41st Seattle International Film Festival

US, May 14 - June 7 2015

The jury

Dennis West (US), André Roy (Canada), Pamela Cohn (US)

Awarded films

Now in its 41stedition, the Seattle International Film Festival takes place in one of the most culturally diverse and exciting cities in the Northwest region of the United States. Running for a whopping 25 days, the festival meets the city in an intense engagement with its enthusiastic and dedicated film-going public. SIFF offers a rich and diverse program using various cinema and educational initiatives, including free access to more than 13,000 students a year. With three SIFF Cinema locations that all offer year-round programming, Seattle movie-going audiences have come to expect to find new discoveries from around the world from established filmmakers certainly, but also introductions to emerging directors and film talents.

The festival has made it a priority to create partnerships with small businesses and other community organizations, making it a truly participatory and celebratory event – for world cinema, and for the city of Seattle itself. The 41st edition featured 450 films from 92 countries, 193 of these features, 70 documentaries, nineteen beautifully-restored archival films – some never seen in a cinema since their creation – and, 164 short films. Forty-nine of the wide-ranging selections were premieres, eighteen of these playing for the first-time in the United States.

With fifteen select programs, ranging from African Pictures to the competitive New Directors Showcase to Culinary Cinema to Films4Families, the FIPRESCI jury focused on the New American Cinema competition consisting of nine first feature premieres by emerging American filmmakers. Six of these films came out of the festival’s Catalyst program, now in its fourth year, its mandate that of taking curatorial risks for some truly adventurous programming choices. This year’s competition was challenging with a few distinctive voices to which to pay attention: a female-centric spin on the “best friends’ weekend” in Madoka Raine’s Happy 40th, a drama that explores the relationship between two Asian men as they battle the cultural norms that keep them from expressing their true selves in Ray Yeung’s Front Cover, and our FIPRESCI award recipient, a screwball comedy featuring a screen-crushing talking cat named Leonard, the star of Pablo Valencia’s Chatty Catties. (Pamela Cohn)

Seattle International Film Festival: www.siff.net