10 Past SIFF Movies No Longer Available Anywhere
The Seattle International Film Festival is the biggest film festival in the world - and it's pretty overwhelming. More than 160 feature-length films on average screen during the fest's 25-day run each year - watching every single film isn't even logistically (or reasonably) possible.
Audience interest generally gravitates toward the major titles - the big studio films featuring beloved indie stars or festival circuit darlings - films that are virtually guaranteed U.S. distribution on some scale. But perhaps it's time to turn the focus on the films audiences may only get one or two chances to see in theaters - or ever again.
More the 70 percent of the films screened at SIFF will not return to theaters. Some may make the jump to streaming or find a home on cable ... but another fate altogether awaits some SIFF movies. Sixty-five percent of the films screening at SIFF 2018 do not have U.S. distributions deals, meaning the Festival may be first, last and only place audiences can see some of the movies.
Here are 10 great films that you cannot rent, buy or stream - and in many cases, SIFF was your best shot at seeing these films at all.
'Liza, the Fox-Fairy'
Surreal and dark, 'Liza' is a twisted fairy tale with the sensibility of 'Amélie.' The black comedy was popular in its native Hungary and enjoyed its North American premiere at SIFF 2015.
This vibrant and spirited film was featured as a Saturday Night Party featured film, tapped as a Best of SIFF 2013 selection and enjoyed a limited theatrical run in the U.S. And for a hot minute, this lovely French comedy was streaming on Netflix. But now, 'Populaire' isn't available anywhere.
It's just as well this ultra-microbudget Ugandan masterpiece isn't available to watch at home - this film must be experienced in a theater with a crowd. This was Escape Into Film's selection as the Best Film of SIFF 2017 - and watching this ridiculously bloody love letter to American action flick on a smartphone or at home just doesn't do the film justice.
This dialogue-lite work of art very nearly made the cut for the 87th Academy Awards as Georgia's submission for Best Foreign Language Film. This nearly wordless, foreign drama, set on a specific river between specific nations and against the backdrop of a very specific conflict, tells an eloquent and universal tale of survival. "Corn Island" is a master class in telling a rich and compelling story with virtually zero exposition or story cheats.
The American box office is practically defined nowadays by remakes and sequels - so it's sorely disappointing that a faithful retelling of the acclaimed Clint Eastwood film, set in feudal Japan, is all but completely unknown to American audiences. We get misguided remakes of 'Psycho' and 'Overboard,' but U.S. audiences are denied this great retelling based in a great performance from Ken Watanabe.
'My Skinny Sister'
This sibling rivalry drama is a study in contrasts - two sisters (one chubby, one athletic), one who is celebrated while the other is overlooked, which becomes the foundation of a love-hate relationship. These intricately woven contrasts form a strong dramatic tension, that results in a compelling family drama
'Lil Bub & Friendz'
Lil Bub finds a way into the heart of anyone who knows the story of his troubled life - and this charming documentary celebrates not only the Internet-famous cat, but the internet's quirky cat culture.
'Becoming Who I Was'
Sublime and beautiful, this SIFF 2017 Grand Jury Best Documentary Feature chronicles the relationship between a boy and his mentor through the years and across India. What begins as a modest film culminates in an unexpectedly epic and poignant journey. The heart of this film is the affecting relationship between a child and his father figure. "Becoming Who I Was" is a bittersweet story of sacrifices made out of love, faith and devotion - to each other and their beliefs.
'The Pistol Shrimps'
If these players just treated the league as something silly they do for fun, then this doc would have been just a nice visit with some quirky people who happen to play basketball on the side. "Pistol Shrimps" revels in the silliness of the league, connects the audience with several players and firmly establishes a true team spirit among its eclectic roster of athletes.
This Latvian coming-of-age drama is a showcase for its lead actress (Elina Vaska), whose performance is understated, yet clearly conveys exactly what is on her character mind at any given moment. As a girl abruptly thrust into adulthood, Vaska proves her acting mettle with a character who is capable and in-over-her-head, naive and quick thinking all at once. "Mellow Mud" is a focused and lean drama that grows a complex protagonist out of its straightforward premise.