Creative, informative, and progressive, the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is one of the most talked about events of its kind in all of North America. As is the case every year, SIFF is highly anticipated.
Still, there is reason to believe this year’s festival will be even more special than most. Here’s a look at the reasons why you should carve some time out of your schedule between May 15 and June 8 to attend a SIFF event…or 10.
Seattle International Film Festival Turns 40
This year is a milestone for SIFF, as the festival celebrates 40 straight years of showcasing creative, independent, and informative films. With a few years’ experience at its current Uptown Theater setting near South Lake Union, the festival has had the opportunity to make the theater its home and year-round screening facility. If you have yet to attend any SIFF events, there has never been a better time to start than now. The largest, most highly attended international film festival in the States is poised to celebrate its 40th birthday by being bigger and better than ever.
Hundreds of Films
The SIFF lineup is always promising, but the 80 films slated to make their debuts are especially worth getting excited about. More than 70 countries are represented, and the subject matter of the feature, short, and documentary films vary greatly.
The festival will open with “JIMI: All Is By My Side,” the Hendrix biopic starring Andre Benjamin of Outkast. It will close with “The One I Love,” a twisted romantic comedy produced by Seattle native Mel Eslyn, and starring Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass.
For a continent that takes up six percent of the world’s land mass and is expected to have one-quarter of the world’s population by 2050, Africa is underrepresented in the international film industry. SIFF strives to raise awareness of Africa’s film culture and the artistic talent borne of that continent. Colorful, original, and touching films coming from Nigeria’s Nollywood, the third largest producer of feature films in the world after Bollywood and Hollywood, will dazzle viewers on multiple evenings. The burgeoning film industries of Egypt, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will also be represented at SIFF 2014.
The lineup for this year’s festival includes the world premiere of “Leading Lady,” “Fanie Fourie’s Lobola,” and “Four Courners.”
Each year, an award is given to one outstanding director and film crew in each of these categories for their outstanding work. In recent years, documentary films have come to play an especially prominent role at SIFF, whose coordinators and attendees celebrate it with zeal. This year, Seattle native and producer Quincy Jones will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the screening of the documentary “Keep on Keepin’ On.”
Four Film Secret Festival
There is simply nothing like the Secret Festival, a four-film sidebar of SIFF that draws die-hards and curious newbies. In order to attend the event, one must obtain a Secret Festival membership and solemnly swear to honor an Oath of Silence concerning the films that play. Details of the event are so cryptic, in fact, that I’m starting to feel like a criminal just writing about it! So I’ll stop, but you should look into the Secret Festival membership process if I’ve piqued your interest and you can keep a secret.
Those are just a few reasons why SIFF is the most highly attended international film festival in the United States, and I’m sure you can find a dozen more if you check out the lineup or navigate through the FAQs. And if you happen to live at AMLI South Lake Union, AMLI 535, or another South Lake Union apartment community, then you really have zero excuse for not attending since you’re mere blocks away from the action.
If you have been to the Seattle International Film Festival in the past, what tips can you offer for making the most of the experience?
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