SIFF Announces Lineup for 49th Annual Seattle International Film Festival

 

SIFF announced today the lineup of films screening at the 49th Seattle International Film Festival, to be held May 11-21 at venues across Seattle and followed by a week of select virtual screenings on the SIFF Channel May 22-28. This year, the Festival will screen 264 films representing 74 countries, including 94 narrative features, 45 documentaries, four archival films, two secret screenings, and 125 short films.

The lineup includes 23 world premieres (six features/17 short films), 30 North American premieres (24 features/six short films), and 13 U.S. premieres (nine features/four short films). Nearly 70 percent of the feature films were created by first- or second-time filmmakers, the highest percentage in the Festival’s nearly 50 year history; 52% were created by women or nonbinary filmmakers; and 73% currently without U.S. distribution and may not screen commercially in the United States.

Films will be screened at venues across the Seattle area, including SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Cinema Egyptian, SIFF Film Center, AMC Pacific Place 11, The Paramount Theatre, Ark Lodge Cinemas, and Shoreline Community College Theater. The Festival will be followed by a week of select films streaming on the SIFF Channel from May 22-28.

The Festival will open with Celine Song’s heartrending modern romance Past Lives from A24. The film, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, will screen at 7 p.m. at The Paramount Theatre at 911 Pine St., and be followed by a Q&A with Writer/Director Celine Song and an after-party onstage and outside on Ninth Ave.

Closing Night will feature I Like Movies, which follows a 17-year-old Canadian teen and film aficionado with his sights set on NYU. After picking up a gig at a local video store he learns what it takes to grow up and that maybe not everybody wants to hear him bloviate about Paul Thomas Anderson movies all day. I Like Movies is directed by Chandler Levack, and will screen at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 21 at SIFF Cinema Egyptian. A Closing Night gala will follow starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Museum of History and Industry at 860 N. Terry Ave.

Additional highlights showing throughout the Festival include 2022 Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner The Eight Mountains from Felix Van Groeningen; an archival 35mm screening of Seven Samurai dedicated to the memory of longtime SIFF Programmer Ruth Hayler; the World Premiere of Year of the Fox from filmmaker Megan Griffiths; a special presentation of The Craft presented by SIFF & CFC with DJ NicFit; and other films streaming both in person and on the SIFF Channel.

“The Seattle International Film Festival has always been a space for discovery: there’s nothing quite like the revelation that can happen inside a movie theater when the lights go down,” said SIFF Artistic Director Beth Barrett. “This year, SIFF is celebrating just that—with films, filmmakers and communities from all over the world gathering around the joy of discovering new worlds through cinema.”

Tickets are on sale today to SIFF members and will go on sale to the public on April 27. A variety of passes are available as well. For information on all event and screening packages and tickets, please visit siff.net/fest.

SIFF would like to thank Ingeniux, Wongdoody, The Grand Hyatt Seattle (Official Festival Hotel), BECU, The Seattle Times, The Stranger, KEXP, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, The Walls Vineyards, and the National Endowment for the Arts for sponsoring the 2023 Seattle International Film Festival.

 

Galas

Opening Night Gala
Past Lives
Thursday, May 11, 7:00 PM – Party to follow screening
Film and Party: The Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine Street

Korean-Canadian playwright Celine Song (“Endlings”) makes her directorial debut with this beautiful and delicate romance about the depth of love and connection, as two childhood best friends reunite years after an untimely separation. Writer/Director Celine Song will be in attendance for a Q&A. (d: Celine Song c: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro, USA/Korea 2023, 106 min)

Closing Night Gala
I Like Movies
Sunday, May 21, 5:00 PM – Party to follow screening
Film: SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Party: Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), 860 N. Terry Ave.

In 2002 suburban Canada, a 17-year-old film aficionado with his sights set on NYU picks up a gig at a local video store where he learns what it takes to grow up and that maybe not everybody wants to hear him bloviate about Paul Thomas Anderson movies all day. Director Chandler Levack will be in attendance for a Q&A. (d: Chandler Levack c: Isaiah Lehtinen, Romina D’Ugo, Krista Bridges, Percy Hynes White, Canada 2022, 99 min)
Feature Film Premieres

World Premieres 
ABLED
Alan @ Work
ANU
Punderneath It All
The Mattachine Family
Year of the Fox

North American Premieres
20,000 Species of Bees
A House in Jerusalem
A Room of My Own
All the Colours of the World Are Between Black and White
Almamula
Coo-Coo 043
Copenhagen Does Not Exist
Douglas Sirk – Hope as in Despair
Even Hell has its Heroes
Feast
Four Little Adults
Hanging Gardens
Hole in the Head
Ingeborg Bachmann – Journey into the Desert
Irati
Let the Dance Begin
Let The River Flow
Motherland
One Day All This Will Be Yours
Opponent
Superposition
The Last Exit
The Quiet Migration
Whale Nation

U.S. Premieres
Adolfo
Free Money
Gloriavale
Harvest Moon
Matria
Pretty Red Dress
The Echo
The Hummingbird
Yuku and the Himalayan Flower
 

Competitions
Our competitions come in two forms. The juried competitions are made up of films selected by our Festival programmers and represent the best in their category from all over the world. The winners are then chosen by a carefully selected jury of industry professionals and film lovers. These include the Official Competition, the New American Cinema Competition, the New Directors Competition, the Ibero-American Competition, and the Documentary Competition. The other form of competition is the Golden Space Needle Awards, which are selected by SIFF audiences through post-screening ballots in the categories of Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Performance, and Best Short Film. The jury and audience winners will be announced the morning of May 21 at the Golden Space Needle Awards Brunch.

OFFICIAL COMPETITION
Juried by a team of international industry members, the Official Competition recognizes distinct and resonant voices in filmmaking from around the world. The Grand Jury Prize Winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

2023 Entries:
20,000 Species of Bees
Ingeborg Bachmann – Journey into the Desert
Let The River Flow
Opponent
Plan 75
Pretty Red Dress
The Quiet Migration
To Kill a Tiger

NEW AMERICAN CINEMA COMPETITION

When we begin our programming selection process in the fall, the team looks in awe at the sheer volume of films by independent American filmmakers, a category that fields the largest number of submissions by far. We can only select a fraction to take to the finals, but the heavy competition leads to a truly remarkable collective output of U.S. independents. The winner will be announced at the Golden Space Needle Awards brunch and receive a cash prize of $5,000.

2023 Entries:
Egghead & Twinkie
Fremont
Late Bloomers
The Mattachine Family
Mutt
This Closeness

NEW DIRECTORS COMPETITION

Be at the cutting edge of world cinema and take a little risk in your viewing. This year, seven new international voices have been selected for SIFF’s New Directors Competition. To qualify, the films must be dramatic features, a director’s debut or second feature, and without U.S. distribution at the time of SIFF selection. The films are chosen for their original scripts, innovative cinematography, and unique insights into people, places, and story. The New Directors jury comprises film-industry professionals and journalists who will choose the winning filmmaker during the Festival’s final weekend. The winner will be announced at the Golden Space Needle Awards brunch and receive a cash prize of $5,000.

2023 entries:
All the Colours of the World Are Between Black and White
Copenhagen Does Not Exist
Hanging Gardens
Harka
Next Sohee
A Room of My Own
When It Melts

IBERO-AMERICAN COMPETITION

The Ibero-American Competition selects eight outstanding films from Latin America, Spain, and Portugal to highlight the increasing power, creativity, and influence of storytelling in the region. To be eligible, films must be without U.S. distribution at the time of their selection. A jury made up of film-industry professionals and journalists will be responsible for selecting the winning film. The winner will be announced at the Golden Space Needle Awards brunch and receive a cash prize of $5,000.

2023 entries:
Adolfo
Almamula
The Echo
The Fishbowl
Let the Dance Begin
Matria
Mom
Sister & Sister

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

There are stories to be told all throughout our living world, providing documentarians endless source material for compelling projects. Music, dance, art, politics, sports, social injustices, and nature itself all offer new perspectives and challenge our preconceived notions. These films broaden our horizons and invigorate our understanding of the planet, including the people and creatures with whom we share it. The Grand Jury Prize Winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

2023 Entries:
Against the Tide
And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine
Gloriavale
The Grab
King Coal
Milisuthando
Motherland
The Tuba Thieves

Shorts Competition

Every short film in the Seattle International Film Festival is eligible for both the Golden Space Needle Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize. Our Shorts Competition jurors will choose winners in the Narrative, Animation, and Documentary categories. Each Grand Jury Prize winner will receive $2,500; winners may also qualify to enter their respective films in the Short Film category of the Academy Awards® for the concurrent season without a theatrical run.

Golden Space Needle Awards

For the past 31 years, SIFF has celebrated its most popular films and filmmakers with the Golden Space Needle Audience Award. Awards by Festival audiences are given in five categories: Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Performance, and Best Short Film.

The awards ceremony will take place at the Grand Hyatt Seattle on Sunday, May 21, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.. Select press seats are available; email [email protected] to RSVP.
 

Programs

African Pictures
African Pictures showcases the best filmmaking happening in and about Africa today, bringing shorts, features, documentaries, and fiction films to American audiences. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to experience innovative and inspiring filmmaking from across the continent.

All the Colours of the World Are Between Black and White
The Blue Caftan
Free Money
Harka
MAMI WATA – A West Afrikan Folklore
Milisuthando

Alternate Cinema
The films in this section not only aim to alter how you look at the world, but also to open your mind and make you think. Innovation and experimentation are huge elements of these feature
films as well as the impressive lineup of this year’s ALT Shorts Packages.

ALT Shorts: Transitions (short film program) 
Fragments of Paradise
Hole in the Head
The Tuba Thieves
Wild, Terrifying, and For One Night Only

Archival Films
Time travel may still just be a dream in the scientific world, but in cinema it is practically inevitable, as every film captures several distinct moments in time: the period of the story, the era of the film’s creation, and the instance of discovery and even rediscovery by the filmgoer.

The Incredible Shrinking Man
Midnight Cowboy
Seven Samurai
SIFF & CFC Present The Craft with DJ NicFit

Asian Crossroads
We encourage you to take this journey across several Asian countries to discover the cultural and historical background of these faraway worlds, taste some food, hear some music, and be blown away by films about small villages, huge metropolises, and everything in between.

Against the Tide
Ajoomma
Coo-Coo 043
DEMIGOD: The Legend Begins
Feast
Gaga
A Guilty Conscience
Harvest Moon
The Hill of Secrets
Lonely Castle in the Mirror
Next Sohee
Plan 75
Seven Samurai
The Sunny Side of the Street
Table For Six
To Kill a Tiger

cINeDIGENOUS
This program focuses on global Indigenous filmmakers sharing Indigenous stories and culture.
Centering Indigenous art and artists amplifies voices and perspectives that are essential to our global well-being. cINeDIGENOUS is curated and presented in partnership with Nia Tero.

Against the Tide
Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun
Bad Press
CONNECTED by WATER (short film program)
Gaga
Let The River Flow
Milisuthando
Mom
We Are Still Here

Culinary Cinema
Popcorn is no longer king as the phenomenon of food culture has exploded into cinema. We’ve selected three extraordinary films that explore different aspects of taste and the senses for the cinematically inclined.

Bottle Conditioned
Coldwater Kitchen
Food and Country
Stella

Face the Music
SIFF programmers agree that regular exposure to music and film are essential to your overall well-being. With that in mind, this year’s Face the Music program has been specifically designed to provide a holistic regimen for your audio-visual health.

Dreamin’ Wild
Even Hell has its Heroes
It’s Only Life After All
Love to Love You, Donna Summer
Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes
Pianoforte
SIFF & CFC Present The Craft with DJ NicFit

Ibero-American Cinema
Ibero-American Cinema is nurtured by a vast diversity, a unique history, and a long, rich tradition of storytelling. Its powerful documentaries and works of fiction have always been fantastic, with larger-than-life themes, characters, and legends igniting our imaginations, our senses, and our emotions.

20,000 Species of Bees
Adolfo
Almamula
The Beasts
Chile ‘76
The Echo
The Fishbowl
Irati
Let the Dance Begin
Matria
Mom
Sister & Sister

New American Cinema
When we begin our programming selection process in the fall, the team looks in awe at the sheer volume of films by independent American filmmakers. Each of these films represents a uniquely American voice and the diversity of the American experience.

ANU
Dreamin’ Wild
Egghead & Twinkie
Fremont
Jamojaya
Late Bloomers
The Mattachine Family
Monica
Mutt
Past Lives
Theater Camp
This Closeness
Year of the Fox

Northwest Connections
Seattleites see more films per capita than the residents of any other American city, and a growing number of these selections have their roots in the fertile Pacific Northwest film
community. Each year, SIFF honors the many ways in which the Puget Sound region contributes to the world of cinema, whether it acts as an evocative location for outside filmmakers or as inspiration for local filmmakers ready to strut their stuff.

Alan @ Work
ANU
Circus of the Scars – The Insider Odyssey of the Jim Rose Circus
Sideshow
Dreamin’ Wild
Even Hell has its Heroes
Punderneath It All
Sound Visions (short film program)
Year of the Fox

Wild, Terrifying, Fantastic
Get ready to set sail on the ultimate WTF cruise into the weirdest, wildest corners of this spooky, slimy planet we call Earth—and maybe even beyond.

Circus of the Scars – The Insider Odyssey of the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow
DEMIGOD: The Legend Begins
Irati
The Last Exit
LOLA
Mother Superior
My Animal
Revelations in Darkness (short film program)
The Visitor From the Future
Wild, Terrifying, and For One Night Only
WTF – All Turnt On (short film program)

4th World Media Lab

The 4th World Media Lab is a year-long traveling fellowship for emerging and mid-career
Indigenous filmmakers, providing opportunities to develop filmmaking skills and networks through festival participation, hands-on training, master classes, workshopping projects in development, pitch activities, and meetings with funders and other industry decision-makers. Cohort 8 fellowship activities take place February 2023 through October 2023 at three film festivals: Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), and Camden International Film Festival. The Seattle experience, in partnership with Nia Tero, offers industry master classes, hands-on training, and global networking in the SIFF urban festival atmosphere. Learn more at siff.net/4thworld.
 

SIFF 2023 By the Numbers

264 films
74 countries
88 features
45 documentaries
125 short films
4 archival features
2 secret films
23 world premieres
30 North American premieres
13 U.S. premieres
69% first- & second-time filmmakers
73% without U.S. distribution
52% women/nonbinary filmmakers
 

Venues

SEATTLE
SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Cinema Egyptian, SIFF Film Center, AMC Pacific Place 11, The Paramount Theatre, Ark Lodge Cinemas

SHORELINE
Shoreline Community College Theater

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