SIFF Invites You To Gather For 43rd Annual International Film Festival

invites attendees to “gather” for six weeks beginning may 18

SEATTLE — May 3, 2017 — The Seattle International Film Festival, the largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States, announced the complete lineup of films, guests, and events for the 43rd annual event, covering 25 days, beginning May 18 and concluding on June 11, 2017.

This year, SIFF will screen 400 films representing 80 countries: 161 features (plus 4 secret films), 58 documentaries, 14 archival films, and 163 short films from all across the globe. The films include 36 World premieres (14 features, 22 shorts), 34 North American premieres (22 features, 12 shorts), and 20 US premieres (11 features, 9 shorts).

Significant to this year’s festival is that 50% of the films come from first or second-time filmmakers, with 30% of the films, and 45% of the film featured in competition, made by female directors.

Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in “The Big Sick” | Amazon Studios

The 2017 Opening Night Gala film will be the highly anticipated The Big Sick, directed by Michael Showalter and starring Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan as an interracial couple, caught in a cross-cultural romance, which takes an unexpected turn. Featuring acclaimed supporting performances from Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, the comedy/drama will open the festival at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall on May 18 at 7:00 p.m.

The Closing Night film comes from Oscar-nominated director Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro) and investigates the formative years of a 26-year-old Karl Marx, his wife Jenny, and Frederich Engels, Marx’s colleague who helped author “The Communist Manifesto” in 1845. The Young Karl Marx has its North American Premiere at SIFF on Sunday, June 11 at the famous Cinerama, at 6:00 p.m., with a send-off Closing Night Party at MOHAI.

Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn star in “Landline” | Photo: Amazon Studios

After receiving huge critical acclaim and two Independent Spirit Award nominations, a 2014 nomination for Best Actress in the Seattle Film Awards poll, and Best Actress honors at SIFF that same year for Obvious Child, Jenny Slate and writer/director Gillian Robespierre return to SIFF with Landline, a comedy set in 1990s Manhattan where two sisters (Slate and Abby Quinn) conspire to expose their father, who is having an affair. Landline serves as the Centerpiece Gala presentation and plays June 3 at the SIFF Egyptian. Following the screening, an after party takes shop at Dar Rainier Chapter House on Capitol Hill, with festivities ongoing through the night.

Anjelica Huston celebrates a legendary 50-plus year career when SIFF pays tribute to her on June 7 at 7:00 p.m. The event, held at the SIFF Egyptian, will follow a showing of 1990’s The Grifters at 4:00 p.m., which earned Huston’s third Academy Award nomination in Stephen Frears’ film where Huston plays the estranged mother of a con man. A Tribute to Anjelica Huston will be centered around the showing of her new film, Trouble, which finds the iconic actress starring alongside Bill Pullman as a feuding brother and sister in writer/director Theresa Rebeck’s festure film debut. An additional presentation of The Witches, a 1990 Roald Dahl adaptation screens on June 10 at the SIFF Egyptian at 1:30 p.m.

On Sunday, May 27, An Afternoon with Sam Elliott brings the beloved character actor to SIFF for an on-stage interview and screening of The Hero, a drama earning early Oscar buzz for Elliott’s turn as an aging actor who receives a cancer diagnosis and reflects back on his life. Elliott will stay after the film concludes for an audience Q & A.

New this year is the Work-In-Progress series, where four films, two fictional narratives and two documentaries will screen on June 8 and 9, allowing audience members and industry professionals to take part in a conversation about the film and take part in the creative process in visual storytelling. The films will be announced later in the month of May.

“SIFF is about more than just the numbers,” shared Beth Barrett, SIFF’s Artistic Director at the event’s press launch. Programmers in attendance shared the common theme of unity and inclusiveness as a connection for the films featured this year. This was likewise captured in the new festival trailer which shared the message “Gather.”

“Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World” | Photo: Kino Lorber

Additional parties and events will be held to coincide with presentations of the following films:

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World documents the influence and contributions made by Native Americans throughout the history of contemporary music. Director Catherine Bainbridge assembles an impressive array of talking heads who explore the indigenous influence on popular culture, which has been felt for decades. The film will debut at The Paramount Theatre on May 26 at 7:00 p.m., with an encore showing on May 27 at SIFF Cinema Uptown at 11:30 a.m.
  • The Trip to Spain, the third collaboration between Michael Winterbottom and actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, where the actors blur the lines between documentary and fiction on another travelogue where the best friends travel around Spain dining in food, drink, and real life. The film plays on May 20 at Pacific Place, with an afterparty at the Pan Pacific Hotel.
  • The Little Hours, a buzzworthy and controversial comedy starring Aubrey Plaza, Allison Brie, and Kate Micucci as profane nuns attempting to seduce the convent’s new servant, played by Dave Franco. This raunchy comedy has a star-studded cast and premieres on May 27 at 7:00 p.m. at Pacific Place. An afterparty takes place at the Seattle Art Museum.
  • Footnotes kicks off Kirkland’s the slate of films playing the Kirkland Performing Arts Center on June 1 at 8:00 p.m. This musical comedy takes place in a shoe factory, where a young woman finds herself leading a potential labor strike.
  • Susanne Bartsch: On Top is presented as the centerpiece film for the Gay-La slate of films, with directors Anthony Caronna and Alexander Smith showcasing Bartsch, who lavish parties have become an integral part of New York City’s fashion underground for more than three decades. The film plays on June 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the SIFF Egyptian, with an afterparty at The Baltic Room on Capitol Hill.

Among the archival selections:

8-time Oscar winner “Cabaret” returns to the big screen at SIFF 2017 | Photo: Warner Home Video

  • Cabaret, the 8-time Academy Award-winning musical returns to the big screen, hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race star and Seattle drag icon Robbie Turner. May 24, 7:00 p.m., SIFF Egyptian.
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, the 1920 silent film, starring John Barrymore, returns to the big screen with a live music score performed by Austin, Texas band The Invisible Czars. June 8, 7:00 p.m., The Triple Door.
  • Brainstorm. Douglas Trumbull’s 1983 cult favorite stars Christopher Walken and Louise Fletcher as a pair of scientists who invent a brain-recording alternate reality device, which the military desperately wants to get their hands on. June 5, 6:30 p.m., SIFF Egyptian. Panel discussion to follow.
  • The Marseille Trilogy – Marius, Fanny, and Cesar. Marcel Pagnol’s trilogy tells the story of two young shopkeepers who fall for one another, only to have a lifetime of love, loss, and family-influenced decision making carve out different paths for the young couple. The French films were released in 1931, 1932, and 1936 respectively, and are presented her in a new 4K restoration. Each film plays once per day at 11:00 a.m. at Pacific Place. Marius – May 27, Fanny – May 28, Cesar – May 29.
  • The Marx Brothers: Animal Crackers returns to the big screen for one Saturday afternoon, with Marx Brothers archivist and expert Robert S. Bader in attendance to introduce the screening. May 20, 1:30 p.m., SIFF Egyptian.

The 2017 Seattle International Film Festival is presented by SIFF, the non-profit arts organization that reaches more than 350,000 annually through SIFF Cinema, SIFF Education, and the annual flagship Festival.

For ticket information, please visit the SIFF Box Office page. View the full public program here.

About SIFF

Founded in 1976, SIFF creates experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world with the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education. Recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States, reaching more than 150,000 annually. The 25-day festival is renowned for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming, presenting over 450 features, short films, and documentaries from over 80 countries each year. SIFF Cinema exhibits premiere theatrical engagements, repertory, classic, and revival film showings 365 days a year on five screens at the SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Cinema Egyptian, and SIFF Film Center, reaching more than 175,000 attendees annually. SIFF Education offers educational programs for all audiences serving more than 13,000 students and youth in the community with free programs each year.


SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Egyptian, SIFF Film Center, AMC Pacific Place 11, Majestic Bay Theatres, Ark Lodge Cinemas, The Paramount Theatre, The Triple Door, The Neptune Theatre, McCaw Hall and Cinerama.

Lincoln Square Cinemas

Kirkland Performance Center

Shoreline Community College


400 films
80 countries
161 feature films
58 documentary features
14 archival films
163 short films
4 secret films
36 World Premieres (14 features, 22 shorts)
34 North American Premieres (22 features, 12 shorts)
20 US Premieres (11 features, 9 shorts)
50% 1st and 2nd time filmmakers
70% without U.S. distribution
30% Women filmmakers
45% Feature Competition films directed by Women




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