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NFFTY & more cinema stuff for the week of April 26

This week's cinema roundup starts with the future: The National Film Festival for Talented Youth or NFFTY runs through Sunday at SIFF Cinema Uptown. It features amazing shorts, feature films, animation, and documentaries from filmmakers 22 and younger from around the world, along with panels for aspiring filmmakers. Visit their site for full schedule of films and events and ticket information.

In the Save-The-Date festival department, the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, or STIFF, begins Friday, May 3 at Grand Illusion Cinema and Wing-It Productions (at 55th on The Ave). Take a look at the schedule to start planning your festival-going and get tickets now.


SIFF Cinema welcomes It's A Disaster, a comedy about a very bad brunch. Not bad as in "They totally burnt this toast" or "The waffle topping bar is out of whipped cream," it's more along the lines of "Hey, why are those dead people coming to life?" Julia Stiles, America Ferrera, and David Cross star as brunchers who thought they were getting together for some relationship talk but end up trapped in the house as the world falls apart around them. SIFF describes it as "Woody Allen meets George Romero," which immeditely piqued our curiosity.

Continuing on this week at SIFF are Upstream Color, which SIFF describes as "a gorgeous, poetic, experimental, and intelligent romantic story that is unlike anything you have ever seen before...[it]strings together a series of incidents that hint at science fiction thriller, existential romance, and spiritual awakening into a stunning story of lives bewildered by forces beyond their control." Primer director Shane Carruth writes, directs and stars with Amy Seimetz (star of Megan Griffiths' The Off Hours and writer/director of Sun Don't Shine, see below); and 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic starring Chadwick Boseman as Jackie and Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers manager Branch Rickey. It was wriiten and directed Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential).

In Save-The-Date theatrical news, get tickets now for local filmmaker Megan Griffiths' Eden, which opens at SIFF on Friday, May 3. There will be a panel discussion on human trafficking after Friday's screening with producer Colin Plank, Washington State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles and representatives from Hope for Justice, YouthCare, and the Organization for Prostitution Survivors. Ms. Griffiths will in attendance after Saturday night's screening for a panel discussion along with Plank and producer Jacob Mosler, moderated by The Stranger's David Schmader.


Northwest Film Forum has Night Across The Street, "a beautifully imaginative memoir" about an office worker on the eve of retirement who begins to relive both real and imagined memories from his life. It's the last feature from the late Chilean filmmaker Raul Ruiz.

The grounbreaking documentary Leviathan is back at NWFF by popular demand. Directors Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel's unconventional narrative "follows a commercial fishing boat from whatever viewpoints it can, be they the hands of a fisherman or a helmet containing a tiny camera as it tumbles across the deck." We've heard nothing but good things from those who've seen it. The awesome activist nun documentary Band of Sisters continues on through Sunday as well.

On Thursday, NWFF hosts two special screenings: Gotta Dance, Dori Berinstein's joyful documentary on the New Jersey Nets' senior dance squad The NETSationals, presented with the Healthy Aging Project; and KPLU 88.5 sponsors another Music Craft night featuring a performance by alto saxophonist Lee Konitz and his New Quartet.


Central Cinema has the still-great Jim Henson fantasy Labyrinth starring Jennifer Connolly, David Bowie, and David Bowie's mega-80s hair. There's also the dare-we-say underrated Howard the Duck, which you'll currently find for rent in our Great Adaptations section. On Wednesday night you can see Howard for just 99 cents, which leaves you more money for food and beverages. Thursday brings another all-ages, family-friendly Cartoon Happy Hour, then enjoy some high adventure with Escape From New York starring Kurt Russell as mega-badass Snake Plissken.


Grand Illusion Cinema has Sun Don't Shine, a road-trip noir written and directed by Amy Seimetz (star of Upstream Color and The Off Hours). It stars Kate Lyn Sheil and Kentucker Audley as a couple on a tense and mysterious trip through the trailer parks, mini-malls, and rolling hills of central Florida.

On Saturday you have another chance to see the 35mm print of The Boxer's Omen, the Shaw Brothers' 1983 martial arts freak-out involving "bat puppets, chicken monsters, neon-laced sets and surreal special effects, climaxing with the wildest wizard battle ever committed to celluloid." Then on Thursday, the 20/20 Awards present for your re-consideration the 1993 presidential comedy Dave starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. It was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar but lost to The Piano. Did it deserve to win? You decide.


The French New Wave Masters series at Seattle Art Museum continues Thursday at the Plestcheeff Auditorium downtown with a 35mm print of Vivre Sa Vie (My Life to Live), Jean-Luc Godard's portrait of a Parisan woman's (Anna Karina) decline from wife and mother to prostitute. It appears on Roger Ebert's first list of 100 Great Movies.


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