The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) welcomes back their annual mini-festival, Women in Cinema! The program kicks off tonight at the newly renovated SIFF Cinema Egyptian on Capitol Hill. Audiences are thrilled, curious, and excited about this year’s lineup – especially Beth Barrett, SIFF’s Programming Director who helped select the films.
“I’m excited about all the films, but of course Lynn Shelton’s new film Laggies is a high point,” Barrett says. Shelton’s new film, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and just screened again at the Toronto International Film Festival, tells the story of a young woman (Keira Knightley, in a rare non-period piece role) whose life becomes complicated after deflecting her boyfriend’s proposal and opting to hang out with a group of teenagers (led by Chloë Grace Moretz) instead. The film, which shot in and around the Seattle area last summer, received funding assistance from Washington Filmworks. Tonight will be the official Seattle premiere for this local gem, which is sure to kick the festival off with emerald pride.
Although Laggies is a slice of Seattle life, Barrett adds that Women in Cinema “is a really international festival,” noting that the lineup includes films from the Philippines, Norway, Argentina, Germany, and Denmark. In addition, the program has a selection of strong documentaries like The Last Hunt, Misconception, and Stray Dogs (from Debra Granik, the filmmaker behind Winter’s Bone), and audiences can expect an outstanding four days. “Seattle audiences are very smart about the films they watch,” Barrett notes, “and the Women in Cinema films will entertain, challenge and inform. They’re slices of what is happening right now in cinema around the world, that happen to be made by women.”
However celebratory the festival is, there seems to be the underlying reminder that there’s still a ways to go regarding female representation behind the camera.
“I wish that there was not a need to put on a festival specifically of films made by women – instead it would be great if there were gender equity in film,” adds Barrett, “The truth is that women filmmakers are still very much in the minority, and by bringing this festival to Seattle, we are given both a chance to celebrate great films and to support women working in the field. It is always a pleasure to engage with great film and with eight filmmakers here for the weekend, [it’s] a great chance to meet a diverse group of filmmakers.”
And in order to make it happen, Barrett is pleased to have two solid partnerships by her side.
“Once again, we are working with Women in Film Seattle to present a panel about making great film on Sunday (9/21) morning, and this year, we’re working with NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented youth) to spotlight young women filmmakers – the next generation!”
Celebrating the work and women of film today and tomorrow, SIFF’s Women in Cinema Festival is sure to be an enjoyable and enlightening four days of cinematic bliss.
SIFF’s Women in Cinema Festival runs from September 18th-21st. It kicks off with Lynn Shelton’s Laggies at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian tonight, and runs all weekend long with screenings at the SIFF Cinema Uptown. To see the schedule and find out more information, visit the festival’s page.
Check out the official festival trailer:
About Beth Barrett, SIFF Director of Programming: Beth has worked for SIFF in the Publications and Programming Departments since 2003. She is responsible for managing all aspects of film programming, the staff of film programmers, and securing films and guests for the Festival. Beth is also instrumental in the programming and management of SIFF Cinema and SIFF’s other year-round programs. An aficionado of short films, she secured SIFF’s status as an Academy Award® qualifying festival in 2008. Beth has been in Seattle for over 20 years and holds an MA in Northern Renaissance Art History.