SIFF 2012 got underway in customary fashion Thursday evening; that is to say, with a lot of standing around. Lines sprouted everywhere at McCaw Hall … on the red carpet, at will call, at the lobby bar, even in the bathrooms.
When the opening-night crowd finally squeezed into the theater around 7 p.m., the waiting was not quite yet over. SIFF artistic director Carl Spence and managing director Deborah Person welcomed the audience. Spence remarked on SIFF’s strides this year (the opening of the SIFF Film Center and reopening of the Uptown Theatre), while Person thanked sponsors and solicited donations. Mayor Mike McGinn presented an award for outstanding achievement in film to rising-star director of photography Ben Kasulke. And then Spence returned to the stage to introduce the night’s special guests — Lynn Shelton and Steven Schardt, director and producer of “Your Sister’s Sister,” the opening night film.
Speaking about Shelton, Spence remarked that “the dream is possible” — that is, that a filmmaker can live and do meaningful work in Seattle.
For her part, Shelton thanked SIFF “for recognizing that the Seattle filmmaking community has come into its own.” Finally, after an hour of speechifying, the lights dimmed and the movie began.
Much of “Your Sister’s Sister” was filmed in the San Juan Islands, and the Northwesty settings were greeted with hoots of recognition by the hometown crowd. The movie’s offbeat, upbeat charm seemed right for opening night, and a quick 90 minutes later, the audience happily streamed out to the after-party at the nearby Exhibition Hall.
There, patrons found music, food and drink, and — no surprise — yet more long lines for pretty much everything.
It’s SIFF 2012. Let the queuing begin.
(Photo of Lynn Shelton at SIFF by Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times.)