This is the last weekend of the Northwest Filmmakers' Festival at the NW Film Center, and if you've been saving up your movie chips, now's the time to cash them in. The next couple days are packed with some of the most impressive films to have ever come out of the region. Seriously!

Tonight my top pick is The Wanteds: The Part of Rock And Roll They Never Tell You About, which begins as a cringe-y tour documentary following Tommy Harrington's painfully earnest attempt at making a name for himself as a musician in empty rooms across America. When Harrington's girlfriend turns up pregnant, though, it becomes a million times more serious and emotionally urgent, relevant to anyone whose ever had to balance their ambitions with failure and responsibility (that's everyone, right?). And then it gets much, much darker. Portland director Stephanie Smith had no way of knowing that her fairly lighthearted project was going to end up having this much gravitas, but damn—nice catch.


Screens tonight at 8:30 pm at the Whitsell Auditorium.

Tomorrow's top two are behind the cut.

I can't stop heaping praise on How The Fire Fell, and it seems I'm not the only one: Portland director Edward P. Davee recently scored the 2012 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship to the tune of $15k toward his next feature, Lost Division, which "will be shot on Super-16mm and follows three AWOL World War II soldiers, an army chaplain, a shell-shocked 16mm photographer, and an infantryman as they carefully traverse the dense Hürtgen forest near Belgium over the course of two days." If it's anything like his haunting, halfway non-verbal portrayal of the Bride of Christ Church—which is anchored by a truly impressive performance by Joe Haege as cult leader Edmund Creffield (also a musician in 31 Knots, Tu Fawning, Menomena, etc, he co-wrote the soundtrack as well, because he is just that talented)—it will be outstanding.


Screens tomorrow (Saturday) at 7 pm at the Whitsell Auditorium.

Even you're looking for something a little more overtly hallucinogenic, Seattle director Calvin Lee Reeder's The Oregonian follows a wayward woman with a head injury who stumbles into the drizzly Northwest woods to contend with the uncanny. Cue epic mindfuck in the form of furry monster costumes, suspicious hillbillies, and a creepy shuffling witch-lady, time/space implosion, and some cheerfully low-fi applications of fake blood.


Screens tomorrow (Saturday) at 9 pm at the Whitsell Auditorium.