Must-See Movies From Seattle TV Producer Jean Walkinshaw


faces of the city (1972)

Short vignettes (10-12 minutes) about unannounced locals, told in their own voice: a black stewardess sailing in sometimes hostile skies, a middle-aged mother beset by adult poliomyelitis (a surprisingly unsentimental snapshot of living with a disability), a Makah young woman attending the University of Washington – stories that are all the more moving for being clear. Walkinshaw’s inspiration for the series, Studs Terkel, responded by saying: “faces of the city captures with unsettling insight the underlying sensation of the individual at a time when individuality is so rare…. It is a poetic documentary in the best sense of the term.

Three artists in the North West (1976)

A contrasting study by Guy Anderson, George Tsutakawa and Theodore Roethke (see a portrait of Roethke also in his “Remarkable People” collection). Walkinshaw and his photographer, Wayne Sourbeer, seek the lyrical in their visual treatment here – and plead their cause – but equally telling is the inclusion of the everyday: the “mystical” painter Anderson doing the dishes in his cubicle, or Tsutakawa grating vegetables while describing his wife’s tendency to kick him out of the kitchen so she could carry on to cook.

winter brothers (1982)

Walkinshaw was impressed by Ivan Doig’s 1980 book winter brothers, in which the author weaves stories of his life and of Port Townsend with diaries of James Gilchrist Swan (obstinate chronicler of Neah Bay in the 19th century and the Makah Indians who lived there). The trials inspired Walkinshaw to create a typical northwest documentary, in which Doig navigates through drizzly locales and elegant prose (“Nature here tries a bit of everything green”). Doig later said of Walkinshaw, “In her work and her personality…she kept faith with the terrain that produced her.”


Comments are closed.