Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12 Posts of Christmas: Support Your Local Filmmaker Edition

(Sorry, James - I did it to you again!)

So, as I said in my first post in this series, I'm not a big believer in the commercial aspects of the holiday season... the sense of anxiety people work themselves into about having enough money to spend to get the "right" gift for someone, the debt, and the commercial frenzy are actually, in my opinion, directly counter to the whole point of the season (well, ok, not just my opinion... Big-daddy Phillips put a comment about this on his blog the other day as well!)

That being said, gifts are a part of the season. Contrary to what the retail sector (and CNBC) would have you believe, however, the point of giving gifts isn't to load up on more material possessions, or to "win" by giving people the most expensive/ impressive/ quantity of gifts. The point is to give those you love a token to remind them that they have a spot in your hear and in your thoughts. The best holiday gift doesn't have to be big or expensive - it just has to be something that speaks to the person you give it to, or speaks to you about the person you're giving it to.

So, as we enter into the last week before Christmas (sorry Hanukkites - I didn't get this up in time for that holiday. My bad...), I've got a few suggestions for gifts for your loved ones before the online shipping deadlines hit. Now, you might remember the last time I defaced poor Mr. Garner's poster for Support Your Local Gunfighter... the holidays are a perfect time to support the actors and filmmakers in your area. Jon Reiss on Huffington Post had some great ideas for how to support independent film during the holiday season - I'd like to add a couple more Portland-based options to his list, if I might.

Now, of course, I'd love for you to visit the Store section on and consider sharing one of the films you find there... but there have been some great films produced in Portland that I haven't been in, and you or your loved ones might find them interesting.

First off, one of the most successful family-oriented films to come out of Portland in recent years is Phil Branson's popular movie Trainmaster. It's a great family film (featuring some fine local actors like Michael Biesanz, Jon Ashley Hall, and my good buddy Mercedes Rose )
about a group of kids who get trapped on a runaway train... it's thrilling AND inspiring! You can purchase it through Amazon, as well as other places.

Veterans, or those interested in World War II may want to take a look at Everyman's War, on sale through the film's web site through January 1 (at that point the national distributor takes over). The film has been hailed by almost everyone whose seen it since it won Best Picture at the GI Film Festival in Washington DC earlier this year.

Another film festival favorite, The Waiting List, (featuring my good friend Audrey Walker and, again, Mercedes Rose) is now available for order online at IndieFlix. Inspired by a true story, The Waiting List follows a group of parents (or, in one case, a potential future parent) confined for a night in a preschool where they vie for a spot on the attendance sheet for their child. The night takes a series of turns ranging from the uncomfortably crude to remarkably poignant and ultimately presents a riotous and genuine look at parenthood.

Finally, if you're into a wild adeline-filled ride, I'd highly recommend Todd Freeman's film Pray For Hell, which recently went on sale at Amazon and other retailers... this highly stylized and bloody vengeance tale isn't for the kids, but it's a thing of beauty.

Like I say, there's still time to order all these films and get them to you by Christmas Eve... consider giving the film-lover in your life something a little different (and giving your dollars to some local filmmakers!)

'Til next time...


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