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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 2013: Opening Weekend

Posted by gck Thursday, May 23, 2013

Here we go again! Unlike SIFFs in the past, I don’t have any out of town weekends this year! However, I have enough non-SIFF plans already on the calendar that I’m not sure I’ll be hitting as high of a film/voucher count as previous years. I did more of the specific position training pre-SIFF so that’s padding my voucher count for now. Film Count: 2. Volunteer Vouchers: 9.

Opening Night Gala this year was a big deal, Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, with Mr. Whedon and some actors in attendance. It sold out a few hours after the announcement was made. I considered picking up tickets because I was interested in the film, but I decided against it because I knew I could catch it another time without all of the crowds. I also chose not to work the movie portion of the night because the shifts started so early. Instead, I signed up for a later shift bussing tables at the party. I tell people that these types of shifts are my “genuine volunteering,” where I feel like I’m putting in way more effort than the volunteer vouchers justify. The first part of the shift was really uneventful, and then a ton of people came in and it got crowded and busy. This is the first opening night party I’ve worked, and it seemed like people had a lot of fun, staying even once all the lights went on at midnight. Ten minutes before our shift was scheduled to end, they took us out to the back and had us unload cases of alcohol from a truck. They wanted us to load them back into another truck, but it was past midnight at this point and I needed to go to sleep.

I volunteered Friday night instead of seeing films. To satiate the Whedonverse members who weren’t able to get tickets for Opening Night, SIFF posted a secret screening for Friday night with Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof in attendance. It made everything that evening a little crazier because the line was really long (and started forming hours before the screening) and were let into the theater late due to timing of the screening before. We got some excitement right before the screening started when a crazy fan trying to get Alyson’s autograph ended up starting a fight with a passholder right in front of the theater. Haven’t seen that before!

Closure of two lanes on Mercer and full closure of a segment of 99 around Queen Anne caused disastrous traffic the whole weekend. I had a full hour between my Saturday morning volunteer shift and when I wanted to be at my next film in Capitol Hill, and it took more than that to get up there. Part of it was because the bus arrived 20 minutes late due to traffic, then the rest was sitting in that traffic. Delightful.

Five Dances
USA, 2013
Genre: Drama
Watched: SIFF 2013, Harvard Exit
Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5)

This one appealed to me right away because of the subject matter, but I’d put it on my tentative list because I was afraid that the acting wasn’t going to be that great. After a few press screening reviews went favorably, I decided to go. In the end, I think my original expectations were correct. The dancing was lovely. For some people, this was enough to form an emotional connection and carry the movie – in fact, this was the director’s intent. I do like the idea of having less dialogue and more communicated in the dances, but the actual execution didn’t fully resonate with me. However, there were some really beautiful emotional moments that did click, and Ryan Steele was wonderful as the lead. I was only able to catch a few minutes of the Q&A because I had to rush down the hill for my next film.

Frances Ha
USA, 2012
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Watched: SIFF 2013, Pacific Place
Rating: ****1/2 (out of 5)

Maybe it was a little silly to see Frances Ha at SIFF, given that it’s releasing in mainstream theaters in the Seattle area tomorrow. But I don’t regret it. I thought this was a delightful gem of a film. Greta Gerwig was really fun to watch, and I felt like it was right on target emotionally. Fresh, fun, and non-clichéd. Perfect for a group of girlfriends to watch together. It speaks well to my age group, where we’re searching for intimacy, feeling a little lost sometimes, but still trying to achieve our dreams.


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