Seattle International Film Festival, now playing
The box office is now open for the Seattle International Film Festival, and more than 433 films will be screened for the occasion.
The 44th annual festival runs 25 days, from Thursday, May 17 through Sunday, June 10.
“The festival is about two things, advancing emerging filmmakers and bringing people together around film,” executive director Sarah Wilke said.
Artistic director Beth Barrett added that the films this year will represent 90 countries. “We’re hearing voices from around the world,” she said.
There will be 168 features, 66 documentaries, 10 archival films, 164 shorts and 21 VR/360 works.
In addition, the lineup includes 35 world premieres, 46 North American premieres and 25 U.S. premieres.
“We’re all about meeting filmmakers where they are and bringing those voices to Seattle,” Barrett said. “This might be your one chance to see that film.”
The festival includes a number of special events, including three galas. The opening night kicks off on Thursday, May 17 with Isabel Coixet’s “The Bookshop,” a story of a The grieving widow (Emily Mortimer) who pursues her lifelong dream of opening a bookshop. The film is based on the bestselling novel by Penelope Fitzgerald.
The annual Centerpiece Gala will be “Sorry to Bother You,” an exploration of race in the workplace from debut director and musician Boots Riley. The Seattle premiere is slated for 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 2.
Actor Ethan Hawk will receive an award for “Outstanding Achievement in Cinema” during the festival and will join the festivities for an on-stage interview at the Friday, June 8.
The festival is also paying tribute to actress Melanie Lynskey, who will be in Seattle on Sunday, May 27 for the Seattle premiere of Northwest filmmaker Megan Griffiths' “Sadie.”
Gus Van Sant's “Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot” will close the festival. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as Portland cartoonist John Callahan, who is disabled after a car accident and battles with a lifetime of addiction.
Barrett said that 4,000 films were submitted this year. Selections were made with a focus on dynamic and diverse stories. This year, more than 43 percent of the feature films in the festival are directed by women.
SIFF also hosts industry forums and film development programs as part of the festivities. For more information about the films and activities, visit siff.net.