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This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

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SIFF 2012: Opening Weekend

Posted by gck Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It’s SIFF time again! SIFFtacular, as the intro trailers remind us again and again. Once again, I have good intentions of recording my SIFF experience, but in reality I know I’ll probably only get so far and the rest will be lost. Better than nothing!

SIFF starts before SIFF starts
That’s right. Even though opening night was May 17th, things start before then. Generally, the first thing that demands my attention is when they announce the schedules. This year, I started my research a day ahead when I got a hold of a press release with the titles (without schedules) and instantly got excited about The Art of Love, directed by Emmanuel Mouret, the same guy who directed Please, Please Me! from SIFF 2010. When the schedule went live, I obsessively pored over reviews and trailers, putting together a list of my picks to send out to my friends. I think my actual SIFF schedule may end up being pretty different from that original list, though.

Full series passholders and people with press credentials get to start SIFF a few weeks early with press screenings. Of course, I don’t get into those, but that means reviews start coming in, so I’ve been reading and anticipating since that began. One of these days, I’ll have to try the full series experience. It tempts me more and more each year.

Finally, volunteer stuff starts before opening night as well. There are promo shifts to distribute posters and such, training sessions for all the different positions, etc. I skipped usher training this year, but I did opening night training, participated as a fake passholder in a house simulation for the venue managers and house coordinators, and drove a box of programs from the Film Center to Bellevue. With this and opening night usher volunteering, I had six vouchers in hand before even seeing a film!

Opening night volunteering wasn’t as exciting as it seemed like it would be, but I’m still glad I did it. During the training, Alexis and I wanted to take one of the doors leading to the dress circle for maximum important-guest-viewing potential, but we weren’t quick enough and instead got assigned to the boxes. However, a bunch of people who showed up for training didn’t show up for the event itself, so we ended up getting the dress circle after all. This actually had several implications we hadn’t anticipated:
1. Since we were assigned to one of the only reserved seating sections, we didn’t get busy at all until right before the movie started.
2. There weren’t that many people in our section.
3. We had to constantly turn other people away because general admission wasn’t allowed to go through our door. Not everyone was thrilled about this.

It was definitely fun people watching. I recognized Shanghai Pearl immediately (a local performer, as well as the person featured in this year’s SIFF trailer), and Alexis thought she got a glimpse of Lynn Shelton. A lot of people were pretty well dressed for the event (not common for Seattle), though a few were wearing shorts (common for Seattle). Definitely some, umm, unique outfits. The Stranger noticed all of this and wasn’t so nice about it. Will call downstairs was totally slammed, with a line that went down the side of McCaw and then back, but miraculously things started almost on time. Our main job, other than handing out ballots, was to distribute free tickets to everyone in our section once they made the announcement on stage that everyone in the audience was getting a free gift. Very nice gesture to SIFF in thanks for all of the donations that made the Film Center a reality.

For opening weekend, I didn’t volunteer or see any movies at all! It was sad to miss out on so much good stuff, but instead, I ran the Portland Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon – my first!


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