Film

Mysterious Sci-Fi Cinema

A Film Is Truth fundraiser

Attend

What: Mysterious Sci-Fi Cinema

When: 7 pm Sat., May. 13

Where: Spark Museum, 1312 Bay St.

Cost: $20

Info: http://www.filmistruth.com

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Because I was raised by fascists who lived to persecute me (Hi, mom and dad!), I didn’t (read: wasn’t allowed) to watch much television when I was growing up. For years, the only thing I knew of popular programs came from the chatter of my friends—chatter I was sadly excluded from.

For a time, many of those conversations revolved around Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show that all of my friends seem to have tuned into at the same time. From them, I learned the show’s premise: that a human test subject trapped aboard the spaceship Satellite of Love was forced by his captors to watch some of the worst movies ever made in the hope of finding the film that would drive him insane. To cope with this punishment and to keep him company, the imprisoned man built himself some sentient robots—most notably Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot—to watch the movies with him, with all three mocking the movie (their silhouettes visible in the lower part of the movie screen) for its duration.

It wasn’t until I had been in college for a few years—and MST3K, as it is called by fans, was in syndication—that I first witnessed the somewhat bizarre, definitely low-budget, undeniably funny phenomenon for myself. Instantly, I understood why my friends had been so taken by the show.

As avowed film nerds, it should come as no surprise that when the folks at Film Is Truth decided to plan a fundraiser, they elected to stage their own version of MST3K. The picked a date (Sat., May 13), a place (the Spark Museum), a film (the truly terrible 1959 “masterpiece” The Killer Shrews), and a pack of known wisecrackers (Neill McLaughlin, Stacy Reynolds, Spencer Willows, and Cassidy Young) to play the role of the riffers. As well, the event will feature a raffle of baskets of local goods, beer and wine for sale and snacks for attendees.

The event itself may be lighthearted to its core, but it’s happening in service to an important cause. The longtime local video store has switched from a traditional business model to a nonprofit one, and the fundraiser will help them keep their collection of 16,000 movies (the second-largest such collection on the West Coast) accessible to everyone via their store inside Bellingham’s Public Market.

It might seem weird for a video store to become a nonprofit organization, but according to Anna Wolff, Film Is Truth board president, there is much method to be found in this madness.

When Film Is Truth owners Karl Freske and Emily Marston formed a transitional board of directors and filed for nonprofit status, “Film Is Truth was still doing fine as a for-profit business,” Wolff says, “but as more and more video stores around the country closed, it became clear that we needed to be proactive in rethinking how the store worked.”

After careful assessment, they concluded that the nonprofit model was the one that best suited the shop, for reasons that go beyond mere sustainability.

“We also realized that by moving to a nonprofit model, we could actually expand the mission of the organization,” Wolff says. “The collection has always been an incredible resource, but our goal is to use that resource to expand into a variety of different community programs for film lovers in Bellingham.”

While Film Is Truth is well-supported by its clientele of devoted film buffs, where they once had to compete with the large chain video stores that have now gone the way of the dinosaur, they now contend with the ubiquity and ease of streaming services and smart TVs.

It’s really easy with the ease of streaming services to overlook the value that a brick-and-mortar independent video store can have for a community,” Wolff says. “I think the word ‘community’ here is really key. We’re not just a cool collection of movies; we’re also a place where you can connect with others over your love of film… It’s often through sharing and discussing our experiences with film that we can make meaning, connect with others and discover connection.”

Besides, Wolff says, nothing quite compares to getting a movie recommendation from a real person as opposed to a computer program. “Most streaming services offer you suggestions based on weird algorithms, the awesome people who work at the store will make suggestions based on not just what you have watched in the past, but the mood you are in, the color of the DVD cover, a feeling you want to experience, a beloved actor whose catalogue you mistakenly think you have exhausted.”

But it’s not just about entertainment, as Whatcom Community College professor Sue Lonac (who, as Freske’s partner, spends a fair amount of her life immersed in all things Film Is Truth) is quick to point out. “I see Film Is Truth not just as a cool collection of stuff that isn’t available elsewhere, but also as a First Amendment protection resource,” she says. “Film is speech, and I’m not comfortable letting multinational corporations decide what I can and cannot see. If they’re all that’s left, what we’ll be able to see is what’s profitable, and not necessarily what’s good, original, independently produced, novel, challenging, or important.”

Arsenio
More Film...
Booksmart
School’s out forever

Booksmart besties Molly and Amy pretty much aced high school. Valedictorian and student-body president Molly (Beanie Feldstein) was accepted to Yale, her top-choice university—and the first step in her goal of becoming the youngest Supreme Court justice—while study buddy and super-activist…

more »
Long Shot
Make America laugh again

Seth Rogen’s rambunctious brand of self-deprecation tends to dictate the tone of the many raunchy studio comedies he’s appeared in over the last decade, but Long Shot finally provides a co-star who can match that dopey charm. In director Jonathan Levine’s frisky romantic comedy,…

more »
The Brink
The hate you give

The charm of odious men is overrated. At a certain point in The Brink, Alison Klayman’s brisk documentary tagalong behind far-right pot-stirrer Steve Bannon, an admirer tells Bannon that although he might have just come off poorly in an onstage debate, at least he’ll have surprised and…

more »
Events
Today
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Parkinson's Dance Class

11:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Meet a Truck

1:00pm|Bellingham City Hall

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

SeaFeast Kickoff

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Spring Fling with Skagit Women in Business

5:30pm|Grand Willow Inn

Hidden Forest Foray

6:00pm|Sehome Arboretum

Off-Leash Books

6:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Spring Soups for the Body and Soul

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Life Between the Pages Dinner Book Club

6:30pm|Evolve Chocolate + Cafe

Birds of the West

7:00pm

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Birds of the West

7:00pm|Village Books

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

House Concert with Wandering Seas

7:30pm

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Village Books
Tomorrow
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Cornwall Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Seaside BBQ

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

Bellingham Community Chamber Orchestra

7:00pm| Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Improvised Musicals, LOL

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Web
Saturday
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

Improvised Musicals, LOL

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Mount Vernon Farmers Market2333

9:00am|Riverwalk Park

Concrete Saturday Market

9:00am|Concrete Community Center

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Lummi Island Artists' Studio Tour

10:00am|Lummi Island

Birch Bay Book Sale

10:00am|Birch Bay Beach Park

Birch Bay Kite Festival

10:00am|Birch Bay Beach Park

Designing a Four-Season Hummingbird Garden

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Whatcom Memorial Day Parade

12:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Poetry Night with Sara Sutton

7:00pm|Walton Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Kids Guide 2019 Village Books Trove Web Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1