March PointBy Tye | February 16th, 2009 | Category: Blog, Science Conference Blog |
By Sound News reporter Tye Rogerson
Who wants a coming of age story? No, it’s not your local, juvenile orca Everett. It’s the Swinomish three musketeers! Or didn’t you hear? Well, for the sick and house-bound who avoided last week’s Puget Sound Georgia Basin Ecosystem Conference, there’s a new movement.
With PowerPoint titles rivaling the fruit-leather-rollup-length of the conference itself, the event could prove pretty dry for those unaccustomed to the inner circles of academia. Inner inner cirles. They knew this.That’s why they threw themselves a film festival! It also helped that each conferencee tossed four hundos for the efforts.
I thought I’d catch me a matinee of The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, but the seven O’clock artist’s reception flaunting vibrant kelp photos and rockfish tipped me off. The new, padded red chairs reminded everyone they were inside the new LEED certified Olive 8 Hotel just off of (you guessed it) Olive St. Boasting one of the largest green roofs in Seattle, the Olive Ocho also gets to brag about being Seattle’s tallest residential building. I’m told this is so their roof garden gets first dibs on rain.
About a hundred and fifty people joined me for the screenings. Some films were condensed for the festival, some were shorts but all were of course on the Pacific Northwest. There were nine films on issues ranging from urban plant medicine to salmon fisheries and copper mining in Bristol Bay. And, though we never asked for an encore, they served the best for last.
Travis, Nick and Cody have been friends since birth and have lived on the Swinomish reservation, in Skagit County, their entire lives. Not only are they the main characters of the film, they also made it (in a co-collaboration with seasoned filmmakers sort of way). It’s a hybrid film about a plot of land called March Point, which also serves as the film’s title, and the filmmakers themselves. March Point belonged to the tiny Swinomish reservation until President Grant allowed non-native settlers in 1873. Later in the 50’s two oil refineries from Shell and Tesoro constructed facilities on this land and now tribe members are worried about the health effects of this. Aside from health effects the film looks at the legality of what President Grant did. The 60 minute movie includes interviews with tribe members, lawmakers, lawyers and oil representatives.
Almost more prevalent than the underlying plot are the lives of these boys filming. The three are in front of the camera more often than behind it, and are often shown in the studio setting up interviews or recording comments for the film. In this way March Point turns the camera on itself so frequently that the audience ends up watching the film scenes cut with the “making of” portion adjacent. It’s like a great beast staring at its own belly button, but seems to work well this way.
The teens wanted to make a gangster film-they are constantly dressed in hoodies with dollar signs and the like-but were directed instead to film an environmental project. This was an alternative to the parole issues each were dealing with. All three had had troubled histories with drugs and crime so it was interesting to see Patty Murray and Rick Larsen sit down with them for an interview.
After the film Tracy Rector, the talent behind the film, got up and spoke about how the boys are doing now. She also commented on the film’s success so far. This was only one of many screenings to come and the oil companies are already calling weekly!
If you want to see a screening go check out the website. Several are scheduled and an epically long trailer has been posted as well.
Contact Tye Rogerson at firstname.lastname@example.org