SIFF Countdown Begins, Now Without Al Pacino

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© Universal Studios
"Say hello to my little SIFF!"
Tickets for the nation's largest film festival--measured by attendance--go on sale today, and the whole schedule between Thursday, May 19 and Sunday, June 12 can also be searched via the SIFF site. Our annual guide to the Seattle International Film Festival goes out, and online, on Wednesday the 18th. Between now and then, we'll offer a few advance tidbits of news and advice about the fest, now in its 37th year.

First question? Who's the biggest star visiting SIFF? Ewan McGregor with the new Beginners and Perfect Sense. Who just canceled? Al Pacino, who was scheduled to do a live stage appearance on June 11. How come? He was just nominated for a Tony for his Shylock in The Merchant of Venice; and those awards are given June 12. A Tony apparently trumps Tony Montana. Very disappointing.

Second, with several independent movie theaters closing and changing hands of late, where will we be lining up to see those tender coming-of-age tales about Mongolian yak herders . . . ?

Gone is the Uptown (sob), but though the Neptune is under new management as a multipurpose venue, it's part of the SIFF network this year. The majority of screenings will also be held at the Egyptian, Harvard Exit, Pacific Place, Admiral, and of course SIFF Cinema (you know--the basement of McCaw Hall). Paul Allen's beloved Cinerama is back, and it'll take a break from screening Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides for a special event or two. Other specialty venues include the Majestic Bay, Triple Door, and Benaroya Hall. Outside Seattle, there will be limited screenings at the Everett Performing Arts Center, Kirkland Performance Center, and Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center (plus an outdoor movie over in Juanita).

As usual, tickets for the roughly 200 features, 50 docs, and countless short films come in a bewildering array of passes and packages, ranging from $35 to $850. For most ordinary screenings, the single-ticket price is $10 ($9 for SIFF members; and, yes, you'll be exposed to innumerable preshow SIFF promos inviting you to join). For those who'd rather not shop online, there's a box office at Pacific Place, which opens today; or you can call 324-9996 from your rotary-dial phone. Or use the SIFF iPhone app, which also goes live today.

Once the festival gets underway, we'll cover all four subsequent weeks in the printed pages of Seattle Weekly, with daily updates right here on The Daily Weekly. See you in line.

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