Posted in: Contributors, Editor, Film Festivals, Links

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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Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Film Festivals

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.


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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Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Essays, Film Festivals

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

Posted in: by Kathleen Murphy, Contributors, Essays, Film Reviews

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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Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Film Festivals, Interviews

SIFF 2014: Taylor Guterson’s ‘Burkholder’

“My films are a little weird,” says Taylor Guterson. It’s a weird statement to make about his two easygoing features. His debut Old Goats (SIFF ’11) and his new Burkholder both concern a group of of elderly, sometimes cantankerous codgers facing their retirement years on Bainbridge Island, where the director grew up. The films gently meander through their doings and conversations, which have a habit of detouring into blind alleys. Those detours are intentional, says Guterson, the son of bestselling novelist David Guterson (Snow Falling on Cedars): “There are people out there who think that that’s not how you tell a story, that you never bring up something that . . . doesn’t have a point. And to me it has a point. They go off on these tangents because that’s what they do.”

Today based on the Eastside, Guterson is a self-made filmmaker with his own video production company. Chatting in a Mercer Island coffee shop, he’s like an earnest, relaxed grad student. So why, I ask, has he created a stock company of senior citizens? Reflecting on Old Goats, he says, “I was 27 and thinking, ‘If I don’t just figure out a way to do it now, I’ll never make a feature.’ ”

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly

Bob Burkholder in his final role in ‘Burkholder’
Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Film Festivals

SIFF 2014: Robert Horton’s Festival Preview

Should you utter the title The Babadook out loud, you may be in danger of summoning an Australian bogeyman from its hiding place—and woe betide those who doubt its existence. Film Comment calls this first-time effort from director Jennifer Kent “the real deal” in horror, so expect to lose some sleep. (Egyptian: 11:55 p.m. Fri., June 6. SIFF Cinema Uptown: 9:30 p.m. Sat., June 7.)

‘Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter’

In Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, a young woman (Babel Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi) becomes convinced that Fargo is real, and journeys to the movie’s setting to find money buried in the snow. Well, Fargo did claim to be based on a true story, even if that turned out to be a Coen brothers jape. This film is from another set of filmmaking siblings, David and Nathan Zellner, and comes with warm notices from other festivals. (Egyptian: 7 p.m. Sun., June 1 & 4 p.m. Mon., June 2.)

In going from Wendy & Lucy to Meek’s Cutoff, Portland’s Kelly Reichardt blithely established the kind of range that most indie filmmakers can only dream about. Therefore her new one, Night Moves, automatically becomes a must-see. It’s about a group of Oregon environmental activists; Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning lead the cast. (Lincoln Square: 7 p.m. Fri., May 23. SIFF Cinema Uptown: noon Mon., May 26.)

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly

Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Film Festivals

SIFF 2014: All is by my SIFF guide

The press release has been unleashed, the complete schedule has been announced, and at 9am on Thursday, May 1, the schedule will go up on the SIFF website and tickets will go on sale online and at the SIFF Cinema Uptown box office (the Pacific Place SIFF box-office with open later). The 40th Seattle International Film Festival season is officially underway.

Of course, you can’t wait to find out what the highlights are (well, my highlights, as far as that goes) so here’s a sketch of what’s big, what’s interesting, what’s arriving with big buzz, and what you might want to look out for when the schedule goes live. (The full press release is copied below.)

‘Jimi: All is By My Side’

Opening Night, as was previously announced, is Jimi: All is By My Side, John Ridley’s film of Jimi Hendrix in the year before he broke in America at the Monterey Pop music festival. It debuted at Toronto last year and made its American debut at SXSW in March; Seattle marks its second American appearance. As you may know, the Hendrix estate would not license any of Hendrix’s compositions to the film, which leads to some storytelling gymnastics and one killer cover that I will not spoil for you. The film opens the festival at McCaw Hall (which, to be honest, is not the most sonic-friendly space for film soundtracks) on Thursday, May 15, and director / writer John Ridley (fresh off winning an Oscar for his screenplay to 12 Years a Slave) is set to attend.

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Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Film Festivals

SIFF 2014: Cinescape to the Opening Night Film ‘Jimi: All is By My Side’

The Seattle International Film Festival announced this week that it will kick off the 40th Seattle International Film Festival with a screening of Jimi: All is By My Side, John Ridley’s film about the early years of Jimi Hendrix in England before his breakthrough, on the Thursday, May 15 opening night gala at McCaw Hall. Director / writer Ridley, an Oscar winner for his screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, is expected to attend.

The film, which debuted at Toronto last fall and made its American debut at SXSW in March, stars Andre Benjamin as Hendrix, who was born in Seattle and rests at Greenwood Cemetery in Renton, and co-stars Hayley Atwell and Imogen Poots as the women in his life as he played his way through the London club scene in the 1960s.

SIFF also released its 2014 promo. The theme is “Cinescape.”

The 2014 Seattle International Film Festival runs from May 15 through June 8 in multiple venues across Seattle. The official festival website is here.