Seattle International Film Festival

Seattle International Film Festival

The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), held annually in Seattle, Washington, is the largest film festival in the United States, [Annie Wagner, [ Everything SIFF] , "The Stranger", May 25 - May 31, 2006.] and among the top film festivals in the world. Audiences have grown steadily; the 2006 festival had 160,000 attendees. [ SIFF to Create New Home for Great Films at Seattle Center] SIFF press release, November 28, 2006.] SIFF runs for more than three weeks (24 days) in May-June, and features a diverse assortment of predominantly independent and foreign films and, in recent years, a strong contingent of documentaries.

SIFF 2006 included 300+ films and was the first SIFF to include a venue in neighboring Bellevue, Washington since an ill-fated early attempt. However, in 2008, the festival was back to being entirely in Seattle, and had a slight decrease in the number of feature films.


The festival began in 1976 at a then-independent cinema, the Moore Egyptian Theater (now back to its earlier name, the Moore Theater, and functioning as a concert venue). When founders Dan Ireland and Darryl Macdonald of the Moore Egyptian lost their lease, they founded the Egyptian theater in a former Masonic Temple on Seattle's Capitol Hill, which remains a prime festival venue to this day, although the festival now typically uses about half a dozen cinemas (including, since 2007, its own SIFF Cinema at Seattle Center), the exact roster varying from year to year.

During the 1980s, SIFF audiences developed a reputation for appreciating films that did not fit standard industry niches, such as Richard Rush's multi-layered "The Stunt Man" (1980). SIFF was instrumental in the entry of Dutch films into the United States market, including the first major American success for director Paul Verhoeven.Fact|date=February 2007

The nature of the festival

The festival includes a sidebar that is probably unique among major film festivals: a four-film "Secret Festival". Those who attend the Secret Festival do not know in advance what they will see, and they must sign an oath that they will not reveal afterwards what they have seen.

In general, SIFF has a reputation as an "audience festival" rather than an "industry festival". [Lynn Jacobson, [ Locals swarm huge Seattle fest] . "Variety", Jun. 19, 2005] The festival often partially overlaps the Cannes Film Festival, which can reduce attendance by industry bigwigs; in 2007 there were two days of overlap, May 24 and 25.

The SIFF group also curates the Global Lens film series, the Screenwriters Salon, and Futurewave (K-12 programming and youth outreach), coordinates SIFF-A-Go-Go travel programs (organized tours to other film festivals), and co-curates the 1 Reel Film Feastival at Bumbershoot and the Sci-Fi Shorts Film Festival at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.

IFF Cinema

November 28, 2006, SIFF and Seattle mayor Greg Nickels announced that SIFF will soon have a home and a year-round screening facility in what has been the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall of McCaw Hall, the same building at Seattle Center that houses the Seattle Opera. The city contributed $150,000 to the $350,000 project. This auditorium is now a "flagship venue" for SIFF festivals and the site of most press screenings.


Since 1985, the Seattle International Film Festival has awarded the Golden Space Needle award each year to the festival's most popular movie. Ballots are cast by audience members at the end of each movie. Previous winners of the Golden Space Needle include "Whale Rider" for 2003, "Trainspotting" for 1996 and "Kiss of the Spider Woman" for 1985.

Golden Space Needle (Best Film) and SIFF Awards for Best Short and Documentary


Among the films that have received North American or world premieres at SIFF are
*"Arafat, My Brother" — Rashid Masharawi (2005, North American premiere) [ News in 2005] , SIFF. Accessed 23 November 2006.]
*"Banlieue 13" — Pierre Morel (2005, North American premiere)
*"Burning in the Wind" — Silvio Soldoni (2003, World premiere) [ [ Burning in the Wind] , SIFF, Accessed 23 November 2006.]
*"I Murder Seriously" — Antonio Urrutia (2003, North American premiere) [ Press release] , SIFF. Accessed 23 November 2006.]
* "Last Days" — Gus Van Sant (2005, North American premiere)
* "Mars" — Anna Melikian (2005, North American premiere)
* "Mongolian Ping Pong" — Ning Hao (2005, North American premiere)
* "Monster House" — Gil Kenan (2006, North American premiere) []
* "Nate Dogg" — Thomas Farone (2003, World premiere)
* "PTU" — Johnny To (2003, North American premiere)
* "Tomorrow's Weather" — Jerzy Stuhr (2003, North American premiere) [ [ Tomorrow's Weather] , SIFF, Accessed 23 November 2006.]

See also

* List of film awards


External links

* [ SIFF homepage]
** [ SIFF Shiftboard] : as the largest film festival in North America, SIFF is active in the Seattle community and requires thousands of interns, hourly workers and volunteers that together, provide tens of thousands of human hours for overall, general management. Volunteers and other workers can register to get involved, join specific teams, meet coordinators, and pick up and cancel their work shifts online.
* [ Official SIFF 2006 Flickr Page]
* [ SIFF celebrates 30 years of movies (2006)]

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