MARCH 18—MAY 1, 2014
Presented in partnership with Town Hall, ARCADE, PubliCola at Seattle Met, Tasveer, DEFA Film Library, Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington and Charles Mudede
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” —Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
With Red Renewal: Seattle’s Socialist Spring, Northwest Film Forum opens our cinemas for collective contemplation of the 2014 spring fever: sparked by solidarity but marked by uncertainty, as Seattleites debate what the future should hold.
How will this new season shape the city’s political, economic, and civic landscape? What will happen to workers’ rights and wages, and where will they live in a city gripped by ever sky-rocketing rents? “Is there something in the water in Seattle” that drives the city's labor movement to the forefront of national conversations? Revitalized by newly sown seeds, but a long way off from harvest, this Spring signals a moment ripe for cinematic exploration.
Winter 2013 in Seattle began with changes of pace, both in the weather and for workers. Hardly a raindrop fell in typically dour November, and clear skies greeted Kshama Sawant on the 15th, when she won an historic victory to become the first socialist elected to Seattle City Council in living memory. Ten days later, Washington voters passed a $15 minimum wage for SeaTac workers.
The year wound down while workers got fed up. One hundred fast food employees and supporters marched 13 miles from SeaTac to Seattle City Hall to advocate for the $15 minimum wage. Machinists battled what (now former) union president Tom Wroblewski called a “piece of crap” benefits-slashing proposal from Boeing. Moved by the machinists’ struggle, Timothy Egan forlornly postulated: "So this is how the middle class dies. Not with a bang, but with a forced [pension] squeeze."
As 2014 dawned, Sawant decried “the reality of international capitalism” and called for “organized mass movements of workers and young people” to a thousand citizens who packed City Hall for her inauguration. The same week saw the launch of 15 Now, a coalition of community groups and unions, mobilized to make $15 wages a reality first in Seattle, then across the nation.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, “the sign of a rising tide” marched through the city, with many marchers bearing $15 signs to form “a sea of red” that shone in the sun. Infusing Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with the rejuvenated fight for fair wages, former head of Seattle’s Black Panther Party chapter Aaron Dixon declared: “We got the power, we are the 99 percent.”
During Red Renewal, community groups and citizens from across the city will host weekly screenings and discussions around films from many countries, eras and perspectives. From canonical propaganda to satirical critique, Red Renewal recasts cinema’s historical encounters with socialist themes in parallel to ongoing conversations about Seattle's economy and politics.
Expect the shouts and songs of workers, Soviet crocodiles and Slovenian psychoanalysts, Gandhi’s teachings melded with Marx’s writings, a renegade East German and the return of Wilhem Reich, radical labors of love and public spheres—both real and virtual—primed for debate. It all begins with a screening and discussion with Kshama Sawant and Charles Mudede at Town Hall on March 18.
MARCH 18, TUESDAY AT 7:30PM
Kshama Sawant and Charles Mudede: Why Socialism, Why Now?
Presented by: Town Hall, Northwest Film Forum, and 12toRain Productions, as part of the Civics series.
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Please note: this event is held at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Avenue at Seneca Street
Seattle has a socialist on its city council for the first time in 100 years. Kshama Sawant’s recent election raised a lot of questions around the values of the Socialist Alternative Party and her platform of raising the minimum wage to $15. She’ll join Charles Mudede, Associate Editor at The Stranger, for an exploration of socialism’s impact on the city council and why, after seeing previous socialist candidates, the city is ready for socialism now. What circumstances made the election of a socialist not only possible, but timely? Living wages and the state of labor in the Puget Sound will also be discussed. Prior to the discussion, enjoy a brief screening to kick off Northwest Film Forum’s series Red Renewal: Seattle’s Socialist Spring.
MARCH 19—22, 2014
The Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) is the leading scholarly organization in the United States dedicated to promoting a broad understanding of film, television, and related media through research and teaching. The Society’s annual conference is an international gathering where scholars and teachers in the field come together to discuss new work and to promote the field of cinema and media studies among its practitioners, to other disciplines, and to the public at large, in part through public recognition of award-worthy achievements and other significant milestones within the field.
Seattle is the location for the 2014 SCMS conference, and Northwest Film Forum will host nightly events in conjunction with the conference. All events are open to the public and offer opportunities to see rarely screened films and meet film experts from across the country!
FEBRUARY 21 - 26, 2014
Co-presented with the Center for Czech Education and Culture
With a style marked by the urgency of (what would prove to be well-founded) fears of censorship and exile, Czechoslovak New Wave director Jan Nemec not only bucked the formalist conventions of his time, but also directly challenged the state art establishment with an approach he called “dreamy realism.”
Citing influences like Bresson, Faulkner, Hemingway, Resnais, and Bunuel, Nemec (pronounced Niemetz) was an instrumental player in the Czechoslovak New Wave alongside Milos Forman, Jiri Menzel, and others. However, the political controversy surrounding his subversive and surrealist work resulted in a 15 year exile from his country in the 1970s and ‘80s, making his films difficult to access in the U.S.
This long-overdue survey of Nemec’s nearly 50 year career of uncompromising work features five of his films.
- See the full retrospective at a discount! Our Jan Nemec series pass is just $45 General Admission, $25 Members >
Part of a touring retrospective of Jan Nemec films, INDEPENDENT OF REALITY: The Films of Jan Nemec in North America, premiered by BAMcinématek in New York. The retrospective is produced by Comeback Company, curated by Irena Kovarova, and organized in partnership with the National Film Archive, Prague, Aerofilms, and Jan Nemec - Films.