TFF Sniff 2010: Witness The "Grit" Factor today

By Christopher Wood on October 10, 2010


Roll the word "grit" around in your head; what happens? For me other descriptors float up beside it: rough, coarse, unattractive. But use the noun in a context of discussing Tacoma - and Tacoma filmmaking - and its connotations shift. Grit still means unpolished, but now it recognizes potential, a diamond in the rough. True "Gritists" acknowledge their rawness, and revel in it.

Today, as part of the Tacoma Film Festival, the Washington State History Museum hosts Go Local's Grit City Flicks at 4:15 p.m. Six short works, six teams of filmmakers using whatever means to bring to life half a dozen divergent ideas.

It took directors Josh Adams and Scott Perry three years to complete Valuable. The main drama unfolds in a forest, and with the two of them as sole crew, trudging equipment across long distances took its toll. But their labor paid off; Perry describes Valuable as "a very haunting surreal puzzle film like ... Memento with the passion of an early Werner Herzog film."

Plus, how many indies will you see at this festival show real ammunition going off?

Yet Grit stands for more than testosterone-fueled anarchy. The Color of Fred profiles a local artist, while Kris Crews' The Persistence of Beauty touches on a universal theme: family coping with loss. The work came out of The Grand's 72-Hour Contest last year and has that unscripted feel, particularly in the unselfconscious performance of Crews' real-life daughter.

20 Seconds from director Bryan Johnson originated from the same competition; it more than makes up for its rough look with a winning time travel yarn. Mr. Radio also casts an eye into the past. By using antiquated cameras to recapture a 1920s aesthetic, David Derickson created a movie with Grit lovingly stamped onto every frame.

Now we come to A Glitch in the System, which I co-wrote and shot several scenes. I can't write objectively about my own project, so my inquiry goes out to you readers: Does Glitch possess that certain je ne sais grit? I invite you today to critique the critic.

LINK: Today's films

LINK: TFF goes local

LINK: TFF on twitter

LINK: TFF website

LINK: We wrote a TFF cover story