Downcast Screening


I once had a film maker friend say to me, in a way that sounded part out of frustration and part out of reality, “It’s hard to make a film.” I don’t think I’ve heard a greater truth. While the same can be said about most art forms it’s more important to note that Christopher Jayawardena has completed his film Downcast. I saw trailers for the movie screened several times throughout the years at the monthly screening series Attack of the Flix. I remembered Downcast as an intense crime film with guns blazing. Seeing the latest trailer, none of what I remember has changed. I can well imagine the persistence and a half dozen other characteristics needed to make a movie on an independent level, but now it’s done.  The whole movie can be seen at 5th Avenue Cinema, 510 SW Hall St. Portland, OR 97201, on Sunday, October 19th at 3pm.

See the trailer that will inspire you to see this movie:

More info on 5th Avenue Cinema:

Summer’s Gone

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The last couple of weekends of the summer of 2014 in Portland, OR were hot and then it rained and it was easy to see where summer was over. If I could go back to any time this summer it would be to the one afternoon spent soaking up sun on my skin along the Clackamas River and from time to time jumping into the icy water. High Rocks, a short film I blogged about, has a sequel. Filmmaker Jason Blalock headed back to High Rocks ten years later to poke around and see what had changed. There’s a certain intrigue seeing that this movie also has a news reporter in it snooping for a story. She seems sharper and more cynical than the reporter in the previous film and it reminds me even more of the documentary versus TV news approach to story telling that Ross McElwee explored in his movie 6 O’clock News.

Next summer I’m visit another swimming hole, probably in late August to give the water a chance to warm up a couple of degrees. Watch High Rocks before you watch the sequel to find out what happened to Taz and if the High Rocks ever got safer and a little less crazy.

High Rocks II:

Info on Ross McElwee’s film 6 o’clock News:

My High Rocks blog post:

High Rocks

Sitting around on a Sunday morning in late August wondering what to do it occurred to me that we should go to a swimming hole. After six years of living in Portland, I still had not done this. In doing some online research, my wife, Ronna, found a link to a documentary short called High Rocks named after the recreational swimming area on the Clackamas River in Gladstone, OR.

It’s hard to turn away from watching people drink and dive, break out Laff-a-Lympics style diving maneuvers and get rowdy on giant sheer boulders in a scenario fraught with danger from ice cold water, river currents, undertows and inebriation. Sometimes the right amount of fascination can be found in seeing people behave badly. Filmmaker Jason Blalock takes viewers right to the heart of High Rocks where you feel like you’re in line waiting for your turn to jump. Shot in 1998, High Rocks is a time capsule transporting us to a place where things could get a little out of control.

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High Rocks link:

More about Jason Blalock: