SIFF Notes provide you with the combined efforts of teachers, writers, and editors who've studied, taught, and analyzed what film festivals mean to cinema as a whole and to you in particular. Opinions expressed in the Notes aren't rigid dogma meant to discourage your intellectual exploration. You should use them as starting points to open yourself to new methods of encountering, understanding, and appreciating SIFF. Acquire some knowledge about the director and the film, and then see the film itself, reviewing and consulting SIFF Notes when necessary.
SIFF Notes give you the basics--including such features as information about the film, running-time and genre backgrounds, theater and showtime data, facts about the actors, critical analyses, glossaries of unfamiliar terms, foreign phrases, and cinematic allusions, a programming grid, and a list of special events to help you make more informed decisions about what films to see and to more fully enjoy the ones you choose.
A thorough appreciation of cinema allows no shortcuts. By using SIFF Notes responsibly, reviewing past criticism of a film, and examining fresh points of view, you can establish a unique connection with a work of cinema and take a more active part in a key goal of entertainment: redefining and applying classic wisdom to current and future problems.