Rule Four: We, The Press, Sort of Matter.
To its credit and detriment SIFF is all about the people. Regardless of the pass holder thing SIFF genuinely wants all of Seattle involved. Now, as for the people who could get the word out... well, sometimes we're not as important. I've actually been told I probably wouldn't be allowed to see a film I showed up half an hour early for (and I should mention this was not a *major* film that people were clamoring to get into, this was your garden variety Saturday afternoon movie). As a guy who loves the festival and movies overall I was a bit taken aback and mentioned "Well, I mean, I don't have to cover it if you don't want me to, I can go home and knit or something," but they finally relented. However, as Film.com is a sponsor of SIFF this year, (whereas last year I was a piddling member of the non-sponsoring press), I'm expecting to be delivered to the movies on one of those contraptions that Xerxes traveled around on in the movie 300.
Rule Five: When the Weather Gets Nice, Seattle Heads Indoors.
It's often mentioned that Seattle sees more movies per capita than any other city in the world. I don't know if this is true, as my research assistant quit in a huff over alleged "beatings", but it certainly sounds plausible. For at least seven months of the year Seattle is overcast and slightly rainy, picture perfect weather for a movie. Oddly though the festival is held right about the time the weather turns absolutely gorgeous. Does this stop anyone from trying to make it to 45 shows in a month? Of course not. See rule two.
Rule Six: Opening Night of SIFF Isn't About Film at All.
It's about speeches. And sponsors. Opening night started at 7pm. My wife and I arrived at 6:15pm (lest the insanos grab our cherry seats). The movie started at 8pm. For an hour the festival thanked sponsors, lectured us on how important the Seattle film community is (because we, the attendees, were unaware) and gave the director of the film actually being shown around 35 seconds to talk about his movie. I will say the PR fellow who listed off the sponsors for around ten minutes was actually very entertaining (again, seriously) but overall I don't think opening night is for the true believers. Those people are probably already standing in line for the weekend's screenings.
Rule Seven: I'll Keep Coming Back!
Regardless of platinum pass holders, long lines, missing the beautiful weather, and the opening speech night, SIFF is in my blood, and the blood of Seattle as a city. It's a majestic happening, full of wonderful small films (that you'd miss completely otherwise) and an amazing sense of community. Finding a 2:30pm Tuesday treasure with a few hundred other ambitious movie watchers is a great feeling, one that I get more than a few times every festival.
For that, after all my bickering, I salute the SIFF organizers, and Film.com will be covering the Seattle International Film Festival (less efficient use of name) every step of the way. Hope you stay tuned for all the happenings, and if you happen to make it to Seattle let me know. I'll make sure you get a warm coffee for your wait in line.
LaremyLegel.com, A site the government doesn't want you to see.