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The Freshness of a SIFF pass

Posted by Leonard on June, 4, 2010

This year I’ve had the privilege of obtaining a Seattle International Film Festival filmmaker pass. The pass enables me to attend all the press screenings which are hosted 3 a day, 4 days a week for 4 weeks during the fest. It’s been fabulous seeing so many incredible films from around the world.  They hold the screenings at 10, 12, & 2 at Pacific Place downtown,  so I’ve been enjoying taking the light rail in from the Rainier Valley and checking out multiple flicks/day, mostly documentaries for the past 2 weeks. It is a great privilege to run a small business, with the flexibility in my schedule to be able to attend the screenings during the day, and that SIFF made affordable and accesible which I am grateful for.

This week I saw the incredible Chinese documentary  The Last Train Home, the story of the Chinese New Year and the nationwide exodus of hundreds of millions of migrant workers going home for the holiday, the only time all year many will see their families. The film follows one particular family over the course of a few years, including their jobs and living situation at their factory, back home in the rural village where they left behind 2 children being raised by their grandparents, and on the move among the masses in brutal train station crowds and regional transportation as they head across China. The film is incredibly real and present in the people’s lives and the relationships including the struggle with their now teenage children.

Also, the The Pat Tillman Story A scathing exposé of the height of American war propaganda in Iraq & Afghanistan,  incredibly shocking. Pat Tillman was the NFL star who left his football career to join the Army Rangers, who’s death was manipulated at the highest levels of government as a war time propaganda tool that was really a big lie that was only exposed as his activist mother uncovers the truth behind what really happened with the other soldiers in his unit. From the SIFF website:

Fiction: Tillman was killed in action in Afghanistan following the rescue of dozens of his fellow soldiers from an enemy ambush. Fact: He was killed by friendly fire by members of his own unit as they shot indiscriminately at Tillman, believing him to be a guerilla fighter. The grave discrepancy between fact and fiction furthers growing suspicions of American media involvement in covering up the atrocities of the Bush administration, Gulf War generals, and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. As the film unfolds, the realities of Tillman’s service and death prove to be much more profound and important than any manufactured image of the unwavering American hero.

And Hipsters A crazy musical set in 1955 Moscow, with young Hipsters  flaunting their mad style in an era of gray Soviet military domination of no art and no color and style. Gorgeous colors and lighting with awesome music and dancing.My guess is that this film will be out in theaters as it was beautifully crafted and an incredible window into life in Russia at the time. Watch the trailer.

The pass also enables me to participate in the Filmmakers Forums & Digital Media Lab classes that they’re teaching at The Seattle Center this weekend which I’m going to hit up on Sunday and am looking forward to.

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