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June 9, 2012 Comments Off on SIFF 2012 Wraps Up With “Grassroots” And Look For Mr. Pontius… Views: 1254 Arts & Entertainment, Film, Seattle International Film Festival

SIFF 2012 Wraps Up With “Grassroots” And Look For Mr. Pontius…

Look for Mr. Gay World USA-Washington, William Pontius in the SIFF Closing Gala Film, "Grassroots". Photo: Les Sterling

We’ve come to the end of the LOOOOOOOONG and winding road known as the Seattle International Film Festival as the 2012 edition winds down Sunday, June 10th, with the annual brunch/awards presentation at the Space Needle and the Closing Night Gala. This year SIFF was dedicated to showcasing films from Seattle/the Pacific Northwest and featured a number of well received films including the Opening Gala Film, Lynn Shelton’s “Your Sister’s Sister” and actor turned director Matthew “Shaggy” Lillard’s very well received film, “Fat Kid Rules The World” which was shot in Seattle.

The Closing Gala caps off the Seattle-centric theme of SIFF 2012 with the world premiere of “Grassroots” the based on a true story film about Grant Cogswell, Phil Campbell and their fight to extend Seattle’s monorail system:

“Monorail.” When Grant Cogswell hears that word in 2001, he sees an inexpensive, elegant form of mass transit, a Jetsonian future of silent public transportation and unclogged streets. In order to make his dream a reality, Grant needs to run for City Council. But there’s one problem: Grant is a loud, obnoxious, sometime music critic for The Stranger, with no connections and no voice in Seattle politics. How can Grant campaign for office? Enter Phil Campbell. Recently fired from the same paper, Phil initially comes on board because he doesn’t have anything better to do, but Grant’s enthusiasm wakes up something new inside him. Soon, Phil’s shrewdness and emerging political savvy, coupled with Grant’s Monorail-mania, attract a ragtag army of young volunteers. The crew is just smart enough, just arrogant enough, and just idealistic enough to believe they can change the world. Together, they wage an energizing, hilarious campaign. Along the way, Grant and Phil both learn that one person really can make a difference, and that some things in life are worth fighting for.

“Grassroots” screens Sunday night at the SIFF Cinema at The Uptown at 6pm with the Closing Gala to follow at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at 721 Pine to follow. As of this writing, a VERY few handful of tickets are still available. (But, not to worry: it opens June 22 at the Harvard Exit for an extended run.) Director Stephen Gyllenhaal and stars Jason Biggs and Lauren Ambrose are scheduled to attend along with the many local folks who worked on the production which filmed in Seattle last year.

One of those folks is our own William Pontius, the former Mr. Gay Seattle and current Mr. Gay World USA-Washington who has a featured non-speaking role in the film so naturally he’s excited as hell about his major film debut and had this to say about it:

” Grassroots is an iconic movie for me being my first movie and coincidentally enough grassroots is my passion”

William, who also worked as Jason Biggs’ stand-in on the film, is also waiting on word about the reality television show he filmed last winter with the Gay World USA pageant people. You might remember hearing he went off to NYC for a week to film the series; it’s currently being shopped around for an outlet to air it.

We keep telling William he needs to go on “Big Brother” and run around in a Speedo and be the outrageous gay guy causing trouble and wrecking havoc. Since RuPaul seems to ignore Seattle based drag queens, SOMEONE from Seattle needs to be on a reality show raising Hell…

I should also point out that I had opportunity to interview some of the “Grassroots” cast/crew but frankly I didn’t really know what I’d ask them. (And, you know The Stranger is gonna be all over it for the next two weeks anyway…they just LOVE yakking about all the movies that have to do with their paper…)

I mean, other than asking director Stephen Gyllenhaal the usual boring director questions; “What was it like working in Seattle?” and “Why were you drawn to this story?” the only other thing I could possibly ask would be,  “Wow! You’re Jake’s  Dad! Tell me all about Jake!”

As for Jason Biggs, the only question I have for him other than the mundane rote ones, would be: “So what was it like fucking a pie?”

Now you might understand why I don’t get invited to nice places.


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