Posted on Dreamwalks

“Things are never what they seem,
find the lost inside the dream.”

Janet Carey (In the Time of the Dragon Moon) has now posted on her Dreamwalks blog an interview I did preparatory to the Fourth Annual “Full Bodied Writjng” Summer Retreat. I am presenting a workshop there, the last weekend in June. Full disclosure, I have known Janet for twenty five years, starting in the 1990’s when we had board positions with the Pacific Northwest Writers Association , through shared critique groups, etc. I have otherwise hobnobbed and associated with her. I know her to be a writer thoughtful and brave, who works in many levels in her fiction. I appreciate the precision of her language. Her blog is well worth a read, a very thoughtful examination of writing and art with professionals talking about their process and intent.

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Snow Flurries?

So I’m riding my bike home around Green Lake when I notice it looks like it’s snowing, big fuzzy flakes drifting down, starting to cover the grass by the edge of the path. Only it is 95°, the hottest June 12th in Seattle history. The sun turned up the heat on a grove of cottonwood trees, I guess, and the seeds came down in uncounted numbers.

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My Best of SIFF is “Driveways”

The best film I saw at SIFF was Andrew Ahn’s Driveways. In this brilliant lo-fi creation a Korean-American single mom and her shy, sensitive 9 year old son are transported to a small town in upstate New York to clear out her late, estranged sister’s house for sale. Hoping for a quick turn-around, they discover sister was a hoarder, the house is jammed full and they will be stuck there for an indefinite period of time. The nearest neighbor kids are thugs in training. And the next door neighbor is a reclusive widower who sits on his porch, a Korean War hat pulled low over his eyes, eyeing them with suspicion across the driveway.

 In the wrong hands, this could turn into a Hallmark movie. Instead, Director Ahn has produced what Variety called an “uncommon and all-too-welcome gift — like some kind of fragile wildflower, emerging tentatively through cracks in the concrete: a film about kindness.”

I love character-centered stories where subtle details are spotted like Baby Blue Eyes here and there across an alpine meadow. Driveways is the exact opposite of an action film: it doesn’t use slick production values or CGI, the characters are ordinary mortals, the setting is small town not Metropolis, and the stakes are not saving the world from cosmic forces but something of the heart that cannot be seen or heard, but only felt.

Hong Chau (Downsizing) as Kathy, newcomer Lucas Jaye as Cody and veteran actor Brian Dennehy as Del all give remarkable performances, nuanced, sensitive, ringing true. There is no happily ever after here, but there is a moment at the end that feels like peace.

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LATE NIGHT Worth Watching

Went to SIFF’s Centerpiece Gala, Late Night. A curious echo between the script (young savvy minority female writer helps aging comedian update her show) and the project (young hot savvy minority female writer writes script for a movie star on the downward side of the beauty curve). The camera gives us Thompson’s wrinkles as well as her flashing smile in a film that veers from comedy to drama in curious moments. Ate dinner after with a former TV PR person, a film historian, and the wife of an actor/comedian. Mindy Kaling’s script was judged to be spot on in its depiction of the sexist-corporate-ageist world of Hollywood. They agreed the only improbability about the whole story was that a woman would be part of the all-male late night TV club in the first place. #latenight

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Gutk’odau (Yellow)

A documentary short (8 min) that SIFF has paired with the documentary N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear, the film is experimental in that there is no plot. Rather a lesson in the Kiowa language is accompanied by stunning views and sounds of the open prairie land.

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