For the first time in its 37-year history, the Seattle International Film Festival has selected a film that was locally produced and shot by a Seattle filmmaker for its opening-night gala. Could this be a hint that local independent moviemaking is finally gaining some cred? Signs point to yes.
In the last year, Seattle cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award (for his work on The Off Hours, written and directed by Seattleite Megan Griffiths and filmed in and near Seattle); Griffiths completed shooting her new film, Eden (filmed in Washington), which recently won an Audience Award at SXSW; and local producer Lacey Leavitt’s new movie, Safety Not Guaranteed (filmed partly in the Seattle mag offices!), was nominated for the Grand Jury prize at Sundance. That’s in addition to Lynn Shelton (named one of Variety magazine’s “10 Directors to Watch”), whose sweet, surprising comedy, Your Sister’s Sister, is SIFF’s opening-night pick, and was acquired by IFC for theatrical release this summer (watch the trailer below).
Upon hearing the SIFF news, Shelton thanked “the entire Seattle film community.” Long may it reign.
SIFF: 5/17–6/10. Times, prices and venues vary. 206.324.9996; siff.net