Seattle has a long and diverse history of grassroots campaigns, and the feature Grassroots, shot right here in town, tells the story of one such campaign. Directed by Stephen Gyllenhall, the film is based on the book Zioncheck for President, a true account of the quirky 2001 Seattle City Council race between Grant Cogswell and Richard McIver. Grassroots played recently at the SIFF closing night gala, but if you didn’t catch it then, you’ll have a chance to see it at the Harvard Exit when it opens on Friday, June 22 – a day Mayor McGinn has proclaimed “Grassroots Day” in Seattle. Stephen Gyllenhall is planning to attend all showings from Friday to Sunday. The production of Grassroots was made possible by the Washington State Film Incentives program.
After wrapping up 30 days of filming in Seattle last summer, hardly a peep has been heard from Stephen Gyllenhaal’s political comedy Grassroots. Starring Jason Biggs (American Pie) and Joel David Moore (Avatar), the film based on the quirky 2001 Seattle City Council race between Grant Cogswell and Richard McIver is showing signs of life. Gyllenhaal recently posted a video to the Grassroots YouTube page that answers some burning questions from fans. What we can say for sure: the film is in the final editing stages and has definite distribution, but it will not be premiering at SIFF, which takes place next month. Gyllenhaal does promise a big Seattle premiere for the film in support of the struggling Washington film incentive program. He also pointed at a release date around January 2012 to tie into the election primaries. So what can people expect in the meantime? Gyllenhaal hints at some Grassroots-themed contests leading up to the release of the film. Stay tuned (or, to quote the director, “involved”) to hear about future Grassroots updates.
Shooting wrapped in August for the feature film Grassroots, which was directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal and starred Jason Biggs and Joel David Moore. The story of the film is based on the life and political campaign of Grant Cogswell, a “poet-turned-activist-turned-politician-turned-filmmaker.” Cogswell, though not originally from Seattle, embraced the city with both arms as his true home, even tattooing Seattle’s symbol on his arm. His biography is fascinating, and reading it enhances one’s experience of the light-hearted film. This month’s issue of Seattle Met features a lengthy attempt at capturing the man behind Grassroots, Grant Cogswell. To read the full article, follow the link.
Though Grassroots features non-Seattle actors Jason Biggs, Cedric the Entertainer, Joel David Moore, Cobie Smulders, Tom Arnold and Emily Bergl, the film is truly a Seattle piece. With most of the crew, from Director of Photography down, being Seattle-based, the story about Grant Cogswell (former Stranger writer who ran for City Council) and shooting taking place in Capitol Hill, Seattle Center, King County Courthouse and Queen Anne, Grassroots truly embraces Seattle. The soundtrack even features contemporary local bands like Fences and Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band. Says director Stephen Gyllenhaal, “Toward the end, there’s a whole chorus shout to Seattle. … It’s a love story to Seattle.” To read the full article, follow the link.
Grant Cogswell, the former Stranger writer who ran for City Council, is the subject of Stephen Gyllenhaal’s Grassroots, which is still shooting here in Seattle. The writer has gone back to his Stranger roots and published an article about what it’s like to have a period of your life deconstructed and reenacted for the big screen. He writes, “People now have asked me a dozen times a day since I came back to Seattle last month what it feels like to have a movie being made about my life. They can’t imagine. I tell them neither can I, but it is nevertheless happening.” To read the full article, follow the link.
Northwest Film Forum
Could the Grassroots soundtrack be the iconic movie soundtrack of the 20-teens? The film, which is still shooting in Seattle about poet and music critic Grant Cogswell, announced that KEXP’s John “John in the Morning” Richards, in collaboration with Amy Lindsey and Alethia Austin, will be shaping the soundtrack. The trio will use local musicians, including Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band and others, to represent “the sound of Seattle 2001.” Richards explains, “The soundtrack is a love affair with Seattle…the kind of music Grant would have been listening to, mixed in with some of the best indie bands playing in Seattle today.” Music supervisor, Dave Meinert, adds, “It’s awesome to have these three working on Grassroots…together they have the unique knowledge and ability to bring the movie the great music it deserves.” To learn more about the music supervisors, follow the link.
Tonight’s your chance to meet the author of Zioncheck for President, the novel that inspired Stephan Gyllenhaal-directed Grassroots (currently filming in Seattle, starring Jason Biggs). As part of the Sorrento Hotel’s Penthouse Symposium series, author Phil Campbell and writer for The Stranger, Charles Mudede, will host a discussion about capturing the spirit of time and place in both words and film. The night will begin with a discussion of the Seattle film scene with Mudede. Campbell will follow with a reading from his new book, a global-warming satire set in Memphis, Tennessee. The event is free, but space is limited. For information about reservations, follow the Sorrento Hotel link.
Variety Magazine recently featured the Seattle-based project Grassroots. Jason Biggs (American Pie) and Joel David Moore (Avatar) star in the indie political comedy with Peggy Rajski producing through Matthew Brady’s MRB Productions. Stephen Gyllenhaal’s co-writing and directing, based on the memoir Zioncheck for President by Phil Campbell. Brady’s executive producing with Peggy Case and Robin Gurland co-producing. Biggs will portray a recently fired journalist who reluctantly agrees to spearhead the Seattle City Council campaign of his eccentric friend, played by Moore as a former pedicab driver with a burning passion for the Monorail. Gyllenhaal is probably best known for his film Losing Isaiah, starring Jessica Lange, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Halle Berry. Rajski won an Oscar for her directorial debut, Trevor, and her producing credits include Little Man Tate, The Grifters, and Brother From Another Planet. Grassroots is filming now through August around Seattle.