October Program: Helvetica

October’s special instructions

  • Show up on Tuesday October 6th, at 7:45PM
  • Show up to the right place: Echo Park Film Center (1200 N. Alvarado St. 90026)
  • Come with the password, for extra credit
  • Bring a bottle (of something you wanna drink and share), $5, and a shifty look in your eyes

Helvetica Poster

HELVETICA by Gary Hustwit
TRT. 80 Minutes

“Everywhere you look you see typefaces. But there’s one you probably see more than any other one, and that’s Helvetica. You know, there it is, and it seems to come from nowhere. You know, it seems like air? It seems like gravity?”

A feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture, Helvetica looks at the proliferation of one typeface as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers about their work, the creative process, the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type.

Helvetica encompasses the worlds of design, advertising, psychology, and communication, and invites us to take a second look at the thousands of words we see every day. The film was shot in high-definition on location in the United States, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium.

Helvetica had its World Premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March 2007 and was nominated for a 2008 Independent Spirit Award in the “Truer Than Fiction” category.


Why this is all so special

It’s a film about a typeface. And it’s almost Saskia’s birthday.

October’s screening is curated by Saskia Wilson-Brown

Wrap Report: The Green Rush, September 2009

A near fiasco, with some clear heroes. And here’s why…

I arrive at the Echo Park Film Center at 7, and am immediately greeted by The Green Rush’s producer Jason Edwards, hanging out by his car, toting a cooler of beer. Co-producer Casey Casseday arrives soon thereafter, followed by person after person… after person.

I quickly realize that we’re going to be at capacity, again. Awesome.

Problem is: The Echo Park Film Center remains dark, and the padlock on their front gate ain’t getting any looser. I call them, email them, slam on the gate… But to no avail. No one is in.

It’s now 7:42, the crowd on the sidewalk is increasing, and I’m beginning to panic. I run next door to Machine Project, where my compadre Mark Allen & the lovely Michele are chilling in his window watching the crowd milling about outside.

‘Mark, Michele,’ I say ‘ Do you know where the EPFC folks are?’

Machine Project

They try to track down a phone number for me (which number has mysteriously disappeared from my phone, in an unrelated iphone auto-sync gripe). And then, suddenly I remember: Paolo & Lisa of the EPFC are in Eastern Europe. Logical deduction: Their assistant – who’s meant to run the screening – must have completely forgotten about it.

As I walk around on the sidewalk, panicking, trying to reassure Jason and Casey that it’ll all be fine, I look through Machine Project’s window and realize that they just happen to have their large screen set up. They also just happen to have the projector attached to the ceiling, pointed vaguely in the screen’s direction. I also notice that they just happen to have a laptop in the gallery- one which might perhaps work with the projector.

They also just happen to have 50-ish chairs set up in rows. Perhaps they might just happen to be kind enough to let us use the space?

I run inside and ask Michele the very leading question (with pleading eyes, no doubt): ‘Hey what the hell do you think I should do?’ She says: ‘Well… Have it here!’ – and up in the heavens somewhere, angels shed tears of joy and emotionally vow to be more like Michele.

So… Serendipity. The screening ends up going off very successfully, with most people seated (and a few standing) in a nicely air conditioned gallery sipping on Coors and champagne.Viva independent film.

Cinema Speakeasy: September edition

Thus, my special thanks this month goes most heartily to Mark Allen and Michele (lovely Michele) from Machine Project for being such gracious, last-minute hosts. Go check out their gallery (which I was and remain a big fan of thanks to their avant-garde programming) and give them some major major love on my behalf.

Thanks – also most heartily – to all who came and smiled and kindly pretending not to notice my panic. Awesome audience, with great Q&A questions, and a good sense of humor. Jason & Casey, also, are superstars.

Finally: Don’t forget to check in for the next edition. Our film will be unveiled soon.