Notes From The Program Director | Week of February 17th

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Notes From The Program Director

Week of February 10, 2023

Melissa Tamminga

Rich Text

Hello, friends!

The Oscar-nominated film love continues this week with extended runs of Everything Everywhere All at Once, Living, and All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, and we’re adding our special, annual runs of Oscar-nominated shorts: the animation program and the live-action program.  The shorts this year hail from the UK, Canada, Portugal, Australia, Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Norway, the U.S., and Luxembourg and offer, as always, a veritable feast of creative storytelling.

The animated films include four, lovely family-friendly films: “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” (35 min., UK),  “a story of kindness, courage, and hope in traditional hand-drawn animation, following the unlikely friendship of the title characters as as they journey together, in the boy’s search for home. Based on the book of the same name.” 

“The Flying Sailor” (7 min, Canada): “In 1917, two ships collided in the Halifax Harbour, causing the largest accidental explosion in history. Among the tragic stories of the disaster is the remarkable account of a sailor who, blown skyward from the docks, flew a distance of two kilometres before landing uphill, naked and unharmed. The Flying Sailor is a contemplation of his journey.”

Ice Merchants” (14 min, Portugal): “Every day, a father and his son jump with a parachute from their vertiginous cold house, attached to a cliff, to go to the village on the ground, far away where they sell the ice they produce daily.

An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe” (11 min., Australia): “When a young telemarketer is confronted by a mysterious talking ostrich, he learns that the universe is stop motion animation. He must put aside his dwindling toaster sales and focus on convincing his colleagues of his terrifying discovery.”  

And finally, one animated film just for our adult audiences: “My Year of Dicks” (25 min., U.S.): “An imaginative fifteen year-old is stubbornly determined to lose her virginity despite the pathetic pickings in the outskirts of Houston in the early 90’s. Created by Pamela Ribon from her critically-acclaimed memoir.”

The live action films include the following: “An Irish Goodbye” (23 min., Ireland):  “On a farm in rural Northern Ireland, estranged brothers Turlough and Lorcan are forced to reunite following the untimely death of their mother.” 

Ivalu” (16 min., Denmark): “Ivalu is gone. Her little sister is desperate to find her. Her father does not care. The vast Greenlandic nature holds secrets. Where is Ivalu?” 

Le Pupille” (37 min., Italy : “From writer and director, Alice Rohrwacher, and Academy Award® winning producer, Alfonso Cuarón, ‘Le Pupille’ is a tale of innocence, greed and fantasy. This live action short is about desires, pure and selfish, about freedom and devotion, and about the anarchy that is capable of flowering in the minds of girls within the confines of a strict religious boarding school at Christmas.” 

Night Ride” (15 min., Norway): “It is a cold night in December. As Ebba waits for the tram, an unexpected turn of events transforms the ride home into something she was not expecting.” 

And last, “The Red Suitcase” (17 min. Luxembourg): “An Iranian girl decides to remove her Headscarf/Hijab in a life changing situation.”

In addition to our Oscar-nominated films, we also have three wonderful films playing in recognition of Black History Month:

Saturday, February 18, 1:00, is our Kid Pickford selection, The Wiz, highlighted in Is That Black Enough for You?!?, the documentary that opened and guided our Black History Month’s programming. For The Wiz’s 40th anniversary in 2018, Gerrick Kennedy wrote for the LA Times,

“[N]o film has uniquely defined black culture and shaped the framework of a musical genre quite like The Wiz. An adaptation of the groundbreaking Broadway musical, the Sidney Lumet-directed film had a rapturous soundtrack produced by Quincy Jones, a cast that included Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Nipsey Russell, Mabel King and Richard Pryor and an aesthetic firmly rooted in black culture. For a generation of black Americans, this was the first time they saw people who spoke, sung and moved the way they did in a Broadway production and, later, a big-screen musical, and it has become a kind of rite of passage for the black community.”

And now, 45 years after its original release in 2023, what better time to revisit (or watch for the first time!) such a joyous piece of cinema history? It’s a film that, as Kennedy goes on to say, “weave[s] together gospel, blues, soul and R&B — genres that are unequivocally black creations — and were narratives of the black experience, an especially bold move given Hollywood’s monochromatic palette.”

And, celebrating another wonderful, electrifying contribution to American history, with this month’s free-to-the-public Indie Lens Pop-up screening, is Storming Caesar’s Palace, a film about activist Ruby Duncan, who, after losing her job as a hotel worker in Las Vegas, “led a grassroots movement of mothers who challenged presidents and the Vegas mob” who ran Caesar’s Palace, and who inspired “everyday Americans to fight for a universal basic income and rethink their notions of the ‘welfare queen.’”  The director of the film, Hazel Gurland-Pooler, notes,

“It is my hope that this film sparks dialogue about who we are as a society. Are we ready to recognize the contributions made by poor women of color that pushed our democracy to live up to its promises? How do we want to value mothers, children, and caregivers—are they people our government should invest in? In the wealthiest country in the world, is a living wage or universal basic income a privilege or a basic human right?”

And with those questions in mind, we invite our audience after this screening to share thoughts and observations on Duncan’s story, in a time of informal, open discussion.

And finally, Thursday, February 23, 5:30 pm, in a screening co-sponsored and presented by CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival, we celebrate another amazing African-American woman, who fought for democracy for all, Fannie Lou Hamer, as seen in the film Fannie Lou Hamer’s America:

 “Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human rights-activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, is known for her powerful speeches, soul-stirring songs, and impassioned pleas for equal rights.  And though she is often overlooked for her accomplishments, she helped change laws and was very influential in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Besides her political advocacies during the 1960s, Hamer was also a humanitarian, providing clothing, housing, educational opportunities for the poor, and food for thousands through her Freedom Farm Cooperative and pig bank.”

In 2023, in the midst of ongoing, difficult times of uncertainty, violence, and tragedy in the world, there is much to celebrate in these heroes of our past and in the cinematic arts that honor them.  We look forward to seeing you here.

See you at the movies, friends! 


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We open 30 minutes before the first showtime of the day.
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Pickford Film Center

1318 Bay St
Bellingham, WA 98225

Office | 360.647.1300
Movie line | 360.738.0735

Mailing Address
PO Box 2521
Bellingham, WA 98227