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On Location: Film Challenge Screenings: One Roll of Super 8


Film Challenge Screenings: One Roll of Super 8

8mm film, 8mm, Northwest film forum, bitter balcony

Bitter Balcony ventured into parking-deficient Capitol Hill with a singular purpose in mind:  To witness the 8mm fury fandango that was advertised by Nortwest Film Forum HERE.  After a looong, maddening search for parking (dear lord what is the issue here),  we arrived in the nick of time to witness the 8 mm spectacle in all its low-fi, mostly silent, glory.
This was the first event BB attended that was hosted by Northwest Film Forum and I wasn't sure what to expect.  Oddly, it totally slipped my mind that 8mm film is just that – film with no soundtrack.  There were special cameras back in the day that actually had a microphone which recorded to a magnetic strip attached to the film itself [image below].  This, along with a special projector, would provide sound (super high-tech for 1973).

8mm film, 8mm, Northwest film forum, bitter balcony

After a brief introduction and applause for some of the filmmakers in attendance,  the lights dimmed.  When the films kicked in, I secretly wanted to hear the clicking of the projector from the days of old.  But we were treated to a series of films that ranged from "what the hell was that" to "that was pretty cool,"  The main issue Bitter Balcony had with the films  in the "what the hell was that" category was the lack of  narrative.  When you have no sound and a series of back-to-back blurry shots with no real rhyme or reason for roughly two minutes and a half minutes of 8mm film, frankly it starts to wear.  That was the biggest problem with some of these films.  We aren't saying you can't make artistic pieces that don't have a clearly defined narrative, but if you go that route, at least have some interesting shots or premise.

Three films stood out from the rest and those were:

  • A chipper young lady who ran around Seattle with a giant floating blue dot.  The film stock was black and white and her imaginary blue dot of a friend was markered in frame by frame giving it an odd, semi-transparent, wiggly dot in the air.  The actress would run around with her arms up in the air almost holding the object.  It was simple, well shot, inventive and, most of all, entertaining.
  • A man who overcomes pothole-like challenges while tripping on acid in Seattle.  It was one of two films that featured sound and contained trippy visuals with quirky voice-overs.
  • Finally, there was one were Francine's opinion and my own slightly diverge.  This film was about what I can only assume is a man's decent into madness.  I liked the film’s great shot selection and the way the images of a large fire were behind the man (who was obviously going through some sh... stuff).  There was a lot of blood and fire – and oddly colored negative film.

8mm film, 8mm, Northwest film forum, bitter balcony

Before the show, the Northwest Film Forum host said  that all the films submitted were being shown that night.  This is one of those good/bad things.  It's great that they encourage all kinds of filmmaking and show them to an  audience, but there were some that were more like high-school experiments than actual attempts at filmmaking.  Either way, it was a good time and it was cool to see what people are up to locally (for our west coast representation, anyway).

*Note: I'm still trying to get the names of these films and the filmmakers who made them.  An update will be posted if successful. 


Also, on a personal note, I still have my 8MM camera, which I shall never part with. I carry around in shoulder bag that was used by a friend of my mother's who died in Vietnam. Here is a pic I just took of it:

8mm film, 8mm, Northwest film forum, bitter balcony

Source of the Bitter: JAS

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
direk izle (not verified) on Thu, 05/13/2010 - 12:38pm

Thank you Admin

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