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Sunday, May 25, 2008


posted by on May 25 at 17:42 PM

From Slog commenter “commenter”:

SIFF royally fucked up the 11am showing of Head-On at Pacific Place, showing the 98 Greek film of the same title instead then waiting an hour before stopping the film and announcing the mistake. The apologetic SIFF worker handed out free tickets and asked that people keep the snafu to themselves. Whoops. Would have been nice of them to tell us that before we wasted an hour watching a different movie. If we hadn’t been in the middle of our row we would have walked out about 10 mins in since the film they did decide to show was awful.

Thanks SIFF!

At first I thought, wow, that sounds like a pretty difficult mistake to make, since Head-On and Fatih Akin’s new film The Edge of Heaven, which also played this weekend at the festival, are both handled by the same distributor. Turns out the ‘98 Greek movie is also handled by Strand Releasing. So it might be the distributor’s fault.

Sill, this rivals and probably bests the several times a print has caught fire at the Egyptian during SIFF. Whoops!

RSS icon Comments


It's kind of a miracle this thing gets done every year.

Posted by Cale | May 25, 2008 7:19 PM

Looks like someone didn't Apply Directly To Forehead.

Posted by shub-negrorath | May 25, 2008 7:20 PM

There's no question something is amiss at SIFF this year. First of all none of the announcers at the films seem remotely interested in film. Today I painfully watched a girl at the McCaw Hall cinema read out in the dullest most 3rd grade reader way her intro script. She didn't even know the title of the movie. She said "Opium: Diary of a, Diary of a..." The audience yelled out "Madwoman."

Last night the program director who introduced Eat For This is My Body wasn't selling the film we were about to watch either. He told us that since it was "alternate" cinema to vote not based on whether we liked the movie or not almost insinuating that the movie was not going to be good. It was up to the Northwest Film Forum director to give the audience any enthusiasm. Luckily he actually knew something about the film and could offer some nice intro comments.

The box office staff also seem a hell of lot pissier than usual also. In any case, there's a really bad vibe out there and the films are far less attended than previous years.

Posted by D. | May 25, 2008 7:50 PM

In the past there would sometimes be the opposite problem: a program director would give a glowing and super-excited intro to a film and then the film would end up being terrible. The crowd would leave scratching their heads, wondering how the film got into siff in the first place. There's little dialog between the program directors and the audience, so all of that decision-making still remains a mystery to many of us.

Posted by stinkbug | May 25, 2008 8:07 PM

"The apologetic SIFF worker handed out free tickets and asked that people keep the snafu to themselves."

I'm curious about that part. Were they joking or did they seriously want to cover up the screw up?

Posted by stinkbug | May 25, 2008 8:11 PM

I've heard attendance is better than expected, given the nice weather, not sure if it's true. Most of the shows I've been in have been quite full, although I haven't heard of many sell-outs.

Most of the SIFF attendees I've talked to feel like this year is better than years past, now granted I've heard some say the first week is the strongest so we'll have to see how they feel at week 3.

Posted by sifffan | May 25, 2008 9:46 PM

Also, really, when it comes down to it, the introductions and the enthusiasm (or lack of) of the SIFF staff is the least important aspect of the festival to me. Although I haven't noticed the staff is less enthusiastic than last year.

Posted by sifffan | May 25, 2008 9:48 PM

The 'Greek' film, 'Head On', is an Australian made film about young first generation Greek migrants in Melbourne made with a predominantly Greek-Australian cast and crew. Its fuckin great and you should definitely spend time with it

Posted by bettydubois | May 25, 2008 10:41 PM

@3: the guy announcing the Loos documentary at the Film Forum seemed excited about it, and the box-office staff were eager and charming. So you can't really say that none of them are interested.

Posted by Abby | May 25, 2008 11:13 PM

What #8 said. Awesome film, but not Greek.

Posted by ziptag | May 25, 2008 11:37 PM

I don't know which SIFF you're talking about D. And today's Sir Ben Kingsley event was wonderful ... and none of the box-office staff people has been surly so far.

But, hey, what do I know, I just ask everyone what's been happening at each of the many movies I've been seeing ...

Oh ... don't miss Vexille.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 26, 2008 12:36 AM

oh, and they sold out four showings I've been to so far ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 26, 2008 12:38 AM

this is merely proof that "seattle" "hipster" "
siff-goers" will sit through an hour of something that they didn't sign up for.

hey, poseur, how about you rectify the situation within the first 3 minutes of the wrong movie. if you weren't busy being rectified, that is...

not so self-important now, are you? don't even know what movie you were watching for an hour....

Posted by jason carlson | May 26, 2008 1:34 AM

I sat the entire showing of a documentary about bolivian silver mines and children before complaining to the staff that metropolis had really been updated in a wierd and nonsensical way. i got free tickets to metropolis.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | May 26, 2008 2:56 AM

I was at the Harvard Exit, The Egyptian and SIFF this weekend, it seems that the shows were well attended but not sold out. Staff was definitely harried at all three venues, given that the mobs of hungry film-goers who would crowd around will-call, often demanding their 20 pack asap and holding up the whole goddamn line up for every one else. Techinical problems plagued, them at the Uptown, SIFF. The ticketing system moves like a dinasaur, given all of these obstacles, it's amazing that any volunteer would put up with that crap. They are volunteers and they are doing the best possible job they can. Hats off to the volunteers, but SIFF needs a tune up. The most pesky thing I encountered, was a patronizing writer for the Stranger who insisted on commenting on every movie he had seen thus far. Oh and I forgot, I saw some good flix, Patti Smith, Christofpher Isherwood and Asia Argento.

Posted by msantos | May 26, 2008 11:16 AM

Yesterday's 'Head-On' screening marks the *second* time I've been shown the 1988 Australian/Greek film (which is outright awful IMHO) instead of the Fatih Alin one--NetFlix once sent me the wrong disc too, so it was a little surreal to see the same snafu happen yesterday. I'm starting to think I may be fated never to see the real 'Head-On.'

Posted by KristiC | May 26, 2008 11:17 AM

We've got a bunch of whiney bitches going to SIFF this year.

Posted by Samson | May 26, 2008 12:14 PM

Sorry if the "whiny bitches" expect the largest film festival in the world, one that requests you to pay $50 for its opening night tickets, demand that the festival treat them, their customers with a little respect.

To add to the whining, and this one I think you should direct at Landmark whose Egyptian theatre (mind you a previous home/birthplace of the festival) can't seem to handle these films, I was at the first screening of Mermaid when I heard a loud thunk followed by a loss of picture. Again, no one from the SIFF staff came to inform us what was going on, how long they expected the delay to last, and whether we should consider heading to our next screening.

I think all that us who seem to be whining request is just a little information to pacify our fears of missing another screening, or just wasting our time completely. If you liken that to whining, well then consider me a whiner.

Posted by apttitle | May 26, 2008 4:21 PM

Head-On (worst English title stranslation ever) is by far my favourite movie of the last few years. See it if you haven't--the writing, music, and story are fantastic. Lookin forward to seeing The Edge of Heaven--if it is half as dark and edgy as Head-On, it will be amazing.

Posted by Gabe Global | May 26, 2008 7:59 PM

@ 16 - SPL has it. Search for "gegen die wand," and not "head-on." It might be a bit of a wait, but it's worth it.

@ 19 - I thought it was a notch below Head-On, and it's not as dark or edgy, but still very well done. If you don't mind light and fluffy, check out In July, which Akin also did. Totally different tone - romantic comedy/road trip, but still excellent.

Posted by UnoriginalAndrew | May 26, 2008 9:04 PM

Asia Argento in The Last Mistress (actually, the old mistress, but ...) was great.

The sold out shows so far are mostly animated films or have guests at them.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 27, 2008 11:20 AM

1)More than likely, the wrong film was sent in the wrong canister, (or, in this day and ge, the wrong dvd or tape in the wrong case). Some films show up at the last minute and not everything is pre-screened.
2)This year, SIFF is trying something different having volunteers do some of the intros...this may or may not be a success. It is unlikely that the person doing the intro has actually seen the film in question.
3)The Box Office Staff, for the most part, are NOT volunteers. We're getting paid, thank you very much. Our surliness depends on the number of irritating customers we have to deal with on any given day and whether or not the ticketing system or computers are being cooperative. Hangovers are also a contributing factor...

Posted by michael strangeways | May 27, 2008 12:32 PM

I guess I'm wrong about attendance. I've seen four films, and I guess I'm just seeing less popular films than usual because with the exception of Vexille none of the films were even half full.

I do sense a difference in excitement though.

Posted by D. | May 27, 2008 1:22 PM

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