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From Cannes To Seattle: International Cinema Continues To Shine

While the Cannes Film Festival may be over, the Festival season continues apace. Over 5000 miles away from the Croisette, another event is showcasing the best of international cinema. The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is celebrating its 32nd anniversary with its most ambitious program yet.

The Festival opened on May 25th with the West Coast premiere of THE ILLUSIONIST, a historical thriller set in 1900 Vienna. The film, directed by Neil Burger, stars Edward Norton as a mysterious magician who uses his extraordinary powers to find the murderer of a duchess, and whose actions may bring down the monarchy. Enhanced by a magnificent score by minimalist Philip Glass, the film also stars Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti and Rufus Sewell.

The Festival, which runs through June 18, features nearly 200 films from around the globe. This year’s program focuses on the works of a new generation of filmmakers. “The directors chosen for competition show great promise of emerging as the master filmmakers of tomorrow,” states Carl Spence, SIFF Artistic Director.

Films will compete for jury prizes in four distinct categories—New Directors, New American Cinema, Documentary, and SIFF Shorts—with over $20,000 in cash prizes to be awarded at the Gala Awards Ceremony at Seattle’s famed Space Needle on the closing day of the Festival on June 18th.

SIFF 2006 Jury Awards

The New Directors Showcase features twelve diverse films directed by some of the most promising emerging talents in world cinema. Each film considered in this category is a debut or second feature by the selected director.

A Side, B Side, Seaside, directed by Wing-Chiu Chan (China)
Allegro, directed by Christoffer Boe (Denmark)
Go West, directed by Ahmed Imamovic (Bosnia)
Grain in Ear, directed by Zhang Lu (China)
Gravehopping, directed by Jan Cvitkovic (Slovenia)
Host & Guest, directed by Shin Dong-il (South Korea)
Madeinusa, directed by Claudia Llosa (Peru)
Northern Lights, directed by David Lammers (Netherlands)
Sangre, directed by Amat Escalante (Mexico)
Starfish Hotel, directed by John Williams (Japan)
The First People on the Moon, directed by Alexsei Fedorchenko (Russia)
You and Me, directed by Julie Lopez Curval (France)

The New American Cinema category offers strikingly original stories from emerging new voices on the American independent scene. The films have yet to receive American distribution, so the award in this category will create the necessary buzz that may lead to eventual distributor pick-up.

Americanese, directed by Eric Byler
Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas, directed by Scott Lew
The Big Bad Swim, directed by Ishai Setton
Dreamland, directed by Jason Matzner
Expiration Date, directed by Rick Stevenson
Little Fugitive, directed by Joanna Lipper
Live Free or Dire, directed by Andy Robin and Gregg Kavet
Man Push Cart, directed by Ramin Bahrani
The Standard, directed by Jordan Albertsen
We Go Way Back, directed by Lynn Shelton
Wristcutters, A Love Story, directed by Goran Dukic

The growing profile of US and international documentaries is reflected in SIFF’s Documentary Competition, which highlights twelve remarkable films that capture the human spirit through non-fiction storytelling.

37 Uses for a Dead Sheep, directed by Ben Hopkins
American Blackout, directed by Ian Inaba
The Chances of the World Changing, directed by Eric Daniel Metzgar
Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, directed by Peter Richardson
The Giant Buddhas, directed by Christian Frei
Gitmo: The New Rules of War, directed by Erik Gandini and Tarik Sale
I for India, directed by Sandhya Suri
The Last Communist, directed by Amir Muhammad
…More Than 1000 Words, directed by Solo Avital
The Trials of Darryl Hunt, directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg
TV Junkie, directed by Michael Cain and Matt Radecki
Walking to Werner, directed by Linas Phillips

The Golden Space Needle, the SIFF Audience Awards voted on by Festival audiences, will be given to: Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress. A list of last year’s winners are included below:

2005 Golden Space Needle Awards

Best Film: Innocent Voices, directed by Luis Mandoki (Mexico)
Best Documentary: Murderball, directed by Henry-Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro (USA)
Best Short Film: The Raftmans Razor, directed by Keith Bearden (USA)
Best Director: Gregg Araki for Mysterious Skin (USA)
Best Actress: Joan Allen for Yes (USA)
Best Actor: Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Mysterious Skin (USA)

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