The Bellingham Music Film Festival, this year on April 4-6, 2019, will present a collection of music videos, documentaries, and narrative pieces by regional, national, international and student filmmakers from around the world. This annual event (now in its third year) is a collaboration between Bellingham’s Pickford Film Center (PFC), Make.Shift Art Space, and the Western Washington University (WWU) New Media Design Program.
This video was shot as a student film by my friend Logan Earle showcasing the rare snowy day in Bellingham with local musicians and my friends, Will Barrett and Benza Maman, of Noisywaters.
2018 music video, “His Name is John,” by my Bellingham friends Kimberly Ross and Brendan Labotz from their musical stage parody of The Terminator, Come with Me if You Want to Live. Video produced and directed in classic 80’s style by Jared Clayton and Cameron Caya.
The idea of a music film festival was born in the mind of WWU Associate Professor Kacey Morrow, a faculty member in the Design Department of the College of Fine and Performing Arts. In the past, she herself had also been a filmmaker and submitted her work to festivals. One of her short experimental films was screened at both the Seattle International Film Festival and the Atlanta Film Festival. Morrow continues to work in film. She is currently working on an interactive documentary film tentatively titled Slow-Fi, about analog photography and the community across the nation still using this ever-changing medium.
In 2015, Morrow was on the board of Make.Shift Art Space in Bellingham, a DIY art and music venue dedicated to innovative, alternative art and music. While brainstorming community fundraising opportunities that would support the home for painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, musicians, the idea of a music film festival first came together. With the help of Make.Shift’s Jessica Harbert and Marketing Manager Lindsey Gerhard of PFC, The Bellingham Music Film Festival was born in April 2016.
In its first year, filmmakers from as far as Los Angeles, CA, Edmonton, Alberta, and the U.K. attended the 3-day event filled with film screenings, receptions and live music performances.
Building on their success, festival coordinators have simplified their approach and added help from Festival Coordinator Mikayla Nicholson and Music Director Tyson Ballew. Their goal has been to keep the festival accessible and affordable at under $25 per person for the entire weekend of activities. Their Official Selection and schedule are announced in March.
The festival has strong regional representation across each event including a number of films produced by students of WWU and Seattle universities. In addition, the committee has made a conscious effort to be more socially inclusive this year. They have designed a special screening session on Saturday with themes that include sexuality, gender identity, feminism, gentrification and race.
Last year, my friends and Bellingham & Seattle Filmmakers Avielle Heath and Micah Knapp screened their cutting edge 360 format video “Bloodthirsty,” where you can navigate during the video, using virtual reality technology. Take a look and see what you think of this emerging format.
Opening Night at Pickford Film Center, April 4, 2019
Opening Night, Thursday, Apr. 4, 6:30 p.m. at PFC will showcase a few exceptional music videos from around the world from as far as Los Angeles, Germany, Italy and Ireland. That will be followed by a feature-length film that has yet to be confirmed. Last year’s feature was Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami to give you an idea of the caliber of films presented.
Music Video Night at Make.Shift, April 5, 2019
Friday, April 5 is Music Video Night, presented for FREE at Make.Shift during Downtown Bellingham Parnternship’s Art Walk from 7 – 9 p.m. A mixture of student, local, national, and international music videos will be presented. Many of the filmmakers themselves as well as the bands featured in the videos will be on-hand to celebrate. Included are videos from ranging from Seattle and Los Angeles to France, Montreal and Isreal.
Limerence means infatuation or obsession with another person. This video created by my friend Benjamin Owens was shot inside the Make.Shift and screened at last year’s festival.
Screenings at Pickford Film Center, April 6, 2019
The final day of the festival, Saturday, April 6, will include several blocks of short films and music videos at PFC during the afternoon/early evening beginning around 1 p.m. There will be blocks on Saturday for Regional, Animations, International, and Socially Inclusive films.
Around 6 p.m. they’ll screen the Award-Winning. Monetary awards will be given in the categories of Best Feature, Best Short, Best Music Video, and People’s Choice across all categories.
This music video was produced by my friends Cassidy Young and Stacy Reynolds of Bellingham-based Talking to Crows and screened at last year’s festival.
After Party at Sylvia Center for the Arts, April 6, 2019
The evening will top off with an 8:30 p.m. After Party at nearby Sylvia Center for the Arts with live music performances by a variety of Pacific Northwest bands.
The festival received generous support from the City of Bellingham and all profits from the events will support the non-profits Make.Shift and PFC.