As many of you may know, I recently attended the 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival to see Channing Tatum's upcoming drama 'Battle in Seattle'.
Filmed in only 29 days in both Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, the movie is based on one of the most incendiary political uprisings in a generation, 'Battle in Seattle' takes an in-depth look at the five days that rocked the world in 1999 as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in protest of the World Trade Organization.
What began as a peaceful protest intended to stop the WTO talks quickly escalated into a full-scale riot and eventual State of Emergency that squared off peaceful and unarmed protesters against the Seattle Police Department and the National Guard.
I and many festival goers were extremely excited to see this film on Monday for it's US premiere. Lines into the film wrapped around the corner and paparazzi from all over the world came with cameras in tow to catch any celebrities that might attend the screening. As you can see in the photo above, both the director of the film, Stuart Townsend, and star, Martin Henderson, attended the premiere and did a Q&A session after the screening where they answered questions about the making of the movie.
The screening was held at the Paramount theater right down the street from the Texas State capital. Built in 1915 and refurnished back to it's old glory in 1975, you almost feel like you step back in time when you walk into the beautiful theater that used to house acts like Harry Houdini and Clara Bow in the early 1900's. Coincidentally, Channing Tatum's 'Stop-Loss' will also play in this theater on Thursday night.
'Battle in Seattle' was an exceptional film from many perspectives. I felt it was well written and well acted by the ensemble cast. I also felt that writer and director Stuart Townsend did a really good job of allowing the viewer to understand all sides of the turmoil that occurred in those five days. We were allowed to see both the good and the evil in the police, the politicians, the protesters, and everyone affected by the events that unfolded in downtown Seattle.
Channing Tatum stands out in his role as riot cop Johnson along side Woody Harrelson in the film that combines fictional accounts with moving, actual footage from the riots. Through their roles we were able to better understand the extremely volatile environment that the unprepared police force had to navigate during riots where they were completely outnumbered, but expected to accomplish the almost impossible task of bringing peace to the streets of Seattle.
Much like what happened at the Toronto International Film Festival when the movie had its world premiere last September, 'Battle in Seattle' received a lengthy standing ovation after the movie ended. Although I saw a lot of good movies, this was the only standing ovation I witnessed out of all of the films I screened at the festival.
During the Q&A after the film, the director of 'Battle in Seattle' confirmed that the movie will hopefully be released in September, and he explained why the release date has shifted so much. Regardless of how it may seem, it's not easy to get a movie released for a lot of reasons. In an entertainment business that is run by corporations it is often difficult for an anti-corporate and anti-establishment activist film to get distributed through normal channels. For this reason, Stuart has decided to release the film independently, so the release dates become a little more unpredictable. He's keeping his fingers crossed that September 2008 will be the US release date.
You can watch an amateur video I made of parts of the Q&A below:
Because 'Battle in Seattle' is such an exceptional film that deserves to be seen by the masses, I too am keeping my fingers crossed that fans will be able to see Channing Tatum in this film this fall as planned. Until then, you can CLICK HERE to get a list of more film festivals where you can try to see the film early.
On a side note, I also attended the private Houston screening of Channing Tatum's 'Stop-Loss' last night. The movie was incredible and Chan's performance was even more incredible. Be on the lookout for that article very soon, because I was lucky enough to get photos and an autographed poster from director Kimberly Peirce and actor Victor Rasuk that I will be giving away to one CTU reader.