The six world premieres in Seattle’s Catalyst Program, all included in the festival’s New American Cinema competition, will play over the course of one weekend, May 28-31. The program also boasts two days of panels covering production, distribution, workflow and current trends in Indigenous Cinema. This year’s Catalyst “State of the Indie Industry” will be delivered by IFP’s Deputy Director and Head of Programming, Amy Dotson.
“Four years in and I feel like this is our strongest overall program yet,” said SIFF programmer Brad Wilke. “Six world premieres, four first-time feature film directors, and a weekend full of panels and workshops aimed at sharing the latest best practices, all while forging new connections among attendees, participants, and audience members, alike.”
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Here are the six films in the Catalyst lineup, with synopses courtesy of the festival:
Meet sassy tabby Leonard and his emotional wreck of an owner, Shelby, in a world where domesticated cats are able to communicate with people and pass judgment on their all-too-human foibles. Hard-of-hearing actors provide the feline voices in this hilarious black comedy.
Director: Pablo Valencia
Cast: Megan Hensley, Matthew Grathwol, John Autry II, Julia Holter, Jennie Taylor, Russ Tamblyn
World Premiere | USA | 2015 | TRT: 85 min
Could you trust a jury of your peers with your life? 50 strangers in a mysterious death chamber must make harrowing decisions as they strategize for survival in this psychological sci-fi thriller.
Directors: Aaron Hann, Mario Miscione
Cast: Julie Benz, Mercy Malick, Carter Jenkins, Lisa Pelikan, Cesar Garcia
World Premiere | USA | 2015 | TRT: 87 min
“Fourth Man Out”
On his 24th birthday, Adam, a small-town mechanic, decides it’s time to finally tell his friends and family that he’s gay. Will his straight-as-an-arrow best bros have his back? A lighthearted and unexpectedly subversive comedy about coming out of the blue-collar closet.
Director: Andrew Nackman
Cast: Evan Todd, Parker Young, Chord Overstreet, Jon Gabrus, Kate Flannery
World Premiere | USA | 2015 | TRT: 95 min
A mature, nuanced drama, set in the high fashion world of New York, that explores the relationship between two Asian men as they battle the cultural norms and traditions that keep them from living an honest, authentic life, together or apart.
Director: Ray Yeung
Cast: Jake Choi, James Chen
World Premiere | USA | 2015 | TRT: 86 min
A middle-aged woman, wheelchair-bound for the last two years, invites her three best friends over for a long, emotionally fraught birthday weekend in this drama about marriage, friendship, betrayal, and, ultimately, survival.
Director: Madoka Raine
Cast: Yvonne Woods, Brian Slaten, Madoka Raine, Jenni Blong, Robyn Cohen,
World Premiere | USA | 2015 | TRT: 100 min
“A Rising Tide”
After Hurricane Sandy destroys his family’s Atlantic City restaurant, young chef Sam Rama must start from scratch, forging new relationships that instill in him a hope for the future.
Director: Ben Hickernell
Cast: Hunter Parrish, Ashley Hinshaw, Tim Daly, Victor Slezak, Jonathan Togo
World Premiere | USA | 2015 | TRT: 98 min
The 41st annual Seattle Film Festival runs May 14 to June 7.