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Monday, May 14, 2012 - Page updated at 05:00 a.m.

SIFF: Local scenery, filmmakers come up big at this year's fest

By Moira Macdonald
Seattle Times movie critic

In addition to "Your Sister's Sister," SIFF is featuring a wealth of other local films in the Northwest Connections program: seven narrative features and six documentaries, as well as 34 short films. Here's a brief introduction to the other full-length films:


"Camilla Dickinson": Based on Madeleine L'Engle's 1951 novel and set in 1948 New York City, this coming-of-age drama is directed by Seattle-based filmmaker Cornelia Duryée Moore (previously represented at SIFF with "The Dark Horse" in 2008). Screenings: May 20 at 5:30 p.m., Harvard Exit; May 23 at 4 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown.

"The Details": Jason Aaron Estes' dark comedy, about a frazzled couple facing ravenous raccoons in their yard, was filmed in the Seattle area back in 2009 and stars Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks and Laura Linney. Screenings: June 8 at 6:30 p.m., Egyptian (a Friday Gala); June 9 at 8:30 p.m., Kirkland Performance Center.

"Eden": The third feature from Seattle-based filmmaker Megan Griffiths ("The Off Hours," SIFF 2011) is a dark drama about a young woman kidnapped as a sex slave, starring Jamie Chung, Matt O'Leary and Beau Bridges. Screenings: May 19 at 9:15 p.m., Egyptian; May 21 at 4:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown; May 29 at 8:30 p.m., Everett Performing Arts Center.

"Fat Kid Rules the World": Actor Matthew Lillard's directing debut, filmed in Seattle, stars Jacob Wysocki (so good in "Terri" last year) as a teen outcast who discovers confidence when he joins a punk-rock band. The film won an audience award at South by Southwest earlier this year. Screenings: May 18 at 7, Renton Ikea Performing Arts Center (Renton opening-night gala); May 19 at 6:30 p.m., Egyptian; May 28 at 6 p.m., Everett Performing Arts Center.

"Grassroots": SIFF's closing night gala is a locally filmed comedy inspired by the 2001 Seattle City Council campaign of monorail advocate Grant Cogswell. Directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal (yes, he's Jake and Maggie's father), it stars Jason Biggs, Joel David Moore, Lauren Ambrose and Cedric the Entertainer. Screenings: June 10 at 6 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown (gala).

"Ira Finkelstein's Christmas": Seattle-based filmmaker Sue Corcoran's latest is a family-friendly comedy about a young Jewish boy determined to visit Christmastown, Wash. (played by Leavenworth). Featuring Elliott Gould, the film won best comedy at the 2012 International Family Film Festival. Screenings: May 22 at 7 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown; May 27 at 1 p.m., Everett Performing Arts Center; June 9 at 11 a.m., Pacific Place.

"Safety Not Guaranteed": Three journalists from Seattle Magazine investigate a possible time-traveller in Colin Trevorrow's comedy, which won the best screenplay award (by Derek Connolly) at Sundance this year. Screenings: May 23 at 7 p.m., May 25 at 4:30 p.m., both at SIFF Cinema Uptown.


"The 5,000 Days Project: Two Brothers": Seattle filmmakers Rick Stevenson ("Expiration Date," "Magic in the Water") and Kevin Klar directed this first installment of Stevenson's 10-years-in-the-making project, which follows several local elementary school children as they grow up. Screenings: May 19 at noon and May 21 at 3:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown; May 26 at 1 p.m., Everett Performing Arts Center.

"The Long Ride Home": The story of Mercer Island resident Kevin Mincio, an Iraq vet who embarked on a 4,200-mile bicycle ride to raise money for fallen soldiers, is told by filmmaker Tom Wright, a Golden Space Needle winner for his 2000 film about the WTO riots in Seattle, "Tradeoff." Screenings: May 28 at 6 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown; May 29 at 4 p.m., Harvard Exit.

"Lost Years": This Canadian documentary, from filmmakers Kenda Gee and Tom Radford, examines a history of discrimination against Chinese immigrants. Screenings: May 23 at 6 p.m., May 24 at 4 p.m., both at Harvard Exit.

"The Revolutionary": Local filmmakers Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers join Irv Drasnin to tell the story of Northwest resident Sidney Rittenberg, an American who played an unprecedented role in Chinese politics during the Mao era. Screenings: May 27 at 5:30 p.m., Harvard Exit; May 31 at 4:30 p.m., Pacific Place.

"Short Life": The lives and choices of several members of Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet are examined in Scott Levy's documentary, which also includes rehearsal and performance footage from ballets by George Balanchine, William Forsythe and Twyla Tharp. Screenings: May 21 at 7 p.m., May 24 at 4:30 p.m., both at SIFF Cinema Uptown.

"Welcome to Doe Bay": Dan Thornton and Nesib Shamah profile a beloved annual music festival on Orcas Island, with appearances by Sera Cahoone, Lemolo, the Maldives, Pickwick, Fly Moon Royalty, and recent breakout stars the Head and the Heart. Screenings: June 3 at 9:15 p.m., Egyptian; June 5 at 9:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown.


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