“An impressive work…a magnum opus.”
–Independent Feature Project, New York
“A captivating insight into profound philosophical questions.”
–True/False Film Festival Screening Committee
“Haunting and illuminating…a poetic meditation on the state of our world that
radiates with an emotional charge and a cautiously optimistic gaze towards the future.”
–John Trafton, Ph.D, Lecturer in Film Studies, Seattle University
“Mesmerizing…essential, stimulating, challenging ideas flow in visceral images.”
–Greg Olson, Author, David Lynch: Beautiful Dark, Film Curator, Seattle Art Museum
“Evocative, surreal…a slow fever dream.”
–Kaleena Kiff, Producer, Barney Thomson
Written, directed, filmed and edited by Rustin Thompson.
In this essay documentary, a globe-trotting cameraman sends letters, postcards and videos from his more than 38 years of travel to his former colleague and lover. She shares them with us in an intimate voice-over, as he reflects on his experiences and reframes them for a present in which democratic instability, climate catastrophe, capitalism, and runaway technology threatens the future of the planet. Despite a sense of hopelessness, everywhere he “sees images for a film I can make.” His restless need to document humanity is his own personal form of resistance.
Inspired by both Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil (1983) and the late Michael Glawogger and Monika Willi’s Untitled (2017).
Not yet available for public viewing.
My Mother Was Here
Written, directed, filmed and edited by Rustin Thompson.
Best Documentary, 2019 Tacoma Film Festival, Audience Award
Best Documentary by a Seattle Filmmaker, 2021, Seattle Film Festival
Official Selection of the 2019 Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
Official Selection of the Local Sightings Film Festival
Official Semifinalist in the Anderson Island Film Festival.
Donna is 84-years old. She lives alone on the property she’s owned for over half a century in rural Washington State, with a mobile home and a house that are both cluttered with junk. She exists on a school bus driver’s pension, social security, and Medicare. She’s never had a credit card, never voted, and never flown on an airplane. Quietly stubborn, she is estranged from all surviving members of her family, except for one–her son, the filmmaker–who rarely visits her. When her health begins to fail, she calls on him.
Learn more here.
30 Frames A Second
Protests. Riot police. Tear gas. Flaming dumpsters. In 1999, tens of thousands of American citizens claimed the streets of Seattle in a five-day protest that shut down the World Trade Organization. In 30 Frames A Second, Emmy award winning filmmaker Rustin Thompson chronicles his own political awakening in a first-person film the Village Voice called “a standout documentary,” the Chicago Reader said was “a must-see,” and the Chicago Sun-Times called “polished and provocative.” Up-close, immediate, raw, and incisive, this film shows what resistance can look like in the disruptive times we now live. Distributed by Gunpowder & Sky and Bullfrog Films.
Refugees fleeing the Shining Path terrorists build a new city called Manchay on the edge of Lima, Peru. A gift from an American family funds construction of the city’s first modern health clinic, inspiring other donors to send medical supplies. Against great odds, the clinic has thrived for 13 years. Award-winning writer-director Ann Hedreen traces the unlikely connection between the people of this asentamiento humano (human settlement), and her great-uncle, a Swedish-American pioneer of the Peruvian fishing industry. The film introduces a network of teachers, volunteers, medical professionals–and one very determined priest–who help these refugees carve a new life from an abandoned gravel pit in one of the world’s most sprawling megacities. With an estimated one-sixth of the world’s population now living in settlements like Manchay, Zona Intangible portrays the challenges facing one such community, and the complex ties between their future and a benefactor they never met. Distributed by Alexander Street Press.
The Church on Dauphine Street
From Jeff Shannon, The Seattle Times: “The Church on Dauphine Street follows a team of construction volunteers from Seattle (and other cities) as they rebuild a vital church and community center in storm-ravaged New Orleans. Covering a period from Hurricane Katrina’s deadly strike in late August 2005 to December of 2006. The film is about survival and hope in the midst of diligent reconstruction. It’s about life returning from a state of rancid, mud-caked lifelessness. It’s about spiritual and physical revival, and as one Katrina survivor observes, ‘It’s not about you, it’s about others. Tragedy teaches you that.’ This is their (Ann Hedreen and Rustin Thompson) best, most emotionally moving film to date, benefiting from the experience of making acclaimed documentaries like “Quick Brown Fox: An Alzheimer’s Story” and “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle.” Distributed by Gunpowder & Sky.
Quick Brown Fox
“Intimate and emotionally intense…a soul-searching quest to understand Alzheimer’s disease.” –Seattle Times
Who are you if you can’t remember who you are? Ann Hedreen’s mother started showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease at the barely-old age of 60. Though it started with small signs—forgetting what she was doing and losing her way home—the irreversible disease would change her and her family’s lives forever. Emmy-nominated QUICK BROWN FOX combines their moving personal journey with an insightful look at the science and politics of Alzheimer’s—a disease that now affects more than 44 million people worldwide. Distributed by Women Make Movies and Gunpowder & Sky.
“We, the Wenatchi Indians, wish to have our fishing and hunting rights restored to us in the Wenatchee Valley and forests.” (Chief John Harmelt, 1933).
False Promises makes an impassioned plea for the return of the land that was taken from the Wenatchi Indians of Washington State. For generations they lived and fished on their land. In 1855, they were offered a reservation under the terms of the Yakama Treaty. The US failed to honor that treaty as well as others which were made with the tribe. In 1937, Wenatchi chief John Harmelt died, but today his granddaughter and her children have taken up the fight. When will the US right this historical wrong?
With an Emmy-winning score by Lynette Westendorf, and directed, photographed and edited by award-winning filmmaker Rustin Thompson, False Promises is an elegiac and compelling story of injustice and hope. Distributed by Alexander Street Press.