Whew. After 25 days of non-stop movie love and insanity, the Seattle International Film Festival has come to a close. I'm feeling a little post-fest letdown today, but it's been a great festival. Here's a roundup of some of the highlights of the fest:

  • Cinematical hosted a (very impromptu) meetup at Cafe Vita in Capitol Hill prior to the screening of Sundance fave Quinceañera on Friday night. Enjoying a Seattle coffee and stimulating conversation pre-show were: Stewart Stern (screenwriter of Rebel Without A Cause, one of the founders of The Film School, and all-around lovely person); Jeffrey Wells from Hollywood Elsewhere; several fantastic folks from Americanese, including director Eric Byler, lead actress Allison Sie, script supervisor Cecilia Tsai, and music supervisor Brooke; Quinceañera director Wash Westmoreland, and Joel from Fat Free Film.  Next year, we'll be more organized, plan further in advance, and invite lots more film bloggers and journalists, filmmakers, Cinematical readers and SIFF folk to join us.
  • Went to a very nice party for Eve and the Firehorse at the residence of the Canadian Consulate (and dang, you get some pretty nice digs when you're a diplomat). My daughter Neve had a blast hanging out with Phoebe Kut, the young star of the film (that's them, right), and chatting up Americanese director Eric Byler.
  •  Attended the forum panel "Cues and Connections," about getting music into films, where director Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking) nearly gave all the music industry panelists (Dave Dederer, formerly of Presidents of the United States of America, Jennifer Czeisler, director of licensing for Sub-Pop Records, Sharon Boyle, Music Supervisor, and Ian Hierons Sr. VP of acquisitions for Milan Records) a collective stroke with his thoughts on why directors shouldn't bother with licensing for short films that are only going to play festivals.
  • Went with Jeffrey Wells to a party in very tony Madison Park following the final screening of Americanese (stars Allison Sie and Chris Tashima, left)  where all the buzz was about the post-show Q&A led by Sharon Waxman from the New York Times, at which things got a little, er, on the combative side, and the audience didn't get to ask any questions.
  • Took the kidlets to a matinée screening of Monster House, which I now think is going to be a HUGE hit for Columbia.
  • Went to the very nice Closing Gala party at the University Tower hotel, which included lots of yummy Guiylan Belgian chocolates and assorted appetizers, and the ever-popular SIFF Sapphire drink, in the making of which, I can affirm, they do not skimp on the Bombay Sapphire (yay for a premium liquor as a major sponsor!). The Seattle summer evening was lovely, and guests enjoyed the view of downtown Seattle from the balcony of the VIP suite, which was far less-crowded and more populated by folks I knew from the fest than the main party. The highlight of the evening for me was meeting the charming father of SIFF Programming Manager Beth Barrett (pictured below), who very kindly thanked me for the interview I did with his daughter, because now he can explain just what exactly her job is.

Over the next week or so, I'll be writing up and posting the remainder of my SIFF coverage, so check back for interviews with the Americanese folks, the director and lead actress of Golden Space Needle winner OSS-117: Nest of Spies, and the very fun Mark Mothersbaugh, formerly of DEVO and now composer-extraordinaire, as well as reviews of a slew of films including Four Stars, Shanghai Dreams, Shinobi, Americanese, The Window, and more! There's also a pack of hold-review films we'll be telling you about closer to their release dates, including Monster House, Snow Cake, A Soap, Half Nelson, and Conversations With Other Women (that one is really fantastic). We'll also have more interviews with filmmakers coming later, including wunderkind Gil Kenan, the young director of Monster House, David Dencik, star of Danish sensation A Soap, and Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, director and screenwriter of Half Nelson.

Be sure to check out the official SIFF flickr site, as well as the regular-folks SIFF flickr sites, where you'll find lots of pics of the fun and madness that is SIFF. Bye to SIFF for another year.