[SIFF 2014 preview]

On my first pass through the SIFF guide, I circled over 80 films. Since I can’t take vacation for festival this year, I had to make a lot of hard decisions. I do the Secret, I tend to skip all galas, & I’ve been spending some quality time with the list of films that are coming back.

Though right out of the gate this is a challenge because here are some party movies I am excited to see: BOYHOOD (a 12 year project by Richard Linklater), LUCKY THEM (the new film from Seattle director Megan Griffiths), I ORIGINS (Mike Cahill & Brit Marling’s follow-up to Another Earth), and THE GRAND SEDUCTION (director Don McKellar).

Special guests this year are Laura Dern (where I’m trying mighty hard to resist the temptation to see WILD AT HEART again), Chiwetel Ejiofor (ditto SERENITY), & Quincy Jones.

SIFF Moods are back, to help navigate whether you’re new to festival or a pass holder looking for a comedy or a film about music or what have you. Also try browsing by film program, where you can narrow down the festival to anything from Midnight Adrenaline (a personal fave) to Films 4 Families and FutureWave (for teens) ((hey, I see stuff in these programs too)). Asian Crossroads is another of my go-to festival programs, and give Catalyst a try for the most independent of independent films.

Other films that hopped out at me on my first pass through the catalog:

  • ATTILA MARCEL, the live action debut from the director of The Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist.
  • BURKHOLDER, the sequel to the charming local film Old Goats
  • LEADING LADY from the director of last year’s Fanie Fourie’s Lobola
  • THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES for those who dig the Swedish crime pictures
  • NIGHT MOVES from Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy, Wendy & Lucy)
  • RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS is a First Nations film being compared to Winter’s Bone.
  • AFRICAN METROPOLIS is six short films from across Africa
  • KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER is the story of a Japanese woman for whom the line between fact and fiction is blurred, specifically regarding the film Fargo.
  • THE TURNING, 18 interlocking short stories
  • MARY IS HAPPY, MARY IS HAPPY, which blends Twitter and cinema
  • BEGIN AGAIN, from the director of Once, this was previously titled Can A Song Save Your Life, and I for one welcome this new title
  • SHAKE THE DUST, about breakdancing worldwide
  • WE ARE THE BEST, for which I am going to break my “is it coming back” rule, because it’s about 13 year old girls forming a punk band in 1982 Stockholm. Basically, made for me and I refuse to wait any longer to see it.

Things I’ve heard good buzz about from other festivals: THE SKELETON TWINS, IDA, THE DOUBLE, CALVARY, LADY BE GOOD

And of course I’m intrigued by a bunch of midnights: THE BABADOOK, LATE PHASES, and RIGOR MORTIS.

On the archival front, I’m planning on LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD (because I think I require the focus of the theater to attempt that movie) and ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (which will be my first film of festival and my first film back at the Egyptian, which honestly seems kind of perfect).

How about you guys? What are you most excited about? What did it hurt you to cut right out of the gate? I’ll be posting daily updates — what I’m intrigued by, what I’m seeing, what I liked — on Twitter, and I welcome any and all recommendations! I know a few of you are rocking the press screenings, and we particularly welcome your feedback on what you’re seeing!