Haida-Tlingit artist Robert Davidson is the subject of “Haida Modern,” the first selection in the year-round PTFF Pics series. (Photo courtesy of Tina Schliessler)

Haida-Tlingit artist Robert Davidson is the subject of “Haida Modern,” the first selection in the year-round PTFF Pics series. (Photo courtesy of Tina Schliessler)

New series to feature film, interviews with directors

New series begins with ‘Haida Modern’

PORT TOWNSEND — There is a Haida belief: Whatever we can imagine, we can create.

So reflects Robert Davidson, the artist at the center of “Haida Modern,” the first film to be chosen for a new Port Townsend Film Festival offering to start today.

PTFF Pics, available to anyone with $10 and an internet connection, is the new year-round series dreamed up by festival staff as a way to connect movie lovers with independent cinema and filmmakers.

So, along with streaming the 85-minute “Haida Modern,” viewers will have a chance to watch film festival executive director Janette Force interview its Canadian director, Charles Wilkinson.

This selection comes from the 2020 Port Townsend Film Festival, where it was among some 80 movies streamed in the first entirely online fall event.

“Haida Modern,” with its images of Davidson’s works of art and of his Haida Gwaii homelands, “is a tale for our time,” Force said.

“Robert Davidson’s journey is fascinating. I was truly touched by his story at the raising of his first pole that he carved with his family in Hydaburg.

“He says that his grandmother wanted to share a traditional dance, and asked his cousin to bring a brown paper bag. She cut holes for her eyes and danced with the bag on her head. He credits that moment for inspiring his lifelong journey as a traditional mask carver.”

Wilkinson, whom Force talks with for about 30 minutes, speaks of Davidson as a carver who brought indigenous art into the Pacific Northwest’s mainstream — and he has since become a world-renowned figure.

The artist and director first met when Wilkinson made “Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World,” an award-winning documentary.

Both “Haida Modern” and Force’s conversation with Wilkinson will be available for streaming through Jan. 10. Tickets are on sale via PTFilmfest.com.

“Each month we will select a film from one of our PTFF alumni directors, perhaps one that we have already screened or new work,” Force said.

“The films will stream for one week, and 50 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the filmmaker, one of the rare gifts that our online streaming has made possible.”

The Port Townsend Film Festival website also offers passes to Women & Film 2021, which will stream online April 23 through May 2.

“We’ll feature 16 films and hear from insightful female filmmakers,” said Force, who will be interviewing many of those women.


Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected].

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