Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

May 21, 2013 at 12:36pm

Intern Report: Review of The Tollbooth Gallery

Filmmakers not only can submit their film, but also decorate the kiosk. Photo credit: Keegan Patterson

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Under orders from my editor, I, Keegan Patterson, stalwart intern that I am, ventured haphazardly through the perilous and labyrinthine concrete forest of downtown Tacoma to arrive at my destination, the intersection of 11th and Broadway. My mission? To watch and review the video currently playing at the newly resurrected The Tollbooth Gallery. After being out of service for a while, TTG was recently put back in action as a part of the Spaceworks Tacoma initiative, which is "designed to activate empty storefronts and vacant space," as stated by its website.

On Broadway, like a miniature religious site awaiting its pilgrims, The Tollbooth Gallery stood - a multicolored monolith playing its video on repeat. So eye-catching was the booth that I quickly found myself captivated by the monitor fixed to its center. I was enthralled, transfixed and before I felt I had experienced the installation fully, I had watched the video five times.

Compelling, engaging, moving, these are all words I would use to describe that most excellent piece of high drama I witnessed tucked behind TTG's window of reinforced glass. Though the style of filming was slightly basic - the camera stayed fixed to a single immobile point - it only allowed the acting, the most divine part of this filmmaking gem, to truly shine. Kat Ogden, the local filmmaker-actor made recently famous by her work on Safety Not Guaranteed, is both the new curator of TTG and the sole actor in its film. Playing the role of the kiosk, Ogden almost seems to emulate a damsel in distress, locked within a state of stasis - unless the aspiring filmmakers of the Tacoma community contact TheTollboothGallery@gmail.com with links to their own independent videos to replace Ogden's work.

I suppose reviewing this video is a tad silly, because it is actually a placeholder; to quote Ogden, "it's like reviewing the guidelines to a job application." What we should gain from this video is a deep sense of anticipation for the multitudes of interesting independent videos that will be surely be displayed by this gallery in the future. As Ogden says, this is a gallery "for people at all levels of filmmaking," so even a goofy movie made by a few friends with a smartphone is certainly a welcome submission. As an added bonus, if your submission is chosen, you are allowed to change the outside appearance of TTG as well.

So go forth, filmmakers of Tacoma, and save the damsel locked away in her Tollbooth tower by replacing her with a video of your own. The only guidelines are the movies have to last 3 to 5 minutes, involve Tacoma in some way and, since the gallery is public, be fairly family-friendly. The videos will be updated every Wednesday, so be on the lookout if you find yourself in downtown T-town.

Filed under: Screens, Arts, Tacoma,
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