Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Reel Grrls Guide to SIFF 2010!

SIFF 2010 is here! We are going to be walking the red carpet at the Opening Night soiree in just a few hours! We love SIFF, not only because it is the biggest, longest-running, and best-attended film festival on the continent, but because we Seattlites benefit from their tremendous programming year-round. We heart their educational outreach program (especially Ed Outreach Coordinator Dustin Kaspar - an opera-singing cinephile!), and SIFF has brought amazing filmmakers to visit us at Reel Grrls - always super exciting.

Everyone in Seattle has something to say about SIFF - check out The Stranger's Guide; The Seattle Weekly just posted their Picks and Pans; our favorite Sparkly Indie-Pop Press, Three Imaginary Girls, has tons of SIFF info updating all the time, including this preview post. The Northwest Film Forum's blog is another good resource, check out this post about two locally-produced films premiering at SIFF this year.

But do any of these resources focus on amazing women-directed films? How about films that are awesome for teen audiences? Films with positively represented female protagonists? I didn't think so. That's why we're here.

I give you: The Ultimate Reel Grrls Guide to SIFF 2010!
5 SIFF Suggestions for Grrl Media Makers

1. I SAW U. Dir. Maile Martinez and Lane Stroud. [Warning: Shameless Self-Promotion Ahead!] This short documentary was created entirely by Reel Grrls staff and mentors! That's right, all of the writing, directing, producing, shooting, lighting, editing - everything on this film - was executed by women filmmakers. It was selected for the opening night of Shorts Fest Weekend, SIFF's short-film-festival-within-a-festival. We really encourage you to see it on the big screen, but if you can't make it, you can watch it here. Please take the time to vote for it - I SAW U is eligible for an audience award from the International Documentary Challenge.
Friday, May 21, 7:30 PM, SIFF Cinema. Click here for tickets and info.

2. Winter's Bone.
Dir. Debra Granik. This excellent film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, as well as the CICAE Award at Berlinale. It features a brave, independent, and intelligent (though under-educated) young female protagonist, Ree Dolly. Ree is raising herself and her two young siblings in extremely impoverished circumstances in the Ozarks. When her meth-cooking father goes missing, Ree's quest to find him is part thriller, part epic journey, part sociological portrait of rural America. A must-see.
The Egyptian Theater: May 28, 7:00 PM; May 30, 1:30 PM. Click here for tickets and info, and to watch the trailer.

3. Betty. Dir. Heather Ayres. I have been wanting to see this film since I interviewed its director, Seattle local Heather Ayres, over a year ago. The film was shot on 35mm, and features a gripping performance from Seattlite Davie-Blue (who recently moved away, but who is also the older sister of Reel Grrls participant Summer!). At 14 minutes long, this film screens before Bass Ackwards, a locally-produced feature film co-written by and also featuring Davie-Blue!
The Harvard Exit, May 21, 9:45 PM; May 23, 3:45 PM. Click here for tickets and info.

4. Dear Lemon Lima, Dir. Suzi Yoonessi. Dear Lemon Lima was filmed in Seattle a few summers ago, and a number of Reel Grrls participants helped out as PAs and extras. We have been dying to see it ever since, but the few screenings it has had in Seattle have been totally sold outally! It takes place in Alaska and features a half-Yup'ik protagonist as well as some snazzy-looking animation.
The Neptune Theater, June 1, 7:00 PM; June 2, 4:30 PM. Click here for tickets, info, and to see the trailer. *Special Note! Reel Grrls has some free tickets to the June 2nd screening. Email maile at reelgrrls dot org with Dear Lemon Lima as your subject line and one reason why you love Reel Grrls in your email, and I will hook you up!

5. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. Dir. Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg. This feature-length doc takes viewers on a year in the life of Joan Rivers. It was a highlight of the Hot Docs Film Festival for me - a fascinating look into the inner workings of an obsessive workaholic whose life has played out in the tabloids - often because she makes it so. The filmmakers get behind Joan's red-carpet persona and illuminate the sharp wit and business savvy that has made this woman a groundbreaker in comedy for decades. Created by the female duo behind The Devil Came On Horseback and The Trials of Darryl Hunt.
Uptown Cinemas, May 30, 9:30 PM. Click here for tickets and info.

It goes without saying that this post describes only five of the 382 films screening at SIFF this year. We hope to be able to add more suggestions as the Festival goes on. But here's a start - see you at the Festival!

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