The 2006 Seattle International Film Festival kicked off yesterday and will showcase more than 270 feature films from all over the world at twelve venues in Seattle. I lament I have neither the time nor the funds to see them all, but I'll do what I can. During the next four weeks, I plan to attend many films -- a premiere or two, mainstream films, independent films, foreign films and a documentary.
Attending a film festival is an exciting and unique way of experiencing a movie. While attending a screening at a film festival one is among an audience who is there because they love movies. They appreciate the art form and the power of motion pictures to thrill us, move us, educate us, and bring us together.
It is also a thrill for the movie buff to connect with the people who make the films screened at the film festival -- the writers, directors and actors who bring stories and ideas to celluloid.
I have many fond memories of festivals past. One particularly memorable event was a forum with the late actor Richard Harris, who spoke about his craft and his career. It amused my wife and me that Harris smoked discreetly on stage whenever the lights were dimmed to show clips from his body of work. My wife's favorite movie is Camelot, and she was thrilled to meet Harris, who autographed the cover of her double-CD soundtrack of the film. It also amused us that he wore dark canvas sneakers with his tan suit.
The Tarrantino Tutorial several years ago was an interesting diversion as well. The writer/director/actor has not only a passion for but an an impressive collection of B-movie westerns and teen "juvenile deliquent" films from the 1950's, a few of which he shared with his class. The point of the tutorial was to illustrate the fact that many B-movies, which are no longer seen and are mostly forgotten, contained some superior filmmaking, and should remain an important part of American film history.
Last year I learned that Paul Reiser is shorter than he looks on TV.
Although I was in Chicago when the festival opened, I return to Seattle later today. Saturday is shaping up to be a full day of film-going.