John Boylan’s Next Conversation: “Film!”

Event Date: Tuesday, November 18, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

To link to this announcement, you can do so at

Very Important Announcement: In the past, those sitting at the edges of the room at Vermillion may have had trouble hearing because of a big, noisy, walk-in cooler that would go into grinding mode every now and again. News flash: that cooler is dead and gone, replaced by a very quiet refrigerator. Vermillion is a lot quieter.

The Summary

This month we’re talking about film, about movies, as art, entertainment, business, passion. Read on for details.

The Guests (See bios below.)

Daniel Thornton, filmmaker, educator

Courtney Sheehan, program director, Northwest Film Forum

Charles Mudede, writer, filmmaker

Warren Etheridge, interviewer, educator, writer, and producer.

The Story

Longtime followers of this series know that on occasion we do a conversation about a genre. Dance, sculpture, painting, theater, performance, and public art have all been topics. This month we’re looking at film. We’re making the topic intentionally broad; as much as we want deep conversation, we’re also hoping for something that is wide ranging.

I’m expecting that the discussion may range through film as art, as something beautiful or intentionally ugly. Or film as business, as a huge collaborative venture to make a lot of money, or none at all. There’s the deep history of writing and talking about film. And the politics of film, both in the making and ramifications of the content; the pleasures of both creating and viewing film; the history and future of film; and more. Through all of it runs a passion that pervades the whole endeavor: an extra may feel as proud of being in a film as a starring actor.

I also know that the term “film” is a little dated; for every foot of legacy celluloid is 10,000 feet of videotape or billions of bits of MPEG files. But it does capture and cover what we’re talking about, and that’s another great topic for conversation. If the medium is the message, what’s the medium?

Film can suck us in, like the opening shot of Play It Again, Sam, with the camera panning around to show Woody Allen completely, overwhelmingly transfixed by the final scene of Casablanca. Or it can keep us at an uneasy distance, like a documentary about impossible violence.

There will be lots to talk about. Do come.

My Links

Note: I’ve been publishing a series of essays. The latest is Unschooling, Big History, and Adventure in an American Classroom. Check it out and let me know what you think.

The Guests in Detail

Daniel Thornton is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and educator based in Seattle. Community focused, Dan’s work highlights the stories that enlighten, educate, and bind people together. He is currently working on a series of short documentaries in partnership with a state-wide public interest law firm and a broadcast documentary about visually impaired landscape painter Keith Salmon in Scotland.

Dan is particular proud of his association with community based arts organizations like the Northwest Film Forum.

Courtney Sheehan is program director for Northwest Film Forum. She has curated film programs and produced events for film festivals, media centers and theaters on three continents. As a journalist, she has covered film events ranging from the world’s largest documentary festival to South America’s largest animation festival, and her publications include Senses of Cinema, The Independent, Bitch Magazine, and NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies.

Charles Tonderai Mudede—who writes about film, books, music, Marxist urbanism, and his life in Rhodesia, Zimbabwe, the USA, and the UK for The Stranger—was born near a steel plant in Qwe Qwe, Rhodesia (now Kwe Kwe, Zimbabwe). He has no memory of this birth, but he does remember noticing himself in the mirror for this first time—it happened on May 3, 1972. Mudede is also a filmmaker: Two of his films, Police Beat and Zoo, premiered at Sundance, and Zoo was screened at Cannes. Mudede has written for the New York Times, Cinema Scope, Ars Electronica, C Theory, and academic journals. He also wrote the liner notes for Best of Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Elektra Years. Mudede has lived in Seattle since 1989.

Warren Etheredge didn’t speak until he was 6 years old; he’s been going strong ever since, making a lively livelihood and the most out of every conversation, elevating small talk to high art, discourse to an ideal. He talks. He teaches. He finds stories.

Warren is one of the founding faculty of TheFilmSchool, helping filmmakers translate their stories for screens big and small, and The Red Badge Project, helping combat veterans work through PTSD and other issues by teaching them the art of storytelling.  He has conducted over 3,000 interviews; on the page, on stage, and on screen. He hosts The High Bar, his Emmy-nominated television series devoted to “raising the bar” through light-hearted conversation with people who care about culture that matters. He also hosts Reel NW, a showcase for the finest features, shorts and documentaries generated in the Pacific Northwest.

He is the founder of The Warren Report and the Editor-at-Large for Media Inc. (  As a producer, his credits include FUREVER (d. Amy Finkel); HUMOR ME (d. Chris Towey), EVERY BEAUTIFUL THING (d. Sonya Lea), THE LOST MARINER (d. Tess Martin) and WAYSIDE JUNCTION (d. April Larson).

Warren is the former Curator for the 1 Reel Film Festival (at Bumbershoot) and a programmer for The Seattle International Film Festival. He is a published author, an Off-Broadway produced playwright, an acclaimed documentarian, a regular contributor to public radio and a much sought-after public speaker on myriad topics.  Born and raised in Manhattan, Warren makes his home in Seattle along with his partner, Nancy, their three children, an adoring pit bull, and an irascible bunny rabbit.

Next Up

On December 16, we’ll be discussing Startup Culture. Guests will be artist and Siren creator Susie Lee; Brett Greene and Red Russak, who as organizers of New Tech Seattle (among many other things) are at the core of Seattle’s startup scene; and Rebecca Lovell, Startup Advocate for the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development.

More details to follow.


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