Monday, Oct 22, 2018
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 20, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 20
Curtain opens on Seattle International Film Festival
SGN sits down with SIFF artistic director Carl Spence
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Curtain opens on Seattle International Film Festival
SGN sits down with SIFF artistic director Carl Spence

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN Contributing Writer

After the start of the 37th annual Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), which featured the local premiere of the crowd-pleasing The First Grader, I took a moment to sit down with artistic director Carl Spence and talk about what audiences can expect from this year's 25-day event.

'It does always seem to come around quickly,' Spence chuckled as we began our chat. 'We started working on this year's festival in earnest last September, but in reality sometimes it feels like we started yesterday.'

While the size and scope of this year's SIFF are as audacious and as massive as ever (257 features and 184 shorts, with 74 countries represented), there have been some changes that might take a bit of getting used to. For many, the biggest change to SIFF will be the introduction of the 'Pathways,' 10 different categories that programmers hope will help audiences organize their film-going calendar based on their likes, interests, and moods. These Pathways are split up into categories like 'Sci-Fi and Beyond,' 'Face the Music,' 'Spellbinding Stories,' and 'Love Me, Do!' which describe the sorts of features which might be residing within.

'We've not really changed the programming, per se,' explained Spence, 'but we have changed how we're trying to deliver information. We are focusing on these Pathways as an attempt to potentially diversify our audiences, trying to help people not get overwhelmed by the enormous size of the festival and the enormous amount of choices they have. How can we help a larger audience find the programming better? How can we help people discover a film they might not otherwise have chosen? For the Pathways, it is about helping a person choose what type of film they might want to see at that particular moment.'

'I'm excited about films in each of the Pathways. 'Love Me, Do!' is really interesting because it's not just about romance, it's also about love in all forms, whether it be father/son relationships or relationships between lifelong friends. My favorite film (probably), Weekend from the U.K., is in [this Pathway]. It just captivated me; made me really believe in the idea of romance again. Not that I'd forgotten completely, but for anyone who is married or has been in a long-term relationship, [the film] just reminds how love can be such a great journey.'

Turning to a genre near and dear to the hearts of readers of the SGN, the discussion pivots to the festival's extensive lineup of LGBT-themed pictures. With over 20 titles from all over the globe, this year's selection is one of the most diverse and potentially intriguing SIFF has ever offered.

'Don't forget the shorts,' Spence quickly added. 'There are plenty of shorts people might want to get a look at as well. But, yeah, the selections this year are pretty diverse. Do You See Colors When You Close Your Eyes?, made in Bellingham, is an interesting film. There's Beginners with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, and written and directed by Mike Mills; it's a really great film.'

'We also have something interesting from Algeria, A Few Days of Respite, where a professor and his lover pursue a relationship in a place where to do so is a death sentence. There's also the amazingly titled Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same from the U.S., and I think one people will really find interesting is Man at Bath from [director] Christophe Honoré. It's a touching poem of love and relationships; it's very French. And then there is our annual Gay-La film, August, which this year is a world premiere and one I think people will be excited about.'

Carl talking about Beginners leads me to ask about this year's tribute guests, the aforementioned Ewan McGregor and esteemed extreme sports filmmaker and adventurer Warren Miller, upon whom SIFF is bestowing a Golden Space Needle for Lifetime Achievement. Both have proven themselves in the entertainment world, one with his daring performances and the other by his six-plus decades of showcasing outdoor wintertime excitement in all its widescreen fury.

'Warren Miller may not be as appreciated by the traditional film industry, but he is a true pioneer,' stated Spence. 'He went where others had never gone. He broke ground, creating the sports-action film before there was even such a genre. He's a masterful storyteller, a great filmmaker, so I think it makes total sense to look at his career and to honor his work, especially because he has such a strong connection to the Northwest. It was just time.'

'Ewan McGregor is just someone I and others have admired for many, many years. Trainspotting was a huge hit here [at SIFF] and won the Golden Space Needle audience award for Best Film. It was the first award Danny Boyle ever got. With McGregor, he has such an amazing reach, and I think all four films we're screening showcase that. There's Beginners, obviously, and there's Perfect Sense, which is sort of a post-apocalyptic love story. As for older selections, we're showing The Pillow Book, which is arguably one of [director] Peter Greenaway's best films but also showcases an amazing performance from McGregor; he brought so much to that. And Moulin Rouge! You kind of have to show Moulin Rouge! But then, that's just a sampling of what he's done and the type of roles he's had. We'd show more if we could.'

As in previous years, SIFF strives to showcase the cinematic world at all of its levels. From low-budget no-name indies to unheralded foreign imports to large-scale Hollywood productions like Kung Fu Panda 2, programmers go out of their way to represent every facet of the filmmaking experience.

'It's part of what makes us different,' says Spence. 'That's my philosophy. Celebrate film as well as [celebrate] movies, whatever that difference might be. I think there are great films and there are great movies. We're just looking for interesting films that for whatever reason we love with a passion and feel tell a good story; that's the most important part.'

'But we're also focused on the audience. We're audience-driven. We have a lot of sponsors, but they're not huge dollar amount sponsors, so we rely on the audience. We depend on the audience to make things happen. If we don't cater to the audience to some extent, then we're not [going to succeed]. It's a balance in having films that people might be interested [in], films people are dying to see, and films we want people to go see that they might not have discovered or heard about otherwise.'

Programming SIFF is a massive job, and as artistic director, it is one Carl has been focused on for quite a few years now. The thing is, as exhaustive as it can be, it isn't a job the cool-headed film lover sees himself relinquishing anytime soon.

'I think I'll want to keep doing this until I get bored,' said Spence, 'and I'm not close to being bored as of yet. I've been doing a lot of interesting things, looking at ways to do things differently so we're just not doing the same thing over and over and over again every year. I think I have one of the best jobs I could have so as long as I stay in Seattle. I don't see another job that I could have in film that I'd love or enjoy doing nearly as much. No matter what I do, I think I want to always stay involved in the arts. I can't think of anything else that I would want to do.'

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Pride Idol corrals the talent on Country Night
------------------------------
Curtain opens on Seattle International Film Festival
SGN sits down with SIFF artistic director Carl Spence

------------------------------
La Femme Magnifique celebrates 30 years
------------------------------
Gay artist works to promote Just Another Sad Song
------------------------------
A Dyke About Town: Dan Savage reads his book It Gets Better
------------------------------

------------------------------
Top-flight entertainment with Mary Poppins
------------------------------
Symphony's Telemann, Bachs very well served
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
God-like Kleiber steps down a notch in DVD set
------------------------------
Handsome Pirates sequel is a passionless adventure
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
------------------------------

------------------------------
Paul Van Dyk interview coming, Pride heats up
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2011

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News