Category Archives: Festivals

SIFF Announces Full Lineup for 40th Annual Festival

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Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), the largest and most highly attended festival in the United States, announced today the complete lineup of films and events for the 40th annual Festival (May 15 – June 8, 2014).

This year, SIFF will screen 440 films: 198 features (plus 4 secret films), 60 documentaries, 14 archival films, and 168 shorts, representing 83 countries. The films include 44 World premieres (20 features, 24 shorts), 30 North American premieres (22 features, 8 shorts), and 14 US premieres (8 features, 6 shorts).

The Festival will open with the previously announced screening of JIMI: All Is By My Side, the Hendrix biopic starring Outkast’s André Benjamin from John Ridley, and close with Charlie McDowell’s twisted romantic comedy The One I Love, produced by Seattle’s Mel Eslyn and starring Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass. In addition, legendary producer and Seattle native Quincy Jones will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the screening of doc Keep on Keepin’ On.

“Film is more than entertainment. The life-changing nature of the collective experience of cinema and the stories moving pictures can tell are SIFF’s inspiration and mission every year as we put together the Festival,” says Carl Spence, SIFF’s Artistic Director. “This year, SIFF continues to be a festival of discovery, with more than 100 new directors making their debut. Richard Linklater was one of those filmmakers back in 1990 with the premiere of Slacker; it’s fitting to have him return for our anniversary with his masterwork Boyhood – unlike any other film I’ve seen. I am thrilled to share these films with the world and welcome the hundreds of talented guests expected to attend – from those you’ve heard of to the many who will be making their debut at the Festival.”

In addition to the gala screenings, this year’s premieres and special presentations feature a star-studded lineup including Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Laura Dern in The Fault in Our Stars, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke; Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock in Keep On Keepin’ On; Kim Basinger, Richard Jenkins and Cam Gigandet in 4 Minute Mile; Trent Reznor and Billy Corgan in Beautiful Noise; Nia Vardalos in Helicopter Mom; Vincent Kartheiser and Olivia Thirlby in Red Knot; Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Miranda Otto, and Mia Wasikowska in The Turning; the voices of Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, and Jay Baruchel in How To Train Your Dragon 2; Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey in I Origins; and Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler in They Came Together.

Festival box office opens May 1. For the full lineup, visit www.siff.net.

Laura Dern and Chiwetel Ejiofor Named SIFF 2014 Tribute Guests

Seattle International Film Festival announced today that Laura Dern and Chiwetel Ejiofor will be the two guests honored with Tribute awards for Outstanding Achievement in Acting at the 40th annual festival (May 15 – June 8, 2014). Both are scheduled to appear at special events featuring screenings of significant examples of their work, award presentations, Q&A sessions, and intimate receptions.

Each year, SIFF names Tribute honorees who exemplify what’s great about acting and film and invites them to be specially honored at the festival. Their visits offer SIFF audiences an incomparable chance to connect with these gifted artists and recognize their singular contributions to cinema.

Notes Carl Spence, SIFF’s Artistic Director, “Our Tribute events are major highlights of the festival. Both of these extraordinary actors have had outstanding careers full of classic, provocative performances, fitting in perfectly with the festival’s legacy of honoring the greatest talent in contemporary cinema. I am so honored to have Laura Dern and Chiwetel Ejiofor join us this year as part of our 40th anniversary.”

AN AFTERNOON WITH LAURA DERNdern
Featuring Wild At Heart
Sat May 17 | 2:00PM
Egyptian Theatre

The Fault in our Stars
Fri May 16 | 6:00PM
Egyptian Theatre

Coming from a family of major cinematic talent, Laura Dern has gone from girl next door (Blue Velvet) to paleontologist (Jurassic Park), from love-crazed bad girl (Wild at Heart) to woman reinvented (HBO’s Enlightened), and everywhere in between. An award-winning actress, producer, director, and activist, Dern’s unique blend of candor and magnetism, as well as her penchant for gutsy roles, has brought her to the forefront of American cinema and television.

SIFF honors her this year with two film programs:

The special presentation screening of The Fault in Our Stars on Friday, May 16, with an exclusive reception following the film. The 20th Century Fox film, directed by Josh Boone, co-starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, and based on the novel by John Green, opens nationwide in theatres on June 6, 2014.

On Saturday, May 17, Dern will be presented with the Seattle International Film Festival Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting. After an onstage interview with film clips from her career, there will be a screening of her 1990 Palme d’Or-winning collaboration with David Lynch, Wild at Heart.

AN EVENING WITH CHIWETEL EJIOFOR
Featuring Half of a Yellow Sun and short Columbite Tantalite
Mon May 19 | 6:00PMejiofor
Egyptian Theatre

Serenity
Sun May 18 | 9:30PM
Egyptian Theatre

From his first film role in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad at the age of 19 and his colorful performance in Kinky Boots to his extraordinary Oscar®-nominated portrayal of Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor has infused his roles with an exquisite brand of introspective, quiet intensity. His performances are elegant and impassioned, stoic and strong, and infinitely memorable – a master of the craft.

SIFF honors Ejiofor with two special evening programs:

SIFF will present a special screening of Joss Whedon’s 2005 sci-fi adventure Serenity on Sunday, May 18, featuring Ejiofor’s first villainous role but certainly not his last.

On Monday, May 19, Ejiofor will be presented with the Seattle International Film Festival Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting preceding the screenings of Columbite Tantalite, a short film directed by Ejiofor, and Biyi Bandele’s feature film Half of a Yellow Sun, costarring Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose. Following the screening there will be an onstage interview with film clips from Ejiofor’s career and an audience Q&A. An exclusive reception will follow the event.

The 40th Seattle International Film Festival runs from May 15 through June 8, 2014 at venues in Seattle and around the Northwest. Visit www.siff.net for ticket and schedule information.

STIFF Puts Transmedia Storytelling on the Big Screen in 2015

Marking its 10th festival, Seattle True Independent Film Festival (STIFF) has announced its intention to move into the future as Seattle Transmedia Independent Film Festival in 2015. In addition to its customary selection of diverse and distinguished short and feature-length independent films from around the world, STIFF 2015 will exhibit web series, video game concepts, storytelling apps for mobile phone and tablet, and social media narratives.

“Up to now, transmedia and interactive gatherings have been conferences, seminars,” says STIFF director of programming Will Chase. “The time has come to put these works on display in their many forms.” Acknowledging the logistical challenges of this goal, Chase nevertheless hopes STIFF will become a destination both for creators and consumers of interactive and transmedia narrative.

“Transmedia is part of the future of independent filmmaking,” Chase continues, “allowing stifffilmmakers to build an audience, telling their stories across one medium and then another as the audience grows and changes.” STIFF programming will serve as curators of this wide-ranging category, bringing the best of transmedia each year to seasoned fans and neophytes alike.

Passes for STIFF 2014—the 10th and final iteration of Seattle True Independent Film Festival—are on sale now here. The festival runs May 2-10 in the University District of Seattle.

Six Northwest Film Festivals Make Top Fifty List

Kudos to six Pacific Northwest film festivals for making the 2014 Moviemaker Magazine list of the “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee”.  The Media Inc staff was delighted to see that the Northwest was heavily represented on this year’s list, which included international entries from Europe and Canada. These are the festivals where filmmakers whose movies are screened get the most bang for their buck when it comes to potential press opportunities, distribution and acquisition and other criteria.

Moviemaker singled out these Northwest Film Festivals as being worthy of this year’s list:

Ashland Independent Film Festival
Ashland, OR – Spring 2015 ashlandfilm.org

BendFilm Festival
Bend, OR – Oct. 9-12, 2014 bendfilm.org

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Missoula, MT Winter/Spring, 2014 bigskyfilmfest.org

National Film Festival For Talented Youth (NFFTY)
Seattle, WA April 24-27, 2014  nffty.org

Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)
Seattle, WA May 15-June 8, 2014  siff.net

Tacoma Film Festival
Tacoma, WA Oct 9-17, 2014  tacomafilmfestival.com

See the complete list of  Moviemaker Magazine’s “50 Film Festivals Worth The Entry Fee” here.

 

WONGDOODY & World Famous Present “Cinescape” Campaign for SIFF 2014

The Seattle International Festival (SIFF) is thrilled to share the promotional campaign and trailer for its 40th annual Festival (May 15 – June 8, 2014), once again created in collaboration with ad agency WONGDOODY and production company World Famous. The concept this year is “Cinescape,” presenting SIFF as an escape from reality that transports viewers to other worlds and expands their minds. At “SIFForty Laboratories,” scientists transport willing subjects into alternate realities inspired by iconic scenes from films that have played at SIFF over the years. The tagline, “You will be returned home safely but forever changed” captures the magic of the Festival experience—coming together to see the best of cinema from all over the world can be a life-changing event.

The campaign features a 60-second trailer (below) and three 30-second bumpers directed by Tony Fulgham at World Famous, plus accompanying key art, print, outdoor, online, and identity assets. The trailer is on view now at SIFF Cinema Uptown and SIFF Film Center, as well as theaters throughout Seattle.

Mary Bacarella, SIFF’s Managing Director, says, “We wanted this year’s campaign to be joyful, exuberant, and celebratory. It’s an important milestone in the organization’s history, and WONGDOODY’s high energy, insanely creative campaign really honors that. And the trailer produced by World Famous is incredible; I love that it rewards repeated viewing.”

This is the eleventh campaign created by WONGDOODY in collaboration with SIFF.

SIFF Turns 40

Four decades of memories at Seattle International Film FestivalSIFF Seattle International Film Festival

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Seattle International Film Festival. Recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America, SIFF is the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States reaching more than 150,000 annually. The 25-day festival is renowned for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming, presenting over 250 features and 150 short films from over 70 countries each year.

Forty years of films means forty years’ worth of memories, from film screenings and discussions to parties and awards. Here are some highlights:

1976 – Founded by Dan Ireland and Darryl MacDonald, the first annual festival kicks off at the Moore Egyptian Theater, which was an independent cinema at the time and now functions as a live concert venue under the name the Moore Theatre. The festival, which lasts two weeks, features films from Germany, Italy, France, Egypt, Switzerland and the U.S., among other countries.siff_alien

1978 – In its third year, the growing festival features a director tribute/retrospective, honoring Stanley Kramer (It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner), who had recently moved to Seattle.

1979 – Ridley Scott’s Alien holds its world premiere screening at SIFF. Other selections include George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and the Australian film Picnic at Hanging Rock.

1980 – For the first time, SIFF begins hosting post-screening discussions with filmmakers. One of the biggest film screenings of the event is the world premiere of George Lucas’ The Empire Strikes Back.

1985 – After losing their lease at the Moore Theatre, Ireland and MacDonald found the Egyptian Theatre in a former Masonic Temple on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. New festival features include midnight screenings, retrospectives, all-night movie marathons and short film competitions. The Egyptian remains a prime festival venue to this day.siff_Braveheart_imp

1985 – SIFF announces the first-ever Golden Space Needle award, which is voted on by the audience and presented to the event’s most popular film. The inaugural award goes to Brazilian-American drama Kiss of the Spider Woman.

1988 – This is SIFF’s 13th year in existence, but the festival’s directors are a bit superstitious, so they call it the 14th annual event instead. (If you did the math, you would have noticed that 2014 is only 39 years!)

1995 – Mel Gibson’s Braveheart makes its world premiere screening. Also, SIFF is the first festival to broadcast an entire film (Party Girl, featuring Parker Posey) over the Internet.

1996 – British film Trainspotting, starring Ewan McGregor, holds its U.S. premiere, and wins the Golden Space Needle award for best film. Director Danny Boyle wins Best Director.siff_Lastdaysposter

1998 – Based on a short story by Seattle’s Sherman Alexie, Smoke Signals is screened as SIFF’s gala film. The all-Native American production, directed and co-produced by Chris Eyre, is also honored at Sundance this year.

2004 – Although Donnie Darko had a limited theater release in 2001, a director’s cut of the cult classic is released back into theaters in 2004, following the wildly successful sales of the DVD. SIFF is the first venue to screen the new version of the film.

2005 – The North American premiere of Gus Van Sant’s Last Days closes out the film festival. The controversial film is a fictionalized account of the last days of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.siff_Eden_Poster

2008 – This year’s opening night film is Battle in Seattle, based on the WTO riots of 1999. The film marks Stuart Townsend’s directing debut.

2012 – Seattle dominates this year’s festival, as both SIFF’s opening night and closing night films (Your Sister’s Sister and Grassroots, respectively) are local productions. Megan Griffiths’ film Eden also screens this year, and the film’s star, Jamie Chung, wins Best Actress.

2014 – What’s in store this year? You’ll have to wait until May 1, when SIFF announces its slate of films, events, parties, and more.

Information courtesy of SIFF (www.siff.net) and HistoryLink (www.historylink.org).

Eastern Oregon Film Festival award winners and overview

Photos by Cody Gittling/EOFF

eoff-official-burn-barrel

For three days in Eastern Oregon, people bounced between film screenings, round-table discussions, Skype Q&As, steel bending, beer gardens, and dance parties in celebration of the fifth annual Eastern Oregon Film Festival (EOFF), set in La Grande—within the country’s largest fully enclosed valley (The Grande Ronde Valley).

Visiting artists presented discussions, works and ideas to the festival population. Nandan Rao, Brandon Harris, Paul Sbrizzi, Jim Cummings, Ryan Scarfuro, Zach Weintraub, Tony Yacenda, Ben Petrie, and EOFF’s Benjamin Morgan and Ian Clark helped bring an artistry and driven conversation to a new level.jim-cummings-ben-morgan-eoff2014

EOFF2014 hosted an unprecedented cast of musicians and bands, carefully selected from the cities, towns, nooks and crannies of our beloved, abundant Northwest music scene. The festival featured a total of 13 acts, including Hillfolk Noir from Boise, Sad Horse from Portland, and the uplifting experimental pop group AU. Killer after-parties at the Art Center at the Old Library gave attendees an intimate show with powerhouse musicians, and opportunities to work with interactive visuals, preview a curated art show, and partake in Eastern Oregon craft beer maker Terminal Gravity’s finest new flavors.audeince-cheers-on-bending-steel

The festival experienced its fifth consecutive year of growth, adding more seats and hosting more filmmakers, musicians and general festival-goers than ever. La Grande’s historic downtown received a needed economic boost and the community has strengthened their investment in this emerging arts and cultural event in Eastern Oregon.

EOFF has plans to move dates for 2015 to the spring. Check the website and social networks to submit your film or plan to attend EOFF2015. Visit www.eofilmfest.com for more.

This year’s award-winning films were:
Best ShortYEARBOOK
Best Documentary FeatureBENDING STEEL
Best Dramatic Feature DOOMSDAYS

Coming Soon to Tacoma: The 72 Hour Film Competition Viewing Party!

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The 72 Hour Film Competition Viewing Party is the South Sound’s biggest single-night film event and is just three weeks away! This year’s party will be held on Friday, May 9, at Urban Grace in Tacoma.

Organized by The Grand Cinema, the 72 Hour Film Competition is one of the Puget Sound region’s most creative, spontaneous and demanding annual arts events. 30 teams of local filmmakers are given 72 hours to create an original short film incorporating specific criteria that they receive at the beginning of the 72 hours.

“Our staff at The Grand spends weeks brainstorming new criteria that we think will stretch and challenge local filmmakers,” says Grand Cinema Executive Director Philip Cowan. “We’re always blown away when we see the exceptionally creative ways they incorporate them into their films.”

The viewing party is the premiere for all 30 films and an extremely lively and celebratory showcase of the South Sound’s talented filmmakers. Participating filmmakers will range from high school students to professionals with decades of experience and films (each 5 minutes or less in length) will range from slapstick comedies to suspenseful thrillers.

Tickets to the 72 Hour Film Competition Viewing Party are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. They are available at The Grand Cinema’s box office and at www.GrandCinema.com.

SIFF Uptown to Host Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Washington Water Trust will bring the 2014 Seattle premiere of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival wildscenic-300x300(WSFF) to the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) Cinema Uptown on April 24. WSFF focuses on films that speak to environmental concerns and celebrations of the world.

Seattle’s premiere will feature eight films including Momenta, which describes the impact of the planned coal export trains through the Pacific Northwest.

Click here and here for more info.

More STIFF Trailers

Here are the trailers for a couple more films screening at Seattle True Independent Film Festival (STIFF) next month.

Pacific Aggression, from Seattle filmmaker Shaun Scott, is about a diagnosed social media addict, the blogger she stalks online, the story of how they reconnect in Seattle, and our societal love affair with screens of all kinds.

The film screens on May 6th at the Grand Illusion, will have its theatrical release in October, and will be up on iTunes in November.

Brooklyn artist and filmmaker Catya Plate returns to Seattle to screen her most recent stop-motion animated short film Hanging By A Thread (Best Animated Short, Nevada City Film Festival, 2013) at the 10th Seattle True Independent Film Festival.

Like her short The Reading, which won Best Animated Film at STIFF in 2012, Hanging By A Thread features her trademark characters, the Clothespin Freaks, this time, in a post-apocalyptic future where the human race has fallen to pieces.

The film screens May 10 at LUCID Lounge.

STIFF runs May 2 through 10. View the full schedule here.