The Power of Touch

Review of CUDDLE at SIFF and Northwest Film Forum.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Vanessa Chen, and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes!

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CUDDLE stars Hope Shanthi as Dina Razzano, an up-and-coming cuddle therapist as she tries to pave the way for a new bold method of therapy. Created by Adeline Colangelo and directed by John Helde, the series follows Dina as she tries to establish her new business while simultaneously discovering herself. Along the way, Dina finds herself facing many who oppose her non-traditional methods including her own brother, Joe Razzano portrayed by Devin Badoo. Each episode chronicles a new experience for Dina and her business, ranging from encountering anxiety ridden clients afraid of intimacy to hunting for an establishment willing to host a cuddle workshop. The series takes an old classic cliche and puts a fun new spin on it through the introduction of cuddle therapy.

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School’s Out, But Art Never Ends

Teen Editorial Staff June Editorial

Written by Teen Editor Lily Williamson!

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It’s June, and as the weather gets warmer and we finally get a break from Seattle rain, most TeenTixers are looking forward to one thing: liberation—from school, homework, teachers, and the dreaded SBA. So, the Teen Editorial Staff has curated June’s shows around the theme of liberation. We’ve picked art events that demonstrate the complex positivity of this theme in celebration of summer. For visual art lovers, MoPOP’s A Queen Within liberates femininity from traditionally associated beauty standards through fashion. If you’re in the mood to see a live show, ACT Theatre’s Pass Over and Whim W’Him’s This is Not the Little Prince reinvent classic pieces of literature, and Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s Take Me Out takes a swing at raising awareness of the constraints homophobia places on a community through baseball. In addition, CUDDLE: The Series at Seattle International Film Festival and later at Northwest Film Forum explores how something as simple as a hug can be liberating. This month’s lineup is incredibly diverse, so, as summer approaches, get out there and see some art!

Photo credit: Ethan Robertson from Unsplash

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The Magic of Female Friendship

Review of Banana Split at SIFF.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Alison Smith, and edited by Teen Editor Huma Ali!

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Clara, (Liana Liberato), and April, (Hannah Marks), aren’t supposed to be friends. After all, Clara’s new casual boyfriend is also April’s serious ex—their relationship lasted two years, an eternity in the grand scheme of high school relationships. Nonetheless, the two girls meet at a house party in the summer after their senior year: Clara is charming strangers, while April is drowning her heartbreak in tequila. The social order demands that they hate each other, and April is prepared to comply—as she tells Clara, “I want a reason to give you a black eye.” Clara is also uncomfortable, having not known that she was dating April’s ex until a week before their coincidental encounter. Despite their circumstances, the two become fast friends united by their shared sense of humor and desire for adventure. Banana Split, directed by Benjamin Kasulke, chronicles this budding friendship. Although the film’s focus—a friend group’s romantic entanglements—may not be strikingly original, its witty script, nuanced depiction of female friendship, and naturalistic performances, particularly from Marks, make it as fun as the last few weeks of summer vacation.

In an early scene, Clara and April bond over Nick’s (Clara’s current boyfriend, portrayed by Suite Life of Zack and Cody’s Dylan Sprouse) stranger quirks—like his tendency to put his lovers’ noses in his mouth—before deciding that if they’re going to be friends, it has to be on their terms, not his. So they set out ground rules: no talking about Nick, and no telling him about their friendship. Of course, the viewers can predict that these rules will be trampled on by the time the film’s done, but that knowledge of the inevitable confrontation with Nick adds tension to an otherwise lowkey dramedy. Furthermore, their secrecy is threatened by Ben (Luke Spencer Roberts), April and Nick’s dorky, blabbermouth, mutual friend.

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A War With Identity

Review of Promise at Dawn, presented at Stroum Jewish Community Center’s Seattle Jewish Film Festival.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Eleanor Cenname, and edited by Teen Editor Hannah Schoettmer!

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Promise at Dawn revolves around the idea of war. Based on the memoir of Romain Gary, the film, included in Stroum Jewish Community Center’s Seattle Jewish Film Festival, portrays both physical and metaphorical manifestations of war that ultimately support the central theme of identity.

The film opens to a shot of a city in Mexico—the streets congested with people with the painted faces typical of The Day of the Dead. A lone car pushes its way through the packed road. A woman exits the car, her severe expression a stark contrast to the raucous celebration around her. She enters a building where she calls for her husband, Romain. She finds him slumped on a balcony, a bandage around his head, and they leave for the hospital. In the car, the woman begins to read the papers Romain, an author, had been writing when she found him and his voice sounds as the screen floods with the view of a boy walking down a snow-covered street. The film cuts to a place of the past—the story of Romain’s life with his Jewish mother and the wars that drive his story.

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Wake Up, Get Woke!

​Written by Teen Editor Hannah Schoettmer!

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Good news—it’s April now, so there’s pretty much a guarantee that it won’t snow again (and after February’s Snowpocalypse, we’re all ready for that). Temperatures are heating up, some early seasonal flowers are blooming, and Seattle residents are finally starting to emerge from hibernation. But leaving the den is difficult, so we’ve lined up a selection of art that’s sure to help you wake up. For theater enthusiasts, we’ve got A Doll's House Part 2 at Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Addams Family Musical at Edmonds Driftwood Players, and Dry Land at Seattle Public Theater, which cover a range of topics from family drama to the struggles of unwanted teen pregnancy. If you want to catch a movie, try the Stroum Jewish Film Festival, a film series that explores Jewish and Israeli identity held at a variety of venues in and around Seattle. There’s also Strange Fruit at the WOKENESS Festival by Spectrum Dance Theater, a dance festival that aims to push against assumptions surrounding race, gender, and culture. With all this variety, there’s sure to be something to catch your eye, so wake up, get woke, and go see some art!

The Teen Editorial Staff is made up of 5 teens who curate the review portion of the TeenTix blog and manage the TeenTix Newsroom. More information about the Teen Editorial Staff can be found HERE.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

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Dance-Dance Deconstruction: Why FP2: Beats of Rage Is So Awesome

Review of FP2: Beats of Rage at the Grand Illusion Cinema.

Written by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes, and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson!

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FP2: Beats of Rage at Grand Illusion Cinema reminded me why I love movies. So much character has been put into every shot—at one point I thought I could see the reflection of the filmmakers in the cinema screen. The screen, by the way, was tiny, but it was balanced out by the small size of the room. In fact, the whole theater had a sense of closeness, partially because the will call and concessions had to be managed by the same person, but also because the room was packed. The crowd was lively—they laughed at all the jokes, pointed out all the green screen flubs, and made me feel as though I’d stepped into a tight knit group of friends. Everyone seemed to know someone there; even the person introducing the movie called out a few regulars and had conversations with them.

The story revolves around a tournament for a video game called Beat-Beat Revelation, typically abbreviated to just Beat-Beat, which is absolutely not just Dance-Dance Revolution. That would be silly. This game is the primary way in which conflicts are resolved in this post-apocalyptic society, and the tournament serves as a way to determine who will rule over the FP (Frazier Park), which is filled with this world’s hottest commodity: booze. When the Beat-Beat player known as AK-47 threatens the freedom of all those who just want to have a good time, the legendary Beat-Beat ninja JTRO is forced to come out of hiding in order to secure alcohol for his people.

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A Female Experience Along A Meridian

Review of One Girl at Northwest Film Forum's Children's Film Festival Seattle.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Mila Borowski, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Joshua Fernandes!

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One Girl is a raw portrayal of the varied lives of four individuals living along the same meridian in South Sudan, Romania, Palestine, and Finland. Shown as part of the Children’s Film Festival Seattle at Northwest Film Forum, the crowded, cozy theater hosting the documentary already gave me a taste of the lively, intimate show I was about to see. One Girl begins with a short introduction, voiced by the girls themselves, as we see them getting ready for school. The juxtaposition of snowy hills in Finland and sun glinting off ancient rooftops in Palestine was a perfect pretext for the rest of the film. As we were personally introduced to each girl, their honesty sparked a quick connection between the viewer and the characters. It was this continuous honesty throughout the film, shared by all four girls, that made One Girl special. The girl living in Palestine brought up her restriction from Jerusalem, a city she could admire from her home but never enter. A serious topic brought up as an everyday truth affected the audience with its informal delivery. Even when this honesty was portrayed as bored sighs during a long lesson, or an awkward expression after a hit to the face with an out-of-control ball during P.E., it was all beautiful. It was their openness, their willingness to welcome us into their lives for just a day, that endeared the audience to the girls.

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Does Sophia Really Need Help? (하나님 도와주세요)

Review of "White Rabbit" at TWIST by Three Dollar Bill Cinema.

Written by Katherine K, during TeenTix’s arts criticism training workshop, the Fall 2018 Press Corps Intensive.

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"White Rabbit" centers around Sophia, a Korean American queer woman who immigrated to the US when she was seven and lives in Koreatown, Los Angeles. She is a performance artist who often speaks at significant places where Koreans and Korean Americans gather. As someone who lived in Koreantown, I recognized many of the locations where scenes of the movie were filmed such as the Koreatown Plaza, making use of authentic locations.

As a Korean American I was able to understand many of the cultural insights and I felt this special connection to the movie. I really enjoyed it. There were also parts of the movie that were in Korean. For every movie, there’s different levels of understanding and this is one of the reasons why I got to a deeper connection than other films I’ve seen.

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Don’t Miss Outdoor Cinema this Summer!

Three movies, one delicious deal.

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Our friends at Three Dollar Bill Cinema know that there's nothing better than settling down with a bag of popcorn and a movie--which is why they're not only offering FREE outdoor movies this year, but a ~special deal~ on popcorn for TeenTix Members!

That's right, TeenTix Members can get FREE popcorn when they show their TeenTix Pass at the concession stand!

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SPECIAL OFFER: See Eighth Grade for FREE!

SIFF is hooking it up for TeenTix Members!

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Our ~super generous~ friends at Seattle International Film Festival are offering TeenTix Members TWO HUNDRED (200) complimentary tickets for their screening of the film Eighth Grade next Thursday, July 19 @ 7:00 PM!

The film weeds through the minefield that is modern adolescence through the view of Kayla, a thoughtful 13-year-old girl on the precipice of completing junior high. A social media life coach of sorts, Kayla produces YouTube videos to her imaginary subscribers about self-love and confidence, yet can't quite put these into practice in her own life. Eighth Grade was written and directed by YouTube musical comedy heartthrob Bo Burnham, who you also might recognize from his two Netflix specials! Peep the trailer right here:

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La Vie Magnifique de Charlie, le Film Très Magnifique

Review of ​La Vie Magnifique de Charlie at Langston Hughes African American Film Festival. Written by TeenTix Press Corps Member Jessie B.

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La Vie Magnifique de Charlie premiered in Seattle at the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival on April 20. A short film by Sewra G. Kidane, titled Proclamation Punctuation, showed before the feature film.

Official Gifs for Gee Spot Cine fashion film Proclamation Punctuation ... an homage to the exclamation point!! www.ProclamationPunctuation.com

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CONSTANT SPACE at Local Sightings Film Festival

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In the first seconds of the film, a dark screen appears and fuzzy neon green text slowly types the message: It is the distant future. Mankind has conquered many galaxies, but the universe is vast. The mega-corporation Apocalypse Inc. has dispatched exploration vessels to discover new resources and possibly new life. The following is a journey of Syrinx-87.” This opening statement is frozen on the screen for a full 75 seconds before launching into the one hour and 13-minute long feature film, “Constant Space”.

“Constant Space” is a claymation space adventure filmed with a vintage Super 8 camera. The filmmaker Emmett Fifield, Snohomish native, wrote the script at the age of 16 and began filming at 18.

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“I Am Not Your Negro”: All Too Real Today

by Haley Witt, TeenTix Member & Seattle University Spectator Staff Writer

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As the film opens, the voice of Samuel L. Jackson is rich and deep—almost booming. His capacity for intensity made him an arguably perfect choice to narrate this documentary. Typewriter clicks accompanied words on the screen, words from a letter written by James Baldwin to his literary agent. In the correspondence, he described the book he was writing, which would be titled “Remember This House”. After his death in 1987, Baldwin’s book remained unfinished. Director of “I Am Not Your Negro”, Raoul Peck, reimagined Baldwin’s work, integrating the manuscript with photographs and videos of not only Baldwin, but his friends Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and others.

The film does not follow a chronological structure, nor does it develop a “linear” thesis. Instead, it is organized into many separate chapters, with titles such as “Heroes” or “Witness”. Baldwin’s manuscript opens each chapter, and is quickly woven in and out of cinematic breaks. The film acknowledged that Baldwin’s words are irresistibly applicable to the modern racial climate, seizing the opportunity to diverge from Civil Rights Era footage. The faces of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and others flashed on the screen toward the end of the movie.

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Spring Break RULES with Reel Grrls!

​These two amazing classes start this Spring - but there's a limited amount of time to apply!

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Looking to step up your media skills this Spring? You've come to the very specific, totally right place. Reel Grrls is offering TWO short classes in April that YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT.

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SIFF’s FutureWave Expands the Role of Teens in the Film Community

by Naomi

We’ve all seen movies. We all have our opinions. But who would think that a teenager’s opinion of movies could impact anything? Seattle International Film Festival’s FutureWave program gives teens just that opportunity—for their opinions to matter and be taken seriously in the world of film.

SIFF’s FutureWave program allows youth to participate in the reviewing process of movies playing at the festival. For the 2015 festival, seven FutureWave Youth Jury members, 13-18 years old, viewed eight predetermined films and then deliberated to decide which would be awarded as Best FutureWave Feature, taking all aspects of the contending films, from plot to cinematography to acting, into their deliberations. The teen jurors were even invited to attend the Golden Space Needle Awards brunch at the top of the Space Needle to present the award.

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Everyday Living in Extraordinary Circumstances

​Review of Tangerines at SIFF by Sophia G.

It is 1992. In Georgia, a civil war is tearing the country apart. Estonian settlers are fleeing back to Estonia to escape. In the midst of this, Ivo and his neighbor Margus, both senior Estonian men, tend to their tangerine crop. They want to stay until the last of their tangerines is harvested, despite the war that’s coming increasingly near. When two injured soldiers turn up near their houses, Ivo and Margus take them in and care for them.

Such is the premise of writer and director Zaza Urushadze’s movie Tangerines, a film that is a moving tribute to the individual people whose lives are disrupted in wartime. Though it’s set in Georgia, it could easily be set anywhere, in any war. The theme of overcoming divisions and recognizing others’ humanity is so universal it has been done a thousand times; yet this movie’s characters are such fully fleshed out people the story feels unique.

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The Future of Film is Here

​National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) Hits Seattle This Weekend, a preview by Kali Swenson

It's finally that time of year again—the time to showcase young film directors from around the world. NFFTY is a stand out among film festivals for precisely the reason stated in its title; it's "for talented youth." Don't be thinking amateur, though. The directors, all under age 24, of NFFTY's selections have the creativity, skills, and vision to put them on par with the best. These are high quality, well-produced, and impressively directed films with beautiful cinematography and compelling acting.

Spanning the weekend of April 23 through 26, NFFTY features all types of film, from comedy and drama to horror, animation, and documentary. All featured films are shorts gathered into themed groups—like Northwest Life, Edge of Your Seat, and Musical Masterpiece—for screenings. So attending one showing at NFFTY actually means seeing several films!

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How to Follow Your Heart

​Review of Sarah Prefers to Run at Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival by K. Gibbs

Running is the focus of Sarah’s life, as much a part of it as breathing or sleeping. She cannot imagine life without it and wants to continue running at college in Montreal. But standing in her way is a lack of money and opposition from her mother. As Sarah fights to keep running, Sarah Prefers to Run portrays the struggle of doing what you love, no matter the cost.

When asked why she does track and field, Sarah simply states that she loves to run. It’s that simple. Finding her way to college, though? Not so much. Since her parents don’t have the money to pay for college, Sarah has to come up with another plan. The solution presents itself in her coworker, Antoine, who is also heading to Montreal. In order to get money from the government to help pay for school, the two decide to get married despite the fact that they barely know each other.

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