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Recap: A Somewhat Nifty SIFF 2024 Launch Party

Posted by April 19th, 2024 1 Comment »

By Peter Cameron

I was rocket-ship-excited to attend the SIFF press launch for their 50th anniversary. With 261 films from all over the world, what’s not to be excited about? As I entered the beautiful Egyptian Theatre on Capitol Hill, my excitement grew. Then the programmers started to talk.

Bless their hearts. These cinephiles put in work. Over 6,000 films were submitted, and the programmers had to sift through them all. That means 5,739 films were rejected, which is a monstrous task. They then divvied up the chosen few into categories based on content or place. These curated categories are the festival programs, and they’re handy. If you’re into Spanish-speaking films, the Ibero-American Cinema program features films from Spain, Central, and South America. Or if you just want to watch something weird, SIFF has a program titled “WTF.”

I personally want to sit in on films from every program because that’s the beauty of SIFF: Films from all over the world, spanning every genre, in one city. With so much variety, audiences can curate their own cinematic adventure. That’s what SIFF is: a spaceship into the unknown.

I definitely want to watch the Luther Vandross documentary, Luther: Never Too Much. I’m very excited to see Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire in 4K restoration at SIFF Downtown (formerly Cinerama). I’m also curious to see films from Asia and Africa. Those continents are very different worlds from my own, and I want to experience their cinematic language. Thankfully, SIFF has me covered with the Asian Crossroads and African Pictures programs. Speaking of different worlds, I can’t help but be drawn to Hollywoodgate, a documentary that follows members of the Taliban after their recent takeover of Afghanistan. And for some strange reason, I want to subject myself to Harmony Korine’s newest film, Aggro Dr1ft. It features an assassin hunting a demon-winged crime lord. How does that not sound exciting?

What wasn’t exciting was SIFF’s press launch. I could’ve listened to Artistic Director Beth Barnett all night. She has a presence on stage and oozes passion for film. But most of the launch involved awkward readings from deeply creased pieces of paper. Again, the folks who graced the Egyptian Theater’s glorious stage were not entertainers; they’re programmers. I just think SIFF should’ve programmed a hype person for the launch.

But bless their hearts. Because I’m still rocket-ship-excited for this year’s Seattle International Film Festival. It’s the 50th! And even if the programmers aren’t divas on stage, I trust their judgment for what’s shown on screen. This festival is a celebration of cinema, and those programmers sat through thousands of films so that we who attend can see the best. Hats off to them for their hard work. I’m ready for takeoff.

To see the full lineup for the 50th Seattle International Film Festival, o be held May 9–19 at venues across Seattle and followed by a week of select virtual screenings on the SIFF Channel May 20–27, visit Tickets and passes are available at

One thought on “Recap: A Somewhat Nifty SIFF 2024 Launch Party

  1. TBASA says:

    So Excited!

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