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SIFF 2024 #1: Lineup announced for the SIFFTY-th festival

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Sure, the math is a little squishy, calling this year’s celebration the 50th Seattle International Film Festival. The first SIFF was in 1976, but founders Dan Ireland and Darryl Macdonald were superstitious and officially skipped using the number 13 for that year’s fest. (Artistic Director Beth Barrett called it “SIFF math”.) So, voila, in its 49th incarnation SIFF is having its “SIFFTY” birthday celebration!

The 2024 Seattle International Film Festival will be in theaters May 9th–19th and streaming on the SIFF Channel May 20th–27th. The fest will open with Thelma, which promises to be a crowd-pleasing comedy, with the movie’s star June Squibb being featured with a special tribute event on May 10th. Another special event is A Conversation & “Hacks” Screening with Jean Smart on the 18th. A Seattle native with deep roots in local theater, Smart will be presented with The Hollywood Reporter’s Trailblazer Award. The event will also include a special screening of episode 307 (unaired) of the Emmy-winning Max comedy. Finally, closing out the fest will be Sing Sing, an inspirational true story about a troupe of incarcerated people who find healing through the redemptive power of theatre. Any film starring Colman Domingo and with A24’s stamp of approval is a must-see.

Though I still need to take a deep perusal of the just-released schedule, other intriguing programs and films include:

Asian Crossroads – A diverse collection of genres is represented from regions and cultures of Central, East, and South Asia, promising intriguing features and docs.

cINeDIGENOUS – This program highlights the works of Indigenous filmmakers from across the globe, including films from New Zealand, Finland, Hawai’i, Mexico, Peru, and more. Northwest connections include Sugarcane (about the horrors of residential schools in British Columbia), Fish War (focusing on Washington state indigenous fishing rights), and Bring Them Home (a story about Montana’s Blackfoot tribe and their relationship with wild buffalo; narrated by Lily Gladstone).

Rainier: A Beer Odyssey – Seattleites of a certain age will remember the classic Raaaaaaaineeeeeeeer Beeeeeeeer 1970s commercials. Now meet the marketing team behind these iconic ads.

The Primevals – This 90s adventure featuring stop-motion animation that looks like it was shot in the 70s with 50s-style beasties was never released… until now. The trailer is irresistible!

Merchant Ivory – Because I love love love Ismail Merchant and James Ivory’s movies! 95-year-old James Ivory, along with many of the filmmaking duo’s collaborators, looks back on their amazing films.

Hollywoodgate – Director Ibrahim Nash’at embedded himself with the Taliban during their first year in power in the wake of the United States’ Afghanistan withdrawal. in what I’m sure is a harrowing documentary.

Babes – OK, you’ll be able to Pamela Adlon’s directorial debut in theaters soon, but I swear this is the funniest trailer I’ve seen in YEARS, so it promises to be a howlingly good time with an early audience.

And there is so much more! I have to keep reading!

Check out all the things on the website for the 2024 Seattle International Film Festival.

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