The 42nd annual Seattle International Film Festival ran from May 19-June 12, 2016. From June 17-23, see highlights at the Best of SIFF series.

SIFF 2016 Films

The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Maddin

U.S. Premiere | France | 2015 | 65m | Yves Montmayeur
Stranger Says: No-frills documentary and a good primer on Guy Maddin, if you don’t know him, but ultimately nonessential. Aside from confirming the fact that all directors wear scarves, the doc addresses Maddin’s weird aesthetic but not the reason why...


USA | 2016 | 80m | Ari Issler
Stranger Says: Minutes after stepping off the bus home, a returning Marine (co-writer Victor Almanzar) finds himself swept back up in a longstanding beef between gangs. The depiction of cycles of violence on a community is definitely sincere, but the...

3 Minute Masterpieces

2016 | 60m
SIFF Says: How hard could it be to make a three-minute film? We challenged you to find out.

The Academy of Muses

Spain | 2015 | 92m | José Luis Guerin
SIFF Says: Eclectic Spanish filmmaker José Luis Guerin inventively explores the fine lines separating fact, fiction, art, and life through the story of an ethically dubious university professor who uses the precepts of ancient literature as an excuse for his dalliances.

Action Comandante

World Premiere | South Africa | 2016 | 90m | Nadine Angel Cloete
Stranger Says: Ashley Kriel is to South Africa what Fred Hampton is to the United States. Both died young (Kriel, 20; Hampton, 21), both were killed by law enforcers, both developed a mature political consciousness at a preternaturally early age....


Tanzania | 2015 | 112m | Chande Omar
Stranger Says: "Cities are becoming more female," writes Leo Hollis in his book Cities Are Good for You. "...The rise of women in the city is perhaps one of the least-discussed aspects of the urban future." Cities liberate women from...

All the Birds Have Flown South

World Premiere | USA | 2016 | 98m | Joshua H. Miller
SIFF Says: This unsettling psycho-thriller follows a disturbed man grieving for his mother who begins obsessing over a down-on-her-luck waitress (Joey Lauren Adams, Chasing Amy)—even taking care of her abusive, terminally ill husband.


North America Premiere | South Korea | 2015 | 99m | Park Hong-min
Stranger Says: There is a moment between life and death, a moment which is, one imagines, the zone of the liberated soul. Here, the ethereal stuff of the body is suspended before slipping into the darkness of nothingness. Alone, a...

Amama: When a Tree Falls

Spain | 2015 | 103m | Asier Altuna
Stranger Says: When a child is born into this Basque farming family, a tree is planted. The grandmother (Amama, in Basque) then paints the trunks of the grandchildren’s trees red, white, and black in a ceremonial tradition—for the chosen son,...


World Premiere | USA | 2016 | 81m | Zachary Shedd
Stranger Says: Just when you think this film is going to be a weak-ass 8 1/2 except about editing instead of directing, it becomes a whispery and lugubrious murder mystery. Mostly it’s a beautiful light painting of Urban Outfitters models...

Angry Indian Goddesses

India | 2015 | 104m | Pan Nalin
SIFF Says: Frieda (Sarah-Jane Dias), a successful photographer, is getting married. On the eve of her wedding, she gathers her friends living all across India to a ramshackle beachside villa in the state of Goa. The diverse group includes a businesswoman,...

Another Evil

USA | 2016 | 92m | Carson Mell
Stranger Says: What do you do when your weekend house is haunted? Hire a ghost hunter to come in and get rid of the pesky spirits. (One has to wonder if this is a jerky move. Can’t you just try to...


North America Premiere | Italy | 2015 | 96m | Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
SIFF Says: “And then—if it happens I go away—/there’ll remain something/of me/in my world.” Antonia Pozzi was just a young woman when she passed away by her own hand at the age of 26. An extremely talented poetess, her work was...

Ants on a Shrimp

Netherlands | 2016 | 88m | Maurice Dekkers
SIFF Says: Ants on a Shrimp takes its title from one of the several unique dishes served at master chef René Redzepi's new restaurant: literally raw jumbo prawns covered in tiny black ants. This documentary follows Redzepi as he relocates his...

The Architect

World Premiere | USA | 2016 | 95m | Jonathan Parker
SIFF Says: Parker Posey and Eric McCormack star in this bizarrely comic tale of love, obsession, and deceit as a couple who hires a modernist architect to build their dream house, not realizing he has every intent to follow his own...


U.S. Premiere | Italy | 2015 | 84m | Carlo Lavagna
SIFF Says: Arianna was born three times: once at the beginning of her life, again a few years later as a little girl, and once more at age 19. Director Carlo Lavagna’s first feature tells the story of a young woman...

As I Open My Eyes

Tunisia | 2015 | 102m | Leyla Bouzid
SIFF Says: On the eve of the Jasmine Revolution, a young Tunisian woman must balance the expectations of her family, who would love to see her go to medical school, with her creative life as a singer in a politically charged...

As You Are

USA | 2016 | 105m | Miles Joris-Peyrafitte
Stranger Says: What’s at the center of this uneven feature film (beautiful exteriors, ugly interiors), which is set in the grunge years in a working-class part of a town, and concerns two sexually confused teenage males, their parents (the mother of...

Atlantic Heart

Cape Verde | 2016 | 87m | Robbie McCallum
Stranger Says: Twenty-five years ago, I walked out of a jumbo jet and into the hot night air of Cape Verde. This was a refueling stop for a South African Airlines flight from Johannesburg to New York City. I walked down...

Author: The JT LeRoy Story

USA | 2016 | 110m | Jeff Feuerzeig
SIFF Says: In 1999, Jeremiah “Terminator” LeRoy burst into the American literary consciousness. His highly accomplished and critically acclaimed first novel, Sarah, purported to be a roman à clef of the author's tragic early life—the HIV-positive child of a lot-lizard prostitute...


North America Premiere | Spain | 2015 | 96m | Daniela Fejerman
Stranger Says: The couple from a rich Western European country (Nora Navas and Francesc Garrido, in terrific performances) arrive in a poor Eastern European country to choose the child they’ve been preparing to adopt. They look weary, but first thing,...

B-Movie Bingo presents Rambu: The Intruder

Indonesia | 1986 | 120m | Jopi Burnama
SIFF Says: Experience this utterly bizarre Indonesian Rambo rip-off while competing for one-of-a-kind prizes as the comedy team Wolf Choir presents a unique interactive blend of live comedy, high-stakes bingo, and the best in terrible action movies from the VHS era.

The Bacchus Lady

North America Premiere | South Korea | 2016 | 110m | E J-yong
Stranger Says: Yes, this film is full of charm. Yes, it is about an old prostitute who catches the clap. Yes, it is set in South Korea (one of the richest countries in the world), and it also reveals the sharp...

BANG! The Bert Berns Story

USA | 2016 | 94m | Brett Berns
Stranger Says: If you’re still sad that season one of Vinyl was such a bummer, I heartily recommend this lively, knowing documentary about the intersection of early rock ’n’ roll and organized crime, and the troubling life of the hustler/genius/impresario behind...

Battle of Sevastopol

North America Premiere | Ukraine | 2015 | 122m | Sergey Mokritskiy
Stranger Says: Glossy and gorgeous glorification of the Soviet war machine wrapped up in a feminist package, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Russian Military-Historical Society, and with support of the Ukrainian State film society....

Battledream Chronicle

Martinique | 2015 | 108m | Alain Bidard
Stranger Says: I did everything I could to enjoy this film, the first animated feature from Martinique, a French-speaking Caribbean island. I’m an Afrofuturist, I love seeing black people doing futurist things. But Battledream Chronicle, which is directed by Alain...

Before the Streets

U.S. Premiere | Canada (Québec) | 2016 | 97m | Chloé Leriche
Stranger Says: Not too far estranged from Matthieu Kassovitz's La Hainein story style, Chloé Leriche's Before the Streets is a variation of the banlieue story set in Quebec, Canada, and tells of the struggles of a young man in a...

Being 17

U.S. Premiere | France | 2016 | 116m | Andre Techine
SIFF Says: When Damien (Kacey Mottet Klein) first meets Thomas (Corentin Fila, in his screen debut), they inexplicably cannot stand each other, and their verbal sparring simmers intermittently with explosive physical altercations—yet at the same time they could just as easily...

Belle and Sebastian, the Adventure Continues

France | 2015 | 97m | Christian Duguay
SIFF Says: In a new chapter of the beloved saga of Belle and Sebastian (SIFF 2014), the now-10-year-old hero and his brave, shaggy dog embark on an exciting adventure to rescue Sebastian's mom, who is lost after her plane crashes deep...

Between Sea and Land

Colombia | 2016 | 98m | Manolo Cruz
SIFF Says: Afflicted with dystonia, a rare condition that degrades the body’s muscles, Alberto (filmmaker Manolo Cruz in a fearless performance) has lain bedridden for most of his 28 years. Cared for by his doting, protective mother Rosa (Vicky Hernandez) in...

Beware the Slenderman

USA | 2016 | 114m | Irene Taylor Brodsky
SIFF Says: A tall, faceless creature hovers in the background of countless photographs posted online. Wearing a black suit and tie, his thin, abnormally long limbs seem to be ready to snatch up children at any second. This character is known...

Beyond My Grandfather Allende

Chile | 2015 | 100m | Marcia Tambutti Allende
SIFF Says: Using personal interviews and never-before-seen archival footage to good effect, Marcia Tambutti Allende’s film goes beyond family historiography to become a work of uncommon depth and relevance. The granddaughter of one of Latin America’s most revered and tragic political...

The Big Road

China | 1935 | 104m | Sun Yu
SIFF Says: Significant for its progressive ideals, bold frankness, and striking musical interludes, this classic of Chinese silent cinema dives into life among a team of rough-and-ready itinerant highway builders. With a live score performed by Donald Sosin.

The Bitter Stems

Argentina | 1956 | 90m | Fernando Ayala
SIFF Says: A down-and-out Buenos Aires newspaper reporter looking to turn his fortunes around runs into a shady Hungarian expat who lures him into a scheme to start a fraudulent journalism correspondence course. While at first the money is good, the...

The Black Hen

Nepal | 2015 | 90m | Min Bahadur Bham
Stranger Says: Two boys in 2001 Nepal try to find a beloved pet chicken as their life swirls around them, upended by a Maoist insurgency. The film’s centerpiece is the frustration and despair of war as experienced by blameless, uninvolved...

The Blackcoat’s Daughter

USA | 2015 | 93m | Osgood Perkins
SIFF Says: In The Blackcoat's Daughter, horror is cold: There are wintry scenes of desolation, and blood is spilled on the ice and snow. This sinister thriller is written and directed by Osgood Perkins, son of Psycho star Anthony Perkins, and...


Poland | 2015 | 90m | Małgorzata Szumowska
SIFF Says: Named Best Film at the 2015 Polish National Film Festival in Gdynia, and winner of the Best Director Prize at the Berlin Film Festival, Malgorzata Szumowska’s Body is an offbeat drama about three people: a coroner, his anorexic daughter,...

The Bodyguard

North America Premiere | China | 2016 | 99m | Sammo Hung
SIFF Says: Hong Kong action legend Sammo Hung directs and stars as a retired bodyguard, struggling with the onset of dementia, who must take down the mob in order to save a compulsive gambler (Andy Lau) whose daughter he has befriended.

The Brand New Testament

Belgium | 2015 | 112m | Jaco Van Dormael
The latest production by Jaco Van Dormael imagines God as an ill-tempered, abusive, and sadistic curmudgeon that lives in an apartment in Brussels with his wife and daughter. The film took four awards including best film and best director at...

A Bride for Rip Van Winkle

North America Premiere | Japan | 2016 | 179m | Shunji Iwai
SIFF Says: Director Shunji Iwai (All About Lily Chou Chou, Hana and Alice) returns to SIFF with what could be his magnum opus, A Bride for Rip Van Winkle. Nanami is a struggling high school teacher engaged to a man she...

The Bride

Spain | 2015 | 95m | Paula Ortiz
SIFF Says: On a windswept Spanish plain, a woman known only as “The Bride” (a stunning Inma Cuesta, Snow White, Cousinhood) prepares for marriage to a wealthy, handsome young land baron (Asier Etxeandia) as her lifelong love Leonardo, played by Álex...


Denmark | 2016 | 76m | Andreas Johnsen
Stranger Says: Chefs Josh Evans and Ben Reade stand in middle of the Australian bush holding Witchetty grubs—large wood-eating larvae of moths—that Evans will later describe as tasting of “roasted red peppers, garlic, and nuts.” Older Aboriginal women led the chefs...

Burn Burn Burn

U.S. Premiere | United Kingdom | 2015 | 106m | Chanya Button
This film is part of the Best of SIFF 2016 series. Stranger Says: Lady Edith is the homely, lost sister on Downton Abbey, played by Laura Carmichael. But in this female road-trip movie, Carmichael is Seph, the girl who gets...

Cafe Society

North America Premiere | USA | 2016 | 96m | Woody Allen
Stranger Says: People like to talk a lot of behind-the-back smack about SIFF’s tendency toward mainstream fare, but in this city, at this precise moment, it’s hard to think of a more transgressive, divisive film—or filmmaker—with which to open the festival...


USA | 2016 | 102m | Kirsten Johnson
Stranger Says: Ace documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson (Happy Valley, Citizenfour) fashions a memoir of sorts, with subjects ranging from boxing, childbirth, Michael Moore, and pretty much everything in between. The sheer amount of brief, narration-free clips on display is a...

Captain Fantastic

USA | 2016 | 120m | Matt Ross
SIFF Says: Director Matt Ross (28 Hotel Rooms) delivers a heartfelt lesson of humanity in his unique Northwest tale Captain Fantastic. Deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a devoted and non-traditionalist father, Ben (Viggo Mortensen), raises his six children...

Carnage Park

USA | 2016 | 86m | Mickey Keating
SIFF Says: A treat for lovers of the bloody grindhouse cinema of the ’70s, this harrowing psycho-thriller stars Pat Healy (Cheap Thrills) as an unhinged sniper who terrorizes a bank-robbing duo and their hostage after they stumble into his desert killing...

Ceviche’s DNA

North America Premiere | Canada | 2015 | 85m | Orlando Arriagada
Stranger Says: “I’m convinced that the word ‘gastronomy’ will bring to mind fine French cuisine," director Orlando Arriagada says in the film’s opening moments. “It’s unlikely that you’ll think of Peru.” Using ceviche, Peru’s most famous dish, as a starting...

Checks and Balances

North America Premiere | Algeria | 2015 | 97m | Malek Bensmaïl
Stranger Says: The best film in the festival’s 2014 African Pictures section was certainly Merzak Allouache’s The Rooftops. This year, it just might be Malek Bensmail’s Checks and Balances. Both are set in the beautiful seaside city of Algiers, Algeria’s...


Greece | 2015 | 99m | Athina Rachel Tsangari
SIFF Says: Leave it to a woman (Attenberg director Athina Rachel Tsangari) to make the squirm-inducing satire that machismo so richly deserves. Six relatively well-to-do, middle-aged male friends and business associates are enjoying some time away from it all on a...

Chicken People

USA | 2016 | 83m | Nicole Lucas Haimes
Stranger Says: This is one of those documentaries that open a window into a whole other way of life: in this case, competitive chicken breeders. These single-minded people are striving to create the ideal bird that will win grand champion...

Chimes at Midnight

Spain | 1966 | 116m | Orson Welles
Stranger Says: Deep Orson Welles nerds like to say this was his greatest film, Citizen Kane be damned. Well, I am a deep Orson Welles nerd, senator, and I say balderdash! Though Chimes might contain his best performance, it’s impossible to...


Austria | 2015 | 93m | Sabine Hiebler
SIFF Says: After her brother died of AIDS, Mae’s family fell apart. She quit school and now lives in a messy flat with a few other young punks who roam the streets of Vienna at night, spray-painting buildings and chugging cans...

Claire in Motion

USA | 2016 | 80m | Lisa Robinson
SIFF Says: An intimate thriller showcasing a powerful emotional performance from Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad) as Claire, a woman whose husband goes missing on a camping trip, leading to a search which forces her to question their life together.

Closet Monster

Canada | 2015 | 90m | Stephen Dunn
SIFF Says: Mixing affecting drama with whimsical fantasy and elements of Cronenbergian body horror, this striking, sometimes shocking and often unexpectedly funny debut feature chronicles a teen wrestling with his sexuality and learning how to find his own way in life....

Coconut Hero

North America Premiere | Germany | 2015 | 101m | Florian Cossen
Stranger Says: Movies like this feel at home in festival circuits. Coconut Hero has quirk, cleverness, and a sense of humor. Unfortunately, that sense of humor loses its value when stretched over a melodramatic plot that lacks the engine necessary...

Come What May

France | 2015 | 115m | Christian Carion
SIFF Says: In May 1940, the residents of a small French village—including a schoolteacher, the mayor, a 10-year-old boy, and a musician—begin an intensely emotional journey when they flee the approaching Nazi forces, heading toward the coast by foot and carriage.

Complete Unknown

USA | 2016 | 90m | Joshua Marston
SIFF Says: Have you ever wanted to disappear, to be able to travel anonymously through life, able to leave versions of yourself behind without a trace, without responsibility? Alice (Oscar® winner Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener) has done this for 15...

The Complexity of Happiness

Italy | 2015 | 117m | Gianni Zanasi
SIFF Says: Enrico is a persuasive "fixer" who’ll do whatever it takes to convince incompetent executives to quit their jobs before they sink their own companies, until he meets a pair of teenage orphans who make him question his choices.

Concerto - A Beethoven Journey

United Kingdom | 2015 | 92m | Phil Grabsky
Stranger Says: There is a moment in this instructive documentary that struck me forcefully. It happens when the film’s subject, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, is sitting at a table and signing autographs on his new CD after a performance at...

Contemporary Color

USA | 2016 | 96m | Bill Ross IV
Stranger Says: Produced by David Byrne, Contemporary Color came into being after a team asked him for permission to use one of his songs for a routine in 2008, and the subculture fascinated him. The film features 10 composers—including Byrne,...

The Coop

World Premiere | Turkey | 2016 | 86m | Ufuk Bayraktar
Stranger Says: In the 1950s, a wife and mother of three realizes she is dying, and in a moment of desperation for her family, asks her husband to take another (barren) wife to serve as caretaker. Then she recovers and...

A Copy of My Mind

Indonesia | 2015 | 116m | Joko Anwar
Stranger Says: A movie-crazy Jakartan salon worker strikes up a romance with a handsome subtitler of cruddy bootleg DVDs. Things take a grim turn, however, when they accidentally watch the wrong clip. The plot proper may take way too long...

Corto y Maravilloso

2016 | 89m
SIFF Says: Friends. Enemies. Lovers. The Virgin Mary. Ole!

The Curve

North America Premiere | Jordan | 2015 | 81m | Rifqi Assaf
Stranger Says: PTSD-addled Radi lives in his awesome vintage cobalt-blue Volkswagen bus. He unexpectedly gets hooked up with strangers Laila and Sami for a road trip across Jordan—a van full of mismatched personalities. The pace of the film is slow,...


U.S. Premiere | Latvia | 2015 | 96m | Laila Pakalnina
Stranger Says: Life on a Latvian commune undergoes a major upheaval after a young boy questions his father’s dedication to Soviet ideals. Inspired by an unfinished work of Sergei Eisenstein, this wicked allegory features stunning B&W photography and an amazing...

Death By a Thousand Cuts

U.S. Premiere | Dominican Republic | 2016 | 73m | Juan Mejia Botero
SIFF Says: The violently charged relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haiti when it comes to natural resources is analyzed through the murder investigation of a Dominican park ranger by a Haitian charcoal producer.

Death by Design

World Premiere | China | 2016 | 73m | Sue Williams
Stranger Says: At the outset of the film, director Sue Williams takes viewers to a milk-colored Yangtze River, where metallic muck sticks to oars and old women beg for clean drinking water. This is very much our doing. There's probably...

Deconstructing Dani García

North America Premiere | Spain | 2015 | 72m | Iñigo Ruiz
Stranger Says: What is it with the Spanish and their fascination with their modernist, Michelin-starred chefs? Last year for SIFF, I was watching some fancy chefs traipse around former Spanish colonies in South America looking for inspiration, this year I’m...


Poland | 2015 | 94m | Marcin Wrona
SIFF Says: There are stories that have no ends, and are never laid to rest, and this is one of them. Piotr, a young man from England, journeys to Poland to marry blond beauty Zaneta. Helping her family (whom he has...

The Devil's Brood

2016 | 88m
SIFF Says: From hell itself, miniature masterpieces of terror, suspense, and the supernatural.


France | 2015 | 101m | Alice Winocour
SIFF Says: A French Special Forces soldier, Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts, The Danish Girl, Rust and Bone) returns home after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and soon begins experiencing night terrors and flashbacks. These clear indications of PTSD will effectively end...

Don’t Think Twice

USA | 2016 | 92m | Mike Birbiglia
SIFF Says: Directed and written by comedian Mike Birbiglia, Don't Think Twice is a heartfelt comedy about a New York City improv group in which each member faces the insecurity and the complex reality of pursuing a dream in the comedy...

Dragon Inn

Taiwan | 1967 | 111m | King Hu
SIFF Says: One of the most influential and magnificent films to emerge from the popular Chinese wuxia (“fighting hero”) genre, 1967’s Dragon Inn opens with Cao, the Emperor’s powerful chief eunuch, betraying his chief political rival, the Minister of Defense General...

The Dressmaker

Australia | 2015 | 118m | Jocelyn Moorhouse
SIFF Says: Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, and Judy Davis star in this hysterically madcap adaptation of the beloved novel about a chic 1950s dressmaker who returns from Paris to her small Australian town to right the wrongs of the past and...

Eastern Promises

Canada | 2007 | 101m | David Cronenberg
Stranger Says: It cannot be controversial to say that David Cronenberg’s last great film is Eastern Promises, which was completed in 2007 and, as his penultimate great film, A History of Violence, starring Viggo Mortensen, the subject a tribute at this...


USA | 2015 | 101m | Drake Doremus
SIFF Says: Welcome to the Collective, a post-apocalyptic, utopian society where crime and violence have been eradicated through the genetic elimination of human emotion. Romance, and even touch, is forbidden, and anybody caught coupling or showing any modicum of sensation is...

Eternal Summer

North America Premiere | Sweden | 2015 | 107m | Andreas Öhman
Stranger Says: A bored Stockholm carnival worker impulsively accepts a troubled free spirit’s offer of a road trip through the idyllic Swedish countryside. Their adventure soon finds them on the lam for murder, as these things often do. Not terribly...


France | 2015 | 81m | Lucile Hadžihalilović
SIFF Says: Nicolas, who would much rather draw than climb on the rocks with the rest of his friends, lives in an isolated village on an unnamed coast; scattered with dilapidated beige buildings and exclusively populated by pale women and the...

Extremely Awkward and Incredibly Funny

2016 | 88m
SIFF Says: An awkwardly awesome program of shorts with stories that would almost be embarrassing if they weren't so ridiculously hilarious.

Eye of the Storm

Burkina Faso | 2015 | 101m | Sékou Traoré
Stranger Says: Finally, a film about black African child soldiers that is not predictable or exploitive or reheats themes and images found in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (“the horror, the horror”). And yet, Eye of the Storm has the...

The Eyes of My Mother

USA | 2016 | 77m | Nicolas Pesce
SIFF Says: Francisca learns about death at a young age: when her surgeon mother teaches her to dissect a cow’s eyeball on the kitchen table, and again when a terrifying stranger invades their farmhouse and commits a vicious act of...

Family Film

North America Premiere | Czech Republic | 2015 | 95m | Olmo Omerzu
Stranger Says: I'm reminded of the 2004 Japanese film Nobody Knows. In it, a mother feels overwhelmed by her responsibilities and flees her home, leaving four children behind to fend for themselves. Family Film raises some interesting parallel questions: Can...

The Final Master

North America Premiere | China | 2015 | 109m | Xu Haofeng
Stranger Says: A martial arts wizard seeks to open a dojo in Tianjin, a task which involves finding both an apprentice and knives. Lots and lots of knives. Just oodles of knives. Not without its charms (Liao Fan brings a...

Finding Babel

World Premiere | USA | 2015 | 89m | David Novack
Stranger Says: I will always love you, Isaac Babel. You are one of the greatest short story writers of the 20th century. Joseph Stalin killed you. In this documentary, which is such a treat for people like me (the eternal...

Finding Kim

World Premiere | USA | 2016 | 82m | Aaron Bear
Stranger Says: A touching up-close portrayal of a Seattle transgender man's transition. Kim's story is spliced with footage of Seattle's Trans Pride parade and interviews of some of the most prominent leaders of the local movement for LGBTQ rights, including...

Finding October

World Premiere | USA | 2016 | 77m | Nick Terry
Stranger Says: Have you been watching too many serious, dark dramas about teens in trouble with no hope or no way out? Do you feel a certain hopelessness creeping into your soul as you struggle to find some bastion of...

First Girl I Loved

USA | 2016 | 90m | Kerem Sanga
SIFF Says: When 17-year-old Anne falls in love with the most popular girl in school, it's much to the chagrin of her male best friend, who harbors a secret crush. Featuring outstanding lead performances, this naturalistic teen drama won the 2016...

The Fits

USA | 2015 | 72m | Anna Rose Holmer
SIFF Says: Inspired by real stories of mass hysteria, The Fits is both an allegory about adolescent identity and a meditation on the physical and social spaces that we learn to inhabit in our youth. Toni, a tomboyish preteen boxer, is...

Folk Hero & Funny Guy

USA | 2016 | 90m | Jeff Grace
Stranger Says: The editing in this film is terrible. It’s also a road movie (a genre that needs to die today—we need walking movies or light-rail rom-coms or lots of bicycle chases). That said, Folk Hero & Funny Guy has a...

Frank & Lola

USA | 2016 | 88m | Matthew Ross
SIFF Says: In this tense neo-noir turned psychosexual drama, down-and-out chef Frank (Michael Shannon, Boardwalk Empire, Midnight Special) heads to Las Vegas with his girlfriend Lola (Imogen Poots, That Awkward Moment) to take a promising job opportunity. Lola is also taking...

Free In Deed

USA | 2015 | 98m | Jake Mahaffy
SIFF Says: Winner of the 2015 Venice Film Festival Horizons Award for Best Film, Free In Deed is a jarring piece of social realism that is as illuminating as it is heartbreaking, equal parts controversial and compassionate. Melva (Edwina Findley, Middle...

The Free World

USA | 2016 | 100m | Jason Lew
Stranger Says: Before watching this movie, I recommend buying the recently published Black Box: A Record of the Catastrophe and reading “What Is a Life in Angola Prison” by Tanya Erzen. This essay will provide an excellent background for the main...

From Afar

Venezuela | 2015 | 93m | Lorenzo Vigas
SIFF Says: Armando, a taciturn, middle-aged man of means, cruises the streets of Caracas for tough street boys, whom he pays to undress before him. He picks up the young, angry Elder, who robs him and beats him up. Yet Armando,...

Full Court: The Spencer Haywood Story

World Premiere | USA | 2016 | 90m | Martin Spirit
Stranger Says: Haywood, a former ABA and NBA master (and Iman’s first husband), deserves to be remembered, despite having played just before the age of the basketball superstar and despite having been felled by drug problems. He also deserves a better...

The General

USA | 1926 | 76m | Buster Keaton
Stranger Says: Every so often I’m reminded that there are lots of people who haven’t seen any Buster Keaton films. The miracle of Keaton’s physical and cinematic gift is a mandatory addition to any cultural education worth a damn, but more...

Girl Asleep

North America Premiere | Australia | 2016 | 77m | Rosemary Myers
This film is the winner of the SIFF 2016 Grand Jury Prize (Official Competition) and the SIFF 2016 Youth Jury Award for Best FutureWave Feature.SIFF Says: Set in the burbs of Australia and surrounded by the sunny colors and flamboyant patterns...

The Girl Who Saved My Life

Sweden | 2016 | 79m | Hogir Hirori
Stranger Says: The thirtysomething director, Hogir Hirori, leaves peaceful Sweden and his pregnant wife and returns to his homeland, Kurdistan, to make a documentary about the refugee catastrophe caused by the gang called ISIS. At the beginning of the doc, Hirori...


USA | 2016 | 110m | Clay Tweel
SIFF Says: In September 2007, with tens of thousands of fans screaming him on, Steve Gleason became a New Orleans folk hero after blocking an Atlanta Falcons punt for the Saints in their first home opener after Hurricane Katrina. Just a...


USA | 2016 | 96m | Andrew Neel
SIFF Says: After suffering a beating for being an outsider in his Ohio hometown, teenager Brad thinks he will find a place to fit in at Phi Sigma Mu, the fraternity at which his older brother, Brett, is already a member....