Walking to Werner

Ex-local director Linas Phillips will present his 2006 documentary, in which the aspiring director emulates his idol, Werner Herzog, by filming his own foot journey from Seattle to L.A., where he hopes to meet the cranky German. A favorite at SIFF, which then found release and generally favorable reviews the following year, the film is based on Herzog's own 1974 trek from Munich to Paris—an act that Herzog thought would save an ill friend's life. Phillips' quest is more naive and personal; he's a likable guy looking for direction in life. His many roadside soliloquies are something like Richard Lee's public-access TV show Kurt Cobain Was Murdered. This forced intimacy is by turns fascinating, repellent, and comical. Still, we watch; and still, he marches on. But Phillips has the good sense to occasionally put the camera on the tripod and open up Werner into a panoramic road movie. When Herzog finally returns his cell phone calls and leaves a message, there's something undeniably joyous on Phillips' face when he hears that German-accented voice, no matter how Teutonically discouraging the words. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Nov. 7, 9:30 p.m., 2008

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