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Nothing I have ever read about SIFF has made me want to go. The part that I can't wrap my head around is why somebody can have such a high opinion of stars that they go through all that crap to rub elbows with them, yet complain that the scene is inegalitarian.

Posted by elenchos | May 23, 2008 3:16 PM

I agree with you, Annie. The movie was bad, but not nearly as bad as I expected. It had obvious, gaping flaws that still gnaw at me, but I came out feeling like I'd enjoyed myself and not wasted my time entirely. I think Townshend needed someone else to write the script for him.

It was still neat seeing places I see normally on the screen. Although it was very difficult not to point and say "I know that place! I've been there!" That would have been way gauche.

Posted by Abby | May 23, 2008 3:21 PM

irony: the rich vip folk can afford drinks at $5 a pop, the poor folk who layed down some $50 for the film, a film mind you touting a populist message, don't have the left over cash for a single drink.

Posted by apttitle | May 23, 2008 3:31 PM

C'mon people. Seriously. You are missing two very key points:
1. SIFF is a non-profit. Why should they buy you drinks? Shouldn't you buy the staff a drink on opening night?
2. While the film was far from truly great, I was gratified to see that the Hollywood re-enactment stuck somewhat closely to the truth about what happened during the WTO protests. The police instigated the violence and it was portrayed as such in the film. My favorite part was that there was focus on a police provocateur. These provocateurs were everywhere throughout the WTO protests and were likely the fools who were breaking windows and trashing downtown. Many people theorized that they worked for SPD. None of the organizers knew who they were and no one recognized them. These were not hardcore black bloc radicals - they were likely our own police dept. at work creating a situation to justify their violent response. The film could have easily avoided this issue (as the press did at the time) but it did not. Kudos for that.

Posted by Sarina | May 23, 2008 3:39 PM

Sarina, we all did support this non-profit with some $50 tickets. I feel like I paid for at least one beer with that. Moreover, the fact that Stella had some much presence at the event leads me to believe SIFF would have been giving us a donated item not one they actually paid for. Either that or the folks at SIFF have been bamboozled.

Posted by apttitle | May 23, 2008 3:43 PM

Is anyone else amazed by the sheer heft of the festival program?

Didn't the brother of one of the main characters of the film DIE trying to save the trees?

How many trees died for this festival?...

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | May 23, 2008 3:45 PM

Well, if you use the online SIFF guide and watch the trailers there ... a lot less than last year.

I'll have to agree that if there was a sponsor (especially the ones that sell alcohol), you should have expected at least one free drink with your $50 purchase ($45 for SIFF members).

That said, other than Michelle Rodriguez, the main women actors in the film didn't do very well, even though most of the men put in decent performances, and the weakest parts of a film I quite enjoyed were the scenese with Charlize Theron.

Never cast your lover in a film you direct - you won't push her to give you the best performance you can.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 23, 2008 4:13 PM

Every other year there has been free booze provided by the sponsors (last year it seemed as if everything had Bombay Sapphire in it. The red and white wines were also provided from the sponsor gratis.) IF they were going to charge for booze that should have been made known before those of us who don't carry wads of cash around - stood in line to get in. Also, if you are going to charge - provide more than three choices. The food? Well, with food costs at an all-time-high I can't imagine there were many restaurants willing to feed 3000 for free (and the hope of some good publicity.) Maybe SIFF needs a new "gala" format - or at least a new party planner with some more imagination. Y'know someone who can plan a kick-ass party on a non-profit's budget.

Posted by ex-siffer | May 23, 2008 4:24 PM

Thank you, Abby, I've been walking around all day thinking Townshend really needed someone else to write that film. The talk he gave beforehand showed his heart was in the right place and he was deeply sympathetic to the activists' cause. Perhaps he was too close to be critical of how people actually talk as opposed to sounding like they were reciting leaflets to each other. It was bad but it didn't reach Bobby levels of earnestness. And I did smile at the end as they all walked in front of the Cinerama.

Did anyone recognize Joshua "Pacey" Jackson as the anarchist?

Posted by madamecrow | May 23, 2008 6:00 PM

@4 Tin foil much

Honestly if I could, I would get the money I paid for the closing gala back. The movie sucked the place was far two crowed and the lack of free booze was oh so lame. Check out WET's annual auction if you want to now how a real event is put on. Plenty of food, lots of free booze and plenty of room for the guests. Not to mention perhaps the greatest venue Seattle has to offer.

Posted by Giffy | May 23, 2008 7:32 PM

@9: definitely. His heart was in the right place, and it did look good, in my opinion. I enjoyed when they weren't speaking. I really liked the Doctors Without Borders guy, who coincidently had the least dialogue. I think if he'd got someone else to write it (and hopefully make it more coherent and the dialogue suck less), it could have been a good movie. As it stands, I'm just kind of frustrated.

Posted by Abby | May 23, 2008 7:40 PM

oh Somehow I missed that people paid $50 for their ticket. Mine came to me via email somehow. Forget what I said. For $50, there definitely should have been free booze. I'd have been super bummed if I paid $50 and I couldn't drink for free.
Can you link me to info about WET's auction? I can't find anything about it.

Posted by Sarina | May 23, 2008 9:58 PM

@4 SIFF has never had much $$, but as long as I have been attending (over 20 years) at the big parties like opening and closing the drinks have ALWAYS been free. That's why people were so bummed. If they could manage to do it when they were crammed in un-air conditioned offices in the Egyptian why can't they do it now when they have a gazillion more sponsors than they did back then? My guess is that SIFF Cinema is costing them more to run and not turning a profit so they're cutting elsewhere, but that is pure speculation.

Second, if they had announced it beforehand it wouldn't have been as bad; we've have grumbled, but been prepared for it. But it was if they just sprung it on you. I felt a bit better on learning even "VIPs" only got a few drink tickets, now you had to be a pricey VIP before there was unlimited booze.

It's not even like it had to be great booze; I've been at SIFF events where they had cheap stuff and everyone drank up, had a roaring good time, and eventually we had to be shoved out of whatever venue, we were having such great fun. Now it seems so exclusionary...Full Series is no longer truly a full series pass...Platinum passes aren't the top you have to be Platinum Plus...etc etc.

That's why it hurts. We loved the SIFF that seemed to care about the little people. Now it's like they've become Republicans...

Posted by MondoPomo | May 23, 2008 9:59 PM

I know it's probably too early to say, but I agree with MondoPomo@13, SIFF so far is kind of disappointing, from the new format of the website to horrible scheduling of movies to an utter lack of good Asian cinema, I don't know if I'm going to see as many movies this year. I'm sure the $11 a movie price tag is a deterrent too.

Posted by Andy | May 24, 2008 3:14 AM

Three Dollar Bill cinema galas are pretty fun... always free booze and snacks at the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival!

Posted by Geofre | May 25, 2008 11:51 AM

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