Early in his career, Bobcat Goldthwait was a scratchy-voiced comedian and actor with a penchant for screaming. Those of a certain age might remember him from such film roles as Zeb in Police Academy 2. For the past 25 years, Goldthwait has been quietly—relatively speaking—spending time behind the camera. He’s been writing and directing darkly comic independent films including 2009’s World’s Greatest Dad, starring Robin Williams. Williams played a high-school teacher who turns his life around after the death of a student.
On Nov. 12, Goldthwait will be a guest at the 33rd-annual Olympia Film Festival, where he’ll receive an award for outstanding achievement in directing at a screening of Dad.
Funny thing: Williams’ character teaches poetry, à la Dead Poets Society. Though Williams was a longtime friend, Goldthwait didn’t write the role for the actor, who committed suicide in 2014.
Goldthwait’s proud of Dad, which was filmed in Seattle. “Out of all the movies I’ve made so far, with that one I got pretty close to what I hoped the movie would be,” he said in a phone interview last week. Many of Goldthwait’s films have gotten mixed reviews, but he turned things around with last year’s Call Me Lucky, a documentary about fellow comedian and friend Barry Crimmins. Call Me Lucky was a hit at Sundance, and Goldthwait is adapting it into a feature film. Yet the director, who still does stand-up, doesn’t expect his indie career to eclipse his past mainstream success.
“I’d like to think that when I die,” he said, “my obituary will talk about how many movies I had at Sundance, but the reality is it’s going to be a picture of me in a police uniform.” Thus, a directing award from a small festival means a lot to him. “I’m touched,” he said. “I’m not that jaded.”
“We’re honored that he accepted our invitation,” said Harry Reetz, programmer for the Olympia Film Festival. “The response has been super enthusiastic. Everybody loves Bobcat.”
UPDATED: On November 11, Olympia Film Society announced that OLY ARTS managing editor Christian Carvajal will be the moderator for this event.
What: World’s Greatest Dad
Where: Capitol Theater,
206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12
How much: $10-$15
Learn more: 360-754-6670 | Olympia Film Society