The Seattle International Film Festival, the largest and most highly attended festival in the United States, announced today the complete lineup of films, guests, and events for the 42nd annual 25-day Festival (May 19 – June 12, 2016).
This year, SIFF will screen 421 films representing 85 countries: 181 features (plus 4 secret films), 75 documentaries, 8 archival films, and 153 shorts. The films include 54 World premieres (29 features, 25 shorts), 56 North American premieres (42 features, 14 shorts), and 27 US premieres (15 features, 12 shorts).
Both Opening and Closing Nights include period comedies: hearkening to the golden 1930s heyday of Hollywood, Opening Night film Café Society from master filmmaker Woody Allen stars Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, and Blake Lively; the 1950s-set Australian revenge comedy-drama The Dressmaker closes SIFF 2016 on Sunday, June 12 with an acclaimed cast including Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, and Hugo Weaving. The emotionally wrenching documentary Gleason, follows Spokane-born NFL star Steve Gleason’s battle with ALS using intimate footage masterfully assembled by director Clay Tweel, and will screen at the Festival’s Centerpiece Gala on Saturday, June 4.
The Northwest premiere of Matt Ross’s Captain Fantastic, filmed in Washington, will screen as part of a tribute presentation to Viggo Mortensen on Saturday, June 11, where the acclaimed actor will be presented with the Festival’s Outstanding Achievement in Acting Award and interviewed on stage at the flagship SIFF Cinema Egyptian. Selections from Mortensen’s rich and diverse career are slated during SIFF 2016 in celebration of his work, including A Walk on the Moon, Eastern Promises, and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
On Sunday, May 22, An Afternoon with Molly Shannon will feature an on-stage interview and a screening of four-time Emmy-nominated SNL and Broad City writer Chris Kelly’s feature directorial debut Other People, an unflinching, emotional seriocomedy starring Shannon as well as Jesse Plemons, Maude Apatow, Zach Woods, Bradley Whitford, and June Squibb. Shannon’s latest film, Miles, will make its World premiere at SIFF 2016 on Saturday, May 21 with director Nathan Adloff, Molly Shannon, and other cast in attendance. Miles is a sweet tale of a cleverly resourceful mother and son making the best of a tough situation.
“This year’s Festival is bursting at the seams with extraordinary talent and revelatory, exciting stories from all over the world,” says Carl Spence, SIFF Festival Director and Chief Curator. “We have more World, North American, and US premieres than ever before, as always bringing Seattle audiences the first opportunity to experience cinematic discoveries and essential masterpieces from all points of view.”
Among this year’s 53 World premieres is Seattle native Megan Griffiths’s The Night Stalker, a penetrating psychological thriller centered on the spine-chilling character of Richard Ramirez, California’s most notorious serial killer. Griffiths and star Lou Diamond Phillips will be in attendance at the June 4 screening.
SIFF is inaugurating an Official Main Competition Slate of 12 films to highlight and celebrate compelling stories made by exceptional filmmakers. In addition to SIFF’s longstanding juried competitions for New Directors, Documentary Features, the New American Cinema Competition and short films, SIFF 2016 for the first time will also feature a brand-new Ibero-American Competition, which aims to highlight the increasing power, creativity, and influence of storytelling from two continents. Juried by film professionals, the winner of each of these 5 feature film competitions will be announced at the Golden Space Needle Awards on June 12 and will split the proceeds of a $32,500 cash prize-pool ($5,000 for features and $2,500 for shorts).
Adds Spence, “SIFF strives to recognize outstanding talent and champion up-and-coming filmmakers in all genres and from nations across the globe. Our competitions provide a platform to elevate and promote excellence in the art and science of cinematic storytelling.”
The 2016 Seattle International Film Festival is presented by SIFF, the non-profit arts organization that reaches more than 350,000 annually through SIFF Cinema, SIFF Education, and the annual flagship Festival.