Seattle International Film Festival

Written by: Ashley Ann
The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), one of the biggest film festivals in the country, is embarking on its 38th annual run this year. Starting on May 22 and running to June 15, SIFF is once again aiming to be larger than life with celebrities such as Charlize Theron scheduled to attend. The movies encompass a wide range of genres and target audiences. They span from recent films to films dating back to the silent movie era, and some of them are from foreign countries and some of them have been directed right here in Seattle. No matter what a movie-goer may like, it’s likely that there will be a film at the SIFF just for them. Michael Korolenko, a film instructor at BCC, used to attend the SIFF frequently, although he admits that he hasn’t gone in a couple of years. What sets the SIFF apart for him is that “It tends to show smaller, more independent films, particularly from the Northwest.” Of course, having directors from Seattle is a huge draw for Seattleites. Brittany Ross, 19, is a student at BCC, and she’s looking forward to seeing some local films at the festival: “It’s really cool to see directors and producers from Seattle getting their own work showcased. Someone I know might be famous soon!” Another thing that sets the SIFF apart is the encouragement extended towards the movie-goers to actively participate. Not only are audience members able to see movies that might not make it to the general public, “You can actually engage the film makers at question and answer periods,” said Korolenko. Typically, such a period takes place directly after the film. In addition to this, the SIFF has guest speakers, usually actors and directors, who answer questions independently of the shown films. Korolenko, along with the newly-formed Film Club of BCC, has been in contact with the SIFF about getting student discounts in hopes of encouraging the students to attend. Aside from the abundance of local flavor, many of the trademark events are returning this year, to the delight of the SIFF’s fans. Among these is the Secret Festival, which shows an unannounced film every Sunday of the SIFF. The films shown in these Sunday matinees are secret for various reasons, but the one constant is that everyone who wants to watch must sign a waiver promising not to reveal what they saw. Other events are Face the Music, which run movies that are exclusively about music, Alternate Cinema, movies that are experimental in nature and not particularly headed for a commercial theatre, Films4Families, matinees that run child-friendly material, and Midnight Adrenaline, films that start at midnight and are designed to keep the blood pumping. Screenings typically run over the course of most of the day, every day. From Sunday to Thursday, the first films start at 11 a.m. and the last ones start at around 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday start a little later, with the first screenings opening at 4 p.m., but they run well into the night, with the last films starting at midnight. Most of the time, the audience is able to purchase tickets right before the movie at the box office for $11, or $8 if they manage to catch the matinee or a midnight showing. Tickets and information are freely available on the easy-to-navigate SIFF website,, and at the box office phone number, (206) 663-7151.