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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 22
A Queer primer for SIFF 2010
Arts & Entertainment
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A Queer primer for SIFF 2010

by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

Each year, the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) includes a number of LGBT-themed films and events. The 2010 festival includes nearly 30 films with specific relevance to the Queer community along with a number of others with supporting Queer characters.

The SIFF website (www.siff.net) has a feature that allows you to sift out films according to a number of criteria, allowing you to quickly find just the movies you're looking for - considering that SIFF 2010 will present 406 films in 25 days, I suggest you learn to use it.

Go to the SIFF homepage and find the tab labeled SIFFTER. Click it and you'll find a collage of stills from every SIFF film with a column of tabs on the left marked: GENRE, COUNTRY, VENUE, DAY, TIME.

To find specific types of films, click on GENRE and you can include or exclude any number of genres. When you're finished, the stills from the films included in your search light up - ingenious, and fairly user-friendly. What will they think of next?

If you use this feature to search exclusively for Gay/Lesbian content (once again, our Trans siblings get short shrift on the SIFF site), you'll find 29 little pictures lit up. Run your curser over them and you'll get a title balloon. Click on the picture and a box pops up with more information and a media viewer with a preview clip ready to go. Just push play. Sweet.

This year's "Gay-La" screening of Violet Tendencies begins at 7 p.m. on June 9, at the Egyptian Theatre, with an afterparty at Re-Bar immediately following. Tickets to the film and Gay-La party are $25 ($23 for SIFF members) and include admission to the film and party, hors d'oeuvres, and two complimentary cocktails. For the anti-social types, tickets for the film alone are $13 ($11 for SIFF members).

Violet Tendencies stars Mindy Cohn (yes, that Mindy Cohn) as a - wait. Let me stop right here. If you need another reason to see this film, you don't deserve to see this film. If you don't know who Mindy Cohn is, look it up and I wager you'll pop for a ticket faster than I can say, "You take the good, you take the bad&."

The other big Queer party lands at Pony following the June 3 screening of Undertow, a Peruvian film from director Javier Fuentes-Leon about a couple, Miguel and Mariela, who are expecting their first child. The problem is that Miguel is in love with Santiago. According to the SIFF press notes, it "starts off as something of a seaside Brokeback Mountain." The screening starts at 7 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre, and the party starts at 9 p.m. at Pony.

I'm also excited to see Howl, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the team responsible for The Times of Harvey Milk and The Celluloid Closet. Howl stars soap opera star James Franco as Beat generation stalwart and Howl (the poem) author Allen Ginsberg. In the interest of full disclosure, I have a huge crush on James Franco, and if he starred in a frame-for-frame remake of Gigli, I'd probably go. Be forewarned, my greatest crush playing one of my literary heroes could lead to spontaneous ejaculation during the show.

The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls is getting lots of pre-fest buzz. The award-winning documentary from New Zealand has become a film fest darling around the world and stars Jools and Lynda Topp, the world's only yodeling Lesbian twins. The music is said to be amazing (they also sing two-part harmonies on acoustic country tunes) and laughs are said to come fast and furious. I can't wait.

I must also mention a film that isn't listed under the Gay/Lesbian genre in the SIFF sifter (I love to say that out loud), but has a wonderfully drawn Lesbian character. I Am Love stars the incomparable Tilda Swinton as a Russian trophy wife of an Italian industrial magnate who falls in love with her son's best friend. In one of the loveliest coming-out scenes in all of cinema, Swinton's character's daughter (played by Alba Rohrwacher) comes out to her mom. The scene is absolutely real and touching without being a bit maudlin. There are many reasons to see I Am Love and this coming-out scene is just one of them.

So there you have it, a Queer primer for SIFF 2010. Gird your loins, boys and girls - and everyone else - because SIFF is upon us. Twenty-five days, 406 films, and immeasurable movie magic is coming your way. Do your homework and find your favorites, because it will be over before you know it.

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