April 28--The 39th annual Seattle International Film Festival will open May 16 and continue through June 9, with 271 feature-length films and 174 short films from a record 85 countries.
Beginning at McCaw Hall with Joss Whedon's contemporary take on Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," it will end at Cinerama with the North American premiere of Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring," starring Emma Watson and based on a real-life story about a gang of Hollywood teenagers who rob celebrities' homes.
Tickets go on sale Thursday at www.siff.net and various locations.
In between, several special events will have a Northwest flavor.
Local filmmaker Lynn Shelton's made-in-Seattle film "Touchy Feely" will open the festival's week of programming at Renton's Ikea Performing Arts Center, May 23-29.
Actor, Yakima native and University of Washington graduate Kyle MacLachlan will be honored with a tribute evening June 3, featuring a screening of the pilot episode of the made-in-the-Northwest David Lynch television series "Twin Peaks."
And the Northwest Connections section of the festival will include four feature films and eight documentaries, all with strong connections to the Seattle area.
Welsh-born filmmaker Peter Greenaway ("The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover," "The Pillow Book") will visit SIFF for "An Afternoon With Peter Greenaway" on May 19 at the Egyptian. The program will include a screening of Greenaway's 2012 film "Goltzius and the Pelican Company," as well as a multimedia presentation called "The Death of Cinema."
Other special events include the June 1 Centerpiece Gala screening of "Twenty Feet from Stardom," a documentary celebrating backup singers; the June 5 Gay-La screening of the comedy "G.B.F.," starring Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood from the "Harry Potter" movies) and Megan Mullally; a special spotlight on films from Africa (scattered throughout the festival, but most concentrated in the final week); and a collection of archival films, including a restoration of Laurence Olivier's 1955 "Richard III."
SIFF has always been strong in the documentary category, and this year's festival features nearly 70 nonfiction films, on topics ranging from the popularity of Bordeaux wine in China ("Red Obsession") to a portrait of Anita Hill ("Anita," directed by Oscar winner Freida Lee Mock) to the WikiLeaks saga ("We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney). Many of the documentaries will be shown during the third weekend of the festival, aka Docs Fest.
Seven screens will be kept busy for the full length of the festival -- SIFF Cinema at the Uptown (all three screens), SIFF Film Center, Egyptian, Harvard Exit and Pacific Place -- as well as extended runs in Renton and the Kirkland Performance Center (May 30 to June 9).
This year, for the first time, festivalgoers will be able to print tickets from home after buying online (or can download PDF files to their phones), but the festival will still maintain primary box-office locations at Pacific Place and SIFF Cinema at the Uptown.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or email@example.com
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