Closing Film: The Great Northwest

Sunday 23rd September / 7:30PM @ The Maltings Theatre & Cinema

The Great Northwest documents the re-creation of a 3,200 mile road trip made in 1958 by four Seattle women who thoroughly charted their journey in an elaborate scrapbook. Fifty years later, Portland-based artist and filmmaker Matt McCormick found that scrapbook in a thrift store, and in 2010 he set out to follow their route as precisely as possible, searching out every stop along the way.


Bev, Berta, Sissie and Clarice, all unmarried and in their late 30s, set out across the Pacific Northwest in a Plymouth and crisscrossed the region for nearly a month. Visiting tourist attractions and national parks in Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon, they explored this vast region just months before the construction of dams and the Interstate Highway system drastically changed the landscape. Along the way they took photographs, kept notes, collected menus, brochures, postcards and receipts – and gathered them all into their scrapbook.

Patiently shot with an observational approach and touches of humour, The Great Northwest is a lyrical time-capsule that explores the fragility of history while documenting the present day. Without narration or music, using only location sound recordings, the film paints a portrait of the region today while exploring how it has changed over the past 50 years. Documenting transformations in culture, architecture, and land use, it explores the urban-rural divide, the region’s relationship to natural resources, the history of roads and the impacts of changing infrastructure, and the impact of tourism on the history and development of the American West.


“A glorious celebration of roadside Americana, artist Matt McCormick’s beautiful and fascinating documentary may well appear a simple road trip on the surface, but in truth it is a delightful dip into the Northwest of the 1950s.”
– Mark Adams, Screen Internaitonal

Showing With
Bridge to Nowhere
Kim Stewart | UK | 2012 | 4min
A satirical look at the history of two of Glasgow's unfinished bridges. One, started in the 1960s, is now suspended in mid-air over a motorway. Explaining the history of the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ and its impact on local residents, the film concludes with a tongue-in-cheek proposal for the bridge’s regeneration.


Followed by a drinks reception in The Maltings Stage Door Bar, with a gramophone DJ set by Screen Bandita.

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Artist Matt McCormick Country USA Year 2011 Duration 76 minutes Cert Suggested 12a