SIFF 2018 Edition: Opening Night


To attend Opening Night is to see everything from cocktail gowns to actual gowns to t-shirts to jeans in a crowd composed of volunteers and staff, high-spending passholders, those who can afford the $75 price tag for the film ($65 for members), and those willing to shell out the $275 for reserved seats, valet parking, and fundraising cred.

And now, a picture of a crow flying from one of the tents.


What’s up, crow?

Inside, I walked up the central staircase to a place where SIFF program guides were being handed out for free. Obviously, I was on the wrong floor, so I went up a level and saw this below me.


Even cooler was the view looking back from where I’d come.


Once the program started, there were the usual speeches and thanking of sponsors, volunteers, and staff. Then, the giving out of the Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Film…by Deputy Mayor Shefali Ranganathan. Just as the mayor wasn’t there to hand out the award, neither was winner Tracy Rector there to receive it. Instead, her son Solomon accepted the award on her behalf and gave the best speech of the night, which started with him saying how hard his mother works (she’s directed and produced over 400 short films, something that the Deputy Mayor pointed out in her introduction).

In addition to the intros and the Mayor’s Award, we were treated to several sponsor commercials, none so poignant as the one from Aegis Living. As usual, we saw the official SIFF trailer (produced by Wong Doody, and which I’d seen at the press launch), and then a montage including scenes from films in this year’s festival. Oh yeah, and there was also a movie. There’s currently a review embargo on The Bookshop, but capsule reviews are okay, and all I have to say about the film can be written in one paragraph.


Bill Nighy and Patricia Clarkson doing what they do best (hint: it’s acting). Photo courtesy of SIFF

First, the good. The acting is solid (Bill Nighy steals every scene he’s in), the cinematography is pretty (especially the colors), and the camerawork is unobtrusive. Unfortunately, the story itself seems abridged, with only the skeleton of a plot and a few hints of character motivation remaining. It’s not a bad film, but it’s not a particularly good one, either. And the voice-over narration seems unnecessary.


Emily Mortimer reading a book that’s better than this movie. Photo courtesy of SIFF

Then it was on to the gala. But first, one last look at the tent the crow sat on, this time from inside McCaw Hall.


In past years, the Opening Night Gala took place in the Pacific Northwest Ballet building. Last year and this year, however, it took place in the more intimate Fischer Pavilion.


Getting the party started

At the gala, I achieved a lifelong dream of finally getting ice cream, lines be damned (mine was called Netflix & Chill). Sadly, I missed the sliders, but made up for it with potato dumplings (and later, beef dumplings). I also thought the gala ended at 11, which caused much confusion when it kept going. I then thought it must end at 11:30, but no, that was merely the time for last call (speaking of which, I didn’t get carded this year for booze. Must be the beard). It actually ended at midnight.

This is a picture of how close I got to the VIP area.


To clarify, the VIP area is on the roof of Fischer Pavilion where all those people are standing, not at the Space Needle

The Space Needle scaffolding was being removed that evening, but it was still there when I took this picture. Oh well. At the end of the night, I found out that DJ Don Driftmier (his company is called “Music Man,” which might be his professional DJ name, or it might be DJ Don, or DJ D, or just Don), whom SIFF hires every year for the Opening Night Gala, has been doing it for the past ten years. He’s great, but the music is loud, and I forgot to bring my earplugs this year. Luckily, I found a quiet spot near the front of the dance floor after I’d already danced a few songs in the louder section in between the speakers, so my hearing is still intact.


SIFF 2016: Highlights and Observations


Opening Night Gala (Thursday, May 19)

IMG_0886For the first time in the seven years I’ve attended the festival, opening night didn’t have great weather. It also didn’t have any guests from the opening night film, which makes me wonder if there was a Q&A after the movie ended (the cast were still enjoying the society in Cannes, possibly at a cafe). If SIFF had held it a week early, the weather would’ve been gorgeous, but on Thursday night, it rained, though since the rain didn’t start until after 7 in North Seattle, I’m hopeful that everyone was inside the venue before it began.

It turned to a light drizzle by the time I arrived for the gala proper, and had dissipated by night’s end. As happens with movies made by people with the last name of Allen or Polanski, controversy followed the selection of Cafe Society as the opening night film (and led to an article here from the executive director of Reel Grrls), but it did open Cannes, and it did put butts in seats. Since the only thing I’m privy to at SIFF is how to make a good latte, I can’t tell you why it was chosen over other films, and speculation is for cable news.

Since I had a big dinner, I didn’t have much of the food at the Opening Night Gala, though it looked delicious. The music was great, too, and since I always find myself directly in front of the speakers, I remembered to bring earplugs this time, which means I could hear the day after. The only mishap involved using a cheap bottle opener to open bottles of sparking water for some lovely ladies, cutting my finger on one of the bottle caps. When the bleeding stopped, I went back to dancing, though I missed the conga line.

Best Films of the Festival (That I Saw)

Best Overall: Our Little Sister (Kore-eda Hirokazu)


Photo courtesy of SIFF

Kore-eda Hirokazu’s latest film employs genius Kanno Yoko’s touching compositions with a story that is lighter and funnier than most of Kore-eda’s other films, but just as profound. In fact, I’d put this one up there with his best (Maborosi, After Life, Nobody Knows,  possibly I Wish). The plot is simple: three grown sisters discover they have a younger step-sister at their father’s funeral and invite her to live with them. Kore-eda deals humanely with each sister, and while the dramas they deal with are small, there is such warmth in the film that only people who confuse darkness with depth will mind.

Best Documentary: Tower (Keith Maitland)


Photo courtesy of SIFF

This intense film uses actors and actresses to recount the first person experiences of several people affected by the first school shooting in U.S. history, which took place when a sniper climbed the clock tower at the University of Texas in 1966 and began firing on the people below. The filmmakers use the same kind of animation seen in Linklater’s Waking Life, along with actual footage, to give the audience the sense of the extreme heat, heroism, cowardice, and fear that people felt on that day. No explanations are given as to why the sniper did what he did; his name is not even mentioned. This film is about the people who were affected by the gunman, not the gunman himself. And while a late segue into more recent school shootings fumbles a bit in linking together all of these tragedies as stemming from the same cause, it is the only stumble that the film makes. One could argue that the epilogue drags on too long, but I welcomed the breather after the intensity that preceded it.

Best Archival: Dragon Inn (King Hu)


Photo courtesy of SIFF

While Chimes at Midnight is the better achievement in film, it still has issues with the sound quality, something that may play better on speakers with less punchy bass, where Welles’s lines tend to turn into rumbling gobbledygook. Plus, while I admire Shakespeare and this film, particularly the images that now have a clarity to them lacking in other incarnations, Dragon Inn is more fun to sit through, with an equally excellent picture restoration and flat, monaural soundtrack that doesn’t temper the shrieky highs, but luckily doesn’t have many shrieky highs to contend with. Both are great archival restorations, but Dragon Inn edges out Chimes at Midnight for watchability.

Most Thought-Provoking: A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (Iwai Shunji)

photo courtesy of SIFF

Photo courtesy of SIFF

I’m not sure if this film belongs in such exalted company as the films listed above, but it will make you think during its three hours, and no shot is superfluous. My one issue is with an act of cruelty that occurs within the first hour, when a man who is supposed to be the friend of the female protagonist secretly frames her for cheating on her husband and ruins her marriage. No explanation is given for his behavior, unless he thought he was doing her a favor. There are hints that he’s in love with her, but those hints are dropped once the main story begins. Then again, if we are to take the work as satire, he is more deus ex machina than person and doesn’t need to be logical. Part of the fun in the film is seeing where the plot goes, so I won’t spoil it for you here, other that to say that there’s delightful ironies throughout, such as when a group of strangers playing family members act more like family toward each other than actual family members do. But the film stays in the memory, and the ending is perfect.

Director Iwai Shunji with translator (l) and moderator Eddy Dughi (r)

Translator, Iwai Shunji (director), Eddy Dughi (SIFF moderator)

Other great films: The Bacchus Lady, Beware the Slenderman, Chimes at Midnight, Tickled, We Are X

Male Directors, Female Leads

Many of the films I saw this year starred female protagonists in female stories directed by men. In each one of them, I thought how different the film might’ve been if directed by a female. Even Kore-eda’s Our Little Sister, while a sensitive portrait of family life among sisters, includes romantic angles that are less out-of-place due to the conservative nature of Japanese domestic life, but less progressive than what the characters of Take Care of My Cat experience in South Korea. A Bride for Rip Van Winkle has a main character who’s a porn star, Where Have All The Good Men Gone included discussions about boyfriends (briefly) in a film about finding a lost father and escaping an abusive one, The Bacchus Lady is about an elderly prostitute. And yet, the films center on multi-faceted women, most of whom are independent from men or had boyfriends but didn’t rely on them. And neither The Bacchus Lady nor A Bride for Rip Van Winkle are meant to titillate, but focus on society’s ills against women and how women carve out their place in the world, regardless.

Secret Festival

One of the reasons I attended Secret Festival this year was that, a few years back, the Fools picked Secret #2 as the best film of the festival. Not wanting that to happen again this year, I went to each screening, only missing Secret #3, due to illness. When the ballots came out this year, Secret #3 was the Fools pick for best film. *Sigh* All that I can tell you about Secret Festival is that Dan Ireland’s spirit was evoked during it, there were lots of bananas, and we witnessed Richard Gere dancing to a song from Flashdance.


Unlike previous years, I decided not to write about the Q&A’s, except to post photos and maybe a few interesting sound bites on Twitter (search @litdreamer #SIFF2016). The tweets didn’t include much information about the guests, however, so here’s a picture from each one I attended, with identifying information included (excluding Iwai Shunji’s, which is above).


Where Have All the Good Men Gone: SIFF moderator, Rene Frelle Petersen (director), Jette Sondergaard (actress),Marco Lorenzen (producer)


First Girl I Loved: SIFF moderator, Kerem Sanga (director), Ross Putnam (producer)


The Eyes of My Mother: SIFF moderator, Nicolas Pesce (director), Jacob Wasserman (producer)


The Final Master: Xu Haofeng (director), Xia Li (producer), SIFF translator, Dan Doody (SIFF moderator)


Beware the Slenderman: Sophie Harris (producer), Dan Doody (SIFF moderator)


Shortsfest Closing Night: Alexander Lewis, Artemis Shaw (directors, “Single Room Occupancy”), Ofir Klemperer (composer, “The Apartment”), Yotam Wax (director, “The Apartment”), Patrick Haggerty (subject, “The Saint of Dry Creek”), Dan Doody (SIFF moderator)


Tower: Megan Leonard (SIFF moderator), Keith Maitland (director), Sarah Wilson (cinematographer)


The Bacchus Lady: SIFF moderator, E J-Yong (director), translator

 Remembering Dan Ireland (Sunday, June 12)


The tribute for Dan Ireland, festival co-founder and director of one of my favorite movie experiences from the 40th Seattle International Film Festival (The Whole Wide World), occurred on the afternoon of June 12, the final day of this year’s festival. While SIFF treated it like its Secret Festival in that it didn’t announce what was playing and would disavow any official account of the program, it did not require signing statements of secrecy, so I’ll tell you what the tribute entailed and then there’ll be no way to verify what I write. 🙂

I entered the theater to a slide-show onscreen, with photos taken throughout Ireland’s life and career, as well as a weepy soundtrack (“We’ll Meet Again” played during the segment that showed slides of Ireland growing up and hanging out with friends). Then Artistic Director Chief Curator and Festival Director Carl Spence said a few words. He first met Ireland when he (Spence) was 23. Reading from a note written by Darryl Macdonald, who co-founded the festival with Ireland, Macdonald mentioned sneaking out with Ireland to see films when they were seven and their first year at the Moore Egyptian Theatre (1975), as well as their first SIFF (the following year). He wrote he’d miss “Dan’s constant positive energy” and his “twisted sense of humor.” In the background showed the banner seen above. Then came a highlight reel (which Ireland put together) showing clips from all of his feature-length movies: Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, The Whole Wide World, Living Proof, Passionata, Jolene, and The Velocity of Gary. Then we heard from his sister Judy and younger brother Tim — briefly from the former, at length from the latter.

Tim wondered why Seattle claimed Ireland as “Seattle’s own” when he grew up in Vancouver and also lived in Portland, though he realizes now that Seattle has as much of a right to claim his as the other two places, since he left such a mark here. Also, before his death, he didn’t know the depth of his brother’s relationships. At least ten people told him at the memorial service in L.A. that “Dan Ireland is my best friend.”

“Without a doubt, Dan Ireland really loved people,” he said.

Despite this, he mentioned that Ireland was bullied when younger. One year, he only received two Valentine’s Day cards from his classmates! The story I enjoyed the most, though, was that a young Ireland used to call a movie theater in Vancouver to see if the films being shown there were in Cinemascope or Panavision.

After his siblings spoke, the lights glowed less and the screen filled with clips from some of his favorite movies, including All About Eve and Lair of the White Worm, followed by a “Trailers from Hell” sequence in which he talks about helping to bring John Huston’s The Dead to the screen. It finished with Richard Gere, as King David, dancing to “What a Feelin'” from Flashdance (see Secret Fest above).

We ended with a 35 mm reel of clips shown for the directors guild called “Precious Images” — the first time this reel had been run — and the movie Pillow Talk, which was one of Ireland’s favorite movies, also on 35 mm. To be honest, I didn’t much care for it, though seeing Rock Hudson pretend to be gay during one sequence in the film (when he was actually gay in real life) was interesting, and Doris Day putting on her stalkings was sexier than most woman taking off their clothes. Still, the highlight of the remembrance was hearing his brother speak, and the highlight of all my Ireland experiences remains seeing his personal 35 mm print of The Whole Wide World two years previous.

In Conclusion

I’d hoped to have this post up by the end of June. Here we are in August, and it’s finally up. To be honest, this post was mostly finished, but I kept procrastinating on posting the photos of all the Q&A guests I took, though when it came time to actually post them on the blog, there ended up being not as many as I feared.

Of all the festivals I’ve worked, covered, and volunteered in, this one ran the smoothest, though that may be because I didn’t observe any movies occurring at the new venues that appeared this year, such as Majestic Bay and the Arc Lodge (for brief runs). It could also be because most of the people running the venues have been doing this for years.

Also, this was the first year since I’ve worked at SIFF that I didn’t go to the Closing Night Gala. I did go to the Super Secret Staff Party, but since it’s super secret…

Finally, I thought the festival trailer this year and accompanying song kicked ass:

Until next year!

Opening Night Happenings — Thursday, May 14, 2015

Our new menu went up today!

Our new menu!

1. Arrived at 1:30 for 2 pm press screening.  Told it would be delayed by roughly 45 minutes (it ended up starting 40 minutes late), as the previous screening had issues.  Initially supposed to show Breathe Umphefumlo, but it didn’t arrive on time, so screening swapped with Liza, The Fox-Fairy, but then the film arrived, so everyone moved from House 1 to House 2, except it wouldn’t play, so back to House 1 and Liza, The Fox-Fairy. Too bad I didn’t come earlier, as that was one I wanted to see, and apparently amazing!  Not sure if I wanted to stay for The Hallow (House 2), as I didn’t want to be late for opening night, but offered a ride, so saw it, then stayed after my ride had to leave because he forgot a plumber was coming to his house that day.  Didn’t need to stay.  Not that it was bad, but not much happened.  Luckily, a friend said she could drive me to opening night, so I had just enough time to get changed and eat dinner.


2. I’ve been to the Opening Night Gala before, but only did the movie once (a staff-only screening at the Uptown) — unless you count the press launch last year.  This was the first time I got to experience the madness inside McCaw Hall, for even when I volunteered on opening night 5 years ago (my first festival), it was at Benaroya Hall.  The friend who drove me had to wait for her friend, but we met up with my +1 (one of our awesome lead ushers) and headed to McCaw Hall.  Large sign in the lobby from 20th Century Fox about not recording or photographing the film (and they took the #bewatching tag seriously, except that they were watching the patrons).  Ran into several people I knew.  Found out general seating was on the 5th floor (2nd Balcony) — a place I know well from going to the ballet.

On the Red Carpet leading to the Red Carpet Experience (and no, I didn't qualify for that experience).

On the Red Carpet leading to the Red Carpet Experience (and no, I didn’t qualify for that experience).


The view from my seat.


3. Around 7:30, announcement made about the prohibition of recording devices.  Then the creepy SIFF trailer began, followed by a short film showcasing the office staff commenting on how they pull off the festival (and Carl Spence, the Artistic Director, acting very excited).  Then Mary Bacarella, Managing Director of SIFF, and Carl Spence kicked off the night with opening remarks (including a new grant that will be given each year to a documentary filmmaker creating a film on a specific theme — this year’s is aging and the elderly), followed by Brian LaMacchia, who is the president of the Board of Directors, followed by Mayor Ed Murray, who spoke out against the oil rig twice in his speech (to thunderous applause) and who also gave out the governor’s award to the richly deserving Megan Griffiths, who gave a short speech thanking Seattle and its film community, her crew, and her parents.

Mary and Carl get the party started

Mary and Carl get the party started

4. Running a little late (7:44), Spence introduced the director of the film, mentioning how, at last year’s festival, Bridesmaids was the only non-festival film bringing in crowds, and he wondered why.  He introduced director Paul Feig, who did a short introduction.  Then a trailer mash-up of many of the films playing in the festival, followed by the film.

5. I had reservations about a mainstream film kicking off the festival, but Spy was an excellent choice.  The dialogue is funny and excellent (1/3 of it was lost to laughter), while the plot reminded me of the Get Smart movie, which I also enjoyed.  I told my friend after the movie, “Melissa McCarthy is a star,” which is not to detract from the excellent supporting cast (including Alison Janney, Miranda Hart, Rose Byrne, and Jason Statham).


Goodies at the Gala.

6.  I stayed for the credits, but left before the Q&A so that I could arrive at the after-party before the lines started forming for food.  Due to my “connections,” I got the unlimited drinks bracelet.  Due to my stupidity, I did not use it.  Then again, I was fine with a wine sample and several bottles of water.  Part of the fun was dancing with my crew, including one of our number who is a bit shy about dancing (she danced three songs).  We even got the Artistic Director out on the dance floor near the end of the night.  The only negative was that I danced too close to speakers, so my right ear was ringing for the rest of the evening.  Next time, I’m bringing earplugs.

DSC_0451 DSC_0452 DSC_0453

SIFF 2014: Opening Night Gala (Thursday, May 15, McCaw Hall)


Staff badge and unused drink tickets from the Opening Night Gala

Two announcements were made during Opening Night that are very exciting:

1. SIFF has purchased the Uptown Theater with a generous donation from David and Linda Cornfield (the “Angels of the Uptown”) and help from real estate development firm Point32.  Initially, SIFF only leased the building.

2. Remember my post on the demise of the Egyptian Theatre?  Well, SIFF signed a lease in May with Seattle Central Community College to keep the venue open.

From the official press release provided by SIFF:

But the work is just beginning. Improvements to the Egyptian and growth to the organization are now in order, and SIFF has launched a fundraising campaign to take the venue to the next level and ensure its long-term viability. One anonymous donor has already extended a $150,000 match offer. Along with donor outreach, the organization has also created a “Text To Give” campaign (“Text ‘SIFF’ to 501501 To Donate $10”). Starting on Opening Night of the 2014 Seattle International Festival, SIFF will be reaching out for support for this undertaking.

So, some exciting news, to say the least.  If you’re on Facebook, SIFF has another way to help here.

Now, as I already saw Jimi: All Is By My Side, I took the opportunity to take a nap.  A long nap.  Two hours later, I started getting ready for the Gala.

Below are the photos I took at one of the biggest parties in Seattle.  I was there from roughly 10:30 to midnight, but it started around 9:45.  I’m sorry I didn’t take more photos, but I was having too much fun dancing and running into people I know. 🙂




And to appease those people who wanted more spectacular photos, this is what the Space Needle looked like after the party was over:



Finally, here are official photos from Opening Night (you’ll need to have a Facebook account to view them).  Did I mention there were hula hoops at the Gala?

Until next time!

The Seattle International Film Festival Turns Forty

This year, the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) turns 40, which means that some surprises are in store.  In addition to announcing the opening night film before the festival begins (as is customary), Moira Macdonald published an article today in The Seattle Times that lists some of the guests, including Richard Linklater (for Boyhood, which will be the Centerpiece Gala), Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Laura Dern.

I also have a surprise.  While I have covered the festival for four years as a freelancer, this year I will be covering it as a freelancer with a press badge.  There will be a press launch on Wednesday, after which time I will fill you in on more of the perks that a press badge will give me.  I’m hoping to have more access this year than in past years, particularly to the guests.  As usual, I will be using Twitter to supplement my blog posts.  You can follow me @litdreamer.

Until next time, when I will cover the press launch and the first (abridged) week of press screenings!

SIFF 2012: Galas, Tributes, Parties, And Other Happenings

At Kaspar’s for my first ever SIFF party

First, I should mention that I didn’t go to every party, and even fewer Galas (movie+party).  I didn’t go to the Opening Night Gala because no one told me I could, until after I had made plans.  Then, I didn’t get invites to the first couple of parties because I wasn’t on the staff-generated email list.  Once I got on the staff list, I got every update that I was supposed to get, and if I didn’t go to a party, it was because of work, exhaustion, or some other excuse. But first, I burned my fingers.This is why one should never pour coffee directly from the brewer, or at least pay attention while one is doing it.  So, after spilling much of the coffee out of the cup in a reaction to the incredible burning sensation and shock that I felt when the coffee hit my fingers, I filled the order, controlled my desire to faint, and then calmly walked over to the sink and doused my hand in cold water.  Later I put on some ointment we had upstairs, which worked amazingly well.  My fingers stopped hurting after that, and it healed in two days.  The picture above is what I wore home that night, but I traded it for a band-aid for the following night, when I went to my first movie+party, a Saturday Gala on May 26.  The movie was As Luck Would Have It at 6:30 pm at the Uptown, with Salma Hayek.  The party was at Kaspar’s at 8:30. There were appetizers.  There were drinks.  There was dancing. My yellow staff wristband got me unlimited drinks at the party, as opposed to the two drink limit that everyone else had.  Not that it mattered, as I’m not much of a drinker.  At the party, I sat with some of the staff from the theater, had two glasses of chardonnay and some rich food, and woke up the next day with a massive headache, which I thought was a result of the aforementioned chardonnay.  Except that a hangover doesn’t result in brief and multiple reigns on the porcelain throne.  Luckily, while I had to work Sunday, I had the following two days off to recuperate, even slipping in a movie on Tuesday.

I was plenty rested up for the Centerpiece Gala on Saturday, June 2, which is why it was such a shame that I couldn’t go, due to work.  Some of my coworkers were meeting for drinks after the official party, but for me, drinks alone do not a party make.  There must be either dancing or karaoke, too.  Plus, I was tired, so I went home and gave up my two invites to one of my friends, who invited one of her friends to go.

The next party I went to was the Gay-La in Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 6, at The Lobby Bar.  Because I worked until 9:30 and the party was at 8:30, I got there late, apparently after the party reached its peak.  The place was nice, but there was no designated dance floor, so apart from people dancing in their chairs, it was a lot of drinking and talking until the bar closed at midnight.



The bar did, however, have a nice view of the road from the upstairs area, where I once again sat with some of my coworkers, including some people who only work the festival, and their friends. I should also mention that, both times, I brought one of my friends, too.  That pattern changed for the final three parties I went to. But first, SIFF had its first tribute, An Evening with Sissy Spacek, on Thursday, June 7, at the Uptown.

Long before the festival began, I offered to work that day. Then, the day after the event, I read an email saying that all staff could see the tributes for free (normally, we would have to pay for a ticket, since they cost more than your usual $11 movie).  Oh well.  I still had some time to duck into the theater for a few minutes here and there to see the Q&A, which was moderated by Richard Corliss.  I also saw another familiar person there as part of the press junket.  I remembered him from Ebertfest, but it took me awhile to remember his name.  Then it hit me: it’s David Poland! We had a red carpet for Spacek, then she was whisked away to the employee break room for any last-minute preparations (and possibly, to nibble on the Theo Mint and Hazelnut bars and drink some of the bottled water that had come from concessions).  Apparently, she entered the theater through the lobby, instead of going through the back entrance.  Only my boss noticed it, despite concessions being full of people.  As such, I only got a picture of the red carpet after she had left, and pictures of her during the Q&A from the back of the room.  I also got to use the break room right after she left it, though I refrained from sitting on the director’s chairs there.  I’m not that kind of fan. From what I picked up from the Q&A, Spacek thinks it ridiculous to compare “mere mortals” (including herself) to Meryl Streep (Streep is “the best actress…actor…of all time”), believes Jessica Chastain is the best young actress currently working, and loves telling stories.  Most of what I heard had to do with The Coal Miner’s Daughter.  In short:

  • Spacek knew how good Tommy Lee Jones was in the film because she knew his real-life counterpart.
  • Loretta Lynn kept telling people that Spacek would play her in a film.  Spacek met with Lynn to squash that rumor.
  • The Oscar Spacek won made her bankable in Hollywood.

During one of the times I went in, one of the spotlight operators asked me if I would be there long.  When I answered in the affirmative, he put me in charge of his spotlight until he returned.  All I had to do was turn it off if more clips from Spacek’s career were shown.  They weren’t, so I just stood next to it the whole time.

The other tribute was for William Friedkin on Saturday, but he was at the Egyptian and I was working at the Uptown, so I didn’t get to go.  Emile Hirsch came, too, as both of them were promoting their new film, Killing Joe, which Friedkin directed and Hirsch starred in.

In between these tributes was the NW Connections Party on Friday, June 8, at The Grill on Broadway, which, unlike the other parties, started late, at 11 pm.  This party was for all the local filmmakers who had made films shown during the festival.  It is also where local public TV station KCTS gave out the first annual Seattle Reel NW Award, of which they were a sponsor.

And the winner is…

…Megan Griffiths, for EDEN!

While I didn’t see Lynn Shelton there (director of the Opening Night movie, Your Sister’s Sister), I did meet Megan Griffiths, soon after she won her award (I also talked with the person in charge of social media at KCTS).  Unfortunately, by that point they had taken her award away (to be given back to her on Closing Night–she also told me she wanted to “keep it [the award] clean”), but despite interruptions occurring every time I talked with her, she seems like a nice person.  She even agreed to take a photo with me.

Though that would have been a great time to whip out my business card and ask her to let me know if she ever needs a screenwriter, I did not (not that I’ve even written a screenplay before, but she doesn’t need to know that).  To be honest, I wouldn’t mind just being on a movie set and learning as much as I can from the crew.  For example, I’d love to learn about cinematography, including lenses, filters, and use of light.  I already have a pretty good eye for photography.

But I digress.

After the NW Connections Party (during which I sat, again, with some coworkers), there were only two more on the schedule: the Closing Night Gala (Sunday, June 10 at 8:30 pm), and the Super Secret Staff Party, which started when the Closing Night Gala ended.  But before the party, there was the movie, and for the first time all festival, it had multiple screenings.  In the same theater.  At the same time.  I doubt I will ever see concessions that busy again.

The movie was Grassroots, which was based on a book written by a former writer for The Stranger about his friend’s campaign for City Council.  Directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal (father of Maggie and Jake), who was in attendance, the film stars Jason Biggs, who was also in attendance, and a dude dressed up in a polar bear outfit, caught later dancing at the party.

Polar bear dancing

Here I feel I should mention something about Biggs.  After the movie ended, he stayed around for at least 10-15 minutes, talking with fans, signing autographs, and posing for pictures.  In fact, most of the guests at SIFF spent lots of time hanging out with moviegoers once their films had ended, often having to continue conversations in the lobby so that the next film could start on time.

Despite all this time he spent standing right next to our concession stand, I did not get a picture of Jason Biggs.  I got something even better: a picture of Jason Biggs’s soda.

Some of the ice cubes in there are mine.

The party for the Closing Night Gala was at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.  I got there for the last hour with a coworker, who graciously offered me a ride from work.  I couldn’t imagine how the Centerpiece Gala could have been better; this one had a cover band.  And they were awesome.

All Mixed Up plays at the Closing Night Gala

As for the Super Secret Staff Party, I cannot tell you anything about it: not where it was held, who went to it, or what occurred during its duration.  All I can share with you is this photo:.

Post-Festival Events

The last official SIFF party occurred on Tuesday, June 12, at 4 pm.  Like the NW Connections Party, it took place at the Grill on Broadway, after our kickball game at Cal Anderson Park (held at 2 pm).  The teams were Operations (which included Floor Staff) versus Artistic.  Though Artistic surged back, Operations won 6-5.  My contribution was in not catching a ball that resulted in a triple, getting out twice, and wearing the team t-shirt. There was also an unofficial karaoke party on Wednesday night, which I went to after my cleanup shift at the Uptown was over.  Apparently, performances from that night can be seen online.  For that reason, I’m not going to tell you where it was held, since my voice gave out near the end of “Uptown Girl.” 😛

Next post: my official wrap-up of SIFF 2012, including all the films I saw, all the ones I wish I had seen, and my final impressions of this year’s festival.