Mushroom hunting, frontiersman drama, and the gentle clip-clop of hoofed creatures abound in Kelly Reichardt's First Cow. SIFF's virtual screenings, available as of Thursday evening, include a pre-taped Q&A with the director. SIFF

Whatever type of screen you're working with at home will be graced with two important film festivals this weekend: the Seattle Black Film Festival and the Seattle Deaf Film Festival. On top of that, you have Kelly Reichardt's frontier-era period piece First Cow, a compilation of fan-favorite HUMP! shorts, and Grace Glowick's directorial debut Tito. Read on below for all of our top picks streaming through local theaters and national platforms. Longing for the big(ger) screen? Check out our guide to drive-in movie theaters in the Seattle area.


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New & Noteworthy: Supporting Seattle Businesses

Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly
Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, who's known for his bold public criticisms of the Chinese government's stance on democracy and human rights, was a force behind the portrait exhibition @Large, which depicted images of prisoners from all over the world—from Nelson Mandela to Chelsea Manning—on the exterior of Alcatraz Island, and also featured an inmate letter-writing project. This documentary explores the exhibition's process from start to finish.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

First Cow
Kelly Reichardt is a household name for moviegoers who worship thoughtful, gritty films about the American frontier. Though only her 2010 drama Meek’s Cutoff was actually set in a period we’d think of as frontier times, many of Reichardt’s other films, like Wendy and Lucy and Certain Women, revolve around moments of freedom and opportunity mixed with exposure and danger. Through Reichardt’s lens, undiscovered wilderness is simultaneously fruitful and treacherous. First Cow continues this cinematic conversation, dropping in on Cookie (John Magaro), an aimless frontiersman/cook for hire. The first part of the film is a mix of forage porn and manly intimidation, as Cookie (who, apologies to Magaro, never stops looking like a bearded Shia LaBeouf) nears the end of a contract with some threatening beaver trappers. He spends long stretches away from them, mushroom hunting in the woods, where Reichart and cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt craft scenes that are simultaneously uneventful and strangely rewarding—each chanterelle breaks with a satisfying crunch. SUZETTE SMITH
Available via SIFF
A note from SIFF: "A24 is making First Cow available to us one day early, before its VOD release. This rental (available starting 7 pm on July 9) includes a pre-taped Q&A with director Kelly Reichardt. As a thank-you to our SIFF community, use code FC2020 for a $5 discount!"

HUMP! Greatest Hits - Volume 1
The HUMP! team is bringing back some fan-favorite amateur porn shorts from years past in the first of several volumes of streamable compilations.
Available via The Stranger
Friday only

Runner
When he was just eight years old, Guor Mading Maker (later known as Guor Marial) fled war-torn Sudan to seek safety in the US, where he went from running track in high school to qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. As a means of taking ownership over his new life and condemning the acts of violence in his birth country, he refused to represent Sudan and instead ran independently. This documentary depicts the athlete's journey, including a reunion with his parents after a 20-year separation.
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

Get Tickets Now For A Virtual Bicycle Film Festival, Northwest Edition: October 23-25!
Bicycle Film Festival NW celebrates bicycles through art, film & music with 3 programs of short films!
Tickets are on sale now for The Stranger’s 1st Annual SLAY Film Festival!
Ghosts, zombies, slashers, witches, Eldritch beasts, gore-- SLAY has something for every horror fan!
Earshot Jazz Festival | Oct 16 – Nov 8
This week: Amy Denio, Tarik Abouzied, Johnaye Kendrick, Tarbaby, John Hollenbeck, and Eugenie Jones

Seattle Black Film Festival
Charles Mudede has written, "I have yet to attend a Langston Hughes African American Film Festival that doesn’t have an important black-directed or black-themed film that’s somehow been missed by the wider film community or is unavailable in any format—web, disk, cable, theater." This year's online program is slightly condensed, but you still shouldn't miss it. Saturday brings a block of shorts and a post-film panel about wisdom across generations, and Sunday brings a collection of documentary shorts highlighting voices across the Black American diaspora.
Available via Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
Friday-Sunday

Seattle Deaf Film Festival 2020
Take in shorts and feature films by and for the Deaf communities of the US, Canada, the UK, Pakistan, Japan, and Switzerland, including Carlo Caldana's Go to Hell and Turn Left and a free screening of Zeinbau Irene Davis's Compensation.
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Friday-Sunday

Stage Russia HD – Anna Karenina Musical
Angelica Cholina directs and choreographs this Vakhtangov Theatre production of Anna Karenina that communicates the classic story through music, dance, and spectacular production design, here shown onscreen as an encore.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Tito
There's something so singular about the pacing and acting style of Canadian actor Grace Glowick's directorial debut Tito. The protagonist is like a more paranoid Edward Scissorhands without scissors for hands. He makes friends with a cheery dude who doesn't mind that Tito is scared to leave the house for fear of being hunted by elusive predators that he claims prowl the streets. We can't tell if it's a heartwarming friendship movie or a reflection on the terror of moving through the world, but you should see it either way.
Available via Grand Illusion and Scarecrow Video
Opening Friday

Virtual Moving History XVI – Black Washington: Arts & Culture
MiPoPS will dedicate this installment of its archival video series to Seattle Black voices of the past, from artists and activists to poets and politicians. Check out the short documentary "Forever Free," highlighting Black women artists from 1862 to 1980; "Drawings from Life," a profile of muralist Charles White; and "The City is Ours," about influential local artists Gertrude Pacific, Jacob Lawrence, and John Gilbert.
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only

We Are Little Zombies
Described by Vulture's Emily Yoshida as a "rainbow-colored, RPG-inspired scream into the abyss," Makoto Nagahisa's We Are Little Zombies follows four teenage orphans who, after watching their parents' bodies turn to dust ("like fine Parmesan atop a plate of spaghetti Bolognese," as Grand Illusion aptly put it), decide they must start a cyber-punk band and conquer the world.
Available via Grand Illusion
Opening Friday

BIPOC-Focused Films

I Am Not Your Negro
Sixteen years after Lumumba, Raoul Peck, who is Haitian, has directed I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary about one of the greatest writers of 20th-century America, James Baldwin. Now, it's easy to make a great film about Baldwin, because, like Muhammad Ali, there's tons of cool footage of his public and private moments, and, also like Ali, he had a fascinating face: the odd shape of his head, the triangle of hair that defined his forehead, and his froggy eyes. Just show him doing his thing and your film will do just fine. But Peck blended footage of Baldwin with dusky and dreamy images of contemporary America. These images say: Ain't a damn thing changed from the days of Baldwin and the Civil Rights Movement. But they say this with a very deep insight about the nature of time. CHARLES MUDEDE
Available via Grand Illusion and Ark Lodge

Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things
From her 1934 performance at the Apollo Theatre when she was just 15 years old to her late career, Leslie Woodhead's documentary celebrates the life of the iconic jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald through rare interviews and images.
Available via SIFF

Keepers of the Dream: Seattle Women Black Panthers
Following its Oakland progenitors, Seattle was one of the first cities to form a branch of the Black Panther Party. Scored by SassyBlack, this series of five short documentaries, produced by Patricia Boiko and Tajuan LaBee, serves as an introduction to the courageous actions of women Black Panther activists, from Frances Dixon to Phyllis Noble Mobley.
Available via Seattle Channel

Miss Juneteenth
Channing Godfrey Peoples's debut feature centers around the fictional Miss Juneteenth pageant, an annual competition that awards the winner a scholarship to a historically black college or university of her choice. In a twist on the standard rivalries that drive the pageant genre (think Miss Congeniality and Drop Dead Gorgeous), the longtime winner in this case, Turquoise Jones, sees who she deems a more worthy winner in her daughter, Kai. "Instead of just depicting the myriad ways black women carry their communities, the movie goes further to explore how these women and black girls support each other in a world that often fails them," wrote Lovia Gyarkye for the New York Times.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
The rise of the prolific Nobel-winning author Toni Morrison dishes on her life busting up the white male literary hegemony in Timothy Greenfield-Sanders's documentary, with appearances by Hilton Als, Oprah Winfrey, Russell Banks, and Angela Davis, among others. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via Ark Lodge and PBS

Whose Streets?
Most of us remember scrolling through news about the Ferguson protests on Twitter in 2014, but Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’ directorial debut Whose Streets? fills in the blanks of the story, offering a humanizing, much-needed portrait of those involved. Dedicated to Michael Brown, the film captures the aftermath of the shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old—by a white police officer, while the Black young man had his hands in the air—using unflinching interviews with the still-grieving Ferguson residents who’ve seen their community unify against police brutality. JENNI MOORE
Available via Northwest Film Forum and Ark Lodge

See also: Our resistance roundup for more anti-racism resources.

New & Noteworthy: Nationwide

The Broken and the Bad
Vince Gilligan fans, take note: In this AMC docuseries, actor Giancarlo Esposito goes deep into the real-life situations that have inspired the director's hit series Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul (both of which star Esposito). 
Available via AMC

Greyhound
Based on C.S. Forester’s 1955 novel The Good Shepherd and adapted for the screen by none other than Tom Hanks (who also stars), this maritime thriller set during the 1942 Battle of the Atlantic will have you spewing obscure nautical terminology you never knew existed. 
Available via Apple TV
Premiering Friday

Little Voice
A singer-songwriter lands in New York with dreams of making it big in this new Apple TV original series created by Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson, who collaborated on the Broadway production of Waitress
Available via Apple TV
Premiering Friday

Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight
Milton Glaser, the graphic designer behind the super successful I ♥ NY campaign, is a wonderful human being. And the success of this ordinary documentary (and there’s absolutely nothing special about it) is that it spends a lot of time basking in the glow of its wonderful subject—the man practically designed the ‘60s and ‘70s. And what is it that makes Glaser wonderful? Firstly: He has lovely lips (Martin Landau has lips like just that). Secondly: he is the product of a kind of humanism that only NYC has produced. The city’s streets, bridges, architecture, tunnels, cabs, history, park, races, music, art—a love of all this informs the soul of his character. Watching Glaser makes you want to movie to NYC, the center of all that is human. CHARLES MUDEDE
Available via Kino Now

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend Of Walter Mercado
Celebrity Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado, who sported many dazzling jewels and capes on his long-running TV special, unknowingly signed away his name and image to his manager, Bill Bakula, which followed a lengthy legal dispute. During that process, Mercado's name faded from the public eye, and he was never able to reclaim the scope he once had. Filmmakers Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch tell his story in this Netflix documentary. 
Available via Netflix

The Old Guard
You don't have to go to the movie theaters to take in some new bone-crushing, ear-rattling, hyper-kinetic action-fest this weekend. Netflix has you covered—and we don't mean Floor is Lava either, although there are a lot of really painful-looking stunts gone wrong on that show. Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road, Atomic Blonde) leads this comics adaptation (Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez created it!) about a squad of mercenaries who are also centuries-old immortals, taking jobs in an effort to provide their endless lives meaning and worth. It's directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, too! And Chiwetel Ejiofor is in it! Turn it up already! BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via Netflix
Premiering Friday

Palm Springs
For a lot of people in their fourth month of pandemic life, it might start to feel a little like you're trapped in a Groundhog Day type movie. Like, say... Palm Springs, which premieres on Hulu this weekend, starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, who are a pair of wedding guests who do get trapped in a single-day time loop together. There's a twist applied to this time-loop scenario that won't get spoiled here, but the application of that twist was so good that film studio NEON paid $17 million at Sundance for the rights, which is the highest purchase price in that festival's history. Not to make this movie sound all serious and thought-provoking—it's still a sun-drenched comedy starring Andy Samberg, after all. But this is a pretty good pick if you're looking to make a movie night out of tonight. Or tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next... BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via Hulu
Premiering Friday

Relic
Natalie Erika James's directorial debut stars Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns, The Bookshop) as a divorcée who returns to her childhood home—which happens to be in the middle of some very creepy woods—with her daughter (Bella Heathcote) to visit her mother, who suffers from dementia. When they arrive, she's nowhere to be found. When she does return, you quickly learn that something spooky is going on that's darker than a memory loss condition.
Available via VOD
Premiering Friday

Ongoing: Supporting Seattle Businesses

All I Can Say
Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon recorded himself on his Hi8 video camera for the better half of the '90s, all the way up to the hours preceding his death at the age of 28. The hundreds of hours of footage show everything from his creative process to the birth of his daughter to his struggles with addiction to the rising power of the internet. This film, released in 2019, compiles key moments of that footage into a video diary.
Available via Scarecrow Video and Northwest Film Forum

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

And the Birds Rained Down
In Louise Archambault's melancholy film, which won the Dragon Award at the 2020 Göteborg Film Festival, three hermits living in remote cabins in the Quebec countryside have their way of life upended by forest fires.
Available via SIFF

The Audition
Nina Hoss plays a tightly wound high school violin teacher on the verge of a nervous breakdown in this 2019 feature from German director Ina Weisse. 
Available via SIFF

Aviva
Boaz Yakin's expressive dance film explores the fluidity of gender through two characters, Eden and Aviva, who toggle both mentally and physically (each character is played by two different actors) between strong masculine and feminine identities. "The dancing is gutsy, sensual, uninhibited and a little too full of itself. Pride in frank eccentricity pushes at times into the unintentionally absurd. Still, it’s exciting how these dance sequences are treated like any other scene, and disappointing when the compulsion to justify them takes hold," reads a New York Times review.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Beats
Set during the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994, which banned unlicensed raves across the UK, this film follows BFFs Johnno and Spanner who sneak out to an illegal party for one last night together after realizing they're destined for opposite life paths.
Available via Grand Illusion
Thursday only

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

Fantastic Fungi
At its worst, Fantastic Fungi gets too woo-woo wacky for its own good (when the film’s discussion turns to magic mushrooms, the visuals turn into what is, as far as I can tell, a psychedelic screensaver from Windows 95), but at its best, the doc pairs fantastic time-lapse imagery with a good dose of actual, mind-blowing science. Affable, passionate mushroom researcher Paul Stamets is joined by talking heads Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, and narrator Brie Larson to examine everything from massive fungal networks that carry signals between disparate, distant plants to the psychological benefits of psilocybin. It’s an uneven trip, but a good one. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Available via Ark Lodge

Her Effortless Brilliance: A Celebration of Lynn Shelton Through Film and Music
Acclaimed Seattle director Lynn Shelton died too soon, and the grief felt by her fans, collaborators, and loved ones comes through in this documentary by Shelton's longtime friend Megan Griffiths. It's free to watch on YouTube and features a star-studded lineup of appearances, including Emily Blunt, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark and Jay Duplass, Jeff Garlin, Joshua Leonard, Sean Nelson, Michaela Watkins, and Reese Witherspoon, as well as live music from her partner Marc Maron, Andrew Bird, Ben Gibbard, Laura Veirs, and Tomo Nakayama.
Available via YouTube

House of Hummingbird
Fourteen-year-old Eunhee has little comfort in life, whether at middle school (actual teacher quote: “We die every day”), with her tense family, or among fickle friends and crushes. She finds unexpected solace when she gets a new Chinese tutor: Youngji, a gentle, independent woman who recognizes Eunhee’s acute loneliness and confusion. Bora Kim’s debut film, set in the outskirts of 1990s Seoul, explores the teenager’s relationships rather than following a single narrative. Though we focus on Eunhee, played by an incredibly natural Ji-hu Park, every character seems to be hiding an inner universe, and we’re soon invested in the friendships, loves, and heartbreaks of this parochial world. JOULE ZELMAN
Available via SIFF

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

The Invisible Witness
A wealthy Italian businessman becomes the chief suspect of his young lover's murder when he wakes up next to her dead body. But did he do it?! In a Night Of-style series of events, the man in question, Adriano Doria, struggles to piece together the night leading up to the crime (like how he got the cut on his forehead, why the floor was covered in scattered banknotes, and why he wound up in bed with Laura, whom he was allegedly planning to break up with in an effort to save his marriage). If you're a sucker for moody blue-grey lighting and tough defense attorneys who've never lost a case, give Stefano Mordini's thriller a go.
Available via Grand Illusion

John Lewis: Good Trouble
The late civil rights activist and Georgia congressman John Lewis fought for voting rights, gun control, healthcare reform, and immigration over the course of his long career. Using archival footage and interviews from his late years, Dawn Porter's documentary explores Lewis's childhood, his 1957 meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and his lasting legacy on the social justice movements of the present.
Available via Ark Lodge, Northwest Film Forum, and SIFF

The Last Tree
A Nigerian British teenager moves from rural Lincolnshire to the unfamiliar London to live with his mom in Shola Amoo's debut feature.
Available via SIFF

Marona’s Fantastic Tale
For a wholesome mental recharge, turn to Anca Damian's expressionistic French animated film told through the eyes of a stray dog who just wants a loving human to hang out with. 
Available via SIFF

My Darling Vivian
Johnny Cash's first wife, Vivian Liberto (for whom the country singer wrote his famous song I Walk the Line), has long been obscured in stories of Cash's life (see: 2005's Walk the Line, in which she's played briefly by Ginnifer Goodwin). Matt Riddlehoover's documentary, featuring interviews with Cash's children and archival footage of Liberto, reframes her narrative. 
Available via Scarecrow Video

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

One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk
Zacharias Kunuk (The Fast Runner, Searchers) directs this comedy of errors about Inuit settler Noah Piugattuk and his band of nomadic hunters, who are pressured to abandon their traditional way of life in place of settlement housing by a white government emissary they meet on the sea ice.
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

Queen of Lapa
Luana Muniz, now in her late 50s, houses a new generation of fellow trans sex workers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This documentary explores their day-to-day lives and the guidance they receive from Muniz, who has long dealt with the anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes in the city.
Available via Scarecrow Video and Northwest Film Forum

Skate Kitchen
If Crystal Moselle's new HBO series Betty has you hungry for more scenes of womxn landing tricks on their skateboards and displaying acts of friendship in its purest form, you should watch its 2018 feature-length predecessor Skate Kitchen, which has all the same actors playing the same characters. It centers on Camille (Rachelle Vinberg), an introverted skater from Long Island who falls for the mysterious Devon (Jaden Smith) just as she's falling out with her mom and making friends with a new group of gals rightly hellbent on reclaiming kickflips from the boys who overcrowd the NYC skate scene.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

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

Tangerine
Good movies can sometimes give off a hum—a feeling that the energy and chemistry on screen can't be constrained by the edges of the frame. Tangerine fits this description and then some, creating a kinetic rush with enough spillover juice to light up LA for a year. While chock-full of innovations both welcome (a story about transgender characters, played by transgender performers) and potentially eye-strainingly worrisome (the movie was shot entirely on tricked-out, stabilized iPhones), the main takeaway is just how alive it seems. ANDREW WRIGHT
Available via Northwest Film Forum