Because Paul Allen has been vocal in his affection for Seattle by buying sports teams, building museums, and refurbishing the Cinerama, among other things, some think he should throw some of his pocket change at struggling artists and arts institutions. But he's never worked that way, and I don't see anyone giving him a reason to change. His donations have always come across as cultural (and sometimes financial) investments, and have been on a much larger scale than local artists tend to think.

Take for example Vulcan Productions, the film production arm of his empire. Having worked with established indie filmmakers like John Sayles, Victor Nuñez, and Todd Haynes, the company is now reaching out more to emerging filmmakers. They've got a new business model that resembles New York's InDigEnt, where profits from low-budget productions are shared by the cast and crew, and I believe they hope to produce three to five low-budget films per year. The reason I mention this now is that they just finished principle photography on their first film with this new system, a psychological thriller called Hard Candy.

How is this different from how they've worked before? For this movie, about a 32-year-old man who takes home a 14-year-old girl he met on the Internet, it's the first time they've tapped a director making his debut feature. David Slade is an English video and commercial director, and his visual style should nicely complement the limited locations of the dialogue-driven script by TV writer and playwright Brian Nelson. According to Variety, producer David W. Higgins conceived the story after seeing a news account of Japanese girls who lured businessmen into dangerous situations. The movie stars Patrick Wilson from HBO's Angels in America and newcomer Ellen Page.

Even though Vulcan hasn't tapped a Seattle writer or director yet, there are a few people in town who may fit into this new model. I'm thinking of someone like George Wing (50 First Dates) or Brian McDonald/ Kris Kristensen (Inheritance)--or maybe me with my new script, or maybe even you. The website says they're looking for projects of quality and impact, and in true Hollywood fashion they need to be submitted through established agents or entertainment attorneys. (Another reason I believe Vulcan wants to find a local filmmaker is because I've seen Michael Caldwell, the director of Vulcan's feature film production, at IFP/Seattle events talking to people about possible projects.)

VISITING FILMMAKERS: Before I run out of space, I want to recommend the work of Portland filmmakers Vanessa Renwick and Bill Daniel. They'll be bringing their Heart Attack Island Film Tour to Consolidated Works on Wednesday, September 1, at 8:00 p.m. The show sounds fun and fascinating, and like nothing you'll ever see in this town again.

Support The Stranger