Seattle's `Addict' Heads For NYC At High Speed
Seattle's espresso culture is royally spoofed in Matt Thomas Draper's "The Addict," a sly little short subject that drew the most enthusiastic response at a Northwest-only night at the Seattle International Film Festival a few months ago.
In just 13 minutes, writer-director Draper and his cinematographer, Robin Renelt, take the local obsession with freshly ground coffee beans to absurd heights, using shadowy photography and exaggerated lighting to suggest that the relationship between espresso dispensers and their customers isn't much different from the relationship between bartenders and boozers or pushers and junkies.
The festival program described the movie as a noirish latte version of "Days of Wine and Roses," and that's not far from the mark. There's also a touch of alien-invasion thrillers as Draper and Renelt show espresso carts sprouting in front of such unlikely locations as a hardware store and a gas station.
"Two Starbucks shops in Vancouver are so close they're competing with each other," said Draper. "There's a Medina gas station that offers free espressos with fill-ups. People in other cities are not quite sure the movie is real. I hope to bring it to other markets when the tide is right, when espresso starts moving in."
Shot for about $3,000 in seven days last winter, "The Addict" was a clearly a crowd-pleaser during that world-premiere performance - even allowing for the fact that family and friends attended - and
it's beginning to please non-Seattle audiences as well.
Earlier this week, Draper was informed that "The Addict" had been selected for two public showings at the New York Film Festival in early October, both times accompanying Aki Kaurismaki's latest feature, "La Vie de Boheme."
For a young filmmaker with little experience who financed most of the picture on his Visa card - and his wages as a Seattle restaurant waiter - this is a bit like winning an Academy Award the first time out. Draper just turned 27. A graduate of the University of Nevada's journalism school, his only previous film was a short he made during a six-week summer course at USC.
As might have been expected, it took a couple of outsiders to take a fresh look at the Northwest caffeine scene. Renelt is German, while Draper, who was born in Reno and raised in Arizona, has spent only a couple of years in Seattle. They're both espresso drinkers, although Draper claims he's been cutting back after watching one member of his crew do everything but mainline the stuff.
The only member of the cast or crew who didn't indulge in coffee is Gerry Streff, who plays the title character. He drank fruit juices throughout the filming in January and February.
For those who missed it at the Seattle festival, "The Addict" will be screened again at 11:30 tonight and 12:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Neptune, where the Northwest program was originally held. Admission is $1.
Rick Schmidt's "American Orpheus," a feature-length film that was also screened on Northwest night at the Seattle festival, may not turn up in theaters again. But it is available on videocassette at several Seattle outlets, including Beehive Video, Scarecrow Video, Video Isle and Videophile.
It may also be purchased from Light Video, P.O. Box 1914, Port Townsend WA 98368. Schmidt now lives in Port Townsend.
AROUND TOWN: One of Andy Warhol's superstars, Taylor Mead, is in town for a COCA series tonight and tomorrow in room 147 of Architecture Hall at the University of Washington. Warhol's "Lonesome Cowboys" and Ron Rice's "Queen of Sheba" will be screened at 7 tonight, and Mead will read from his book, "Son of Andy Warhol," and show "My Home Movies" at 7 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets are $6 per night, or $8 for both nights. For COCA members, admission is $3 for one night, $5 for both . . . Shining Moment Productions begins its tribute to Hammer horror films at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday with a double bill of Terence Fisher's "Horror of Dracula" and "Stranglers of Bombay." Tickets are $4. Coming up: Fisher's "Curse of Frankenstein" and "Brides of Dracula," at 7 p.m. Sept. 9 and 10 . . . The Pike St. Cinema (Pike at Boren) is continuing its "psychedelic summer" series with "The Trip," at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. The theater is also screening the 1920 version of "The Mark of Zorro," with Douglas Fairbanks Sr., at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday, and Charles Laughton's 1955 classic, "The Night of the Hunter," at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $5 . . . The Neptune will screen two classic documentaries about filmmaking, "Hearts of Darkness" and "Burden of Dreams," Tuesday night only. "Apocalypse Now" and "Fitzcarraldo," the epic movies that inspired them, will be screened as a double bill at 6:15 p.m. Monday.
OUT OF TOWN: The recent restoration of Luchino Visconti's three-hour 1960 Italian epic, "Rocco and His Brothers," plays at 7:30 p.m. tonight through Sunday at the Lincoln Theater in Mount Vernon. A cartoon and serial will precede the feature. For information, call 336-2858 . . . The Olympia Film Society is screening the late Andrei Tarkovsky's "Stalker" and Spalding Gray's monologue movie, "Monster in a Box," as a double bill at 6:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and the Northwest-produced lesbian drama, "Claire of the Moon," at 6:30 and 8:45 p.m. next Friday and Sept. 5. Both programs are at the Capitol Theater in downtown Olympia. Admission is $3 for society members, $5 for non-members.
FUTURE FILE: Julia Reichert, the director of two Oscar-nominated documentaries, "Seeing Red" and "Union Maids," will be back in Seattle next month to teach "Creative Approaches to Film and Video Funding," Sept. 12 at 911 Media Arts Center, 117 Yale Ave. N. She was last here to show her first dramatic film, "Emma and Elvis," at the 1991 Seattle International Film Festival. For information, call 682-6552 . . . The Olympia Film Society has scheduled its own "Women Make Movies" series in early October, including "The Body Beautiful," "Poison Ivy," "Straight From the Heart," "Johanna d'Arc of Mongolia" and "The Audition," all to be shown at the Capitol Theater.
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