SIFF 2018: Stop me before I screen again!

The 44th Annual Seattle International Film Festival opens on Thursday, May 17, with the opening night gala presentation of Goya-winning feature The Bookshop with Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, and Bill Nighy from Spanish filmmaker Isabel Coixet. As in previous years, it launches at McCaw Hall and is followed by the opening night party.

24 days later, it closes on a local focus with Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, adapted from the memoir of Portland cartoonist John Callahan (played in the film by Joaquin Phoenix) and directed by Portland-based filmmaker Gus Van Sant, at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian on Sunday, June 10.

In between, 248 features (including 66 documentaries), 164 short films, and 21 VR/360 works from 90 countries are scheduled to screen across 12 venues in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Shoreline. (These numbers are subject to change as additional films may be added at the last minute, and in rare cases films may be withdrawn or cancelled).

There are films for kids and families, special showcases of African, Asian, and Latin American cinema, focused collections of films on music and food culture, archival screenings, and special events.

There will be previews and reviews galore in the coming weeks, with spotlights on the big gala screenings with parties (there’s a bunch of them), films with guests, special presentations, and favorite films. Parallax View will be providing out annual guide to the guides, so to speak, with links to coverage across the web. Meanwhile, we’ll offer out own look at the highlights from the upcoming festival, still the biggest, longest, and most highly-attended film festival in the United States.

Cinephilia:

I have always nurtured a fondness for films about cinema, both narrative and documentary, along with the archival presentations at SIFF. Both are back this year.

In the dramatic category is Godard Mon Amour from Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), his take on the tempestuous romance between French nouvelle vague legend Jean-Luc Godard (played by Louis Garrel) and his new muse Anne Wiazemsky (Stacy Martin) as the filmmaker moved into his most radical and revolutionary phase, and the decidedly more family friendly Supa Moda, a drama from Kenya about a town that makes the dreams of a terminally ill girl come true through the magic of cinema.

Documentaries include Hal, on underrated American director Hal Ashby (it plays the same weekend as an archival screening of his classic Being There, 1979), and The Greenaway Alphabet, a portrait of the unconventional filmmaker Peter Greenaway directed by his wife, multimedia artist Saskia Boddeke, with interviews conducted by their daughter, plus Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, on the Japanese musician and composer who (among his many musical achievements) scored dozens of films and won an Oscar for The Last Emperor.

There are new restorations of Jean Renoir’s The Crime of Monsieur Lange (France, 1936) and Kenji Mizoguchi’s Sansho the Bailiff (Japan, 1954), special screenings of the original, uncut TV mini-series version of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day (Germany, 1972), which indeed run eight hours, and a new 4K restoration of the 1980 ghost story The Changeling, which was set in partially shot in Seattle.

Special events:

Melanie Lynskey, who stars in Seattle filmmaker Megan Griffith’s new film Sadie, will appear with the film and in a special “An Afternoon With” Q&A conducted by Griffiths on Sunday, May 27, and Ethan Hawke will be honored with the “Outstanding Achievement in Cinema” award and feted with an audience Q&A accompanying a screening of the documentary Blaze, which he directed, on Friday, June 8 (both at SIFF Cinema Egyptian).

Seattle’s DJ NicFit remixes the cult movie Highlander with a soundtrack of songs from Queen (replacing those awkward reading from Christopher Lambert) (Wednesday, May 23, SIFF Cinema Egyptian) and Seattle rock band My Goodness will play live to the 1911 silent Italian spectacle L’Inferno (Thursday, May 31, The Triple Door).

Favorite filmmakers:

Here’s a subjective category, and I’ve only begun to study the schedule, but there are a few films from filmmakers I first discovered thanks to SIFF and continue to follow through the festivals. Here are just a few films from returning SIFF vets that I’m most for:

  • The Third Murder from Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-Eda (his debut feature Mabarosi played SIFF 1996);
  • A Man of Integrity from Mohammad Rasoulof, the Iranian director of such daring statements as The White Meadow and Manuscripts Don’t Burn;
  • Let the Sunshine In from Claire Denis is currently playing on VOD but her films deserve the big screen;
  • First Reformed, hailed as a return to form for Paul Schrader, should play theaters but given the state of distribution, can we even count on that?

The complete schedule is now live on the SIFF website and tickets are currently on sale for SIFF members and will be available for purchase on Thursday, May 3 for the general public. Free festival guides will be available at SIFF theaters and Starbucks locations later this week.

The SIFF 2018 website is here (bookmark it for updates) and SIFF programmers have offered up their picks here.

Parallax View will continue its tradition of gathering the best SIFF coverage in a curated guide to web resources beginning opening weekend.

The complete press release is included below the trailer.

SIFF ANNOUNCES LINEUP FOR 44th ANNUAL SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

 

6 World, 32 North American, and 16 US Feature Premieres Festival Tributes to Ethan Hawke and Melanie Lynskey Gala Screenings ofThe Bookshop, Sorry to Bother You, and Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

 

SEATTLE – Wednesday, May 2, 2018 — The Seattle International Film Festival, the largest and most highly attended festival in the United States, announced today the complete lineup of films, guests, and events for the 44th annual 25-day Festival that runs May 17 – June 10, 2018.

This year, SIFF will screen 433 films representing 90 countries and will include: 168 features (plus 4 secret films), 66 documentaries, 10 archival films, 164 shorts, and 21 VR/360 works. The lineup includes 35 World premieres (6 features, 29 shorts), 46 North American premieres (32 features, 14 shorts), and 25 US. premieres (16 features, 9 shorts).

Opening night kicks off Thursday, May 17 with The Bookshop from acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Isabel Coixet (Learning to Drive, Elegy), distributed by Greenwich Entertainment. The film is set in a seaside village in England where a grieving widow (Emily Mortimer) pursues her lifelong dream of opening a bookshop. She introduces the townsfolk to the world’s best literature and stirs a cultural awakening, but her efforts are ruthlessly opposed by a powerful local (Patricia Clarkson) causing a reclusive resident (Bill Nighy) to join the fight to keep the bookshop open. The film is based on the bestselling novel by Penelope Fitzgerald.

The annual Centerpiece Gala, Sorry to Bother You, pulls no punches in its portrayal of racial dynamics in the workplace. This new film ushers in an utterly original and wildly creative new voice on the film scene from debut director and musician Boots Riley. Director Boots Riley is scheduled to attend the Seattle premiere to take place Saturday, June 2, at 5:30 PM, at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian.

The Seattle premiere of Ethan Hawke’s Blaze will also screen at the historic SIFF Cinema Egyptian as SIFF honors Mr. Hawke’s work with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. In addition to the award presentation and screening, the acclaimed actor is slated for an on-stage interview at the Friday, June 8 event.

Also scheduled is An Afternoon with Melanie Lynskey, where the Festival pays tribute to this celebrated actress. The iconic scene-stealing actress makes her way to SIFF on Sunday, May 27 for the Seattle premiere of Northwest Filmmaker Megan Griffiths’ film Sadie with an onstage discussion following the film.

Seattle favorite, Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, closes SIFF 2018 with a bang! Starring Joaquin Phoenix in a transformative performance as Portland cartoonist John Callahan who, after a car accident leaves him disabled, uses his sardonic humor and brutal honesty to battle with a lifetime of addiction.

“Sifting through over 4,000 film submissions each year, finding just 240 features is somewhat of a treasure hunt,” said SIFF Artistic Director Beth Barrett. “We’re looking for dynamic, diverse stories. This year, we’re overjoyed to share that over 43-percent of the feature films are female directed. We’re thrilled to jump into the 44th Festival and share these voices from around the globe with over 150,000 film enthusiasts in Seattle over the course of 25 days.”

SIFF’s film line up is accompanied by industry forums, film development programs, the SIFF Lounge and a host of other complementary Festival activities, all found at siff.net.

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival is presented by SIFF, the non-profit arts organization that reaches more than 350,000 annually through SIFF Cinema, SIFF Education, and the annual flagship Festival.

Festival Box Office opens May 3 online at siff.net and in person at any year round SIFF Box Office. View the full public program here: www.siff.net/festival

 

GALAS

Opening Night Gala
The Bookshop
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 7:00 PM – Party to follow screening
FILM: MARION OLIVER MCCAW HALL
PARTY: FISHER PAVILION

Spanish director Isabel Coixet heads to the English coast circa 1959, where a headstrong widow (Emily Mortimer) opens a bookstore in a sleepy village and encounters both pride and prejudice from the provincial locals. Winner of Best Film, Director, and Screenplay at Spain’s Goya Awards.

(d: Isabel Coixet c: Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, Patricia Clarkson, Julie Christie, Hunter Tremayne, United Kingdom 2017, 110 min)

Centerpiece Gala
Sorry to Bother You

SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 5:30 PM – Party to follow screening
FILM: SIFF CINEMA EGYPTIAN
PARTY: DAR RAINIER CHAPTER HOUSE

Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Armie Hammer star in the exhilarating directorial debut of musician Boots Riley, a biting and bonkers satire that follows a black telemarketer who discovers an unknown skill which gives him magical selling powers that shoot him up the corporate ladder. (d: Boots Riley c: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, Jermaine Fowler, Armie Hammer, Omari Hardwick, David Cross, Danny Glover, USA 2018, 112 min)

Closing Night Gala
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot
SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 6:00 PM – Party to follow screening
FILM: SIFF CINEMA EGYPTIAN
PARTY: MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND INDUSTRY (MOHAI)

Joaquin Phoenix gives a transformative performance in Gus Van Sant’s sensitive and caustically funny portrait of Portland cartoonist John Callahan who, after a car accident leaves him disabled, uses his sardonic humor and brutal honesty to battle with a lifetime of addiction. The outstanding supporting cast includes Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, and musician Beth Ditto in her impressive film debut.
(d: Gus Van Sant c: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Beth Ditto, USA 2018, 113 min)

SPECIAL GUESTS

AN AFTERNOON WITH
Melanie Lynskey
SUNDAY, MAY 27, 2:30 PM
FILM: Sadie
SCREENING | Q&A: SIFF CINEMA EGYPTIAN

Since making her debut at age 16 opposite a young Kate Winslet in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, the New Zealand-born Melanie Lynskey has become one of American cinema’s most reliable character actors. From Ever After: A Cinderella Story to Shattered Glass, The Informant! to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Hello I Must Be Going to I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, and TV work ranging from HBO’s “Togetherness” and “Animals” and Cartoon Network’s “Over the Garden Wall” to 12 years on CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” her passionate dedication to her craft has created a class of charismatic characters defined by their grace, sensitivity, quirkiness, and kindness. This afternoon, SIFF will welcome her to the stage for an interview featuring film clips from her career, followed by a screening of one of Lynskey’s latest films, Sadie, directed by Seattle-based Megan Griffiths (The Night Stalker, Lucky Them, Eden), with music by Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. There will also be an opportunity for audience questions following the screening.

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMA
A Tribute to Ethan Hawke
FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 7:30 PM
FILM: Blaze
SCREENING | Q&A: SIFF CINEMA EGYPTIAN

A modern day renaissance artist, Ethan Hawke’s creative talent continues to flourish in several realms of expression. An actor, screenwriter, novelist, and filmmaker, his body of work is broad as it is deep in a career that now spans three decades. From portraying a rock-steady police sergeant and cowboy, to a sensitive teenage poet and young heartthrob, his versatility as an actor is renowned, cementing him as one of the great performers of this generation.

SIFF is proud to present Ethan Hawke with the Seattle International Film Festival Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. A Q&A with Hawke will follow the screening of his new film, Blaze.

Past honorees of the SIFF Outstanding Achievement Awards include Anjelica Huston, Laura Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Viggo Mortensen, Kyle MacLachlan, Sir Ben Kingsley, Kevin Bacon, Edward Norton, Sissy Spacek, Joan Allen, Spike Lee, among others.
FILMS WITH PARTIES

Saturday Film and Party
The Cake General, North American Premiere
SATURDAY, MAY 19, 5:30 PM – Party to follow screening
FILM: MAJESTIC BAY
PARTY: NORDIC MUSEUM

Based on a true story, the directorial debut of popular Swedish personalities Filip and Fredrik is an outrageous, unconventional comedy set in the 1980s about an eccentric resident of “the most boring town in Sweden” who decides to put his sleepy hamlet on the map by assembling the world’s longest layer cake.
(d: Filip Hammar, Fredrik Wikingsson c: Mikael Perssbrandt, Helena Bergström, Agnes Lindström Bolmgren, Tomas von Brömssen, Sweden 2018, 101 min)

Saturday Film and Party
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
SATURDAY, MAY 26, 6:00 PM – Party to follow screening
FILM: SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN
PARTY: THE HOUSE STUDIOS

Oscar®-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom) presents the heartwarming life of Fred Rogers, whose cherished PBS series, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” used cardigans, puppets, and the Land of Make-Believe to imaginatively and compassionately inspire children, while not shying away from complicated issues.
(d: Morgan Neville f: Fred Rogers, USA 2018, 93 min)

Kirkland Opening Night
The Drummer and the Keeper
THURSDAY, MAY 31, 8:00 PM – Party to precede screening
PARTY AND FILM: KIRKLAND PERFORMANCE CENTER

When a drummer for an up-and-coming Dublin rock band is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he is forced to join a weekend mixed-ability soccer team and makes fast friends with a 17-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome in this poignant and charming bro-com between two odd and lonely souls.
(d: Nick Kelly c: Dermot Murphy, Jacob McCarthy, Peter Coonan, Ireland/USA 2017, 93 min)

SPECIAL PRESENTATION

L’INFERNO WITH LIVE SCORE BY MY GOODNESS
Thursday, May 31  | 7:00 PM | The Triple Door

Seattle rock band My Goodness bring their expansive blues-inspired sound to The Triple Door for a live accompaniment to the 1911 Italian silent film, a macabre tour de force inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” featuring ground-breaking special effects and a cast of thousands.

SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATIONS

HIGHLANDER WITH LIVE SOUNDTRACK BY DJ NICFIT
Wednesday, May 23  | 6:30 PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

When originally released in 1986, this franchise-inspiring fantasy adventure about an immortal Scottish swordsman featured a handful of new songs from rock icons Queen. Now, Seattle’s own DJ NicFit reimagines the cult classic with a decades-spanning all-Queen playlist performed live on two turntables.

FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL: CHERISHED GEMS
Wednesday, June 6  | 9:15 PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Ranging from industrial training videos to forsaken home movies, comedians Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher’s vast VHS library features the world’s largest collection of strange, outrageous, and profoundly stupid videos, the best (and worst) of which they have carefully curated and present along with live comedy commentary.

EIGHTH GRADE

Saturday June, 9, 6:30 PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sunday, June 10, 12:30 PM |  SIFF Cinema Uptown

Newcomer Elsie Fisher, in a star-making performance, perfectly captures the everyday humiliations and triumphs of a modern-day thirteen-year-old making her way through the last week of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year in the auspicious filmmaking debut of comedian Bo Burnham.

FEATURE FILM PREMIERES

World Premieres (6)
Ballet Now (d: Steven Cantor, USA 2018)
The Devil’s Doorway (d: Aislinn Clarke, United Kingdom 2018)
The Faces of Zandra Rhodes (d: David Wiesehan, USA 2018)
It Will Be Chaos (d: Lorena Luciano, Filippo Piscopo, USA 2018)
The Most Dangerous Year (d: Vlada Knowlton, USA 2018)
The Story of ‘72 (d: Prabin Syangbo, Nepal/South Africa 2018)

North American Premieres (32)
Cake General (d: Filip Hammar, Fredrik Wikingsson, Sweden 2018)
Champions (d: Javier Fesser, Spain 2018)
Chedeng & Apple (d: Rae Red, Fatrick Tabada, Philippines 2018)
Cook Off (d: Tomas L. Brickhill, Zimbabwe 2017)
Death of a Poetess (d: Dana Goldberg, Efrat Mishori, Israel 2017)
Ellen (d: Daryne Joshua, South Africa 2017)
The Empty Hands (d: Chapman To, Hong Kong 2017)
Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil (d: Paul Urkijo Alijo, Spain/France 2017)
Falling (d: Marina Stepanska, Ukraine/Italy 2017)
Garbage (d: Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee), India 2018)
Genesis (d: Árpád Bogdán, Hungary 2018)
Girls Always Happy (d: Mingming Yang, China 2018)
A Good Week for Democracy (d: Cecilia Björk, Sweden 2018)
The Greenaway Alphabet (d: Saskia Boddeke, Netherlands 2017)
Hot Mess (d: Lucy Coleman, Australia 2017)
I Miss You When I See You (d: Simon Chung, Hong Kong 2018)
In Praise of Nothing (d: Boris Mitic, Serbia/France/Croatia 2017)
Last Child (d: Dong-seok Shin, South Korea 2017)
Little Tito and the Aliens (d: Paola Randi, Italy 2017)
Maki’la (d: Machérie Ekwa Bahango, Democratic Republic of Congo 2018)
Marilyn (d: Martín Rodriguez Redondo, Argentina/Chile 2018)
The Most Unknown (d: Ian Cheney, Belgium/Costa Rica/Italy 2018)
Nearest and Dearest (d: Ksenia Zueva, Russia 2017)
New Turn (d: Doris Wong, Hong Kong/Taiwan 2017)
Pig (d: Mani Haghighi, Iran 2018)
The Poetess (d: Stefanie Brockhaus, Andreas Wolff, Germany/Saudi Arabia 2017)
The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (d: Muayad Alayan,
Palestine/Netherlands/Germany/Mexico 2018)
Retablo (d: Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio L., Peru/Germany/Norway 2018)
Something Useful (d: Pelin Esmer, Turkey/France/Netherlands/Germany 2017)
The Taste of Betel Nut (d: Jia Hu, China/Hong Kong 2017)
The Widowed Witch (d: Chengjie Cai, China 2018)
Wrath of Silence (d: Yukun Xin, China 2017)

US Premieres (16)
Afghan Cycles (d: Sarah Menzies, USA/France/Afghanistan 2018)
The Captain (d: Robert Schwentke, Germany/Poland/Portugal/France 2017)
Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (d: Aaron Hancox, Michael McNamara, Canada 2018)
Doubtful (d: Eliran Elia, Israel 2017)
The Heiresses (d: Marcelo Martinessi, Paraguay/Uruguay/Germany/Brazil/Norway/France 2018
Luk’Luk’I (d: Wayne Wapeemukwa, Canada 2017)
No Bed of Roses (d: Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, Bangladesh/India 2017)
Noble Earth (d: Ursula Grisham, USA 2017)
One of These Days (d: Nadim Tabet, Lebanon/Qatar 2017)
The Return (d: Malene Choi, Denmark 2018)
Sashinka (d: Kristina Wagenbauer, Canada (Québec) 2017)
Shuttle Life (d: Tan Seng Kiat, Malaysia 2017)
The Silk and the Flame (d: Jordan Schiele, USA/China 2018)
Susu (d: Yixi Sun, China/United Kingdom 2017)
Unarmed Verses (d: Charles Officer, Canada 2017)
Warrior Women (d: Elizabeth A. Castle, Christina D. King, USA 2018)

COMPETITIONS

Official Competition
Juried by a team of international industry members, the Official Competition recognizes distinct and resonant voices in filmmaking from around the world. The Grand Jury Prize Winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

2018 Entries:
The Devil’s Doorway (d: Aislinn Clarke, United Kingdom 2018, World Premiere)
Garbage (d: Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee), India 2018, North American Premiere)
The Heiresses (d: Marcelo Martinessi, Paraguay/Uruguay/Germany/Brazil/Norway/France 2018, US Premiere)
Leave No Trace (d: Debra Granik, USA 2018)
Luna (d: Elsa Diringer, France 2017)
Pig (d: Mani Haghighi, Iran 2018, North American Premiere)
The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (d: Muayad Alayan, Palestine/Netherlands/Germany/Mexico 2018, North American Premiere)
Something Useful (d: Pelin Esmer, Turkey/France/Netherlands/Germany 2017, North American Premiere)
Team Hurricane (d. Annika Berg, Denmark 2017)

New Directors Competition
Festival programmers select 10 films remarkable for their original scripts, innovative cinematography, and unique insights into people, places, and story. To be eligible, films must be a director’s first or second feature and without U.S. distribution at the time of their selection. The Grand Jury Prize Winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

2018 Entries:
After the War (d: Annarita Zambrano, France/Italy/Belgium/Switzerland 2017)
Amateurs (d: Gabriela Pichler, Sweden 2018)
The Blessed (d: Sofia Djama, France/Belgium 2017)
The Charmer (d: Milad Alami, Denmark/Sweden 2017)
Dead Pigs (d: Cathy Yan, China/USA 2018)
Retablo (d: Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio L., Peru/Germany/Norway 2018, North American Premiere)
Sashinka (d: Kristina Wagenbauer, Canada (Québec) 2017, US Premiere)
Scary Mother (d: Ana Urushadze, Georgia/Estonia 2017)
Shuttle Life (d: Tan Seng Kiat, Malaysia 2017, US Premiere)
Supa Modo (d: Likarion Wainaina, Kenya/Germany 2018)

Ibero-American Competition
The Ibero-American Competition selects 9 outstanding films from Latin America, Spain, and Portugal to highlight the increasing power, creativity, and influence of storytelling in the region. To be eligible, films must be without U.S. distribution at the time of their selection. The Grand Jury Prize Winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

2018 Entries:
Champions (d: Javier Fesser, Spain 2018, North American Premiere)
Giant (d: Jon Garan?o, Aitor Arregi, Spain 2017)
Gold Seekers (d: Juan Carlos Maneglia, Tana Schémbori, Paraguay 2017)
Killing Jesus (d: Laura Mora Ortega, Colombia/Argentina 2017)
Lots of Kids, A Monkey and a Castle (d: Gustavo Salmerón, Spain 2017)
Marilyn (d: Marti?n Rodriguez, Argentina/Chile 2018, North American Premiere)
Rush Hour (d: Luciana Kaplan, Mexico 2017)
Rust (d: Aly Muritiba, Brazil 2018)
Virus Tropical (d: Santiago Caicedo, Colombia/Ecuador 2017)

New American Cinema Competition
Each of these films has found a champion in the SIFF programming team and was selected for its potential to capture the hearts of audiences looking to explore the exciting vanguard of New American Cinema. Jury is comprised of three members from the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI). The Grand Jury Prize Winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

2018 Entries:
Jinn (d: Nijla Mu’min, USA 2018)
My Name Is Myeisha (d: Gus Krieger, USA 2018)
Noble Earth (d: Ursula Grisham, USA 2017, US Premiere)
Prospect (d: Zeek Earl, Chris Caldwell, USA/Canada 2018)
Sadie (d: Megan Griffiths, USA 2018)
Thunder Road (d: Jim Cummings, USA 2018)
Tyrel (d: Sebastián Silva, USA 2018)
Wild Nights With Emily (d: Madeleine Olnek, USA 2018)

Documentary Competition
For the documentarian, the world around us provides a seemingly inexhaustible source of material. From the ridiculous to the sublime and everything in between, documentary art is about showing the world how it is, how it was, and how it could be. The Grand Jury Prize Winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

2018 Entries:

Afghan Cycles (d: Sarah Menzies, USA/France/Afghanistan 2018, US Premiere)
Inventing Tomorrow (d: Laura Nix, USA 2018)
MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. (d: Stephen Loveridge, Sri Lanka/United Kingdom/USA 2018)
People’s Republic of Desire (d: Hao Wu, China 2018)
Queerama (d: Daisy Asquith, United Kingdom 2017)
The Return (d: Malene Choi, Denmark 2018)
Unarmed Verses (d: Charles Officer, Canada 2017, US Premiere)
Warrior Women (d: Elizabeth A. Castle, Christina D. King, USA 2018, US Premiere)

Shorts Competition
All short films shown at the Festival are eligible for both the Golden Space Needle Audience Award and Jury Award. Jurors will choose winners in the Narrative, Animation, and Documentary categories. Each jury winner will receive $2,500 and winners in any of the three categories may also qualify to enter the respective Short Film category of the Academy Awards® for the concurrent season without the theatrical run.

Golden Space Needle AwardsFor the past 30 years, SIFF has celebrated its most popular films and filmmakers with the Golden Space Needle Audience Award. Awards by Festival audiences are given in six categories: Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Short Film.

AFRICAN PICTURES

African Pictures showcases the best filmmaking happening in and about Africa today. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to experience innovative and inspiring filmmaking from across the continent.

The African Storm (d: Sylvestre Amoussou, Benin/France 2017)
The Blessed (d: Sofia Djama, France/Belgium 2017)
Cook Off (d: Tomas L. Brickhill, Zimbabwe 2017, North American Premiere)
Ellen (d: Daryne Joshua, South Africa 2017, North American Premiere)
I Am Not a Witch (d: Rungano Nyoni, Zambia/France/United Kingdom 2017)
Looking for Oum Kulthum (d: Shirin Neshat, Germany/Austria/Italy/Lebanon/Qatar 2017)
Maki’la (d: Machérie Ekwa Bahango, Democratic Republic of Congo/France 2018, North American Premiere)
Razzia (d: Nabil Ayouch, France/Morocco/Belgium 2017)
Silas (d: Hawa Essuman, Anjali Nayar, Canada/South Africa/Kenya 2017)
Supa Modo (d: Likarion Wainaina, Kenya/Germany 2018

CHINA STARS
Stepping into the third year of the China Stars showcase, the 44th Seattle International Film Festival continues to feature the diverse artistic visions and cultural richness in Chinese cinema by showcasing 10 feature films from Mainland China.

In this selection, we have four North American premieres and two US premieres, bringing the best new Chinese cinema to Seattle audiences. We are also proud to have films from five female directors and five first-time directors, with many of the filmmakers scheduled to attend.

To raise greater awareness of the excellent filmmaking in contemporary Chinese cinema and to promote cross-cultural exchange with all Festival filmmakers, SIFF will present the inaugural China Stars Celebration and Awards Ceremony on Friday, June 8 at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Awards will be presented to:
Best New Talent Award: Girls Always Happy
Best First Film Award: Dead Pigs
Best Film Award: The Taste of Betel Nut

China Stars program is presented in part by WASA North America Group, with support from Aegis Gardens, Hainan Airlines, and the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Angels Wear White (d: Vivian Qu, China/France 2017)
Dead Pigs (d: Cathy Yan, China/USA 2018)
Girls Always Happy (d: Mingming Yang, China 2018, North American Premiere)
Love Education (d: Sylvia Chang, Mainland China/Taiwan 2017)
People’s Republic of Desire (d: Hao Wu, China 2018)
The Silk and the Flame (d: Jordan Schiele, USA/China 2018, US Premiere)
Susu (d: Yixi Sun, China/United Kingdom 2017, US Premiere)
The Taste of Betel Nut (d: Jia Hu, Mainland China/Hong Kong 2017, North American Premiere)
The Widowed Witch (d: Chenglie Cai, China 2018, North American Premiere)
Wrath of Silence (d: Yukun Xin, China 2017, North American Premiere)

CULINARY CINEMA
Popcorn is no longer king as the phenomenon of food culture has exploded into cinema. We’ve selected some extraordinary films that explore different aspects of taste and the senses for the cinematically inclined.

Brewmaster (d: Douglas Tirola, USA/Czech Republic 2018)
Constructing Albert (d: Laura Collado, Jim Loomis, Spain 2017)
Cuban Food Stories (d: Asori Soto, Cuba/USA 2018)
Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen (d: Rasmus Dinesen, Denmark 2017)
Schumann’s Bar Talks (d: Marieke Schroeder, Germany 2017)
Scotch – A Golden Dream (d: Andrew Peat, Taiwan 2017)
Soufra (d: Thomas Morgan, USA 2017)

FACE THE MUSIC
Four out of five SIFF programmers agree that regular exposure to music and film are essential to your overall well-being. With that in mind, this year’s Face the Music program has been specifically designed to provide a holistic regimen for your audio-visual health.

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (d: Steve Sullivan, United Kingdom 2018)
Blaze (d: Ethan Hawke, USA 2018)
Industrial Accident – The Story of Wax Trax! Records (d: Julia Nash, USA/Belgium/Canada/Germany 2018)
Looking for Oum Kulthum (d: Shirin Neshat, Germany/Austria/Italy/Lebanon/Qatar 2017)
Making the Grade (d: Ken Wardrop, Ireland 2017
MATANGI / Maya / M.I.A  (d: Stephen Loveridge, Sri Lanka/United Kingdom/USA 2018)
Nico, 1988 (d: Susanna Nicchiarelli, Italy/USA 2017)
Rubén Blades Is Not My Name ( d: Abner Benaim, Panama/Argentina/Colombia 2018)
Ryuichi Sakamoto:Coda (d: Stephen Nomura, Japan/USA 2017)

NORTHWEST CONNECTIONS
Seattleites see more films per capita than the residents of any other American city, and a growing number of these selections have their roots in the fertile Pacific Northwest film community. Each year, SIFF honors the many ways in which the Puget Sound region contributes to the world of cinema, whether as an evocative location for outside filmmakers or as inspiration for local filmmakers ready to strut their stuff.

Afghan Cycles (d: Sarah Menzies, USA/France/Afghanistan 2018, US Premiere)
Automata (d: Van Alan, USA 2017)
The Faces of Zandra Rhodes (d: David Wiesehan, USA 2018, World Premiere)
The Most Dangerous Year (d: Vlada Knowlton, USA 2018, World Premiere)
Prospect (d: Zeek Earl, Chris Caldwell, USA/Canada 2018)
Return to Mount Kennedy (d: Eric Becker, USA 2018)
Sadie (d: Megan Griffiths, USA 2018)
SIFF VR Zone at Pacific Place
PACIFIC PLACE
FRIDAY, MAY 18 – SUNDAY, JUNE 10
$25 ($20 SIFF Members)

Step into the world of virtual reality as the Seattle International Film Festival presents the SIFF VR Zone at Pacific Place, where audiences will explore the best and most compelling virtual reality (VR) and 360 video content from around the world. SIFF will shine a spotlight on some of the best in global immersive and interactive content, curated from top industry film festivals Sundance, SXSW, and Tribeca Film Festival, and from around the world. Guests will have 90 minutes to explore over two dozen experiences in a diverse array of stunning and compelling immersive settings. Selections include pieces by both local and international content creators.

“The content in the VR Zone is spectacular and spans the globe,” said Kim Voynar, CEO of WonderTek Labs and producer of SIFF VR Zone. “There’s an exciting slate of 360 African storytelling from Senegal and Kenya, an immersive documentary Greenland Melting, from “Godmother of VR” Nonny de la Peña, breathtaking pieces from South Korea, China, and Australia, and many other compelling pieces from the US and Seattle.”

Music is also highlighted in the SIFF VR Zone with music legend Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins in his new immersive VR music video for Aeronaut. And, Seattle power pop icons The Posies kick off their 30th anniversary tour with the World Premiere of their 360 music video for Unlikely Places.

Dr. Evie Powell, CEO of Seattle-based VR start-up Verge of Brilliance, brings a snowball fight into summer with her new interactive two-player VR experience, Epic Snowday Adventure. Join Seattle non-profit dance troupe The Caribi in a 360 dance session dramatizing the mythologies of extinct and endangered cultures through theatrical performance, titled The Caribi: Anubis co-directed by former Seattleite Fred Beahm. Float through an abstract world of breathtaking beauty in Scobot’s piece World One, or up in a hot air balloon ride in Larry James’ Uplift VR – Maiden Voyage.

SIFF EDUCATION

SIFF offers three programs during Festival: FutureWave, Films4Families, and Festival Forums.

FUTUREWAVE AND FILMS4FAMILIES
SIFF has programs curated to make the Festival more accessible to younger audiences. FutureWave features are a great place for our cinema-savvy teen audience to find their love of world cinema and Films4Families is the perfect way for younger children (and the young at heart) to have a fabulous experience at SIFF. Both programs also have Youth Juries comprised of youth from their age bracket to watch all the films and present the Youth Jury Award in their respective categories.

FESTIVAL FORUMS & PANELS
Where audiences and filmmakers come together to learn about and experience making movies. Unless otherwise noted, Festival forums and panels are held at the SIFF Film Center. A complete list of this year’s forums and panels can be found here: www.siff.net/festival
VENUES

SEATTLE
SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Cinema Egyptian, SIFF Film Center, AMC Pacific Place 11, McCaw Hall, Majestic Bay Theatres, Ark Lodge Cinemas, The Triple Door, Seattle Central Library, and SIFF Lounge.

BELLEVUE
Lincoln Square Cinemas

KIRKLAND
Kirkland Performance Center

SHORELINE
Shoreline Community College
SIFF 2018 BY THE NUMBERS

433 Films
90 Countries
168 Features
66 Documentaries
10 Archival
164 Short Films
21 VR/360 Works
4 Secret Films
35 World Premieres (6 Features, 29 Shorts)
46 North American Premieres (32 Features, 14 Shorts)
25 US Premieres (16 Features, 9 Shorts)
56% 1st and 2nd time filmmakers
65% without US Distribution
43% Women Filmmakers (53% of Feature Competition films are Women directed)
The 44th annual Seattle International Film Festival Opening Night is presented in part by: Alaska Airlines – the Official Airline of SIFF, Brotherton Cadillac Buick GMC in Renton – the Official Automotive Sponsor of SIFF, CityArts, Ingeniux, Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle, WASA North America Group, and Wongdoody.
SIFF PRESS DEPARTMENT

Amanda Bedell, Festival Public Relations Manager
amanda.bedell@siff.net | 206.315.0696

Ashley Pineda, Festival Publicist
ashley.pineda@siff.net

Mark Siano, Festival Publicist
mark.siano@siff.net

Steven Wilson  – National Publicist
stevenwilson@bwr-pr.com | 212.901.3920

Find the 2018 Media Guide, hi-res film stills, press kits, and more at press.siff.net.


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