Carl Spence has spent more than 20 years curating film exhibitions, festivals, and live events. In addition to his more than two decades with SIFF, he has also worked with international fests in San Francisco and Palm Springs. More recently, he helped start the Orcas Island Film Festival.

Since 1994, Spence has helped transform SIFF from a small exhibition-focused nonprofit to a year-round arts organization with the creation of the SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center, the revitalization of the Uptown Cinema in Lower Queen Anne, and the recent reopening of the Egyptian on Capitol Hill. SIFF now has three permanent homes in Seattle.

I asked Spence to make a wild guess about how many films he's viewed since 1994. "Oh wow," he said. "Well, it's probably around 500 films per year. Multiply that by working here for 20 years. That's about 10,000 films? Then, if I was counting my entire life, which wasn't so intense, I'd tack on another couple hundred."

See a couple hundred films for yourself at the Seattle International Film Festival, which runs May 19 to June 12. Find the full schedule at