Seattle International Film Festival

Seattle International Film Festival
The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is one of the top film festivals in North America. Founded in 1976, it is held in Seattle, Washington in May/June. SIFF focuses on independent and foreign films as well as screens a great selection of high-quality documentaries.

The Seattle International Film Festival was established in 1976 by Darryl MacDonald and Dan Ireland. They founded the Egyptian-Moore Theatre in downtown Seattle in 1975 and launched the first festival the next year. The first installment of SIFF ran for two weeks and screened 18 feature films. The third installment featured 120 films and lasted more than a month.

SIFF continued to grow during the following years. Its program expanded to include post-screening discussions with actors and filmmakers, retrospectives, midnight screenings, all-night film marathons, short film competitions, industry events, and more. In 1995, SIFF became the first festival to broadcast an entire film over the Internet. The film in question was Daisy von Scherler Mayer’s Party Girl starring Parker Posey.

Since 1985, the festival has presented the Golden Space Needle Award to the best film screened at SIFF. The award was named after Seattle’s most recognizable landmark, a 605 ft high observation tower located in Seattle Center.

The Seattle International Film Festival doesn’t have a professional jury, the prize is awarded based on the results of audience voting. Past winners include Trainspotting by Danny Boyle, Run Lola Run by Tom Tykwer, Whale Rider by Niki Caro, Boyhood by Richard Linklater. SIFF also present awards for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.

Many established filmmakers present their new works at the Seattle International Film Festivals. Notable North American and world premieres at SIFF include Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), Woody Allen’s Cafe Society (2016), Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World (2001), and Gil Kenan’s Monster House (2006).

SIFF is also known for its unique component that distinguishes it from other major film festivals. The so-called “Secret Festival” is a special screening of four films. Those who attend it don’t know what films they are going to see. They sign an oath that they will not reveal to anyone what they have seen.

In general, the Seattle International Film Festival has a reputation as an audience festival rather than an industry festival. Its organizers also manage various cultural events that run concurrently with the festival or during the year.

In 2021, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Seattle International Film Festival





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