SIFF 2010: The scoop on the festival, and a big scoop it is! (May 20th – June 13th)

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SIFF is proud to announce the lineup for the 36th Seattle International Film Festival, the largest and most highly attended event of its kind in the United States. Running a full 25 days, SIFF will present 189 narrative features, 54 documentary features, 13 archival films, and 150 short films from 67 countries, including 25 World Premieres (12 features, 13 shorts), 36 North American Premieres (24 features, 12 shorts), and 12 US Premieres (6 features, 6 shorts). SIFF 2010 runs from May 20 through June 13 at 11 venues throughout Seattle, as well as venues in Kirkland and Everett.

The Festival will open on May 20 at the beautiful Benaroya Hall with the sophisticated comedy The Extra Man, starring Paul Dano (There Will be Blood) as the ever-so-proper Louis Ives, a lonely dreamer who imagines himself the protagonist of a modern F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, and Kevin Kline as playwright Henry Harrison, a wildly eccentric social entrepreneur who takes Ives under his wing. Directed by the Academy Award®-nominated team of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor), The Extra Man is a magical, multi-dimensional comedy that is perfect to kick off this year’s dynamic Festival. The film also stars Katie Holmes, John C. Reilly, and Alicia Goranson. A celebratory party will follow the film, featuring live entertainment, complimentary cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts. Co-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, along with members of the cast, are expected to attend the Red Carpet Gala.

Get Low
Get Low

The Closing Night Gala will feature Aaron Schneider’s Get Low. For years, townsfolk have been terrified of backwoods recluse Felix Bush (Robert Duvall). When Bush rides into town with a shotgun and wad of cash wanting to arrange his own “living funeral,” what follows is an audaciously engrossing and slyly funny folk tale of forgiveness and redemption. Also staring Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek, and Lucas Black, Get Low is a timeless story of mystery and discovery. Closing Night Gala takes place on Sunday, June 13, at the Pacific Place Cinemas at 6:30pm, followed by a celebration at the elegant Pan Pacific Hotel.

SIFF will honor actor Edward Norton for his exceptional and prolific film career. The Festival will present the 2010 Golden Space Needle for Outstanding Achievement in Acting to Norton at a Special Tribute Event on Friday, June 4th, at 7:30pm at the Egyptian Theatre. The tribute event will include the west coast premiere of his new film Leaves of Grass (Dir. Tim Blake Nelson, USA, 2010), followed by a special award presentation and on-stage interview with clips highlighting his diverse work as an award-winning actor. The film follows a twisting path merging crime drama and drug comedy in pursuit of answering one of our oldest questions: What does it truly mean to be happy? The stellar cast also includes: Keri Russell, Tim Blake Nelson, Melanie Lynskey, Richard Dreyfuss and Susan Sarandon. Early Norton films, including American History X (1998), Fight Club (1999), and 25th Hour (2002), will also be presented at special late night screenings during the Festival.

Leaves of Grass
Edward Norton in Leaves of Grass

The Centerpiece Gala will feature Farewell, the acclaimed new film from French director Christian Carion (director of the Academy Award®-nominated hit Joyeux Noël). Farewell is an absorbing true story about a KGB colonel who gives top-secret documents to an ordinary French businessman working in Russia, helping to hasten the end of the Cold War. Centerpiece Gala takes place Saturday, May 29, at the Egyptian Theatre at 6:30pm, followed by a rousing celebration at the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) Hall on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

The Festival is pleased to announce Ambiente: New Spanish Cinema, a special spotlight focus on the films of Spain, with an incredible selection of 18 feature films, nine shorts, and three co-productions from the country, including four North American Premieres. Spain is enjoying an enthusiastic independent film revival, producing some of the most interesting work currently being made and seen at festivals world-wide. Selections include many recent award winners, including: Agora (Goya Award, Best Cinematography), Cell 211 (Goya Award, Best Film, Director, Actor, and Adapted Screenplay), The Damned (FIPRESCI Award), Garbo: The Spy (Goya Award, Best Documentary Film), Gordos (Goya Award, Best Supporting Actor), Me Too (Goya Award, Best Actress, Original Song; Rotterdam Film Festival 2010 Audience Award; San Sebastian Film Festival, Best Actor, Best Actress), The Dancer and the Thief (Official Academy Awards® Submission for Best Foreign Language Film), Three Days With the Family (Goya Award, Best New Director), and Woman Without Piano (San Sebastian Film Festival, Best Director). SIFF is pleased to share this work with Seattle audiences and to celebrate this energetic filmmaking culture.

Hipsters SIFF 2010 Special Presentations includes three larger-than-life productions: Cane Toads: The Conquest – in 3D, exploring one of Australia’s greatest environmental catastrophes in glorious 3D; The Wildest Dream – in IMAX, the story of George Mallory-the first man to attempt a summit of Mount Everest-and Conrad Anker, the mountaineer who finds Mallory’s frozen remains 75 years later; and the Grease Sing-along, in which a newly restored print brings the highest-grossing musical of all time to the big screen as a sing-along. SIFF presents two very special documentary programs, Waiting for Superman (2010 Sundance Audience Award-winner) from Academy Award®-winning documentarian Davis Guggenheim about America’s education crisis; and Utopia in Four Movements, in which Academy Award nominated documentarian Sam Green and sound artist Dave Cerf investigate the meaning and status of idealism in contemporary culture in a “live documentary,” presented in a unique format that ensures no performance is ever exactly the same. SIFF 2010 will also host Special Presentation screenings of Jackie Chan’s North American Premiere of Little Big Soldier; and the Allen Ginsberg biopic, Howl, starring James Franco as the poet laureate of the Beat generation. Additionally, SIFF is pleased to present the sparkling comedy Violet Tendencies for the annual Gay-La Extravaganza, taking place June 4 at the Egyptian Theatre, followed by an after party at Re-bar.

Each year, SIFF selects three up-and-coming directors that are destined to leave an impressive mark on cinema. These directors are SIFF’s Emerging Masters. This year’s Emerging Master honorees bring very distinct worldviews to the screen-on life, war, politics, sexuality, and the fragile emotional bonds of family. Mohamed Al-Daradji (Iraq) exquisitely crafts both hardnosed and humanistic tales of the Iraqi people during the ongoing war (Ahlaam, Son of Babylon). Valery Todorovsky (Russia) explores the jubilantly defiant artist and original “hipsters” during Soviet rule with a colorful and energetic musical and the empowering uncertainty of those caught in its last gasping breaths (Land of the Deaf, Hipsters). Ana Kokkinos (Australia) forces us to confront society’s often sheltered and shunned issues with our upbringings in vividly condensed and clamoring time capsules (Head On, Blessed).

SIFF’s Face the Music program pulsates through the incredible musical genres of reggae and ska, gospel and soul, classical, punk, Brazilian bossa nova and baile funk, and country. Face the Music 2010 features eight documentaries and two live music events, including Seattle roots rock band The Maldives performing an original live score to action-packed silent Western Riders of the Purple Sage (1925) at the Triple Door on May 25; and The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt performing an original live score to 1916’s gorgeous silent adaptation of Jules Vern’s 1869 novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at the Paramount Theatre on June 9. Joining him will be organist David Hegarty and frequent Merritt collaborator and author Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) on the accordion.

Other returning events and series are the weekend-long ShortsFest; Saturday night galas followed by big parties; Northwest Connections which proudly displays hometown talent; Archival Presentations, featuring 12 rare and recently restored classics, including the rarely seen Chinese silent comedy of manners A Spray of Plum Blossoms (1931); the youth program Futurewave: Expanding Cinema Through Education; plus programs within the fest like Alternate Cinema, Midnight Adrenaline, Films4Families, and the super-popular and super-secret Secret Festival.

The clever and innovative iPhone app SIFFter is back (via free download at the iTunes App Store) and sport SIFFtv, with festival video content from parties to filmmaker interviews and Q&A sessions.

WHEW! Are you ready? The full festival schedule (AND full print catalog this time… nice!) is available starting May 6th, 2010.


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