Director, actor, producer and writer Crispin Hellion Glover is visiting Olympia for the 32nd annual Olympia Film Festival.
Friday (Nov. 6) and Sunday, Glover will screen films he’s made and perform dramatic narrations for slide shows of his books. He also will conduct question-and-answer sessions and sign books.
“I am … following in the steps of vaudeville performers,” Glover said in an email interview this week. “Vaudeville was the main form of entertainment for most of the history of the U.S. It has only relatively recently stopped being the main source of entertainment, but that does not mean this live element mixed with other media is no longer viable. In fact, it is apparent that it is sorely missed.”
Glover is known for his roles as offbeat characters in such films as “Back to the Future,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Willard” (the 2003 reworking), but the movies he makes himself are much further from norm. And he insists his films be shown only in conjunction with his live performances, which has given them a cult status.
Friday, he’ll screen 2007’s “It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine,” which focuses on the sexual fantasies of a man with severe cerebral palsy. The semi-autobiographical film was written by and stars the late Steven C. Stewart.
In a New York Times review, Laura Kern summed up both movie and slide show as “wildly impassioned and macabrely fascinating.”
On Sunday, “What Is It?” will be shown. Glover’s first directorial effort, the 2005 film is said to be even more of a challenge for audiences than “It Is Fine!” It involves a snail-obsessed boy struggling with his racist inner psyche and includes multiple murders by bludgeoning. And virtually the entire cast has Down syndrome.
Both the subject matter he chooses and the casting of people with disabilities are motivated by a desire to break out of the restrictions placed on corporately financed films, he said.
“ ‘What Is It?’ is not a film about Down syndrome, but my psychological restriction to the corporate restraints,” he said. “Anything that can possibly make an audience uncomfortable is necessarily excised, or the film will not be corporately funded or distributed.”
Having actors with Down syndrome play characters who don’t have the condition is one piece of this protest.
“What you will not see in a corporately funded and distributed film is an actor with Down syndrome playing a character that does not have Down syndrome,” he said. “One will easily see an actor without a disability playing a character with a disability. … A person with a disability playing a character without a disability can cause severe cultural questioning.”
Glover’s mainstream film roles help to fund his own projects. To reduce the costs of producing films himself, Glover has purchased property in the Czech Republic, where costs are lower.
He’s currently at work on an as-yet-untitled third feature, starring himself and his father, Bruce Glover, an actor known for numerous TV series and films, such as “Chinatown” and “Diamonds are Forever.” Friday, Crispin Glover will show a preview of his next directorial feature.
OLYMPIA FILM FESTIVAL
What: The 32nd annual festival gets rolling with two evenings of films and performances by Crispin Hellion Glover, and continues with a mixture of new and old films, features and documentaries, plus, of course, the horror-movie marathon All Freakin’ Night.
When: Friday (Nov. 6) through Nov. 15.
Glover’s appearances: Opening night with “It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine” and “Crispin Hellion Glover’s Big Slide Show Part II” at 8 p.m. Friday. “What Is It?” and “Crispin Hellion Glover’s Big Slide Show Part I” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia.
Tickets: For regular screenings: $10, $7 for Olympia Film Society members, students with ID and children 12 and younger. (Children are admitted free to Kids Club films for children and families.) For Opening night, “What Is It” with Glover (Sunday) and All Freakin’ Night (Nov. 14): $20, $15 for members and students. For Hump Fest (Saturday): $18, $15 for members (with code Hump_Oly_2015). For closing night (Nov. 15): $10, $8 for members and students. Full and partial passes are available, too.
Information: 360-754-6670, olympiafilmfestival.org, crispinglover.com.
Among festival programmer Kelly Lux’s many favorites, which include new and award-winning films plus a few “crazy classics.”
“The Glamour & the Squalor” (2015): With Q&A, 5:30 p.m. Saturday. “It’s a documentary about the Seattle DJ Marco Collins,” Lux said. “He was the first DJ in the country to play Nirvana on commercial radio, and he has a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame now.”
“Moonwalkers” (2015): 4:45 p.m. Sunday. This “really, really strange” comedy, a favorite at South by Southwest, makes its Northwest premiere. It follows a CIA agent and rock promoter who decide to film a version of the 1969 moon landing.
“In Transit” (2015): With Q&A, 8 p.m. Tuesday. This documentary, the last film made by the late Albert Maysles, follows the journeys of passengers traveling by train from Chicago to Seattle. It won the Best Documentary prize at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Some of the people who are in the movie are going to be in the audience,” Lux said.
“Capricorn One” (1978): 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. “It’s about a fake Mars landing,” Lux said. “It’s a 1970s conspiracy thriller starring O.J. Simpson and James Brolin.”
“Valley of the Sasquatch” (2015): With Q&A, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13. This Northwest-made horror movie about a father and son who discover that Big Foot is no myth has been called “gleefully gruesome.” “It’s won awards all over the country at festivals that play science-fiction and horror movies,” Lux said.
“The Brainwashing of My Dad” (2015): With Q&A via Skype, 3:15 p.m. Nov. 14. This documentary tracks the effect of the right-wing media on those who watch and listen. Filmmaker Jen Senko got interested in the subject when she noticed her father’s political views and personality changing. The film is in progress, and audience members are invited to give Senko input during the Q&A.