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SIFF box office (2007)
The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), held annually in Seattlemarker, Washingtonmarker is among the top film festivals in North America. Audiences have grown steadily; the 2006 festival had 160,000 attendees. SIFF to Create New Home for Great Films at Seattle Center SIFF press release, November 28, 2006. SIFF runs for more than three weeks (24 days) in May-June, and features a diverse assortment of predominantly independent and foreign films and, in recent years, a strong contingent of documentaries.

SIFF 2006 included 300+ films and was the first SIFF to include a venue in neighboring Bellevue, Washingtonmarker since an ill-fated early attempt. However, in 2008, the festival was back to being entirely in Seattle, and had a slight decrease in the number of feature films.


The festival began in 1976 at a then-independent cinema, the Moore Egyptian Theater (now back to its earlier name, the Moore Theatermarker, and functioning as a concert venue). When founders Dan Ireland and Darryl Macdonald of the Moore Egyptian lost their lease, they founded the Egyptian theater in a former Masonic Temple on Seattle's Capitol Hillmarker, which remains a prime festival venue to this day, although the festival now typically uses about half a dozen cinemas (including, since 2007, its own SIFF Cinema at Seattle Centermarker), the exact roster varying from year to year.

During the 1980s, SIFF audiences developed a reputation for appreciating films that did not fit standard industry niches, such as Richard Rush's multi-layered The Stunt Man (1980). SIFF was instrumental in the entry of Dutchmarker films into the United States market, including the first major American success for director Paul Verhoeven.

The nature of the festival

The festival includes a sidebar that is gayly unique among major film festivals: a four-film "Secret Festival". Those who attend the Secret Festival do not know in advance what they will see, and they must sign an oath that they will not reveal afterwards what they have seen.

In general, SIFF has a reputation as an "audience festival" rather than an "industry festival". The festival often partially overlaps the Cannes Film Festivalmarker, which can reduce attendance by industry bigwigs; in 2007 there were two days of overlap, May 24 and 25.

The SIFF group also curates the Global Lens film series, the Screenwriters Salon, and Futurewave (K-12 programming and youth outreach), coordinates SIFF-A-Go-Go travel programs (organized tours to other film festivals), and co-curates the 1 Reel Film Feastival at Bumbershoot and the Sci-Fi Shorts Film Festival at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Famemarker.

SIFF Cinema

November 28, 2006, SIFF and Seattle mayor Greg Nickels announced that SIFF will soon have a home and a year-round screening facility in what has been the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall of McCaw_Hallmarker, the same building at Seattle Centermarker that houses the Seattle Opera. The city contributed $150,000 to the $350,000 project. This auditorium is now a "flagship venue" for SIFF festivals and the site of most press screenings.


Since 1985, the Seattle International Film Festival has awarded the Golden Space Needlemarker award each year to the festival's most popular movie. Ballots are cast by audience members at the end of each movie. Previous winners of the Golden Space Needle include Whale Rider for 2003, Trainspotting for 1996 and Kiss of the Spider Woman for 1985.

Golden Space Needle (Best Film) and SIFF Awards for Best Short and Documentary

Year Best Film (Golden Space Needle) Best Short Best Documentary
1985 Kiss of the Spider Woman (dir. Héctor Babenco, Brazilmarker) Frankenweenie (dir. Tim Burton, United States)  
1986 The Assault (dir. Fons Rademakers, Netherlands) The Big Snit (dir. Richard Condie, USA)
1987 My Life as a Dog (dir. Lasse Hallström, Swedenmarker) Your Face (dir. Bill Plimpton, USA)
1988 Bagdad Café (dir. Percy Adlon, West Germanymarker) Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall (dir. Jonathon Sanger, USA)
1989 Apartment Zero (dir. Martin Donovan, USA) Tin Toy (dir. John Lasseter, USA)
1990 Pump Up the Volume (dir. Allan Moyle, USA) Knick Knack (dir. John Lasseter, USA)
1991 My Mother's Castle (dir. Yves Robert, France) The Potato Hunter (dir. Timothy Hittle, USA) Paris Is Burning (dir. Jennie Livingston, USA)
1992 Betty Blue (dir. Jean-Jacques Beineix, France) Anima Mundi (dir. Godfrey Reggio, USA) A Brief History of Time (dir. Errol Morris, USA)
1993 The Wedding Banquet (dir. Ang Lee Ti Wong, Taiwanmarker/USA) The Fairy Who Didn't Want to Be a Fairy Anymore (dir. Laurie Lynd, Canada) Road Scholar (dir. Roger Weisberg, USA)
1994 Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (dir. Stephan Elliott, Australia) The Wrong Trousers (dir. Nick Park, UK) The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (dir. Ray Müller, Germany)
1995 The Kingdom (dir. Lars von Trier, Denmarkmarker) Surprise! (dir. Veit Helmer, Germany) Crumb (dir. Terry Zwigoff, USA)
1996 Trainspotting (dir. Danny Boyle, UK) That Night (dir. John Keister, USA) Hype! (dir. Doug Pray, USA)
1997 Comrades: Almost a Love Story (dir. Peter Chan, Hong Kongmarker) Ballad of the Skeletons (dir. Gus Van Sant, USA) Licensed to Kill (dir. Arthur Dong, USA)
1998 God Said Ha! (dir. Julia Sweeney, USA) Sin Sostén (dir. Rene Castinello, Antonio Urrutia, Belgium) Frank Lloyd Wright (dir. Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, USA)
1999 Run Lola Run (dir. Tom Tykwer, Germany) 12 Stops of the Road to Nowhere (dir. Jay Lowi, USA) Buena Vista Social Club (dir. Wim Wenders, USA)
2000 Shower (Zhang Yang, China) In God We Trust (dir. Jason Reitman, USA) Trade Off (dir. Shaya Mercer, USA)
2001 Finder's Fee (dir. Jeff Probst, USA) Boychick (dir. Glen Gaylord, USA) The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition (dir. George Butler, USA)
2002 Elling (dir. Petter Næss, Norwaymarker) The Host (dir. Nick Tomnay, Australia) Ruthie & Connie: Every Room in the House (dir. Deborah Dickson, USA)
2003 Whale Rider (dir. Niki Caro, New Zealandmarker) Misdemeanor (dir. Jonathan Lemond, USA) The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (dir. Kim Bartley, Donnacha O'Briain, Ireland/Venezuelamarker)
2004 Facing Windows (dir. Ferzan Ozpetek, Italy) Consent (dir. Jason Reitman, USA) Born into Brothels (dir. Zana Briski, Ross Kauffmann, USA)
2005 Innocent Voices (dir. Luis Mandoki, Mexicomarker) Raftman's Razor (dir. Keith Bearden, USA) Murderball (dir. Henry-Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro, USA)
2006 OSS 117: Nest of Spies (dir. Michel Hazanavicious, France) Full Disclosure (dir. Douglas Horn, USA) The Trials of Darryl Hunt (dir. Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg, USA)
2007Reel News (SIFF), Autumn 2007, p. 5. Outsourced (dir. John Jeffcoat, USA) Pierre (dir. Dan Brown, USA) For the Bible Tells Me So (dir. Daniel Karslake, USA)

SIFF Awards for Best Director, Actress and Actor

Year Best Director Best Actress Best Actor
1985 Krzysztof Zanussi (Power of Evil, Polandmarker) Renee Soutendijk (The Fourth Man, Belgiummarker) William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Brazilmarker)
1986 Fons Rademakers (The Assault, Netherlands) Cathy Tyson (Mona Lisa, UK) Bob Hoskins (Mona Lisa, UK)
1987 Lasse Hallstrom (My Life as a Dog, Swedenmarker) Monique van de Ven (Iris, Netherlands) Gary Oldman (Prick Up Your Ears, UK)
1988 Alan Rudolph (The Moderns, USA) Deborrah-Lee Furness (Shame, Australia) Tom Hulce (Dominick and Eugene, USA)
1989 Martin Donovan (Apartment Zero, USA) Wendy Hughes (Boundaries of the Heart, Australia) Rutger Hauer (Legend of a Holy Drinker, Italy)
1990 Denys Arcand (Jesus of Montreal, Canada) Rebecca Jenkins (Bye Bye Blues, Canada) Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, USA)
1991 Peter Greenaway (Drowning by Numbers, UK) Lily Tomlin (Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, USA) Alan Rickman (Close My Eyes / Truly, Madly, Deeply, UK)
1992 Jean-Jacques Beineix (Betty Blue, France) Marianne Sagebrecht (Martha and I, Germany/France) Dermot Mulroney (Where the Day Takes You, USA)
1993 Ang Lee (The Wedding Banquet, Taiwanmarker/USA) Tilda Swinton (Orlando, UK/Russia/Italy/France/Netherlands) Russell Crowe (Romper Stomper / Hammers Over the Anvil, Australia)
1994 Rolf de Heer (Bad Boy Bubby, Australia) Mimi Rogers (Reflection on a Crime, USA) Terence Stamp (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Australia)
1995 Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, USA) Nicole Kidman (To Die For, USA) Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects, USA)
1996 Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, UK) Lili Taylor (Girls Town, USA) Vincent D'Onofrio (The Whole Wide World, USA)
1997 Peter Greenaway (The Pillow Book, UK) Robin Wright-Penn (Loved, USA) Brendan Fraser (Still Breathing, USA)
1998 Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, USA) Christina Ricci (Buffalo 66 / The Opposite of Sex, USA) Stephen Fry (Wilde, UK)
1999 John Sayles (Limbo, USA) Piper Laurie (The Mao Game, USA) Rupert Everett (An Ideal Husband, UK)
2000 Zhang Yang (Shower, China) Nathalie Baye (Venus Beauty Institute, France) Dan Futterman (Urbania, USA)
2001 Tim Blake Nelson (O, USA) Thora Birch (Ghost World, USA) John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, USA)
2002 Julio Medem (Sex and Lucia, Spain) Isabelle Huppert (The Piano Teacher, Austria/France) Moritz Bleibtreu (Das Experiment, Germany)
2003 Niki Caro (Whale Rider, New Zealandmarker) Moon So-ri (Oasis, South Koreamarker) Seol Kyung-gu (Oasis, South Koreamarker)
2004 Marco Tullio Giordano (The Best of Youth, Italy) Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace (Colombiamarker/USA) Luis Tosar (Take My Eyes, Spain)
2005 Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin, USA) Joan Allen (Yes, USA) Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Mysterious Skin, USA)
2006 Goran Dukic (Wristcutters: A Love Story, USA) Fiona Gordon (The Iceberg, Belgiummarker) Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson, USA)
2007 Daniel Waters (Sex & Death 101, USA) Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, France) Daniel Brühl (Salvador, Spain)
2009 Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, USA)

Jury awards

Year New Director Award New American Cinema Award Best Documentary
2007 Eric Richter Strand (Sons, Norwaymarker) Shotgun Stories (Jeff Nichols, USA) Harald Freidl, (Out of Time, Austria)

Year Short film awards -

Narrative short
Short film awards -

Animated short
Short film awards -

Documentary short
2007 Wigald, Timon Modersohn (Germany) Everything Will Be OK, Don Hertzfeldt (USA) Chocolate Country, Robin Blotnick (Dominican Republicmarker / USA)


Among the films that have received North American or world premieres at SIFF are

See also


  1. Lynn Jacobson, Locals swarm huge Seattle fest. Variety, Jun. 19, 2005
  2. Burning in the Wind, SIFF, Accessed 23 November 2006.
  3. Tomorrow's Weather, SIFF, Accessed 23 November 2006.

External links

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