In place of this year's canceled Seattle International Film Festival, Telescope Film's SIFF Retrospective will show you where to watch past festival winners (like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, for which John Cameron Mitchell won Best Actor in 2001). FINE LINE FEATURES/EVERETT COLLECTION

If smooth-brained reality TV is taking over your free time, this weekend brings plenty of opportunities to texturize your noggin with indie films galore (many of which are presented by local theaters, though we've included some new Netflix and HBO options, too). Read on for details on how to watch the Children's Film Festival, the 2018 documentary RBG, an encore of this year's Translations Film Festival closing feature So Pretty, and more great options.

New & Noteworthy: Supporting Seattle Businesses

When Alice discovers that her husband has drained their bank account and skipped town, she becomes a sex worker solely to make ends meet, and is surprised to find the work empowering. IndieWire's Eric Kohn wrote, "[Emilie] Piponnier [who plays Alice] dominates every frame, with a mesmerizing screen presence that pushes the drama well beyond its formulaic premise and visible microbudget constraints." This debut from French director Josephine Mackerras won the 2019 SXSW Grand Jury Prize.
Available via Grand Illusion

15th Annual HUMP! Film Festival 2020
Our colleagues, the creators of HUMP!, were crushed to cancel their originally planned spring re-screening. But after receiving enthusiastic support and permission from the filmmakers to show their films online, they knew that the show must go on! Even if we can’t watch together in movie theaters, we can still watch the 16 all new, sexy short films, curated by Dan Savage, in the privacy and safety of our homes. Dan will introduce the show, and then take you straight to the great dirty movies that showcase an amazing range of shapes, colors, sexualities, kinks and fetishes! BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via The Stranger
Friday only

The Stranger Presents: A Worldwide Silent Reading Party!
Every Wednesday at 6pm PST, make yourself a snack, pour yourself a drink, and read whatever you feel like reading silently
Back by popular demand with showtunes, pop, gossip & jokes! It's Gay Misérables!
With geniuses Sara Porkalob, Justin Huertas, Nicholas Bernard, Rachel Guyer-Mafune, and Danny Kam! Encore presentation 8/7
Elliot Bay Book Co., NAAM & Tasveer Present: A Talk with Isabel Wilkerson
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents – This book shifts fundamental perspectives on how race and related matters are understood!

César and Rosalie
In Claude Sautet's classic romantic drama César et Rosalie, two men (the wealthy César and David, an old flame) battle for the affections of a beautiful, recently divorced lady (played by Isabelle Huppert in her first film role). 
Available via Ark Lodge

Cascadia International Women's Film Festival
This festival (which usually screens in the small, artsy city of Bellingham) showcases women's filmmaking every year. This year it'll go digital, which means you can look forward to features like Sheri Davenport's Flight, Sara Hallowell, Hello, I Must Be Going, and Melissa Dowler and Tom Dowler's Twin Flames from home.
Available via Vimeo

Children's Film Festival Seattle 2020
Parents with restless children and adults who enjoy whimsical storytelling, rejoice! The Children's Film Festival, which was canceled back in March due to COVID-19 concerns, will resume its 15th edition online. That includes seven short film program screenings ranging from live-action to animation to documentary. Plus, all screenings will come with bonus activities like coloring pages, discussion guides, and more. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Following up his 2016 queer indie gem Spa Night, Korean American director Andrew Ahn's Driveways follows a shy little boy as he adjusts to a new town, where his mom has relocated them to clean out the house of her estranged, recently deceased sister. Finding little luck among his peers, he befriends Del, his elderly Korean War vet neighbor.
Available via SIFF

Halloween III: Season of the Witch
This 1982 installment in the Halloween series departs from the "Michael Myers" storyline/slasher genre, foraying into the world of witchcraft and supernatural horror. This online screening will include pre- and post-film discussions, "cheap-as-heck quarantine cosplay," drink recommendations, and more for your ghoulish night in.
Available via MoPOP
Friday only

All hail Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Better known as “RBG” to her fans (and “Bubby” to her grandkids), at 85 years old, the US Supreme Court justice still has a fierce intellect, a duty to the law, and an immense inner and physical strength. Over the long course of her career, RBG repeatedly defended the rights of everyone to live free from bias, but, as Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg says, Ginsburg “quite literally changed life for women.” And she’s still doing it. With intimate interviews with family and friends, as well as RBG herself, the film captures the life of a woman with a heart none of us wants to stop ticking. KATIE HERZOG
Available via SIFF

So Pretty
So Pretty is a film based on the gay German novel So Schön by Ronald M. Schernikau, adapted by director Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli to a cast of "feminine people of many genders in 2018, New York City." Centered around a group of trans and genderqueer friends and activists, the film follows them "on nights out, political actions, and walking discussions of translation and transition." Mixing digital and 16mm film, So Pretty oscillates between fiction and a documentary-like feel. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Available via Northwest Film Forum

SIFF Retrospective
In place of this year's canceled Seattle International Film Festival, Telescope Film will highlight a retrospective of all of the films that have won awards at SIFF in its 45-year history by showing you where to watch a ton of them online. From last year's winners like Amber McGinnis's International Falls and Cagla Zencirci's Sibel to Gregg Araki's 2004 indie classic Mysterious Skin, there's plenty to choose from. They'll keep the catalog up for the duration of the would-be in-person event.
Available via multiple streaming platforms

The Wolf House (La Casa Lobo)
This eerie, dreamlike claymation fairytale is inspired by Colonia Dignidad, an isolated colony established in post-World War II Chile by emigrant Germans, which became a site for the internment, torture, and murder of dissidents during the military regime of General Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s. Filmmakers Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León imagine the film as a means of indoctrination made by the leader of the sect. The New York Times called it "visually stunning and horrifying."
Available via Northwest Film Forum

The Wonderland
On the day before her birthday, Akane meets the mysterious alchemist Hippocrates who brings her through a basement and into a fantastical world. Her guide soon reveals that the land is not what it seems; it becomes Akane’s job to bring back the rain and save the world from the evil Zan Gu. Keiichi Hara's anime features designs by Russian-born, Tokyo-based illustrator Ilya Kuvshinov.
Available via Grand Illusion
Thursday only

New and Noteworthy: Nationwide

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar: The Last Airbender was a Nickelodeon cartoon that shares a name with a weirdly-forgettable blockbuster, and was itself turned into a weird-and-unforgettable live-action blockbuster of its own, and its absence from major streaming platforms of late has caused the show to reside in those awkward, mostly unrelated shadows. But now the three-season fantasy epic is on Netflix, and while there is no shortage of those kinds of stories to work through now (thanks, Game of Thrones) many of them invariably become sort of a trudge or a slog. That never happens with Avatar. The show isn't just a potent example of modern myth done right, but a great example of how animation can unlock both action and emotion in a way live-action just can't touch. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via Netflix
Premiering Friday

The Great
Elle Fanning stars as a 19-year-old Catherine the Great in Hulu's cheeky retelling of a notoriously tumultuous time in Russian history when the young empress overthrew her newfound husband to claim the throne for herself. It may not be painstakingly accurate at every turn, but it looks fun as hell, and it's created by The Favourite co-creator Tony McNamara, so you'll probably love it if you're a fan of bombastic courtly drama.
Available via Hulu
Premiering Friday

Hasan Minhaj: Patriot Act
Hasan Minhaj's Netflix show will return with its first remotely produced and shot episode, where the Peabody Award-winning comedian plans to gesture wildly in front of a green screen as he explores the cultural and political landscape du jour.
Available via Netflix
Premiering Sunday

The Last Dance
The absence of sports has turned ESPN's 10-part Chicago Bulls documentary The Last Dance into the NBA Finals, the World Series, and Wrestlemania all in one. Apologies, did we say "Chicago Bulls" documentary? Because it's not really that. It was kinda-sorta that at first, but now it's essentially a highly entertaining, endlessly fascinating peek into the perpetual grievance machine that is Michael Jordan's petty, bullying brain. Seriously, the man has two speeds: "Smoke cigar" and "Kill Bill siren", and the toggle between the two was damaged somewhere in 1988. The documentary wraps up its final two episodes on Sunday, sure to unleash an untold number of meme-able moments, and some sadness for sports fans who had come to rely on this doc's ability to give them a fix for their basketball jones. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via ESPN

Little Shop of Horrors: Director's Cut
Frank Oz got bit by the directing bug on The Dark Crystal, and thus began the second phase of his career, one marked by a string of successful big-screen comedies shot through with his satirical sense of humor. Near the top of his filmography is his first real step away from Muppetland, a musical remake of a Roger Corman schlockfest from the '60s called Little Shop of Horrors, starring Levi Stubbs as a carnivorous alien plant from outer space who completely upends the life of Rick Moranis. The Director's Cut restores the film's original, apocalyptic monster-movie-appropriate ending, one that gives the film the sort of mean-spirited bite felt in Oz's other successes (Bowfinger, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). Co-starring Ellen Greene, half the cast of Martin, struggling banjo player Steve Martin, and Bill Murray in what might be his best performance ever. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via HBO

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Mistress of Evil is a decent enough sequel, though it's less magical than the first installment, which, admittedly, blew my mind. Jolie is still spot-on in Maleficent's socially awkward unhuman-ness, Sam Riley is still excellent as her right-hand crow, Diaval, and while some might feel like Jolie is underutilized, this story is more focused on no-longer-sleeping-beauty Aurora (Elle Fanning), who Maleficent has made queen of the Moors, to the delight of all the magic creatures and fairies. (THE FAIRIES ARE SO CUTE, MY GOD. I’D LIKE TO ADOPT ONE MUSHROOM FAIRY, AND ONE HEDGEHOG FAIRY, PLEASE.) JENNI MOORE
Available via multiple streaming platforms

2020 has been a very surprising, unpredictable, and alarming sort of year, which explains how Trolls: World Tour ended up being the movie that caused movie theater CEOs to plunge into existential terror and throw some industry-shaking tantrums. And this weekend sees Warner Bros giving it their own computer-animated "sure, why the hell not" type of shot on VOD with Scoob!, an origin story (!?!) for Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, that is also apparently the first movie in a (checks Wikipedia) "Hanna-Barbera shared cinematic universe." That's... jesus, okay, sure. So, if you're looking to occupy the little ones this weekend and feeling like doing your part to upend an entire entertainment industry, why not rent this thing! Maybe you weren't there when Iron Man changed the game back in '08, but now you can say you had a front row seat at the birth of the (re-checks Wikipedia in disbelief) "Hanna-Barbera shared cinematic universe." BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via multiple streaming platforms
Premiering Friday

Sea Wall
While Phoebe Waller-Bridge was deservedly and rightfully showered with awards for Fleabag season two, it can be argued (and she's made this case herself) that if it wasn't for Andrew Scott as Hot Priest, the season would have never happened at all. But before he was Hot Priest (and before he was Moriarty in the BBC's Sherlock, before that show became flaming crap), he was the guy that playwright Simon Stephens wrote Sea Wall for in 2008. The 30-minute play was then recorded in 2012 after a theatrical run in 2012, and is now being made available to stream, for free on YouTube. And even if this play—and Scott's performance in it—weren't described by multiple critics as "a life-changing experience," the fact it's an opportunity to literally spend a half-hour in a locked room with Hot Priest should be enough to get you to click it. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via YouTube

Based on Bong Joon Ho's (Parasite) 2013 film of the same name and the graphic novels that preceded it, the new TV series Snowpiercer follows the last remaining people on Earth, who live in a perpetually moving train that circles the globe (after it's become a frozen wasteland).
Available via TNT
Premiering Sunday

Thanks to my boyfriend Harry, who started watching Survivor in early March, I’ve spent all of my free-time during quarantine watching CBS's two-decade-old reality series. Other people I know have developed new hobbies and healthy routines during the past two months. I have watched ten seasons of Survivor. The show is a puzzle I need to solve. In Survivor: Cook Islands, the most controversial season, contestants were split into four tribes to start the game. For the first and only time in show history, players were divided into racial groups: Caucasian, Hispanic, African American, and Asian American. The segregation was like an alt-right wet dream; it also forced the show to cast more diversely. When the original tribes reshuffled—or, “integrated,” as host Jeff Probst, unfortunately, said—the stakes were raised: should the contestants stay true to old alliances or make new ones to survive in their new tribe? There’s a similar, more complicated dilemma in the show’s “Blood vs. Water” seasons where contestants and their family members compete against each other. They form connections within their tribes but already have built-in relationships with their loved ones (fathers, mothers, partners, an uncle in one case) in enemy tribes. So, I watch, I overanalyze. Harry and I have consumed more Survivor than seems possible. There's definitely a Jeff Probst-sized hole in the time-space continuum that opens up on Saturdays to allow us to watch entire seasons in just a day. NATHALIE GRAHAM
Available via multiple streaming platforms

Trial By Media
Netflix takes a break from offering up that smooth-brained binge material to premiere this six-part true-crime docuseries (!) on May 11, from producer George Clooney. Trial by Media investigates the way the court of law became one of America's most reliably entertaining reality shows. If that sounds somewhat dark, that's because it is, and the miniseries takes care to spotlight six different high-profile trials (including a wrongful death suit against The Jenny Jones Show and Rod Blagojevich's crimes against democracy—which he just got pardoned for by our idiot president, btw), and the way the coverage of those trials shifted perceptions and expectations of notions as basic as "justice" and "criminality." And, of course, "entertainment." BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via Netflix

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend
Here's a chance to enjoy some Bandersnatch-esque streaming entertainment without having to submit to the soul-crushing bleakness of a Black Mirror watch! The choose-your-own-adventure Netflix experience is back again, but this time applied to the sunshiny sitcom fun of Kimmy Schmidt. The story: Kimmy just wants to marry Frederick (Daniel Radcliffe), but she's distracted by the newly-unearthed possibility that Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) has another bunker of trapped women somewhere. Oh, also, you have to prevent Titus (Tituss Burgess) from getting fired from an action movie. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via Netflix

Ongoing: Supporting Seattle Businesses

Americana Kamikaze
NYC's interdisciplinary performance group Temporary Distortion blends theater, film, and installation to freakily contort Japanese ghost stories and horror (aka J-Horror) through an American musical tradition. In a 2009 New York Times review of the play, Jon Weiss wrote, "Hard-core horror fans should take notice, because with Hollywood’s rarely risking something truly upsetting anymore, preferring funny zombies and by-the-numbers remakes, you might have to go to the theater to see death performed live to really test your limits."
Available via On the Boards

Best of CatVideoFest: Creature Comforts Edition
Local feline enthusiast and Henri the Cat creator Will Braden, bless his heart, has plucked 40 minutes of quality content from SIFF's CatVideoFest—an annual celebration of the divine conjunction of cats and internet—for your viewing pleasure.
Available via SIFF

In this Cannes Jury Prize-winning sci-fi tale of predation and resistance, a small Brazilian town bands together to repel murderous mercenaries and mysterious forces that want to drive them from their homes and erase the memory of their existence.
Available via Ark Lodge and Northwest Film Forum

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
This documentary adaptation of Thomas Picketty's bestselling book sheds a light on today's growing financial inequalities and offers an explanation as to why millennials are the first since World War II's Greatest Generation to make less money than their parents. 
Available via Grand Illusion
Thursday only

Wacky director Quentin Dupieux (Rubber) is back with Jean Dujardin (The Artist) in a movie described as "a comic character study in which clothes make the man…mad."
Available via SIFF

An Engineer Imagines
From his work on the Sydney Opera House to the Pompidou Centre to the Lloyd's Building, Irish engineer Peter Rice was just as much an artist as he was a structural designer. If your eyes could use some beautiful things to look at, check out Marcus Robinson's documentary on Rice's life and work, leading up to his death in 1992. 
Available via SIFF

Exhibition on Screen - Leonardo: The Works
Leonardo da Vinci has been dead for centuries, but his legend lives on. This documentary, released on the 500th anniversary of his death, explores the Renaissance artist's life and work. 
Available via SIFF 

A Good Woman is Hard to Find
A recently widowed mother of two goes searching for the culprit of her husband's murder—an act done in front of her young son, rendering him mute. When a drug dealer breaks into her house and forces her to let him keep his stolen supply there, she makes a quick pivot to badass vigilante. A New York Times review writes "working from a script (by Ronan Blaney) that’s a minor miracle of austerity and pacing, [director Abner Pastroll] layers gangland grift, domestic drama and female fury into a satisfying lasagna of mounting violence." We love lasagna. And this looks very good. 
Available via Grand Illusion

The Infiltrators
In this docu-thriller, two young immigrants purposely get themselves thrown into a shady for-profit detention center to dismantle the corrupt organization from the inside. Their detainers don't know that they're members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Lucian Freud - A Self Portrait
London's Royal Academy of Arts and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts will present an on-screen exhibition of 50 paintings, prints, and drawings by the late British painter Lucian Freud.
Available via SIFF 

Now I'm Fine
Sean Nelson wrote, "Ahamefule J. Oluo, of Stranger Genius Award winning band Industrial Revelation, remounts his autobiographical odyssey, a harrowing, hilarious personal story punctuated by astoundingly strong songs, brilliantly arranged and performed by several of the most talented musicians in Seattle." Originally staged at On the Boards, Now I'm Fine received rave reviews during its recent New York run, and will now be screened online. 
Available via On the Boards

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
With Once Were Brothers, Roher presents a conventional contextualizing rock doc with marquee-name talking heads—Van Morrison, George Harrison, Bruce Springsteen, et al.—and efficiently reveals Robertson's early family life (his mother was indigenous, his father Jewish) and musical evolution. Robertson is an articulate, passionate memoirist; the film is based on his 2016 autobiography, Testimony. With equanimity, he registers the Band's soaring highs and devastating lows, while his French ex-wife Dominique adds crucial observations about the inter-band dynamics and substance abuse that dogged the members. Tracing a story of relentless, upward mobility through the music industry, the doc emphasizes Robertson's inner strength and boundless ambition, which helped him to avoid the booze- and drug-related pitfalls that afflicted his mates. For fans of the Band, this film will inspire tears of sorrow and joy, if not rage. Now more than ever, their music stirs emotions with a profundity that feels religious, but without the stench of sanctimony. DAVE SEGAL
Available via SIFF and Ark Lodge

Our Mothers
Cesar Diaz's debut, the winner of the Cannes Film Festival Camera d'Or in 2019, is set in the aftermath of Guatemala's bloody 20-year civil war. It follows Ernesto, a young anthropologist who's determined to track down his father, a guerillero who disappeared during the war. "Díaz’s approach is plain and solid, like a well-built wooden chair before varnishing," wrote the New York Times' Glenn Kenny. 
Available via SIFF

Police Beat
Police Beat, a fictional film I made with the director Robinson Devor (we also made Zoo), is also a documentary about a Seattle that's recovering from the dot-com crash of 2000 (a crash that sent Amazon's shares falling from nearly $100 apiece to $6—they're now around $2,400), and entering its first construction boom of the 21st century (between 2005 and 2008). The hero of my film, the police officer Z (played by the beautiful but sadly late Pape Sidy Niang), could actually afford a little Seattle house on his salary (around $45,000). The median price of houses in 2003 was a lot (about $300,000) but not out of reach for a middle-class immigrant with a stable job. Lastly, the film is a documentary about Seattle's beautiful and virid parks. How I love them all and wanted to film them all: Volunteer Park, Freeway Park, the Washington Park, Madison Park, the parks on either side of the Montlake Cut. So green, so urban, so natural. CHARLES MUDEDE
Available via The Stranger

Slay the Dragon
Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance's documentary investigates how gerrymandering has damaged our democracy, and how citizen-led activist groups have been crucial agents of change when bigger systems fail. 
Available via SIFF and Ark Lodge

Spaceship Earth
Matt Wolf's oddly uplifting documentary tells the true story of Biosphere 2—a self-engineered replica of the Earth's ecosystem inspired by a project that began in the 1970s, and in which eight people (self-described "biospherians") attempted to quarantine themselves for two years in the early '90s. While the experiment was cut short, the fact that this film chronicles daily existence in the face of a life-threatening ecological disaster makes this a timely online release. 
Available via SIFF and Ark Lodge

SPLIFF 2019 & 2020
A new vibe of stoner entertainment is emerging—witness the rise of Broad City, High Maintenance, and basically every TV show created on Viceland. And, most importantly, The Stranger presents SPLIFF, your new favorite film festival created by the stoned for the stoned. Because we can no longer congregate in person, we're rescreening the 2019 and 2020 festivals (the latter of which is hosted by Betty Wetter and Cookie Couture) online! Got some weed on hand? Check it out from the comfort of your home. All contributions received will be shared with the filmmakers.
Available via The Stranger

The Teachers' Protest
In Nazi-occupied Norway, school teachers were forced to spout antisemitic, racist, and homophobic ideas in their classrooms. Thousands responded with protest letters and were threatened with job termination, and when that didn't work, soldiers arrested 1,000 teachers and sent them to prison camps. This documentary recounts their story with archival footage and animation by Herlov Åmland.
Available via the National Nordic Museum

Thousand Pieces of Gold
Based on the novel by Ruthanne Lum McCunn (with a screenplay by novelist and filmmaker Anne Makepeace), this 1990 film follows a young Chinese woman (Rosalind Chao) whose family ships her to an Idaho mining town to be sold as a bride. To make matters worse, she's bought by a gross barkeeper in an Idaho mining town who forces her into prostitution. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum

The Whistlers
Festival favorite Corneliu Porumboiu (The Treasure, Police, Adjective) delves into the noir genre, complete with a beautiful crook, a crooked inspector, and...a secret whistling language? 
Available via SIFF

A White, White Day
In Hlynur Pálmason's follow-up to Winter Brothers, an off-duty police chief in a remote Icelandic town begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife. In thriller-meets-Nordic-art-house fashion, the man becomes obsessed with finding the truth, at the expense of his (living) loved ones. 
Available via SIFF

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell
It's impossible to boil down the music of the late musician Arthur Russell, who died of AIDS in 1992, into a single genre, but no one is gonna disagree that he made some very good and wild moves with the cello. This documentary incorporates rare archival footage and commentary from Russell's family, friends, and collaborators, from Philip Glass to Allen Ginsberg, and will have you taking time away to dream and clean up your room.
Available via SIFF