Life After SIFF: A Tale of Two Indies

What happens to those titles from SIFFs past that don’t make it into Seattle theaters? Those with name stars or directors generally get distribution. Those without often go directly to DVD, VOD, Hulu, Netflix, and the like. And others just sadly disappear. But we recently learned the fate of two notable titles featured prominently in SW.

Last year, Seattle director David Russo implied he might quit making movies after the struggle to get his first feature produced. As profiled by Sean Axmaker for SIFF ’09, Russo and The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle had a rocky road before getting into SIFF and Sundance that year. Yet, against all odds, the film gained a limited release in New York this month. (Read the New York Times review.) Tribeca Films is also issuing the film via video on demand.) Combining elements of stop-motion animation (Russo’s first love) and live action (including actress Natasha Lyonne), Little Dizzle is about a hapless janitor who, as the unwitting subject of a drug company experiment, gives birth to a little blue blob. (It’s based on Russo’s own experience finding a miscarriage while working as a janitor.)

From SIFF ’08, finding its way to DVD this spring is Mr. Big, an advocacy doc by Canadian journalist Tiffany Burns, the older sister of Sebastian Burns, who was convicted in the notorious 1994 Bellevue slaying of the Rafay family. Son Atif Rafay was also convicted of the triple homicide, but only after an elaborate sting operation by cops in Vancouver, BC led the two to incriminate themselves. (They were then extradited to the US for trial and finally convicted in 2004; the case is still on appeal.) Nina Shapiro wrote an excellent cover story for us on Tiffany Burns’ crusade (also see my review). She and her movie continue to argue that her brother was coerced into a false confession; and of course there’s a Web site to argue that side of the story: