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USA | 1988 | 161 minutes | Clint Eastwood

February 20, 2020

Clint Eastwood's 1988 award-winning labor of love garnered star Forest Whitaker the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival and Eastwood himself was honored as the Best Director at the 1989 Golden Globes Awards. Set during the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, this biographical film traces the life of jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker—from his Bebop Jazz, to his drug problem and legal difficulties.


SIFF, KNKX, and Seattle Opera are partnering around Seattle Opera's production of "Charlie Parker's Yardbird" for this special screening event of Bird.

  • 6:30 PM - Pre-show discussion - KNKX's Jim Wilke will host and moderate a pre-show discussion with Seattle-based saxophonist and clarinetist Jacob Zimmerman and Seattle-based saxophonist and singer Stuart MacDonald. 
  • 7:00 PM - Film

Saxophone player Charlie "Bird" Parker (Forest Whitaker) comes to New York City in 1940. He is quickly noticed for his remarkable way of playing. He becomes a drug addict, but his loving wife Chan (Diane Venora) tries unsuccessfully to help him. This music-driven film was an Academy Award® winner for Best Sound.

"In this movie and its hot, fast bursts of bop, Charlie Parker gets a fitting elegy. As we watch, a life opens like a slit vein. The smoke curls. The sax cuts. The song pours out. Bird lives."—Michael Wilmington, The Los Angeles Times

  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Principal Cast: Forest Whitaker, Diane Venora, Michael Zelniker, Samuel E. Wright
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 1988
  • Running Time: 161 minutes
  • Producer: Clint Eastwood
  • Screenplay: Joel Oliansky
  • Cinematographers: Jack N. Green
  • Language: English


Stuart McDonald

Saxophonist and singer Stuart MacDonald is a Seattle native, with more than 25 years of experience as a performer, bandleader, and educator. Stuart has performed with a wide array of artists and groups, including: Bill Frisell, The Seattle Symphony, SRJO, Cuong Vu, Clinton Fearon, Andrew Cyrille, Ingrid Jensen, Patti LaBelle, Josh Groban, Aaron Parks, Frankie Valli, Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Seth MacFarlane, and many others.

As a teacher, Stuart has worked with students at the elementary, middle, high school, and collegiate levels, and is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest artist. Stuart continues to be passionate about directing ensembles of all sizes, and maintains an active private teaching studio. He was awarded a Master's Degree in Jazz and Improvised Music from the University of Washington in the Summer of 2018.

Jim Wilke

Jim Wilke has been producing live music recordings and broadcasts since 1962.  He has produced hundreds of live music broadcasts for NBC, NPR, KING-FM, KUOW, KPLU and KNKX (where you can hear Jim's show, Jazz Northwest every Sunday at 2 p.m.). The broadcasts have featured world-renowned artists ranging from classical chamber music and orchestra to jazz. The venues have ranged from intimate jazz clubs to concert halls and festivals. He is a member of The Recording Academy (NARAS) and The Jazz Journalists Association. 

Jim was producer and host of Jazz After Hours on Public Radio International for 30 years. The program received The Willis Conover/Marian McPartland Award for top national jazz program, and won the JazzTimes Readers Poll and Critics Poll. The programs have also reached an international audience via multiple internet streams with listeners in Europe, Africa, the Far East, Middle East, Australia and South America.

Jacob Zimmerman

Seattle-based saxophonist and clarinetist Jacob Zimmerman is an extremely versatile and integral part of the local creative-music community. Jacob studied music at the internationally renowned Garfield High School, the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and Mills College in Oakland. His teachers have included Roscoe Mitchell, Jerry Bergonzi, Joe Morris, and Anthony Coleman. Jacob was recognized as the "2013 Emerging Artist of Year" by Earshot Jazz.

As a bandleader, Jacob Zimmerman and His Pals can be seen performing jazz and improvised music from the early to mid 20th century at a variety of venues in the greater Seattle area. Zimmerman leads a trio every Tuesday at IL Bistro and also plays every Wednesday at The Pink Door. Zimmerman can frequently be seen playing traditional jazz for swing dancers in a variety of bands all over the world. His playing channels the spontaneous melodic spirit of his heroes: Bix Beiderbecke, Lester Young and Lee Konitz above all.