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Originally published Sunday, September 18, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Movies

Eclectic film grab bag "in one neat package"

Northwest Film Forum, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, was created in order to encourage local filmmakers who weren't able...

Special to The Seattle Times

Northwest Film Forum, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, was created in order to encourage local filmmakers who weren't able to complete their projects.

"It was founded out of frustration and anger," said Michael Seiwerath, the executive director. "A lot of work just wasn't getting finished. The original goal was helping filmmakers to finish their work, but it's changed over the years."

It's also changed venues. The first programs were held at the Grand Illusion, then the Little Theatre was added, then the entire operation moved during the past year to a twin theater/workshop at 1515 12th Ave. on Capitol Hill. Finishing touches are still being added, including a marquee that should make it more recognizable as a movie theater.

"While you're watching a movie here, another one may be editing in another room," said Seiwerath. WigglyWorld Studios is the production arm of the organization.

"We now have 850 members, which is double what we had a year ago," Seiwerath said.

In addition to screenings and post-production work, the Film Forum has branched out by presenting stage plays and live musical accompaniments for silent films. It's also become one of the most ambitious repertory houses in town, with a completist emphasis on presenting everything that's available from such filmmakers as Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Japan's Yasujiro Ozu.

Beginning Friday to Oct. 2, it's presenting a look back at the best of the best: a series dubbed "Super Hits, Vol. 10."

"These are movies with a special meaning to the organization, or some kind of personal story to go with it," said Adam Hart, communications director for the Film Forum. "We're most proud of the locally made films."

These include Gregg Lachow's "Money Buys Happiness" (Sept. 26), Matt Wilkins' "Buffalo Bill's Defunct" (Sept. 27), Paul Willis' central-Washington update of "Hedda Gabler" (Sept. 28) and a program made up of every short film funded and produced by WigglyWorld (Sept. 29). Conspicuously absent is Robinson Devore and Charles Mudede's "Police Beat," the most acclaimed of Film Forum's projects to date; it's still busy making the festival rounds and looking for a distributor.

Opening night features Jamie Hook's presentation of Caveh Zahedi's comedy "A Little Stiff," which was the first Film Forum movie to lure its director to Seattle for a personal appearance, in 1997. Hook will also be here to present his romantic comedy "Naked Proof" (Saturday). The series will also bring Eric Zala to town to present his home-video homage to Indiana Jones, "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation" (Saturday).

"We're covering 1995 to 2005 in one neat package," said Jaime Keeling, the Film Forum program director. "Most of them were Seattle premieres or Northwest premieres or West Coast premieres when the Film Forum showed them. Some of them have not been shown in almost 10 years."

Some, like Steven Soderbergh's personal print of his 1997 film "Schizopolis" (Friday), are one-of-a-kind. The closing-night film, Ozu's "Woman of Tokyo," is a 1933 film with a new score, presented live by Wayne Horvitz.

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Also part of the ultra-eclectic lineup: Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless" (Saturday), Aki Kaurismaki's "The Match Factory Girl" (Sept. 25), Abbas Kiarostami's "Close-Up" (Sept. 30), Douglas Sirk's "Written on the Wind" (Sept. 30), Olivier Assayas' "Cold Water" (Sept. 30) and Matthew Barney's "Cremaster 2" (Oct. 1).

Full-series passes are available for $19.95. Information: 206-267-5380 or www.nwfilmforum.org.

John Hartl: johnhartl@yahoo.com

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