Showtime! Karl Krogstad meets Gus Van Sant

Filmmaker Karl Krogstad is a madcap embodiment of art for art's sake.

"The Dale Chisholms of the world are not about the work," he once said, "they're about the selling."

Krogstad, who works out of an undisclosed location - it's in a Capitol Hill landmark - has produced more than 60 works of film and video art since 1968. He's something of a Seattle art-house institution, but that's not slowing the 56-year-old producer and director down.

In May Krogstad launched his own cablecast program on the Seattle Channel (cable 21), "The American Avant Garde," and on Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m. he'll interview award-winning director Gus Van Sant.

Krogstad is excited about the prospect. Van Sant has directed "Goodwill Hunting," "Drugstore Cowboy" and "My Own Private Idaho."

"We're showing work people can't get anywhere else," Krogstad says of his program.

City council member Nick Licata helped Krogstad in his efforts to fund the show.

"To Whom It May Concern," Licata wrote in a letter on Krogstad's behalf last April, "Karl Krogstad may be unorthodox, but I believe his accomplishments in the work of filmmaking make him deserving of your money. Give it to him."

"Especially," the letter continues, "if Karl says he will spend it on his new television series."

Krogstad's films are informed by his love of the French Symbolist poets, including Rimbaud. His surrealist style is fast-paced, aggressive and intense. Critic Greg Olson has written of Krogstad's "brilliant light and color, and a musical sense of color rhythm, a child-like exuberance in playing images against each other."

"I'm totally driven by collage and poetry," Krogstad explains.

Seattle, never Hollywood, has been Krogstad's venue for his field of dreams.

"Unless you do two-hour features, there's no reason to go to L.A." he says. "I realized that I didn't want to be a part of that."

Krogstad, an energetic, focused man who speaks in short bursts, reflects: "Film has given me everything in life except a pot of money."

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