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Seattle International Film Festival

SIFFing: Parallax View’s SIFF 2017 Guide

The 43rd Annual Seattle International Film Festival opens on Thursday, May 18, with the opening night gala presentation of The Big Sick, from director Michael Showalter and writer/star Kumail Nanjiani, and closes 24 days later on Sunday, June 11 with the North American premiere of Raoul Peck’s The Young Karl Marx. In between there are (at last count) 161 feature films, 58 documentary features, 14 archival films, and 163 short films. All told: 400 films representing 80 countries (as of opening night).

Here is Parallax View’s coverage and guide to SIFF resources from around the web. We will update a few times a week.

SIFF Week by Week, Day by Day:

The 28 Best Movies To See At SIFF Over Memorial Day Weekend (staff, The Stranger) NEW
SIFF 2017: Highlights of the film festival’s second week (staff, Seattle Times) NEW
Festival Roundtable (Opening Week) (The SunBreak) NEW
Roll out the red carpet: Seattle International Film Fest opens Thursday (Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times)
SIFF 2017: Highlights of film festival’s first week (John Hartl, Moira Macdonald, Brent McKnight, Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times)
Sifting through SIFF (Robert Horton, Seattle Weekly)
A Bookish Movie Buff’s Guide to SIFF (Paul Constant, Seattle Weekly)
SIFF 2017: Picks for Opening Weekend (May 19-21) (staff, The SunBreak)
SIFF 2017: Week One Highlights (Michael Bracy, Three Imaginary Girls)
SIFF 2017: Week One Preview (Sean Gilman, Seattle Screen Scene)

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SIFF 2017: From ‘The Big Sick’ to ‘The Young Karl Marx’ – over 400 movies in 24 days

The 43rd Annual Seattle International Film Festival opens on Thursday, May 18, with the opening night gala presentation of Sundance and SXSW hit The Big Sick from director Michael Showalter and writer/star Kumail Nanjiani.

24 days later, the North American premiere of Raoul Peck’s The Young Karl Marx takes the closing night spot at Cinerama on Sunday, June 11.

In between, 233 features films (including 58 documentaries) and 163 short films from 80 countries will screen across 12 venues in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Shoreline.

Welcome to SIFF 2017, still the biggest and longest film festival in the United States. It’s got something for everyone, from world premieres to restorations of classic movies, from movies for families to gonzo midnight movies that are definitely not for kids. There are comedies and dramas and thrillers, true stories and fantasies and stranger-than-fiction documentaries.

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SIFF 2016: Audiences give ‘Captain Fantastic’ the Golden Space Needle Award

And the award goes to… Captain Fantastic!

Seattle International Film Festival audiences bestowed top Golden Space Needle Awards on Captain Fantastic, Gleason and Spy Time (among others) while juried awards singled out Girl Asleep and the documentary Death by a Thousand Cuts at the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival.

Over 420 features, documentaries and short films from more than 85 countries were screened over the 25 days (and the last day is not over as of this writing, mind you) in 15 different venues.

Matt Ross’s Captain Fantastic (US), starring festival guest Viggo Mortensen (who was honored with the Festival’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Acting over the final weekend) and shot in part in the state of Washington, took the audience award for Best Film, Javier Ruiz Caldera won the Best Director award for Spy Time (Spain), Best Actor went to Rolf Lassgård for A Man Called Ove (Sweden/Norway), and Best Actress to Vicky Hernandez for Between Sea and Land (Colombia 2016).

Best Documentary was awarded to Gleason (US), directed by Clay Tweel, and Alive & Kicking: The Soccer Grannies of South Africa (USA/South Africa), directed by Lara-Ann de Wet, took home the Best Short Film award. The Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision given to the female director’s film that receives the most votes in public balloting at the Festival, went to The IF Project (USA ), directed by Kathlyn Horan.

New to the competition awards this years is the SIFF Official Competition award, selected from 12 entries making their World, North American, or US premiere at SIFF. Girl Asleep (Australia), the debut feature directed by Rosemary Myers, was honored with the award in its inaugural year.

Also new is the SIFF Ibero-American Competition, for films having their US premiere during the Festival that do not yet have US distribution. The inaugural winner is You’ll Never Be Alone (Chile ), the feature debut from Chilean writer-director Alex Anwandter.

The New Directors Competition winner is Sand Storm (Israel), directed by Elite Zexer; the New American Cinema Competition winner is Middle Man (USA), directed by Ned Crowley; and the Documentary Competition winner is Death By a Thousand Cuts (Dominican Republic/Haiti/USA), directed by Juan Mejia Botero and Jake Kheel.

The Short Film awards went to Killer (USA, directed by Matt Kazman) for live action, These C*cksucking Tears (USA, directed by Dan Taberski) for documentary, and Carlo (Italy, directed by Ago Panini) for animation.

The complete press release, which includes runners-up and jury statements, is featured below.
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SIFFtings 2016: Final Weekend (June 10-June 12)

Viggo Mortensen is honored with the Seattle Film Festival Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting. The introspective, soft-spoken actor will be interviewed in an onstage Q&A at A Tribute to Viggo Mortensen on Saturday, June 11 at the Egyptian, followed by a screening of his latest film Captain Fantastic, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year and was just honored with the Best Director prize for writer/director Matt Ross from the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes. Ross will also attend the screening of the film, which repeats (sans onstage interview) on Sunday, June 12, at 2:30pm, Uptown.

The Mortensen tribute, meanwhile, continues all weekend with special screenings of three films:
Eastern Promises (2007) on Friday, June 10, 9:30pm, Uptown
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Saturday, June 11, 11:30pm, Egyptian (be warned: this is 3 ½ hours long, which is a serious investment for a Midnight Movie);
A Walk on the Moon (1999), Sunday, June, 12, 11am, Uptown

Frank & Lola, a romantic noir thriller starring Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots, is directed by Matthew Ross (not to be confused with Captain Fantastic director Matt Ross), who will attend the screening.
Saturday, June 11, 7pm. Pacific Place

Jocelyn Moorhouse will attend the SIFF Closing Night Gala The Dressmaker, based on the novel by Rosalie Ham and starring Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis, and Hugo Weaving, at The Cinerama. It is sold out and on standby and a second show has been added at 6:30pm, Pacific Place Cinemas (does not include a director appearance or closing night party).

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SIFFtings 2016 – Week 2


SIFF celebrates its Renton Opening Night on Thursday, May 26 with a screening of the comedy My Blind Brother at the IKEA Performing Arts Center, followed by a party at the Renton Pavilion Event Center. Because SIFF isn’t just about the movies. It likes to party too.

And on Friday, May 27, SIFF extends its reach to Shoreline for the first time this year and it kicks off with a Shoreline Opening Night screening of The Tenth Man (Argentina), a lighthearted drama of a New York-based Jewish-Argentinian man returning home to Bueno Aires for Purim. Screenings take place at the newly-renovated theater on the Shoreline Community College campus (building 1600; see the Shoreline CC map), which is said to be state-of-the-art. I’ll be verifying this weekend; as a Shoreline resident myself, I’m thrilled to see the festival in my backyard. Campus parking is free for visitors after 4pm on weekdays and all day on weekends.

Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell, a follow-up to the devastating documentary Streetwise, received its World Premiere at SIFF. More than thirty years after that acclaimed exploration of the culture of homeless teenagers in Seattle, Tiny revisits Erin Blackwell, the poster girl of Streetwise—literally, her stone face behind vintage second-hand fashions was the defining image of the film. Director Martin Bell and photographer Mary Ellen Mark profile Ms. Blackwell as struggling mother with ten children, still fighting to get by. Martin Bell is scheduled to attend screenings.
Sunday, May 29, 4pm, Pacific Place; Monday, May 30, 11am, Pacific Place.

Chinese filmmaker Xu Haofeng brings the North American premiere of The Final Master (China) for three screenings across the city. Xu co-wrote the award-winning The Grandmaster with director Wong Kar-wai and his action choreography for The Final Master won an award at the Golden Horse Film Festival.
Saturday, May 28, 6pm, Uptown; Sunday, May 29, 6:30pm, Shoreline Community College Theater.

Also making its North American premiere is Eternal Summer, a road trip crime movie through Northern Sweden. Filmmaker Andreas Ohman is scheduled to attend all screenings this weekend.
Friday, May 27, 7pm, Lincoln Square Cinemas; Saturday, May 28, 1:30pm, Pacific Place; Sunday, May 29, 6:30pm, Pacific Place.

Truman (Spain/Argentina) arrives with five Goya Awards to its credit, including Best Picture. Director Cesc Gay scheduled to attend screenings at the Egyptian only.
Sunday, May 29, 4:30pm, Egyptian; Monday, May 30, 6:30pm, Egyptian; Friday, June 3, 9pm, Shoreline Community College Theater.

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SIFFing: Parallax View’s SIFF 2016 Guide

The 42nd Annual Seattle International Film Festival opens on Thursday, May 19, with the opening night gala presentation of Woody Allen’s Café Society (in its North American premiere), and closes 24 days later on Sunday, June 12 with Jocelyn Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker. In between there are (at last count) 181 feature films, 75 documentary features, 8 archival films, and 153 short films. All told: 421 films representing 85 countries (as of opening night).

Here is Parallax View’s coverage and guide to SIFF resources from around the web. We will update a few times a week.

* Updated Sunday, June 12 *

SIFF Week by Week, Day by Day:

SIFF 2016: Audiences give ‘Captain Fantastic’ the Golden Space Needle Award (Sean Axmaker, Parallax View) NEW
Selections for the Fourth Week of the Seattle International Film Festival (Robert Horton, Seattle Weekly) NEW
SIFF 2016: Highlights of the final weekend (Moira Macdonald and John Hartl, Seattle Times) NEW
The 11 Best Films to See During SIFF’s Closing Weekend (staff, The Stranger) NEW
Recommended SIFF: Viggo, Viggo, Viggo AND Viggo! (Amie Simon, Three Imaginary Girls) NEW
SIFFtings 2016: Final Weekend (June 10-June 12) (Sean Axmaker, Parallax View) NEW
Some short SIFF reviews, part four (Chris Burlingame, The SunBreak) NEW
SIFF 2016: Picks for Centerpiece Weekend (June 3-June 5) (Tony Kay, The SunBreak)
Some short SIFF reviews, part 3 (June 1-June 7) (Chris Burlingame, The SunBreak)
Selections for the Third Week of the Seattle International Film Festival (Robert Horton, Seattle Weekly)
SIFF 2016: Highlights of week three (Moira Macdonald and John Hartl, Seattle Times)
SIFF 2016: Picks for Week Two (May 31-June 2) (The SunBreak)
SIFF 2016: Picks for Memorial Day Weekend (May 27-30) (The SunBreak)
Selections for the Second Week of SIFF
(Robert Horton, Seattle Weekly)
SIFF 2016: Highlights of week two (Moira Macdonald and John Hartl, Seattle Times)
The 26 Films You Should See at SIFF Over Memorial Day Weekend (staff, The Stranger)
SIFFtings 2016 Week 2 (May 27-June 2) (Sean Axmaker, Parallax View)
Some short SIFF reviews, part duex (May 25-May 31) (Chris Burlingame, The SunBreak)
SIFF 2016 Picks: Week One (May 23-May 30) (Seth Sommerfeld, Seattle Met)
Seattle Weekly’s SIFF Selections (Week 1) (Robert Horton, Seattle Weekly)
SIFF 2016: 17 Highlights of week one (Moira Macdonald and John Hartl, Seattle Times)
Some short SIFF reviews, part 1 (May 19-May 24) (Chris Burlingame, The SunBreak)
SIFFtings 2016 – Week One (Sean Axmaker, Parallax View)
SIFF 2016: Picks for Opening Weekend (The SunBreak)
SIFF 2016: Week One Highlights (Three Imaginary Girls)
Recommended SIFF: three picks for this weekend (Amie Simon, Three Imaginary Girls)

Spotlight Features and Commentary:

Lou Diamond Phillips embraces serial killer mentality for ‘The Night Stalker’ (Tom Tangney, MYNorthwest) NEW
Imaginary SIFF Interview: 5 questions with Lou Diamond Phillips (Amie Simon, Three Imaginary Girls) NEW
SIFF Sitdown: Q&A with Lou Diamond Phillips (Joe Veyera, Queen Anne & Magnolia News) NEW
SIFF Interview: The Mads are Back (Chris Burlingame, The SunBreak) NEW
Spencer Haywood (Tom Tangney, MYNorthwest)
SIFF interview: Behind the scenes with the Pistol Shrimps (Chris Burlingame, The SunBreak)
SIFF interview: Streetwise director Martin Bell (Chris Burlingame, The SunBreak)
Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max (Tiffany Ran, Northwest Asian Weekly)
Megan Griffiths: A fascination with ‘The Night Stalker’ (Sean Axmaker, Parallax View)
The frightening origins of director Megan Griffiths’ new film, premiering at SIFF (Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times)
Megan Griffiths Premieres ‘The Night Stalker’ at SIFF (Tony Kay, CityArts)
Imaginary SIFF Interview: Megan Griffiths (Amie Simon, Three Imaginary Girls)
SIFFX Dares Seattle to Get Real About Virtual Reality Right Now (Charles Mudede, The Stranger)
Interview – Xu Haofeng – The Final Master – SIFF 2016 (Tim Hall, Seattle PI)
Nick Terry’s ‘Finding October’ at SIFF (Tony Kay, CityArts)
Empathy Device: The first-ever SIFFX arrives
(Jonathan Zwickel, CityArts)
Reel Grrls puts SIFF and Woody Allen under the microscope (Daniel Nash, City Living Seattle)
SIFF Interview: If There’s a Hell Below director Nathan Williams (Chris Burlingame, The SunBreak)
Why SIFF should not be celebrating Woody Allen’s ‘Café Society’ (Nicole Brodeur, Seattle Times)
Portrait of a Survivor: Big Sonia (Tony Kaye, CityArts)
SIFF Interviews: Sonics legend Spencer Haywood (Chris Burlingame, The SunBreak)

Reviews and capsules:

SIFF 2016: Festival Roundtable (Week Two) (staff, The Sun Break) NEW
SIFF Face The Music 2016 Preview: We Are X (Janice Headley, KEXP) NEW
SIFF Face The Music 2016 Preview: Red Gringo (Janice Headley, KEXP) NEW
SIFF 2016: Festival Roundtable (Week One) (staff, The Sun Break)
At SIFF: A New High (Tony Kay, City Arts)
SIFF Take: Tag (Amie Simon, Three Imaginary Girls)
SIFF Face The Music 2016 Preview: The Austin City Limits Story (Masa, KEXP)
SIFF Face The Music 2016 Preview: Yo-Yo Man and the Silk Road Ensemble
(Janice Headley, KEXP)
SIFF Face The Music 2016 Preview: Contemporary Color (Janice Headley, KEXP)
SIFF 2016 Mini-Reviews: ‘Weiner,’ ‘ The Last King,’ ‘Tickled’ (David Chen, /Film)
NWAW at SIFF (staff, Northwest Asian Weekly)
17 Films You Must See at SIFF 2016 (Staff, The Stranger)
Tom’s top 10 picks for SIFF 2016 (Tom Tangney, MYNorthwest)
The Stranger Says (Staff, The Stranger)
7 great old films you can see at SIFF (Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times)
SIFF Face the Music 2016 Preview: Presenting Princess Shaw (Masa, KEXP)
SIFF Face The Music 2016 Preview: Concerto – A Beethoven Journey (Janice Headley, KEXP)
A film about eating bugs might be the best thing you see at SIFF this year (Bethany Jean Clements, Seattle Times)
The Stranger’s SIFF Notes (Staff, The Stranger)

Previews:

SIFFting Through SIFF (Robert Horton, Seattle Weekly)
SIFF 2016: Woody’s latest, Viggo Mortensen in person, and 421 movies (at last count) (Sean Axmaker, Parallax View)
SIFF 2016: The SIFF 42 Floodgates are Open (Tony Kaye, The SunBreak)
SIFF 2016 Preview: Face the Music (Amie Simon, Three Imaginary Girls)
SIFF 2016 Preview: Northwest Connections (Amie Simon, Three Imaginary Girls)
Seattle International Film Festival 2016: Face The Music (KEXP)
SIFF wants you to party all the time (party all the time, party all the time) (Amie Simon, Three Imaginary Girls)
Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) Announces Rich African Pictures Program Lineup of Features and Shorts (Tambay A. Obenson, Indiewire)

How to SIFF:

How to make your way around SIFF 2016 (Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times)
SunBreak SIFF Pro Tips for 2016 (Tony Kaye, The SunBreak)

Official sites:

SIFF 2015 homepage
SIFF calendar
SIFF Films A to Z
SIFF 2015 Box Office
SIFFtv (video shorts and interviews from the festival)
Updates and schedule changes

And other resources:

The Stranger’s SIFF Notes
Three Imaginary Girls
The Sunbreak
City Arts
KEXP

A few blogs at SIFF

Should I See It?
Seattle Screen Scene
Den of Cinema
The Last Thing I See
A Classic Movie Blog

Schedule updates:

ADDED FILM AND TBA SLOTS ANNOUNCED!

NEW FILM:
The Love Witch – A modern-day witch uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her, in a vivid tribute to ’60s Technicolor thrillers.
(d: Anna Biller c: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, USA 2016, 120 min)
Screens Saturday June 11, 9:00pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
FRIDAY JUNE 10
The Night Stalker, 3:30pm, Pacific Place Cinemas
SUNDAY JUNE 12
SIFF Closing Night Gala The Dressmaker, 6:30pm, Pacific Place Cinemas
As You Are, 8:00pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown
The Pistol Shrimps, 9:00pm, SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Slash, 9:00pm, Pacific Place Cinemas

SIFFtings 2016 – Week One


The 42nd Seattle International Film Festival opens on Thursday, May 19 with a gala screening of Woody Allen’s Café Society, direct from Cannes where it was the opening night event. That would generally be considered a coup for SIFF but the glitz is tarnished thanks to allegations of child abuse by Allen against the children of Mia Farrow. The controversy isn’t new but was effectively swept under the rug by a willing media until Ronan Farrow turned the spotlight back on his biological father and called out the media for letting the accusations slide as the film opened at Cannes. Nicole Brodeur writes about it at The Seattle Times, and I recommend Matt Zoller Seitz’s personal essay on his struggle to grapple with the art of Allen versus the actions of the artists. As for Seattle, neither Allen nor any of the stars will be attending the film.

What does any of this have to do with the film? Maybe nothing, maybe everything, depending on how you separate your engagement with popular art from the artists who create it. But by putting the film in the opening night spot, SIFF has made a statement of sorts whether it meant to or not. It was announced weeks before the embers of the controversy were fanned back to life, but those embers were always there, even if we (and I include myself) were willing to conveniently forget about it.

The festival really begins on Friday, May 20 as movies play in eight venues radiating out from Seattle Center to Capitol Hill, Ballard, and Bellevue. On Thursday it adds Renton and Friday it leaves Ballard for Shoreline, with Kirkland and Columbia City taking part later. But for now, let’s take a look at some of the highlight in this first week.

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SIFFting Throught SIFF

‘Captain Fantastic’ – shot partly in Washington State, featured at SIFF 2016

The Seattle International Film Festival long ago embraced its role as a kind of floating civic carnival. For 25 days—25 days—the fest spreads itself out over multiple venues, luring people indoors during what I have been told is a beautiful time of year. There’s a kind of madness at loose here, from the sheer number of films (something in the neighborhood of 250 features this year, from 85 different countries) to the variety of events involved: visiting filmmakers, tributes, panel discussions, live music events, sing-alongs, and many parties. People spend their vacation time to attend the nation’s largest film festival, bagging as many movies as they can according to some staggering mathematical algorithms (most movies are screened two or three times). Inevitably, the films range from good to bad to indifferent, and given a festival this size, there are a discomfiting number of indifferents. Can we make some generalizations about the behemoth that is SIFF 2016?

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly

SIFF 2016: Woody’s latest, Viggo Mortensen in person, and 421 movies (at last count)

Woody Allen’s Café Society makes its North American premiere as the opening night film of the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival on Thursday, May 19—a mere eight days after making its world premiere as the Cannes opening night.

24 days later, Jocelyn Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker takes the closing night gala spot at Cinerama on Sunday, June 12.

In between, 268 features (including 75 documentaries) and 153 short films from 85 countries will screen across 12 venues in Seattle, Bellevue, Renton, Kirkland, and Shoreline.

That’s about the size of it at SIFF 2016, still the biggest and the longest film festival in the United States.

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SIFFtings 2015: Archival Presentations

SIFF more than doubled its archival programming this year, bring a record 19 archival films and programs to the festival this year. The backbone of the archivals this year is a program celebrating the 25th anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation. Eight films restored by The Film Foundation play SIFF, and another four will screen at The Paramount Theatre’s Silent Movie Mondays through June.

The Film Foundation screenings, all from 35mm film prints, are almost all done. Michael Powell’s The Red Shoes, which was scheduled for the first weekend of SIFF, had to be cancelled after the screening had begun due to projection problems. Word is that the festival programmers are working to get a new screening scheduled. Meanwhile there is one Film Foundation restoration still on the schedule: Alyam, Alyam (1978), from Morocco, is set to play on June 7 at 4:30pm at SIFF Film Center.

Unconnected with The Film Foundation anniversary was The Son of the Sheik (1926), one of the first genuine movie sequels. It was also the last film that Rudolph Valentino made—he died shortly before its premier. He plays two roles in the tongue-in-cheek Arabian swashbuckler, both father (under a distinguished beard and a stern, serious expression) and son, the former now a responsible leader of his people and the latter a wild young man—just like his father was at his age. The double-exposure camera effects that put father and son together, fighting side-by-side in the climactic swordfight, are seamless, a reminder that the art and craft of Hollywood filmmaking in the silent era was top notch. The Alloy Orchestra played a lively live score, with bongos and congas setting the scene and a bit of accordion and clarinet added to the synthesizer melodies, which in Alloy fashion stand in for flutes, bass, and pretty much the rest of the orchestral colors.

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SIFF 2014 Winners and Returning Films

The winners of the audience and jury awards for the Seattle International Film Festival’s fortieth edition were announced Sunday, June 8 at a breakfast ceremony at the Seattle Space Needle.

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood dominated the audience awards, taking home Golden Space Needle Awards for Best Actress Patricia Arquette, Best Director Linklater, and Best Film. Dawid Ogrodnik picked up Best Actor award for the Polish drama Life Feels Good and Keep On Keepin’ On was awarded Best Documentary.

‘Boyhood’

In the juried awards, Best New Director was awarded to Carlos Marques-Marcet, director of the Spanish film 10,000KM. Special Jury Prize was awarded to B For Boy director Chika Anadu, who accepted the award with great excitement and a shout-out to winner Marques-Marce, proclaiming to the room that 10,000KM was her favorite film of the festival.

Best Documentary was given to Marmato, directed by Mark Grieco, and the Best New American Cinema prize was handed to Red Knot, directed by Scott Cohen.

The Youth Jury, comprised of boys and girls of high school age and younger, awarded prizes to Best Futurewave Feature Dear White People, directed by Justin Simien, and Best Films4Families Feature Belle & Sebastien, directed by Nicolas Vanier.

SIFF has also announced a return engagement for a few select films in the Best of SIFF series, which plays from Thursday, June 12 through Thursday, June 19 at SIFF Uptown. Among the 14 features (and one program of short films) are audience award winners Boyhood, Life Feels Good, and Keep On Keepin’ On and jury winners 10,000KM, Marmato, and Red Knot, and plus Seattle-born film My Last Year With the Nuns, an audience favorite that earned local actor / writer Matt Smith a runner-up spot in the Best Actor balloting.

Also note that Ida, a Polish drama from Pawel Pawlikowski that placed high in the Best Director and Best Actress (Agata Kulesza) categories, opens for a regular run at SIFF Uptown next week. So you still have a chance to catch up on some of the audience favorites from SIFF 2014.

The Best of SIFF schedule is at the SIFF website here.

The complete press release for the awards is presented below.

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SIFFing: Parallax View’s SIFF 2014 Guide

The 40th Annual Seattle International Film Festival opens on Thursday, May 15, with a screening of John Ridley’s Jimi: All is By My Side, and complete its 25-day run on Sunday, June 8 with The One I Love as the Closing Night Film. Here is Parallax View’s coverage and guide to SIFF resources for all 25 days. * Updated 6/9/2014 *

SIFF Week by Week, Day by Day:

SIFF 2014 Winners and Returning film (Sean Axmaker, Parallax View)
SIFF Notes: Pick of the Day (Stranger)
Closing Weekend: Seattle International Film Festival highlights (Moira Macdonald and John Hartl, Seattle Times)
SIFF Week 4 (Seattle Weekly, Brian Miller)
SIFF Roundtable: Final Days (The Sunbreak)
Week 3: Seattle International Film Festival highlights (Moira Macdonald and John Hartl, Seattle Times)
Week 3 at SIFF (Brian Miller, Seattle Weekly)
Week Three Highlights (Three Imaginary Girls)
SIFF 2014: Picks for Centerpiece Weekend (The Sunbreak)
Week 2: Seattle International Film Festival highlights (Moira Macdonald and John Hartl, Seattle Times)
Week 2 at SIFF (Brian Miller, Seattle Weekly)
Week Two Highlights (Three Imaginary Girls)
Tom Tangney’s best bets for SIFF (MyNorthwest)
Week 1: Seattle International Film Festival highlights (Moira Macdonald and John Hartl, Seattle Times)
Week One Highlights (Three Imaginary Girls)
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Seattle International Film Festival at Forty

It’s #SIFForty! The 2014 Seattle International Film Festival is the 40th edition, at least by the numerical count (SIFF jumped from the “Twelfth Annual” in 1987 to the “Fourteenth Annual” in 1988, skipping Lucky Thirteen just like a high rise, but when you survive this long, who really sweats the details?). It holds the claim to the biggest film festival in America, by both length (a marathon twenty-four days) and number of films. This year’s presented 270 fiction and non-fiction features—including twenty feature film world premieres, twenty-one feature film North American premieres and eight feature film American premieres—and 168 shorts.

‘Jimi: All Is By My Side’

SIFF has grown a lot in its forty years, expanding into education, special screenings and, in the last decade, year-round programming films throughout the year—and they celebrated by announcing two major events for the organization. SIFF just purchased the Uptown Theater, the three-screen complex just west of Seattle Center that they leased a couple of years ago, and along with that new mortgage they’ve taken on the lease of the Egyptian Theater, giving the Capitol Hill landmark and festival anchor that closed in 2013 a new lease on life. SIFF reopened the shuttered theater for the festival and then will close it again (temporarily) while it raises money for renovations and a planned fall opening as a year-round venue. Without SIFF’s commitment, that space would surely have been gutted or torn down and turned into apartments or condos.

All of that was announced at the opening night festivities before the screening Jimi: All is By My Side, John Ridley’s portrait of Seattle-born rock legend Jimi Hendrix in London the year before he broke in America at the Monterey Pop music festival. Once again, opening night took place in McCaw Hall at Seattle Center, a great place to experience dance or opera or theater but a lousy venue for movies, thanks to acoustics that send movie soundtracks reverberating through the hall. That might seem like a death knell for a music biopic but due to resistance from the Hendrix estate, Ridley was unable to use any of Hendrix’s original music or compositions.

Continue reading at Keyframe

Weird Tales, True Confession

Love, Death, and the Imagination in Dan Ireland’s The Whole Wide World

This appreciation was written for Film Comment magazine in 1996. Reflecting fond memories of SIFF film-going, this review also expressed my delight in discovering The Whole Wide World, a terrific movie by Dan Ireland, one of the founders of SIFF and an old friend. – KAM

Dan Ireland passed away on April 14, 2016, at the age of 57. We revive the piece in honor of his memory. – Editor

Vincent D’Onofrio as Robert E. Howard in ‘The Whole Wide World’

The citizens of Rain City have been passionate devotees of the Seattle International Film Festival for nigh on to two decades. Founded by Dan Ireland and Darryl Macdonald, a couple of optimistic entrepreneurs from Vancouver, B.C, SIFF bowed in 1976 with an l8-day slate of movies by the likes of Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta, Luis Buñuel, Lina Wertmüller, Claude Lelouch, Claude Chabrol, Paul Verhoeven, Ken Russell, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Hot stuff in the days when the small but dedicated Seattle Film Society was practically the only reliable purveyor of cutting-edge foreign film north of San Francisco. Under the quiet rain, Seattleites queued up happily.

In the two decades that followed, the Ireland-Macdonald baby kept growing, until the Seattle fest now screens 250 films over a period of nearly a month. Though three or four other theaters are often in play as venues, the true heart of this film orgy is the cavernous 800-seat Egyptian Theater, which for the faithful becomes home away from home every May-June. Those spring evenings with the likes of Krzysztof Zanussi and Michael Powell are among my happiest cinematic memories.

This past June, I returned to the city where, in spite of mildew, I thrived for nearly a quarter-century; there was an American-independent competition for best first film, and I was one of four jurors. Among the more than a dozen films in contention were Jim McKay’s Girls Town, Sal Stabile’s Gravesend, and Alan Taylor’s Palookaville—all examples of the currently fertile genre of flavorful ‘hood movies, featuring ethnic tribes of argot-speaking boys or girls looking for a way to stay alive, make a living, and/or crash out of their mean streets. Rachel Reichman’s uncompromising Work fell into this category as well, only the neighborhood is rural New York, economic and spiritual dead end for a not especially beautiful or gifted girl left behind by her summer love, a college-bound black woman.

But The Whole Wide World, the film unanimously voted best of the bunch, is a very different kind of ‘hood movie, set in a couple of backwater Texas towns in the mid-Thirties, and the boy and girl who speak its special language break out mostly through their imaginations. That The Whole Wide World (to be released at Christmas by Sony Classics) should be a first film by old friend and fest co-founder Dan Ireland brought me full circle in my remembrance of things past, and made this latest of many Egyptian bacchanals the best kind of reunion.

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The Haunted Palace: Alain Resnais’ ‘Last Year at Marienbad’

The couple face each other in an old-fashioned railway car set up in a 19th-century amusement park, the girl (Joan Fontaine) a sweet-faced blonde for whom he’s clearly the moon and the stars. The young man (Louis Jourdan) in elegant evening clothes is all charm, genuine enough for the moment, a roué enchanted by fresh innocence. Outside the window, painted landscapes from various countries flow by, long murals unwinding from one seemingly endless reel. Lisa’s only previous journeys have come courtesy of travel folders and her father’s reading, while Stefan’s a genial wastrel who’s never really transported by journeys, never deeply touched by experience. At the end of the line, when there are no more moving pictures, the rapt lovers decide to begin again, “to revisit the scenes of our youth.”

When and where did this magical train ride take place? Can we measure how long it took? Its point of departure and arrival?

The answers to these questions lie within the mystery of cinema. In this scene from Max Ophuls’ Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948), “real” time and space are subservient to the transformative power of a woman’s imagination. Already in the grave at this juncture in the film, Ophuls’ artist-heroine is surfing time, revisiting the scenes of her actual youth. Her resurrection is powered by the machinery of memory and art; her romantic narrative eventually generates Stefan’s (and our?) ultimate, soul-saving epiphany. A play of luminous light and sensuous shadow, Letter unreels out of a woman’s lifelong religious-aesthetic obsession. Her virtual reality, far richer and more compelling than those railway landscapes, hyperlinks with eternity.

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