Movie critics, film buffs, cult classic followers and foreign film nerds of SCC — get ready. The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is upon us, and SCC will be playing host to a slew of screenings for the largest film festival in the United States from May 23 to June 11. Out of well over 300 different festival films, 26 will be shown on campus by SCC from May 26 to June 3.
SIFF movies run the gamut of documentaries, comedies, dramas, thrillers and more from all over the world. The films’ producers come from all over, from our own Seattle backyard to countries abroad, like Nigeria and France. And while SIFF is usually independent, it has been known to feature premieres of well-known films, or films produced by well-known people, in the past, such as the 1979 cult classic “Alien” or last year’s “Cafe Society,” which was produced by Woody Allen.
The co-founders of SIFF, Dan Ireland and Darryl Macdonald, began SIFF in 1976 at the Moore Egyptian (then known simply as “The Moore Theatre”) and in the early years of the festival, it stayed there. Five years later, Ireland and Macdonald lost the lease to the Moore and moved to Capitol Hill, where they founded the SIFF Egyptian Theatre. As SIFF gained notoriety over the years, dozens more venues — like the Paramount Theater, the Triple Door and the AMC Pacific Place theater — joined SIFF’s ranks.
SIFF brings in the nation’s highest number of film fest attendees every year (at least 200,000 per festival, according to their records), and it tends to focus on film as an art rather than as an entertainment source. Since its conception, SIFF has appealed to fans of films outside the industry standard with its focus on foreign and independent production over feature films and big-budget blockbusters.
“SIFF believes in film's unique power to share original stories, diverse perspectives and rich emotional journeys,” according to the SIFF website. “(Our) mission is to create experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world. It is through the art of cinema that we foster a community that is more informed, aware and alive.”
For those interested in seeing all SIFF has to offer, there is the option to become a SIFF member — perks include discounts, special viewing privileges, posters and, most importantly, free popcorn.
If you want to attend for the experience, there’s also the not-so secret “Secret Festival,” which offers four screenings that are otherwise unshown during the festival. Secret Festival-goers are required to sign a legally binding “Oath of Silence” — a non-disclosure agreement regarding the films shown. No one knows what will be shown at the Secret Festival, and no one will ever tell! (Which, frankly, is cool as hell.)
Tickets and festival passes can be purchased online, with tickets at $14 for each showing and festival pass bundles at a variety of prices. Tickets can be printed prior to attendance or picked up at will call.