Weekend Film Agenda April 30

After a spectacular opening night featuring seven great films from young filmmakers and a fun afterparty at EMP/SFM, NFFTY, the world’s largest film festival featuring films by young people continues all weekend long with panels and workshops at EMP/SFM and films at SIFF Cinema. Friday at 4:30 head to SIFF Cinema for the NFFTY Happy Hour. Fifteen films are up for viewing and audience members 21 and older get free beer courtesy of Mac and Jack’s. Later that evening are the International Showcase and Late Night Adrenaline programs; across the Seattle Center campus at the Center House is a free screening of the Best of NFFTY 2007 – 2010.

Saturday and Sunday see still more shorts plus feature films; the festival closes Sunday night with its Awards presentation.

Music and movies have gone together since the beginning of filmmaking. Even the silents weren’t entirely silent as they were screened to live musical accompaniment. Movies about music are a special class, though – sometimes film is the perfect medium for sharing the importance that music has in our lives and sometimes…well, it isn’t. NW Film Forum screens one that works: Soundtrack for a Revolution is a great documentary about the protest songs that helped inspire and shape the direction of civil rights activists in the US during the 1950s and 1960s. Long before mobile technology and the internet made getting a message out to a mass of people as simple as pushing a few buttons, protest songs were a way to spread information and inspiration that brought people together. Soundtrack for a Revolution articulates the history of the protest song in America from slave chants and black church gospel out on to the streets and illustrates just how influential these songs were. Using archival footage and interviews with key figures of the civil rights movement, Soundtrack is honest and intense. Interviews from key figures in the movement add context to the archival footage, but it’s the music that truly tells the story in a powerful way. Contemporary performances of the classic protest songs prove that all these years later these songs still shine.

May 2 at NWFF: Odds and Ends Presents: From Portland with Love, a program of new experimental, documentary and animation filmwork from Portland film and video artists.

There have been enough films about the evils of Big Food in the past few years to have created a whole subgenre. Joining it: Fresh, a documentary call-to-arms to encourage fresh food activism. At Central Cinema.

The Grand Illusion wraps up its tribute to the Swinging Sixties with Lord Love a Duck starring Tuesday Weld as a high school senior in a satirical film about the Sixties teenaged experience. Co-starring Roddy McDowell as her kind of creepy pal.

No One Knows About Persian Cats stars real life Iranian musicians playing fictionalized versions of their real lives in a film about how not even an oppressive government can keep people from making music. At the Varsity.

Midnight at the Egyptian: Do you suppose that while Arnold Schwarzenegger sits in his Sacramento office struggling with California’s many fiscal problems he ever wonders how his job would be different if a cyborg from the future traveled back in time to prevent the passage of Proposition 13? Probably not, but watching robots battling for the opportunity to either save or destroy humanity is a lot more exciting than tax code any day.

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