Seattle International Film Festival kicks off its 50th Anniversary with “Thelma”

Mar 31, 2024, 5:45 AM


The Seattle International Film Festival prepares for its 50th anniversary. (Photo: SIFF)

(Photo: SIFF)

The curtain rises in just over a month on the 50th Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), and cinephiles are buzzing with excitement.

The festival is renowned for its global cinematic offerings

It promises a dazzling lineup of films, red-carpet glamour, and unforgettable experiences.

“This milestone year is a celebration of the incredible cinema from around the world that the Seattle International Film Festival has brought to our city for half a century, and the audiences who continue to be surprised and delighted by film,” said SIFF Artistic Director Beth Barrett on the festival’s website. 

Opening Night Extravaganza

On May 9, 2024, the Paramount Theatre will be the epicenter of cinematic celebration. The opening night will feature the action comedy “Thelma,” directed by Josh Margolin and distributed by Magnolia Pictures.

The film stars June Squibb, who will also receive the prestigious 2024 Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema. Squibb’s portrayal of a spirited 93-year-old seeking retribution after a scam promises laughter and heartwarming moments.

Golden Attire and Red Carpet Glamour

As the festival celebrates its 50th anniversary, attendees are encouraged to don their most dazzling gold attire. The red carpet experience begins at 5:00 p.m. at the Seattle Convention Center Summit Building, where guests will enjoy food, libations, and live music from a Seattle Symphony quartet.

Related news: SIFF Cinema Downtown, formerly Cinerama, now reopen

The garden terrace offers views of the Paramount marquee and the Seattle skyline. Free parking at the Convention Center’s garage is included.

The Paramount Theatre doors open at 6:00 p.m., and the screening of “Thelma” commences at 7:00 p.m. The after-party is at 9:30 p.m., and dancing, drinks, and delectable bites await, all complimentary with your ticket.

Ticket Options

  1. Film & Party Ticket: For $86.50 (or $76.50 for SIFF Members), you’ll enjoy the film screening and the lively after-party. It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in the festival spirit.
  2. Red Carpet Experience: Elevate your evening with the Red Carpet Experience. For $351.50, you’ll walk the red carpet, savor the pre-reception, and enjoy reserved VIP seating during the screening and leave with a swag bag.
  3. Platinum Pass: At $1,319.99 (or $1,619.99 for non-members), the Platinum Pass grants you priority access to screenings, parties, and the SIFF Lounge.
  4. Platinum Plus Pass: For $2,219.99 (or $2,519.99 for non-members), the Platinum Plus Pass adds personalized concierge service, reserved theater seats, and an exclusive preview event.
  5. Secret Festival Pass: Attend secret screenings with a Non-Disclosure Agreement. $650 for all screenings.

Festival history

SIFF was founded in 1976 and has evolved into one of the largest nonprofit film organizations in the U.S. Over the past five decades, SIFF has showcased more than 10,000 films from around the world.

What began as a modest event held at the original Moore Egyptian Theater in Seattle has blossomed into a year-round film celebration. SIFF now boasts four cinema venues, educational programs, and a rich history of presenting diverse and impactful films.

Some memorable films from its history include:

  1. Poltergeist (1982): A supernatural horror film that premiered at SIFF, featuring eerie occurrences in an average family home.
  2. The Babadook (2014): An Australian psychological horror film that delves into fear and paranoia through a mysterious book.
  3. Marwencol (2010): A documentary about an accidental artist who creates a miniature World War II town using GI Joe dolls during his recovery from a brutal attack.
  4. Your Sister’s Sister (2011): A relationship drama by hometown heroine Lynn Shelton, filled with surprising revelations.
  5. Trollhunter (2010): Norwegian film students uncover a government-sponsored troll hunter while investigating illegal bear hunting.

Tickets to the golden anniversary

“SIFF is excited for our 50th birthday and to celebrate the great films and experiences that have made the Festival a cornerstone of the Seattle cultural landscape with the best audiences in the world,” Barrett said.

Members can purchase tickets starting April 17, and the general public can snag theirs from April 18.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the official SIFF website.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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Seattle International Film Festival kicks off its 50th Anniversary with “Thelma”