Under the north end of the Aurora bridge is Seattle’s famous Fremont Troll – a one-eyed concrete monster clutching a Volkswagen, as if he’d just snatched it from Highway 99.
The 18-feet high, 13,000-pound troll now stars in a documentary called “The Hall of Giants – The Story of Fremont and the Troll.”
Filmmaker Michael Falcone said the movie is a cautionary tale about neighborhoods and cities growing estranged from their artistic roots.
“It’s not a unique tale to Fremont, but I think the movie exemplifies it pretty well,” Falcone told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “It was one of the surprises I learned while doing this film.”
The troll, Falcone had learned, was the artists’ protest against gentrification. When the troll was built in 1990, real estate values in Seattle had doubled.
During their research, the artists discovered a troll’s worst enemies were development and pollution.
“The idea was, put the statue under the bridge to kind of signify that,” Falcone said. “[The troll,] basically, pulled a VW Bug off the top of the bridge, and presumably is getting ready to consume it.”
The film reveals some insights about the troll most visitors might not know, too. For example, Falcone said the original draft of the troll looked an awful lot like Richard Nixon.
Falcone found that the artists were greatly affected by their work and as gentrification crept into Fremont, the artists crept out. “I don’t think any of those people live in Fremont anymore,” he said. “It was a moment in time, and the troll really captures that moment.”
“The Hall of Giants – The Story of Fremont and the Troll” premieres Thursday night at the SIFF Cinema at the Uptown 7:15.