44th Seattle International Film Festival
USA, May 18 - June 11 2017
The Seattle International Film Festival might not be the best known in the US and is only little known in Europe, but it is the largest film festival in the United States, one of the longest fests worldwide and the festival with the highest public attendance in the US. The 43 rd Seattle International Film Festival, known as SIFF, attracted again over 150’000 cinemagoers during the 25-day event.
SIFF screened some 400 films from 80 countries, including 165 feature films and 58 documentary features with 36 titles as World premieres and 34 as North American premieres. “This year’s line-up includes a wide variety of programs ranging from heartfelt features to provoking documentaries”, says first-time fest Director Beth Barrett. She is proud that one out of two films that screened at SIFF 2017 came from a 1 st or 2 nd time filmmaker and that 30% of the fest films are directed by female filmmakers.
SIFF has no red carpet, no dress code and hands out only one honorary prize during the fest. This year’s Career Achievement in Acting Award went to US actress Anjelica Huston. The festival honored her with the World premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s Trouble where she is in the lead role and also has a credit as executive producer. Also scheduled was An Afternoon with Sam Elliott, where the festival paid tribute to the American actor.
The festival includes a wide range of competitions. The Official Competition with filmmaking from around the world, the New Directors Competition with first and second features that have no distribution in the US, the Ibero-American Competition with films from Latin America, Spain and Portugal and the New American Cinema Competition with independent US-films judged by a FIPRESCI-Jury. Each Jury hands out a Grand Jury Prize with a $ 5000 cash check which makes Seattle one of the few festivals where Fipresci not only awards a diploma, but also a cash prize.
Furthermore there is a Documentary Competition, a Shorts Competition and a Audience Award in the five categories Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Short Film. The prize giving takes place in the breathtaking restaurant in the tower of the famous Space Needle.
Founded in 1976, SIFF is not only a festival but also an all year round event. The festival owns three cinemas with five screens and thus keeps a theatrical exhibition engagement with Arthouse films from around the world including classics and revival films. Seattleites see more films than the residents of any other American city, also thanks to the Seattle International Film Festival and its annual engagement. (Beat Glur, edited by Gerald Peary)
The Seattle International Film Festival – one of the oldest festivals on the continent – celebrated its 44th edition this year. It’s also one of the longest festivals: during 25 days it presented a profound overview of recent world cinema in a variety of sections. Our jury focused on the festival’s “New American Cinema” series, which showcases films without US distribution.