Northwest Film & Video Festival
Fri Nov 2-Sat Nov 10
Guild Theatre/Whitsell Auditorium

According to the guide to the Northwest Film and Video Festival, "the Northwest in 2001 is a hotbed of seat-of-your-pants filmmaking." The winners of the festival, judged by award-winning animator Bill Plympton, are definite must-sees. However, here are some more selections from the hotbed that kept the Mercury's pants aflame, all night long. (See insert for dates and times.)

This is What Democracy Looks Like (dir. Jill Freidberg, Rick Rowley)--Of all the Seattle WTO protest documentaries, zines, and testimonies, this film is the one that will make sense of what happened, without an overt bias either way. Narrated by Susan Sarandon and Michael Franti, it shows what happens when peaceful dissent is met with violence; when mainstream news media lies about the events; and how solidarity between people truly can shut down the tyrannical interests of corporations. It's beautiful, moving, and will force you to question how far you would go to stand up for your rights. In retrospect (and in light of current events), this documentary is probably far more relevant than anyone ever speculated it to be. JULIANNE SHEPHERD Tues Nov 6, 7 pm, Whitsell

Real Smoker (dir. Truely) This bizarre little film features a man named Thomas Pancake, who walks into a bunch of different Portland places and tries to smoke. First, he tries to smoke in the Roxy, where he is informed that a county ordinance prohibits smoking. Then he tries to smoke on a bus, where he is promptly kicked off by a livid busdriver. Other places include the public library, McDonald's (which is the only place he smokes without being bothered, interestingly), and a hospital. It's actually quite funny to watch the irate people in the service industry, and kind of makes you wonder why people detest smoking/rule-breaking with such vengeance. KATIA DUNN Tues Nov 6, 8:45 pm, Whitsell

Reveries & Rocketships (dir. Howie Woo) This black and white flashback/ dream sequence short feels like it's filmed underwater. A man wakes up from a car accident, not knowing where or who he is. He flashes through a series of dream-worlds, where he runs from threatening, gun-wielding men, buys a rocketship and visits the moon, and wakes up in the hospital only to realize he's married. The woman he keeps seeing is his wife, but she is always just out of reach. The surreal, confused, and clipped nature of the film is most likely a representation of the flashback on your life before you die. KATIE SHIMER Fri Nov 2, 7 pm, Guild Theatre

Richart (dir. Renwick, Smallman) Local directors Vanessa Renwick and Dawn Smallman hit the cinematic jackpot when finding the subject for their documentary, Richart. This 23-minute short is culled from a year-long study of front yard artist Rich Art, who has transformed his Centralia, WA home into an overwhelming black and white blur of found and sculptural art. Much like the recently deceased folk artist Howard Finster, Rich is a powderkeg of eccentricities--including an obsession with the number "five"--that are hilariously revealed as he takes film crew and guests on a tour of the grounds. By the end, Renwick and Smallman have accomplished the goal of every good documentarian; to treat their subject with loving respect, and make you wish there were a lot more people like Rich. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Tues Nov 6, 7 pm, Guild Theatre

Bloodhag: The Faster You Go Deaf, the More Time You Have to Read (dir. Brad Vanderburg) This film is so cute, you'll just want to kiss it. If you haven't heard of them, Bloodhag is a hardcore band of sci-fi geeks that sing strictly about authors and books, and throw science fiction classics at the audience during performances. The film chronicles their library tour, where a bunch of young kids come to see their shows at small town Washington library branches, almost get their eardrums blown out, learn to love hardcore, and get excited about reading (and moshing). Seeing Bloodhag with kids is hysterical, and the story is so unconventional (no relationships, no drug use, no depression) that it makes you realize every story hasn't been told. KS Fri Nov 2, 7 pm, Guild Theatre