PULLMAN, Wash. — Four Washington State University graduates are among
the producers of a feature film due to be released nationally to theaters later
“The Basket,” which was filmed in the Spokane region and near Kahlotus, was
produced by North By Northwest Productions of Spokane. It has been playing
in Spokane since August, where it has had impressive box office results and
reviews. The film was recently picked up by a theatrical distribution company
that expects to release the northwest production nationally in May.
“The Basket” is showing through Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Eastside
Marketplace Cinemas in Moscow, Idaho.
WSU alumni on the production team include producer-director Rich Cowan, a
1979 communication graduate from Kirkland; executive producer Greg
Rathvon, a 1978 business graduate from Darrington; co-writer Tessa Swoboda,
a 1993 interior design graduate from Spokane; and co-producer/production
manager Ian Kennedy, a 1997 communication alumnus from Olympia.
The movie, which won the Best Family and Children’s Film Award at last
year’s Breckenridge Festival of Film, stars Peter Coyote of “Patch Adams” and
“ET” fame, and Karen Allen of “Animal House” and “Raiders of the Last Ark.”
Also in the cast are Joey and Ellen Travolta, the brother and sister of actor
Set in the Northwest during World War I, “The Basket” tells the story of two
German orphans who face discrimination in a country that is at war with their
native land, and a new schoolteacher who introduces opera and the game of
basketball to teach tolerance and perseverance. The story grew out of
co-writer Cowan’s interest in how the game of basketball has changed since its
Both Cowan and Rathvon are partners in North By Northwest Productions,
which was founded in 1990. The company is a full-service video production
company, producing primarily commercials and corporate videos. In recent
years, the company also has been doing contract work on films and recently
completed a feature-length documentary on jazz photographer William Claxton.
“The Basket” is its first film to go into national distribution. The company’s
next effort, “Mel,” a family film starring an Animatronic turtle, is just being