The Seattle Shorts Film Festival returns to SIFF Film Center starting this Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13. Not just for shorts, opening night festivities will screen the 2014 feature film Before I disappear. Shawn Christenson directs, writes and stars in the picture, based on his 2012 Academy Award Winning short, Curfew.
Christenson’s film reminds me some of Holden Caulfield’s lonely adventures through New York City—with some key differences. Holden visits his kid sister for a few stolen moments. In Before I Disappear, our protagonist Richie instead finds himself in charge of his precocious niece, Sophia (played by Dora The Explorer‘s Fatima Ptacek). And instead of getting kicked out of another boarding school, Richie’s a heroin user who can’t seem to find a few uninterrupted minutes of calm in which to carry out his suicide.
Before I Disappear is both surreal and grounded. Richie often retreats into fantasy as he deals with a series of real-life challenges in New York’s underground drug culture. First of all, there’s the pretty dead girl he finds in a stall at the nightclub he works at. The club’s run by his boss, played by Ron Perlman. There’s a man on the phone in his apartment (a land line, if you can believe it). He wants the 800 dollars Richie owes them, or else. Then his sister, estranged for the last five years, calls in a panic asking him to pick up his tween niece. The niece comes along on a series of these late night encounters, and their burgeoning friendship gives Richie a reason to live again. It’s incredibly inconvenient.
This is a humorous, emotional and engrossing film. More than that, it’s a testament to what short films can become and the avenues of possibilities they create for the filmmakers. Before I Disappear opens at SIFF Film Center this Friday, November 11 at 7pm. Tickets to the premiere are $12 (not included in your full weekend pass). Fatima Ptacek and producer Brendan Hubbard are scheduled to attend.
Now in its 6th year, Seattle Shorts will include 48 films from local, national and international filmmakers. Festival-goers can buy a full weekend pass, tickets for single program blocks or separate passes for Friday and Saturday passes. Finally, visit SIFF for ticketing information and seattleshort.org for a full schedule and more information on the films and filmmakers.
Seattle Shorts Film Festival
When: November 11-13
Where: SIFF Film Center (305 Harrison St)