The Rules of the Seattle International Film Festival

There are things you can't know about the Seattle International Film Fest (like that it's international, although they admittedly frown upon Guam) unless you attend. Well no more! We will use our "actually attending SIFF light" to conquer your "I'm living in Florida lack of information." Along the way I think we'll learn a little something about each other too. Ah, one other note, I'll be calling The Seattle International Film Festival by the moniker "SIFF" a whole mess of times in this article because it is one syllable as opposed to twelve. Writing it the long way is only eight percent as efficient.

The festival's opening night featured the film Son of Rambow and I was lucky enough to be in attendance, although you will not be lucky enough to gain much insight into the film itself here. This is because the first rule of SIFF is you don't talk about SIFF movies, at least in terms of reviewery critical style talk. The reason for this is simple and logical; they want to give the gracious directors who screen their movies in Seattle a warm welcome, not subject them to the critic's scythe. By the way, scythe is an excellent word. Try using it during your next performance appraisal. Back to SIFF though, like I said, I won't be mentioning the actual movie's worthiness (although slight hint: It's pretty good) other than the following Haiku:

Son of Rambow Shown

Opening Night Fun For All

That's All I Can Say

Now that you've got rule one down I'll give you a few more so we can kick this fest off the right way.

Rule Two: SIFF Crowds Are Insane.
Seattlites are a loopy bunch, and I say that as a proud member. What these folks will do is line up for a movie, any movie, this could be a movie about how nose hair clippers are back in vogue in Tunisia, and yet they will still get there 45 minutes early. The true believers will get there an hour early, the complete slackers only half an hour, but it averages 45 minutes and everyone stands in line no matter what. Now I know what you're saying. "Well, ok, they line up, they like film, they want to make sure they see the movie, where's the lunacy in that?" You make a good argument. But I rebut you with a no, no, no, no, no.

You see, these people will gain admittance to the movie whether or not they line up because SIFF allows you to buy tickets beforehand. In general the movies don't sell out because SIFF shows 500 of them over the course of a month (seriously) and the big time movies that everyone wants to see are held in large theaters, say 500 seats or so. Okay, There is a caveat due to pass holders. SIFF sells a limited number of passes (x amount of dollars to see anything you want) and theoretically there could be a stampede of pass holders which would mean people wouldn't get to come. But I've never seen this happen in the seven years I've been attending. The worst that happens is that the people who haven't bought their tickets already don't get a chance to. But those people had three weeks to purchase tickets so I have no sympathy for them, no sympathy at all. Unless they are doctors whom are on call or people recently diagnosed with terminal diseases. Then I have a ton of sympathy for them. Sorry you guys!

Rule Three: Status Matters.
The festival sells passes of assorted levels which attain you differing amounts of access. I believe the highest of these levels is called platinum. Platinum pass holders wear their passes around their necks proudly. Actually everyone wears their passes around their necks because clearly simply carrying it around would leave you too exhausted to sit in a darkened theater and watch a movie for a few hours. Now, Platinum members can go to whatever film they please as they've paid a princely sum for the right to do so. Strangely, they can also have non-platinum members shot on site, so your best bet, should you see one of these souls, is to dive out of the way - while never making eye contact. There are other passes too, like gold ones, but I'm pretty sure that due to platinum option the gold pass people are considered no better than third world slumdwellers. I've heard platinum pass holders ask gold pass holders if they bought the gold pass with their food stamps, and this was before having them summarily executed. Now that's insult to injury.

more in part two!