On The Town: 42nd Annual SIFF Opening Night Gala

Posted on May 22, 2016, 9:42 am
4 mins


Photography by Tiffany Bri

On Thursday, May 19, the Seattle International Film Festival kicked off their 42nd Annual year of celebrating film. As the biggest international film festival in the country, the anticipation for this evening was tangible. See Tiffany Bri’s photos of the red carpet and gala that took place after the screening of Woody Allen’s Cafe Society

Held at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, guests began to arrive, with many making their strides down the red carpet. City of Seattle Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim was in attendance, who also gave opening remarks on behalf of Mayor Ed Murray before the film screening. SIFF Festival Director Carl Spence was hard to miss in a suave navy suit, greeting many on the red carpet in excitement and celebration, along with SIFF director of programming Beth Barrett. Many of the festival’s directors were in attendance including James Schamus (Indignation), Megan Griffiths (The Night Stalker), Linas Phillips (Rainbow Time), Todd Soliday and Leah Warshawski (Big Sonia), Aaron Bear (Finding Kim), Clay Liford (Slash), Nick Terry (Finding October), Kate Dandel (Gold Balls), Nathan Williams (If There’s A Hell Below), and many more. Many actors, editors, producers and other filmmakers were in attendance to support their movies and the festival as a whole. Documentary subjects were also in attendance, including former Seattle SuperSonics player Spencer Haywood and musician Samantha Montgomery of Presenting Princess Shaw. Princess Shaw made a special performance on the McCaw Hall stage right before the film began, and sang again at the after-party. Participants in the Short Films of the festival also made red carpet appearances, including: Samuel Abrahams (Offline Dating), Lindy Boustedt (A Happy Ending), Andrew Franks (Cab Elvis), Eric Becker (Dear Klara), Caryn Cline (Ektacy), Salise Hughes (Election Year) and many more.

In addition to those involved directly with the making of the films, many supporters of the arts community in Seattle made appearances to show their support. WA Filmworks executive director Amy Lillard was able to give a short yet inspiring speech before the screening to thank her family for being there for her in her support of film in Seattle. The magnitude of the event was a definite point of pride and humility for the city of Seattle when considering the arts and the state they are currently in.

It was also announced before the film began that artist and Style Fold alum Piper O’Neill had created the Golden Space Needle Award statues for the third year in a row. The Golden Space Needle Awards are rewarded to the film favorites by category as decided by the audience. The categories include Best Feature Film, Documentary, Actor, Actress and Short Film.

Immediately after the screening of Café Society, guests with after party access made their way to the gala party which was decorated to the nines. The venue was decked out with food vendors from popular spots all over the city including Wild Ginger and many others. Music was lively with performances by Princess Shaw and Super Square, in addition to DJ sets by Seattle’s Music Man.

With not many events in the Seattle arts community for company, SIFF is one of the few events that not only celebrated international work but did so with international company. Don’t miss the ongoing festival, which goes through June 12. And keep checking in with VS to catch reviews from our film writer Molly Laich as she follows the festival.