Seattle Bookends Long Event with "Me and You and Everyone We Know" and North American Debut of "Last Days"
by Brian Brooks
The 31st Seattle International Film Festival has announced its slate for its 24-day event opening May 19 with Sundance Award-winner "Me and You and Everyone We Know" by Miranda July. SIFF will host 347 films, including 182 narrative features, 55 documentaries and 110 shorts from 59 countries, with 10 world, 18 North American and 10 U.S. premieres. Additionally, SIFF will host three new festival spotlights this year with focuses on Argentine film, "Face the Music and New Pioneers," as well as "An Evening with Peter Sarsgaard," who will be honored with the festival's Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting.
In addition to the opening night gala, the festival will host four gala presentations on the four Saturdays of the event with special guests in attendance. Craig Lucas' "Dying Gaul," which stars Sarsgaard, will be the first, followed by South African director Tom Hooper's "Red Dust" on May 28 and Argentine director Carlos Sorin's "Bombón, el perro" June 4 and French directing team Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau's comedy "Cote d'Azur" on June 11.
David S. Marfield's tale of delusion, "Deepwater," is among the festival's ten world premieres. Seattle bands figure well in the debut lineup, including Justin Mitchell's "Drive Well, Sleep Carefully: On the Road with Death Cab for Cutie," capturing the recent tour of Seattle indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie on their most recent U.S. tour, while Kerri O'Kane's "The Gits" explores the punk band of the same name, also based in Seattle. The film also explores the murder of its singer, Mia Zapata. "Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story," meanwhile takes a look at local band Mother Love Bone, whose anticipated debut album release was overshadowed by the drug overdose of its lead singer, Andrew Wood.
Wolfgang Bayer, meanwhile, takes a look at his renowned wildlife photographer father in, "Earthling -- Tristan Bayer," capturing a "personal vibe" with a "startlingly beautiful walk on the wild side" in this SIFF world debut. B.J. Bullert's "Fishermen's Terminal" takes a look at the last major sole commercial fishing harbor on the West Coast, and one man's fight to save it in tact.
Also having its world premiere is Charles Matthau's "Her Minor Thing," starring Estella Warren, Christian Kane, Rachel Dratch and Kathy Griffin with men and women squaring off "in a comic battle of the sexes." Drew Emery's "Inlaws and Outlaws" features "unconventional" couples, gay and straight, who share their views on marriage and the possibility for long-term relationships.
In Gabrielle Savage Dockterman's "Missing in America," a reclusive former Vietnam soldier, played by Danny Glover, receives a visit from an ailing ex-platoon mate who asks him to care for his soon-to-be-orphaned half-Vietnamese daughter. The film also stars Linda Hamilton, Ron Pearlman and David Strathairn. Finally, Swedish director Kristian Petri's "The Well" examines Orson Welles' lifelong relationship with Spain, traveling to the backdrop of Welles' locations which were the backdrops to some of the maverick director's career pinnacles.
Closing the festival June 12 is the North American debut of Gus Van Sant's "Last Days," a film inspired by the death of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. The festival will then host a post-screening gala reception. "What could be better than to bookend the festival with two visionary American talents whose films have just been presented in Cannes," commented SIFF director of programming, Carl Spence in a statement. "Miranda July [comes] with her perfectly realized and original feature film debut for the opening night gala and with master filmmaker Gus Van Sant brilliantly continuing to stretch the boundaries of cinema with the Noth American premiere of his latest poetic opus."
[For more information and the full lineup, visit the festival's website.]