'm just not interested in them anymore. SUFF shows a lot more local stuff, a lot more experimental stuff. I just see a lot going on. Seattle is a community that's ready to explode or ready to pop, and that means the right ideas are floating around.