The latest documentary from Seattle-based filmmakers Ewan McNicol and Anna Sandilands, Uncertain, makes its Seattle debut, this Friday, March 17 through Sunday, March 19 at Northwest Film Forum. Uncertain won the Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. McNicol and Sandilands will be at NWFF on Saturday, March 18 for a Q&A session following the screening.
The film follows three principle characters from the tiny, forgotten town of Uncertain, Texas: Population, 94. It’s not on the way to anything else, the Sherrif tells us. You have to know where to find it or be lost to get there. Also, its close proximity to the Louisiana border makes it a convenient refuge for fugitives looking to hide out behind state lines. Plus, an invasive, sticky weed grows unabated in the town’s lake, which disrupts the fishing industry and just might take the town under for good.
First up, we meet an older, widowed man named Henry Lewis as he makes his way through the swampy weeds on his daily fishing expedition. Weekly trips to church help Henry deal with tragic events from 30 years passed, along with a new girlfriend his children don’t like.
Next, there’s Zach Warren, a kid in his early 20s who desperately wants out of Uncertain, but like most people in this town, has limited options. Drinking only exacerbates Zach’s diabetes, but there’s not a whole hell of a lot else to do in this town, is there?
Finally, we have Wayne Smith, who’s moved to Uncertain with his girlfriend as a fresh start and a place to stay clean. Throughout the film, we follow his obsession to hunt down a smart boar named Mr. Ed. Who knew it was so hard to kill one animal? Anyway, Wayne’s ongoing struggle will convince you just how hard it is.
This is a beautifully shot, often funny snapshot into the lives of three people who, without films like these, we’d have no opportunity of meeting. Without any central narration to guide us through, the film feels like a cinematic story and a meditation. And finally, the overgrown swamp makes a perfect metaphor for every demon that grows unfettered inside of us—if we let them.
You can buy tickets online here. The film’s also available in VOD format starting this Friday, March 17.
Check out a trailer for Uncertain: