- Adrian Ryan
- The red carpet.
At last! The bittersweet final day of SIFF began yesterday, as tradition demands, with the fabulous annual Awards Brunch at the Space Needle. Closing Day is a combo-deal composed of the Awards Brunch and the Closing Night Movie/Gala, with a several hour gap in between so movie-gluttons can watch more films, the partiers can drink more mimosas, and everyone else can take a nap. But first! Who has “brunch” at 8:30 AM? This is clearly an awards BREAKFAST—mimosas not withstanding—and I encourage SIFF to stop fudging the issue. Thanks in advance.
The Awards Brunchfast is my second or third (maybe fourth) favorite SIFF event every year because FANCY SCHMANCY. Also, all the SIFFters are really exhausted and giddy and a bit punch-drunk because they've basically been awake for a month straight. (SIFF Marketing and Communications Director Jason Dittmer and I played, “My SIFF Pass Can Beat Up Your SIFF Pass”—his totally kicked mine’s ass.) Also? Literally the best goddamn bacon I've ever had in my pie hole. No joke. Literally. The bacon. Jesus Christ. The crowd was lovely and only a handful of the attendees were on Grindr. I am not sure if this is surprising or not. Probably not.
My buffet selections and I sat at a big table with Andrew Lee, the funny and energetic producer of a film called Intramural, which stars a whole mess of Saturday Night Lifers and sounds an awful lot like Dodgeball. "People tell us that all the time!" he exclaimed, and took a big bite of delicious bacon. (Perfectly crispy and heavily peppered...seriously. My god.) "Well, we do have a coach in a wheelchair...but I like to think that we're better than Dodgeball", he said, which of course is IMPOSSIBLE, as that movie is a cinematic masterpiece that should have won ALLL the Academy Awards. I fully intend to transform it into a hit Broadway musical someday. Look for my Kickstarter!
Then suddenly! Justin Lader and Charlie McDowell, respectively the writer and director of the closing night feature, The One I Love, sat next to me and introduced themselves. They seemed cute, but exhausted, so I didn’t jump up and demand pics and hoover up all of their attention, as usual. They didn't say very much, really. It was for the best. The Intramural producer and I started comparing notes on the new season of Orange Is the New Black and nobody was gonna get a word in edgewise anyway. Ooh! That Crazy Eyes. How I love her.
The awards! You know the drill: long-winded introductions and acceptance speeches from the, “best supporting actress in a docudramedy featuring transsexual folk dancing and Jennifer Aniston” and junk like that.
The most memorable part was rather intense, and it sobered up the vibe tremendously: SIFF presented its first-ever, one-off award of “Internet Hero” to Aaron Swartz, posthumously. Heavy. The presenter compared him to both George Washington and Gandhi, and then went on to tell the entire story of Andrew’s life, his tragic suicide, and her recently broken hip, before presenting the award to Swartz's brother Noah.
After the remaining awards and a blessedly brief wrap up, everyone scattered, and I suddenly somehow found myself several hours later at the Red Carpet Closing film and subsequent Gala. I am not exactly sure what happened in the meantime, but shhh, my heard hurts. (MIMOSAS!) The film, The One I Love, starred Elizabeth Moss (from Mad Men), Mark Duplass (from My Sister’s Sister), and even Ted Danson (from the '80s). It was very smart and surprising and complicated and I couldn’t explain it to you for love or money. My quiet brunch pal Charlie (the director, please recall) introduced the film, and he had perked up tremendously! I’m guessing he took a nap. He even made a Gum Wall joke! Mmmm. References.
The gala after the film was held at MOHAI, which was neat, as I’d never set foot in the place (I KNOW!) and because it is leagues more interesting and appealing than the huge, cold Seattle Center warehouse that always makes the Opening Night Gala feel like a Homecoming Dance. I dove right into the glamour, stuffed my face with pork skewers and chicken teriyaki meatballs, and maxed out my drink tickets.
And so ends SIFF 2014. The friends we have made! The memories shared! But the time has come to put this fabulous bitch to bed, and may God have mercy on our livers. So until 2015, sweet SIFF, slumber well, and dream of me. I’ll be over here making my own damn mimosas.