4Culture Gets Its Fingerprints All Over SIFF!

Finding Hillywood at SIFF, from Inflatable Films
Finding Hillywood at SIFF, from Inflatable Films

As the dazzling cavalcade of cinema that is the Seattle International Film Festival zooms upon us, 4Culture happily trumpets our support of not one…not two…not three…but FOUR films screening in the festival! That’s three wildly different documentaries and one animated short, all of them recipients of Arts Project funding.

Tess Martin’s nine-minute short They Look Right Through You uses magic markers on glass to explore the relationships between humans and their pets, asking just how much is mutual? Or are the feelings we perceive in our cats and dogs pure projection?  Both subject matter and the style of animation are equally fascinating. (They Look Right Through You screens with a pet-themed feature, Furever.)

The Otherside, a documentary directed by Dan Torok (and produced by a two-time Olympic bronze-medalist in speed-skating!), tracks Seattle’s tremendously diverse hip-hop scene, mixing performances and interviews from acts like Blue Scholars, Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, and a pre-career-explosion Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. But it’s not limited to the success stories—a lot of struggling rappers and djs get footage as well, creating a multi-layered portrait of a scene that’s still churning with creativity.

Speaking of creativity: A man experimental in both life and art gets chronicled in Eric Slade and Stephen Silha’s documentary Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton. Broughton, a filmmaker, poet, and political activist, had a spectacular career that ranged from the Beat era to his death in 1999. Broughton won an award at Cannes (and got praised by no less an eminence than Jean Cocteau), was vitally involved in the gay liberation movement of the 1970s, and had a child with the queen of film criticism, Pauline Kael.

4Culture panelists had tears in their eyes just from watching a clip of a documentary by Leah Warshawski that finds hope and heartbreak in the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda. Finding Hillywood follows fledgling movie directors who grapple with the strife, turmoil, and happiness to be found in this devastated nation. At the center of the film is Ayuub Kasasa Mago, one of the hubs of the Rwanda’s filmmaking community who’s been a mentor for other filmmakers, as well as a director himself.  (Rumor has it there’s an effort to bring Ayuub himself to SIFF, so these screenings could be extra-special.)

These are only four of the many movies by Northwest artists, including Improvement Club by local choreographer Dayna Hanson; Touchy Feely, the latest film from rising star Lynn Shelton; and many more.  And as an agency of King County, we want to congratulate SIFF on expanding its screenings to both Kirkland and Renton this year!

SIFF is like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and the Fourth of July combined for King County’s many cinephiles.  Satisfy your curiosity at SIFF!

The Seattle International Film Festival runs from May 16-June 19.  Don’t miss out.