Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Seattle Screens

Seattle Screens: SIFF Reveals, STIFF Unfolds, NWFF Perseveres with Preservations

The Avengers Assemble! But while the superhero supermovie takes over thousands of screens across the country (where the instant audience favorite will surely play to packed houses), Seattle audiences have plenty of alternatives: festivals of films new and old, including the 7th Annual SIFF alternative STIFF and the UCLA Festival of Preservation. Read on for all the options…

But first: the complete 2012 Seattle International Film Festival Schedule is now available online. Print editions will be available at Starbuck locations and SIFF offices beginning Friday, May 4. That also means that individual tickets are now on sale.

Meanwhile STIFF (Seattle True Independent Film Festival) 2012 changes up its usual counterprogramming to open in advance of the onslaught of SIFF. This year it runs from Friday, May 4 through Saturday, May 12 at Grand Illusion, The Varsity Theatre, Wing-It Productions, and Central Cinema. The STIFF website is here, but for reasons beyond my understanding, the have offer no schedule of screenings. The closest you’ll find is at the Eventbrite site for ticket sales.

Buster Keaton in 'Film'

Northwest Film Forum presents the UCLA Festival of Preservation: 10 archival features presented in new 35mm prints, plus collections of shorts and other archival programs, over the next four weekends. The inaugural event is a screening of Robert Altman’s Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean on Saturday, May 5 at 5 p.m. Barbara Loden’s 1970 drama Wanda plays Sunday and a double feature of Samuel Beckett’s Film (a short starring Buster Keaton) and a 1965 TV production of Waiting For Godot with Zero Mostel plays Monday. Next weekend comes four rare silent features over four days, each with live accompaniment. Complete schedule and film notes at NWFF website.

Notes on the Cinematographer: The Films of Robert Bresson concludes this week with screenings of the director’s 1974 Arthurian drama Lancelot of the Lake on Tuesday, May 8, a new 35mm print of Four Nights of a Dreamer on Wednesday, and Une Femme Douce on Thursday. For more information, visit NWFF website. Notes on Bresson at Videodrone here.

The 7th Annual Translations: The Seattle Transgender Film Festival runs through Sunday, May 6, with Friday through Sunday screenings at NWFF. Schedule and notes at Three Dollar Bill Cinema website.

The locally-produced short While You Weren’t Looking is receiving a free preview screening on Sunday, May 6, 2012  at 4:00 p.m. at the Admiral Theater in West Seattle. Visit the film’s website for more on the film.

Framing Pictures, the monthly discussion of films old and new at NWFF, is set for Friday, May 11, and it has a Facebook page too. “Like” it and keep up with the discussion.

Juliette Binoche


Elles, starring Juliette Binoche as a reporter interviewing young women who finance graduate school by becoming prostitutes, opens at The Varsity. “When you’ve got an actress willing to go all the way for a cause, the cause ought to be something special,” write Robert Horton for the Everett Herald. “Despite its generous amount of nudity, Elles isn’t that.”

Also opening this week: Sound of My Voice, co-written by and starring Bri Marling, at Guild 45th (Robert Horton’s review here)

Attenberg, an offbeat comedy from Greece, plays for a week at NWFF.

Restless City is at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center for a week.

Opening at the Uptown is Death of a Superhero with Andy Serkis (reviewed by Robert Horton) and the documentary The Island President, about President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives (reviewed by John Hartl), and the documentary #ReGENERATION, an award winner at SIFF 2010, opens at SIFF Film Center (reviewed by Brian Miller).


Joseph Losey’s These Are the Damned plays in the Seattle Art Museum’s “Shadow Street: The Best of British Film Noir” series, on Thursday, May 10 on 35mm. I would call it nuclear-age horror meets British gang movie rather than noir, but any excuse to this smart, weird rarity on film is a good excuse. Plus: Oliver Reed as a black leather hoodlum! Series passes are sold out but you can usually get tickets at the theater, but arrive early.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the classic 1920 blast of German Expressionism, plays one show on Saturday, May 5, at The Uptown with a live soundtrack form DJNicfit. No information on the print source, which suggests digital rather than 35mm.

On Saturday afternoon, The Wizard of Oz plays as part of the Films4Families series, also at The Uptown.

Late nights at the Egyptian this weekend is Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

For more alternative screenings, read Moira Macdonald’s At A Theater Near You roundup at The Seattle Times.

Schedules and Showtimes

You can check your favorite independent cinemas, neighborhood theaters and multiplexes here.

Independent theaters:
SIFF Cinema
Northwest Film Forum
Grand Illusion
Seattle Art Museum
Central Cinema
The Big Picture
Majestic Bay Theatres

Multiplexes and Chains
Landmark Theatres (Egyptian, Guild 45, Harvard Exit, Metro, Varsity and others)
Regal Cinemas (Meridian 16, Thornton Place and others)
AMC Cinemas (Pacific Place, Oak Tree, Alderwood and others)
Kirland Park Place
Lincoln Square Cinemas
Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas