Here are some of the Seattle standouts coming to this year’s festival.
SIFF opens May 18 and closes June 11.
We’ve been eager to see Seattle writer/director SJ Chiro’s film adaptation of Clane Hayward’s nonfiction memoir The Hypocrisy of Disco on the big screen ever since we interviewed her on the eve of her film’s South by Southwest world premiere in March. It’s a terrific feature that follows a 13-year-old girl (Sophia Mitri Schloss) as her headstrong hippie mom (Katherine Moennig) forces a nomadic hand-to-mouth existence on the children. Chiro’s subtle direction and Sebastien Scandiuzzi’s sun-bleached cinematography feel hauntingly of the 1970s, and Mitri Schloss is a major young talent.
City Arts’ Gemma Wilson was profoundly moved by Wes Hurley’s autobiographical doc when she wrote about it in January. Since then, the movie’s taken Best Short Documentary prizes at the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival and the Sarasota Film Festival. It tells the very riveting story of Hurley’s childhood in Vladivostok, Russia, as he and his mother, Elena, escape his abusive father. The pair make their way to America, Elena becoming a mail-order bride to a conservative Christian fundamentalist—a development that renders the adolescent Hurley’s dawning awareness of his homosexuality an inevitable (and possibly dangerous) secret.
It’s been 10 years since Seattle-based writer/director Robinson Devor’s last film, the 2007 documentary Zoo, debuted. Pow Wow, his brand-new doc, betrays the same love of iconoclasts that Devor gave to Zoo and his wonderful narrative feature, Police Beat. Pow Wow is a glimpse into the lives of several residents in California’s Coachella region and their involvement in an annual cowboys and-indians costume party at a country club. The disparate stories of these residents run parallel to the true story of Willie Boy, a Paiute Native American who led authorities on a 500-mile chase through the desert in 1909.
Webster Crowell’s been slugging away at his ambitious, highly anticipated sci-fi comedy web series for five years. The wonderfully retro series focuses on a team of long-forgotten, government-employed rocketeers who wile away their days waiting for a threat, until a very real emergency jerks the team out of years of idleness and into action. Rocketmen combines live action with stop-motion animation and features an aces cast of local actors, including Basil Harris, Ray Tagavilla and Evan Mosher.
Mass shootings have become horrifically, numbingly routine in post-Columbine America. But the 2006 Capitol Hill Massacre—in which Kyle Huff attended a rave after-party and murdered six revelers before turning a gun on himself—marked a loss of innocence for Seattle’s rave culture. Writer/director Jagger Gravning’s narrative feature about the tragedy, which makes its world premiere at SIFF, avoids toppling into exploitation and tries to empathize with its antagonist, without demonizing or romanticizing him. Gravning knew some of the massacre’s victims, and two of the shooting’s survivors served as consultants and associate producers on the film.
Visit siff.net for screening dates, times and locations.