Don't Close Your Eyes

Review of the "Powerful Grit" screening at NFFTY.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Ava Rudensey and edited by Teen Editor Olivia Sun.

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I walked into the theater ever so slightly confused. After skimming through the NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth) catalog of hundreds of films, I wondered: what was tonight’s screening, “Powerful Grit,” actually going to be about? As the lights dimmed, I prepared to “buckle [my] eyebelts” as the show description advised. Whatever that meant. However, after watching the screening, I can now define the phrase with confidence: It’s the feeling of peeking out from underneath a blanket when the monster in a horror movie finally emerges; it’s the anxiety one gets when a roller coaster delays right before it plummets; and it’s that combination of excitement and dread that I imagine occurs during the plane ride up to go skydiving.

The screening began with Baby by Vincent D’Alessandro, Kirsten Pasewaldt, and Finley King. It is the story of a single mother, her expectations, and eventual revolt alongside her young, tiara-crowned daughter Baby. Though it has a relatively simple story-line compared to subsequent films in the screening, what stands out is the film’s immersive first-person shots—when Baby runs, the camera follows. When she falls, we fall too. This left a lingering sense of intimacy before being thrown headfirst into the vulnerable and melancholic world of You’re Still Here by Katayoun Parmar.

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Exploring Queer Alienation with a Literal Alien

Review of A Brief Story from the Green Planet at Three Dollar Bill's Seattle Queer Film Festival.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Kai Craig and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster.

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A Brief Story from the Green Planet is a beautiful— and jarring— film. It follows three close friends on their journey through the Argentinian countryside to return an alien back to its place of origin. The movie is full of lovely, sweeping shots that are full of fondness for the location and the characters and is generally a thought-provoking and well-put-together piece.

The film follows Tania (Romina Escobar), a young transgender woman mourning the death of her grandmother. Tania calls upon her two friends to travel to her grandmother’s home with her. There they discover that, prior to her death, Tania’s grandmother was housing and caring for a small blue extraterrestrial. The creature is roughly three feet tall, with enormous, bulbous eyes and a slight frame, a standard cinematic alien. The group takes it upon themselves to return to the creature to whence it came. Through various encounters with ex-bullies and lovers, a hospital scare, and even an odd, metaphorical mob, the trio confronts their fears and past traumas while simultaneously dragging an impossibly large suitcase containing the alien through the countryside of Argentina. Despite these challenges, the three are able to successfully find their way. Film still from A Brief Story from the Green Planet

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Under the Surface

Teen Editorial Staff November 2019 Editorial

Written by Teen Editors Lily Williamson and Tova Gaster!

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As we transition into winter, the streets of Seattle may look grey and uninviting. It’s tempting to stay at home binge-watching shows you know you like. But look again: there’s a world of thought-provoking and entertaining art under the surface of Seattle’s November gloom, and this month, we want to highlight the events you might pass over at first glance.

Bellevue Arts Museum’s exhibition Hidden In Plain Sight explores how old materials can be made new through art. Similarly, a new exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery with the almost-identical title In Plain Sight, relates to this theme as well. Seeking to explore narratives of racial marginalization, class, and ethnicity repressed and overlooked due to systems of oppression, the Henry showcases visual art and photography to question dominant American cultural narratives.

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Everything’s Eerie!

Teen Editorial Staff October 2019 Editorial

Written by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes!

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Dust off the skeletons. Carve up the pumpkins. Plant the gravestones in the ground, hang the ghosts around the house, and beware the witch around the neighborhood because it’s finally the second scariest time of the year (behind finals season of course): October! The Teen Editorial Staff knows that this spooky season is kicking into full gear, so we’ve got your back with some great art to curl up to.

If you like your horror spawned from none other than the Bard of Avon, you may find Seattle Shakespeare Company's The Tempest particularly intriguing. The literal and literary magic of The Tempest makes it stand tall among Shakespeare’s many triumphs, and Seattle Shakespeare’s performances will no doubt do justice to the time-tested tragicomedy. More traditional Halloween horror might tickle your fancy instead, so look no further than Dracula at ACT, a modern take on the most iconic public domain demon. A thorough reimagining of Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic, Dracula adapts the classic monster for a 21st century audience while still managing to carve out its own niche within the villain’s long and storied evolution. If you are craving a fresh story that you might not have heard of before, check out We Go Mad at 18th & Union, a haunted house story involving a woman inheriting not just her family’s property, but their demons as well. Incorporating unique puppetry techniques including “cinematic shadow play, modified bunraku, and object manipulation,” this show is not to be missed during your month of fright-filled festivities. You might also be interested in the horrors of reality, and there’s no better place than the Powerful Grit screening of short films at NFFTY. Full of hard-hitting, depressing, and all around feel-bad films, it’s the perfect place to go to get a good dose of the feels. If you’re looking for a time at the movies that’s a little less Sour Patch Kids and a little more Haribo Goldbears, look no further than Brief Story from the Green Planet at the Three Dollar Bill Cinema's Seattle Queer Film Festival. Follow Tania, a trans performer who, after discovering an alien among her deceased grandmother’s belongings, goes on a journey with her two childhood friends to return to the extraterrestrial, face their fears, and discover themselves. And finally, for those of you who aren’t much into the Halloween spirit: no worries! We’ll fast-forward to Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month by seeing The Thanksgiving Play at Seattle Public Theater. In this story written by Native American playwright Larissa Fasthorse, we hear a comedic take on one journey to uncover and share the true origins of the white-washed Thanksgiving holiday in our country.

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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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