Film Festival

How to Tackle SIFF 2011

A quick primer on navigating one of the nation’s largest film festivals.

By Laura Dannen April 29, 2011

Ewan McGregor (pictured) and Warren Miller will be honored at this year’s SIFF.

I know a guy (don’t we all) who went to about 25 of the 400+ films that played during last year’s Seattle International Film Festival. That’s about one a day—and my friend’s not even in media. He’s just a cine-addict. According to SIFF artistic director Carl Spence, the average festival-goer only makes it to two to four films, and this year, there are 441 to choose from. Plus, there are so many pleasant distractions: Ewan McGregor will be in town to receive a Golden Space Needle award on May 22; Al Pacino will chat about his career on June 11 (UPDATED 5/5/11. no he won’t); the newly renovated Neptune Theater will be serving booze. Where do we start?

With the basics: SIFF 2011 runs May 19–June 12, with screenings in downtown Seattle, Ballard, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, the U District, West Seattle, Kirkland, Everett, and Renton. Individual tickets ($8–$11, $6 students) go on sale May 5, when the full lineup is announced, but gala passes are on sale now for:

Opening night, May 19 at McCaw Hall, with a screening of The First Grader (director Justin Chadwick will attend).

And Closing night, June 12 at Cinerama, with a screening of the Ridley Scott-produced Life in a Day.

Tickets to see Al Pacino at the Paramount go on sale April 30 (CANCELLED), as we noted earlier this week; you can also book to see The Importance of Being Earnest, a live-in-HD screening of the Broadway play, on June 2, 5, and 12. That’s it for now, but check back next week for more ways to plan for SIFF, including our top picks and guilty pleasures.

The 37th Seattle International Film Festival runs from May 19–June 12.

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