Michael Ward on Friday, May 04
The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), the largest and most highly attended festival in the United States, announced the complete lineup of films, guests, and events for the 44th annual 25-day Festival that runs May 17 - June 10, 2018.
This year, SIFF will screen 433 films representing 90 countries and will include: 168 features (plus 4 secret films), 66 documentaries, 10 archival films, 164 shorts, and 21 VR/360 works. The lineup includes 35 World premieres (6 features, 29 shorts), 46 North American premieres (32 features, 14 shorts), and 25 US. premieres (16 features, 9 shorts).
Opening night kicks off Thursday, May 17 with The Bookshop from acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Isabel Coixet (Learning to Drive, Elegy), distributed by Greenwich Entertainment. The film is set in a seaside village in England where a grieving widow (Emily Mortimer) pursues her lifelong dream of opening a bookshop. She introduces the townsfolk to the world's best literature and stirs a cultural awakening, but her efforts are ruthlessly opposed by a powerful local (Patricia Clarkson) causing a reclusive resident (Bill Nighy) to join the fight to keep the bookshop open. The film is based on the bestselling novel by Penelope Fitzgerald.
The annual Centerpiece Gala, Sorry to Bother You, pulls no punches in its portrayal of racial dynamics in the workplace. This new film ushers in an utterly original and wildly creative new voice on the film scene from debut director and musician Boots Riley. Director Boots Riley is scheduled to attend the Seattle premiere to take place Saturday, June 2, at 5:30 PM, at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian.
The Seattle premiere of Ethan Hawke's Blaze will also screen at the historic SIFF Cinema Egyptian as SIFF honors Mr. Hawke's work with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. In addition to the award presentation and screening, the acclaimed actor is slated for an on-stage interview at the Friday, June 8 event.
Also scheduled is An Afternoon with Melanie Lynskey, where the Festival pays tribute to this celebrated actress. The iconic scene-stealing actress makes her way to SIFF on Sunday, May 27 for the Seattle premiere of Northwest Filmmaker Megan Griffiths' film Sadie with an onstage discussion following the film.
Seattle favorite, Gus Van Sant's Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot, closes SIFF 2018 with a bang! Starring Joaquin Phoenix in a transformative performance as Portland cartoonist John Callahan who, after a car accident leaves him disabled, uses his sardonic humor and brutal honesty to battle with a lifetime of addiction.
"Sifting through over 4,000 film submissions each year, finding just 240 features is somewhat of a treasure hunt," said SIFF Artistic Director Beth Barrett. "We're looking for dynamic, diverse stories. This year, we're overjoyed to share that over 43-percent of the feature films are female directed. We're thrilled to jump into the 44th Festival and share these voices from around the globe with over 150,000 film enthusiasts in Seattle over the course of 25 days."
SIFF's film line up is accompanied by industry forums, film development programs, the SIFF Lounge and a host of other complementary Festival activities, all found at siff.net. The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival is presented by SIFF, the non-profit arts organization that reaches more than 350,000 annually through SIFF Cinema, SIFF Education, and the annual flagship Festival.