The Seattle International Film Festival may be among the most underrated events in the world of cinema. It's highly attended by festival goers and shows more films than any other festival in the United States over the three week festival period. More importantly, the directors behind the films make themselves very accessible to anyone interested in talking. I've had the great fortune of interviewing several of the directors, with a number of the interviews posted over at Hollywood Reviews. More are on their way when I can get a break long enough to edit and upload the interviews.
During the course of the opening weekend, every single screening I attended had either the director or producer of the film on hand for question and answer sessions following the screening. These are people who are passionate about engaging the audience and take the time to answer at length on any number of questions posed by the audience. There's no aire of pretence that anyone is better than anyone else, which is the vibe given off at a number of the more "prestigious" festivals.
The best bargain at the Seattle International Film Festival might be the Secret Festival, which requires attendees to sign an NDA to never divulge which films are shown. Films in the Secret Festival are either under embargo for various reasons and are occasionally banned from normal public screening due to legal complications. I attended the first Secret Festival screening for this season on Sunday. While I can't divulge anything about the film for fear of bad karma or worse, I will say that one film was worth the price of the Secret Festival by itself (at least to me).
If you can't make this year's festival, I'm trying to provide an insider's view with the director interviews. As of this writing, I've posted four interviews and have four more recorded waiting for editing. Several interviews are tentatively lined up for the coming week, so stay tuned. Academy Award nominated director Kirby Dick will be online as soon as I get a spare moment. The topic is his latest documentary, This Film is Not Yet Rated, which takes a hard look at the MPAA rating process. The interview alone was highly interesting stuff. When the movie hits general screening and the DVD market, it will be near the top of my recommended viewing list.