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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 6, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 06
Cinema Squabble a passionate local weekly conversation about film
Arts & Entertainment
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Cinema Squabble a passionate local weekly conversation about film

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

CINEMA SQUABBLE
WWW.CINEMASQUABBLE.COM


We'd been talking about it for a long time, a couple of years, even, a handful of local Seattle critics coming up with ideas and concepts for a show where we could talk about cinema in a way that felt electric, alive, informative and, most of all, fun for cinephile and random moviegoer alike. What would make things fresh? How would it be original? What did we have to say that would be any different from the glut of podcasts and YouTube videos that purported to do the exact same thing?

It suddenly occurred to all of us that putting together a show: it didn't need to be different, it didn't need to be unique, it just needed to showcase our distinctive personalities and points of view in much the same general way our pre-press and promo screening conversations did. It was that magic that needed to be captured, and all it took was Seattle radio personality Sprince Arbogast to point it out, '[You are all] so passionate about film,' she proudly stated to me during a recent conversation, 'I find your squabble intriguing.'

And thus was born Cinema Squabble, a Seattle-based podcast that brings together a quartet of the city's critics for 45 minutes of banter and bickering, discussing the ins and outs of cinematic topics ranging from the obvious (i.e. that weekend's new release or the Academy Awards) to the not nearly as well known (such as what happened at Sundance or VOD and independent releases that have flown under the proverbial radar). Produced by Arbogast, the show is moderated by longtime Q13 Fox morning television news traffic guru and former KPLU film critic Adam Gehrke. Completing the roundtable of cinematic authorities are veteran Seattle radio celebrity Brian Taibl, a.k.a. Brian the Movie Guy, and veteran Seattle Movie Examiner critic Brian Zitzelman, while yours truly, Seattle Gay News and Moviefreak.com critic Sara Michelle Fetters, completes the quartet.

'The concept of doing this podcast is something we've all talked about doing for years but never made the leap,' laughs Gehrke. 'With the New Year upon us and some goading from Sprince the stars and planets were finally in alignment and here we are. I'm thrilled that we've all been able to commit to some semblance of a recording schedule. I can't tell you how many podcasts I see get started but run out of gas. In our case, this has really been a lightning rod to rally around. In theaters where we used to talk and squabble about film now we're discussing what we want to bring to the podcast and what our next topics should be; that's exciting.'

'We're not two-plus people working for the same site with the same ideas in film,' adds Taibl. 'Each of us has a very specific taste in what we enjoy so we'll always be offering up four very unique perspectives. Sure, anybody can have a movie podcast; ours will be unique in that it's free, it educates, it entertains and you'll actually be able to find it.'

Only two episodes in, personally I can't help but feel as if Cinema Squabble is already firing on all cylinders. We've had complex discussions revolving around Oscar frontrunners like Boyhood and Birdman and tackled a few of the controversies swirling around recent releases like American Sniper and Selma. We've dissected one another's top ten lists from 2014 while also planting the seeds of everything we hope to look at throughout 2015. We've introduced new voices into the Seattle film community and analyzed why the city - so passionate about cinema - does not have a critics society and thus doesn't have much of a voice when awards season rolls around in December.

'I think Cinema Squabble gives such a wide variety of tastes that are debated in a warm, friendly atmosphere amongst friends though still with a solid base of cinematic knowledge to start from,' states Zitzelman. 'Too often you get one or the other; I think we offer both.'

'It's about the group,' agrees Arbogast. 'The chemistry in this gang is smack-dab on the button. They know their stuff. They're witty. They're funny. Most of all, they're real!'

As to where any of this is ultimately headed, none of us knows the answer to that. 'We're planning on having a semi-rotating panel of talented and interesting local critics join us on the show,' says Taibl. 'That should help keep things consistently interesting. But I also hope Cinema Squabble helps strengthen us - Seattle - as a cinematic society and puts [the city] on the map nationally.'

Zitzelman's answer isn't so complex. Laughing, he looks across the table, muttering softly in an endearingly squabble-ish tone, 'If I knew, I'd tell you, but I honestly don't have a clue. You should ask Adam, he's the traffic guy.'

Smiling with that patented television smile, Gehrke chuckles silently under his breath before he responds. 'I'd like to say that this is headed in the direction of a nationally syndicated program with million dollar ad accounts, limo rides for all and peeled grapes with bottles of Evian at each of our places around the table,' he smirks. 'But realistically? Like Brian Z., I have no idea. As long as we're having fun I'm not too concerned about the 'where' so much as I am about the 'how?' That's what I find interesting. It's what I'm looking forward to discovering.'

'I think this project can go wherever the gang wants to take it,' Arbogast says in something akin to a summation. 'It would be great to continue with the podcasts in hopes that they can become a staple in our listener's lives while hopefully adding surprise events, such as TV or live events in old movie theaters, stuff like that. We're talking about Cinema Squabblers who love film. The sky is the limit as far as I'm concerned.'

The Cinema Squabble podcast can be found at www.cinemasquabble.com and can be downloaded from the iTunes Store. It features the cinematic insights of Adam Gehrke, Brian 'the Movie Guy' Taibl, Brian Zitzelman and the SGN's own Sara Michelle Fetters and is produced by Sprince Arbogast.

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