Film Fests Archive for May, 2011

SIFF Review: The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical

Last Sunday, I took my son Jaxon, aged 11, to see The Sound of Mumbai, which is screening at SIFF in their Films4Families section. Jaxon is on the Films4Families jury this year, which means that for the first time, he’s being asked to view movies as more than just pure entertainment. The Sound of Mumbai was his first real experience with a documentary (other than March of the Penguins, and I’m not sure how much he remembers of that), and I was curious to see how he’d respond to it.

“Is this a real story or a made up story?” he whispered about 20 minutes in, as on the screen we saw the deplorable conditions in which the cheerful main subject lives.
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At SIFF This Weekend — May 20-22

This weekend, the Seattle International Film Festival offers an array of interesting, good films to choose from, which you can view on the handy-dandy fest calendar. Not sure what to watch? You can try out The Siffter for suggestions!

If you’re looking for recommendations, my own picks for Friday would be Submarine (7PM, Egyptian) or 3 (7PM, Neptune), Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage (9:30PM, Egyptian), AND the midnight screening of Trollhunter (midnight, also at the Egyptian). For Saturday, consider checking out Nuummioq, the first feature film out Greenland, at 11AM. The afternoon offers How to Die in Oregon up against Silent Souls — either is recommended.

If you’re over in Renton, which is having its opening night tonight, you can catch SXSW standout Natural Selection and Touch, an terrific little film about the relationship between a manicurist and a mechanic. In some ways, it’s kind of a lighter, funnier version of The Off Hours. which screens later in the fest.

Tomorrow afternoon you could catch The Trip, the hilarious road trip film with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, and then check out Miranda July’s excellent, trippy flick The Future. Later tomorrow night, you won’t go wrong with either Perfect Sense or Jess + Moss, and midnight brings another offering: John Carpenter’s The Ward. Bring a friend.

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SIFF 2011: The Preview

Thursday evening, the 37th edition of the Seattle International Film Festival will kick off with a Gala opening screening of The First Grader, followed by a sure-to-be-packed opening party. Justin Chadwick’s charming drama about an 84-year-old Kenyan freedom fighter who decides to take advantage of the government’s free education program by enrolling in his village’s school is an interesting choice for a festival opener: There are no big stars to parade down the red carpet — but then Seattle’s never really been the kind of festival locals flock to because of the stars. It’s a rather innocuous, crowd-pleasing choice, not likely to offend any festival donors — but then, rebellious Seattle isn’t exactly the kind of town where not offending is the first priority.
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“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch

To me, Hunter S. Thompson was a hero. His early books were great, but in many ways, his life and career post–Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail is a cautionary tale for authors. People expected him to be high and drunk all the time and play that persona, and he stuck with that to the end, and I don’t think it was good for him. I always sort of feel mixed emotions when I hear that people went and hung out with Hunter and how great it was to get high with Hunter. The fact is the guy was having difficulty doing any sustained writing at all for years probably because so many quote, unquote, “friends” wanted to get high with him … There was a badly disappointed romantic there. I mean, that great line, “This is where the wave broke, the tide rolled back … ” This was a guy that was hurt and disappointed and very bitter about things, and it made his writing beautiful, and also with that came a lot of pain.
~ Anthony Bourdain