Some overall comments about SIFF 2008. Maybe it was just me, but were the films actually better this year? I know that SIFF was tightening its belt–for the first time there weren’t “more movies than ever on the planet, all in three weeks!” (although, don’t get me wrong, several hundred is still plenty). Perhaps the 50 less movies were actually the stinkiest ones that the programmers thankfully cut for our benefit.
There was less schwag for sale (no lunchboxes, stickers, tote bags, etc.), and there were less parties. With this streamlining, especially with the venues mainly limited to the Uptown, SIFF Cinema, Pacific Place, Egyptian, and Harvard Exit, I found the fest much easier and less stressful to get around. I only used my car twice (for films that got out past 11pm), and actually rode the Monorail twice as well! Otherwise, I just did fine on foot and bus. All in all (counting carefully), I saw 33 (I just recounted!) movies and/or SIFF-related events. Not as many as last year, but I liked most of what I saw this time!
My faves of the fest: Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame (narrative), Man on Wire (documentary)
Breakout performances: Tannishtha Chatterjee of Brick Lane, Andrew Garfield of Boy A
The Ponette award for making tiny children “act” by threatening to stone them: Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame
A trend of “real-life” documentaries that blur the line of reality and drama: American Teen, Up the Yangtze
Surprisingly not stinky (not GREAT, but not stinky!): Battle in Seattle
Favorite short film: OK, I only went to one shorts compilation, but LOVED the twisted and funny The Pearce Sisters (unsurprisingly from Aardman Animation). I was delighted to see it won a jury prize!
Fabulous archival presentations: In the Land of the Headhunters, Sunrise w/ The Album Leaf, Alexander Nevsky w/Seattle Symphony
Hottest actors of the fest who showed up in person: Real-life couple Sophie Hilbrand and Waldemar Torenstra of Summer Heat
If you can’t get a good film, don’t bother with the Gay-La: Kiss the Bride
Random acts of kindness: To prove that I needn’t waffle on the last evening of flicks, a kind fellow gave me his extra ticket to Timecrimes for free, and a woman offered (literally one second too late!) to sell me her discounted ticket for my last film, The Wrecking Crew.
Most fun to be had during SIFF: OK, alright, alright, I’m cheating here… but I’ll have to say, sneaking away from the fest the second weekend to go have cocktails with a pack of friends and see the Sex and the City movie. I have no shame!
And finally, weirdest Capitol Hill postering during fest: The “orange level” lice epidemic posters all over Pine Street, supposedly courtesy of the Seattle Health Department (turned out it was a hoax, at least as far as health officials were concerned)
So! Until next year… [checking pockets, looking at watch, whistling to pass the time, thinking I should be somewhere], see you at SIFF Cinema!