On Thursday, October 10th, we partnered with Visit Seattle and Film Independent to host a screening of the third Seattle Story Award winning film, “The Claw.”
Taking place at the DGA New York Theater, the event kicked off with an intimate reception, featuring fresh fare from Chef Ethan Stowell of Seattle’s How to Cook a Wolf and New York City’s Wolf (to open soon), a selection of wines from Washington’s Three Rivers Winery, beer from Elysian Brewing and mocktails from DRY Soda. After the reception, guests enjoyed the film premiere followed by a Q&A between Rolling Stone editor Jerry Portwood, Lael Rogers (writer and director of “The Claw”) and Matty Brown (previous Seattle Story Award recipient and Film Independent committee member).
The Seattle Story Award recognizes an emerging, independent filmmaker who not only embodies diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision, but has a history of transforming people through rich stories — exactly what Seattle does for anyone who spends time there.
As the latest recipient, Rogers embodies all of these qualities while bringing a fresh female perspective to filmmaking. Her winning film, “The Claw,” is a short coming-of-age tale about the lead singer of a band who gets major performance anxiety before taking the stage that manifests in her growing a lobster claw for a hand. “The film is a metaphor for being uncomfortable,” explained Rogers. “It’s about anxiety and how you can write off that something is wrong until it becomes so present that you have to accept it.”
Living in Seattle and being surrounded by the city’s culture played a significant role in Rogers’ story. The film opens with a montage of the main character driving around the Pacific Northwest metropolis, showcasing West Seattle, downtown, the Chinatown-International District, and even smaller neighborhoods most movie-goers don’t typically see. The project was an entire Seattle arts community effort, explained Rogers. Brown added to her sentiment, stating that when he first moved to Seattle to explore filmmaking, he received tons of support from the arts community — a close-knit circle that helped bring him out of his shell. Rogers’ film goes on to highlight multiple Seattle landmarks as well as each cast member who has a tie to the city.
Rogers is a writer, director and creative director for Seattle-based studio All is Well. She directed the narrative short “COLLISION” (2015) and episodes 1-3 of the online series “Northern Belles” (2016-2017). Both projects played film festivals nationally. In addition, her short film “I SEE THROUGH YOU” (2018) premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival and is currently enjoying a successful national festival run. Rogers is now working on writing a few full-length films and is exploring what “The Claw” would be like as its own feature film. Check out “The Claw” on visitseattle.tv.