“In Country”: a film by CityArtist Mike Attie

On certain weekends, there is a war happening in the remote Oregon forest. The Vietnam War. For a few days at a time throughout the year, American veterans will gather in these Pacific Northwest forests, guns filled with blanks, and reenact aspects of the infamous war that took place during the late 1960’s.

Why do these people, these veterans, want to relive the experiences of war? CityArtist Mike Attie and co-director Meghan O’Hara, in full period regalia (except their modern age cameras), is there, to tell the stories of these men, and to create documentary film In Country. This documentary will start to answer some of these questions, and thus, create a better understanding of the concept of war as a whole, by understanding and unpacking both the camaraderie that happens on the battlefield to the unraveling psyches of those participating fighters.

Unlike the Civil War reenactments that may come to mind, these battles are very different from the performances at Gettysburg. What these men do are not meant for a public audience, so viewing them in In Country will be the first chance for many to witness these replications of wartime. To gain this type of access, Attie described the amount of trust he had to earn from these men, as documentary filmmaking, especially in a recreation of Vietnam in the late 60’s, is a serious, immersive experience.

Turn a full 360 degrees with Mike Attie & Meghan O’Hara as they go from living out of backpacks, sleeping in mud during shoots, to sitting in a meeting in New York City with the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program (Yes, that Sundance). Here, the Institute invited Attie and O’Hara to apply to a post-production grant, which such highly regarded docs such as The Square and Queen of Versailles have received in past years. Last week, it was announced that In Country was one of the recipients of this grant. Between raising $26,445 on their Kickstarter (which was $10,000 over their goal!), receiving grants from our Office, 4culture, and many other film festivals, we’re really proud of Attie & O’Hara, and we are glad to be one of the many contributors to their film’s success. The documentary is having it’s premiere in Durham at Full Frame Fest, and will then be shown in Sarasota, Boston and Toronto. Watch for a release date in Seattle, to be determined soon!

The CityArtist program supports the development and presentation of work by independent Seattle-based artists. The Office of Arts & Culture will post/share stories about the CityArtist’s works in-progress based on interviews and site visits by staff members Annie Holden and Irene Gómez. Learn more about the CityArtist grant here, and read more CityArtist stories here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All photos are stills from In Country, courtesy Mike Attie.

 

 

“Universal Signs of Life” goes up in Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery

On April 17th, Universal Signs of Life goes up in the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery in the Seattle Municipal Tower! This exhibit will feature new and selected paintings by Rajaa Gharbi. Rajaa Gharbi, a multidisciplinary artist, was raised in Tunisia, and has also lived in Morocco. She moves between Tunis and Seattle, where she creates artwork, poetry, occasionally acts in films, and explores her passion for the history of language.

About her work, Gharbi writes, “I use letters and language signs to draw and paint, almost every line is like a letter or a symbol. Old scripts have influenced my work. My work is very calligraphic but it’s my own calligraphic style…This is my way to reinterpret what is already there.”

The artist reception will include a poetry reading and music, and will take place on Thursday, April 24, from 11:30am-1:30pm. The exhibit will be up until July 15th, so be sure to come in and take a look next time you’re downtown!

Image pictured: Contractions in the Homeland by Rajaa Gharbi, 2011
Courtesy of the artist.