Films run the gamut

OFS delivers a cavalcade of documentaries

Contributing writerJanuary 25, 2013 

It probably won’t surprise you that Olympia Film Society’s Documentary Film Festival features a movie about climate change (“Chasing Ice” – see related review) and one about the failures of the U.S. health care system (“The Waiting Room”).

The festival does have surprises in store, including a documentary about skateboard culture (“Bones Brigade”) and another that takes viewers on a dialogue-free journey through the cycles of life (“Samsara”).

“We were trying to cover a lot of different issues,” said Helen Thornton, the society’s film programmer.

The festival’s most unusual offering is a sort of double feature of “Bones Brigade,” made by noted skater-filmmaker Stacy Peralta, teamed with a concert by Olympia band Big Business, which has just returned from a long tour. Band founders Coady Willis and Jared Warren both played with the Melvins.

“It’s very different than talking about health care or the military,” said theater manager Audrey Henley. “Maybe it will influence some of the younger generation to come and to find out more of what is happening out in the world.”

The band and film are not directly connected. They’re sharing billing mostly because the band wanted to do a show Saturday night and that conflicted with the festival. But Henley, who fondly remembers how interconnected skateboarding and music were in the 1980s, does see a link.

“Skateboarding and live music have always gone hand in hand for me,” she said. “It’s like peanut butter and jelly; they go together.”

Here’s the full film festival lineup:

“Reel Injun” (6:30 tonight): The 2010 film takes a loose, freewheeling and often funny look at the role of Native Americans in cinema.

“Crazy Wisdom” (9 tonight): This 2011 film recounts the life of the late Buddhist meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He smoked, drank and had intimate relations with students, yet his teachings are recognized as authentic, vast and influential.

“Detropia” (2:30 p.m. Saturday): This 2012 documentary looks at the troubled city of Detroit and the residents who are fighting for the city’s survival.

“Chasing Ice” (5 p.m. Saturday): This 2012 film shows the fast pace of glacial melting documented by National Geographic photographer James Balog during a period of three years. “It’s brand new, and it’s gotten great reviews,” Thornton said. “It has beautiful cinematography.”

“Bones Brigade: An Autobiography” (7:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by Big Business concert at 9:30 p.m.): This 2012 film follows filmmaker Peralta’s transition from skater to influential part of the larger skateboarding scene and chronicles the formation of the skating team known as the Bones Brigade.

“The Invisible War” (2:30 p.m. Sunday): This 2012 film examines the high number of female American soldiers who have been raped by fellow service members.

“The Waiting Room” (5 p.m. Sunday): The 2012 documentary examines the state of the American health care system by featuring 24 hours at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif. The film finds reason for hope as well as reason for concern.

“Samsara” (7:30 p.m. Sunday): This 2012 film is a visual journey through samsara, the Sanskrit concept of karma’s infinitely repeating cycles of birth, misery and death.

Ninth Annual Documentary Film Festival

What: The Olympia Film Society’s own locally curated festival of nonfiction films.

When: Today through Sunday

Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia

Tickets: Full passes are $35; $25 for film society members. Tickets to the screening of “Bones Brigade” plus the concert by Big Business are $10, or $8 for members. For other individual screenings, tickets are $8.50; $5.50 for members.

Information: 360-754- 6670, olympiafilm society.org

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