SIFF HAPPENS: the 2015 Edition of the Seattle International Film Festival

My journey to SIFF 2015 began with the rejection of my press application.  Understandable, since my readership is not as large as — say — the Seattle Times, and my staff badge gets me every place my press badge would, and places my press badge would not.  I went four years without one and did fine, so it’s more a return-to-form, except that now I’m getting emails from the PR department.  This also means I don’t have to hold reviews at the whim of distributors, as I did last year, though I hope to see films that don’t have distribution yet — so long as they don’t suck (see 1 below).

A few things I plan on implementing this year:

  1. Mainly due to last year’s snorefest of a masterpiece called Hard to Be a God (which should have included the subheading: “but not as hard as being an audience member”), I’ve decided to implement the Hard to Be a God rule.  The rule is as follows: if the first 30 minutes of a movie doesn’t interest me, whether due to its faults or my own, I’m walking out.  I hope to invoke it mostly during press screenings, but I reserve the right to use it during the festival proper.
  2. Q&A’s take a long time to write up as blog posts, and taking photos of the participants during the Q&A means carrying around a camera the weight of a strongman’s bar bell on my back.  I’m not saying I won’t take notes or photos, but there’ll be less of them — unless people really want to know what the Q&A’s are like, in which case, I have five years of posts for you folks to read.
  3. I’m not spending any money on movies at the festival.  That means no tributes, no live music events, and no galas.  Except the ones I’m invited to.
  4. No gala and party coverage.  The parties don’t change from year-to-year, and who wants to read about DJs?
  5. Press screenings will give me an opportunity (I hope) to seek out films that I wouldn’t normally see, and write about them.  Boyhood didn’t need my coverage last year (though I still would’ve reviewed and seen it), but smaller films do, and may only be preserved by blogs like mine (for example, my review of Awake: The Life of Yogananda set a record in page views when I posted about it last year because no one else wrote about it).
  6. I may not post about every movie I see, but I will write about the ones that interest, move, shock, or perplex me.
  7. I may break any or all of the above guidelines at my discretion.

Yesterday (Wednesday) included the press launch, donor preview, and member preview– instead of spreading them out over two or three days, like last year — while today (technically yesterday, as I’m posting this after midnight) the press screenings began. I don’t know what they were, as I didn’t receive the email for this week’s truncated offerings, but I’ve received next week’s full lineup.  I may go tomorrow morning, just to see what’s playing (and to pick up my staff badge), though I have work (not for SIFF) in the afternoon.

In the meantime, enjoy the official SIFF trailer, which extols the creepy virtues of the surveillance state:

Update 5/1: Today I received the list for this week’s press screenings.  The only one I would’ve liked to have seen is Love & Mercy (about Brian Wilson), but as that will have a wide release next month, I don’t need to see it during the festival proper.