When you sit down and add up the running time of all the features, shorts and documentaries that were submitted to Longbaugh for consideration, there was something in the neighborhood of 350 hours' worth of viewing. Now, I'm not going to say I watched every single second of every single submission, but unlike the rest of Longbaugh's beloved screening committee, I saw a decent portion of every single film that came our way. And let me tell you, there was some crap that was so bad it defied reason. But thankfully, there were enough great films that none of you will have to endure the likes of...well, I won't name any names. Just know that I'm looking out for you.
Of course, the most frequently asked question I hear just weeks before the festival opens is "What films should I go see?" Honestly, unless I know you well enough to lend you money or have sex with you, it's pretty difficult to recommend one film in particular. Seriously, there are too many amazing films screening at Longbaugh to narrow it down to just one, and I don't want to get caught in the game of favoritism. If, however, you were only able to go to one event during all of Longbaugh (which, by the way, is April 6-9 at Cinema 21, the Clinton Street, Laurelhurst, Mission Theater and the Kennedy School), I would encourage you to go to the opening-night screening at Cinema 21.
This year Longbaugh kicks off Thursday, April 6, with an incredible film and a worthy cause. The critically acclaimed documentary So Much So Fast is one of the most compelling, emotionally resonant films in years. Directors Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan chronicle five years in the life of Stephen Heywood, a young man diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Rather than simply succumb to the crippling neurological disorder, Heywood and his family decide to meet the life-altering disease head-on. This showing of So Much So Fast will serve as a fundraising benefit for the ALS Center of Oregon, which works with individuals and families dealing with ALS.
So Much So Fast is one of more than 100 documentaries, shorts and features screening this year at Longbaugh (go to www.longbaugh.com for more information). If you're looking for one film I think you absolutely must see, take a look at the A-Z listings in this year's schedule, available all over town. The one movie you simply can't miss is listed in there. It's just up to you to figure out which one it is.