Tonight in Seattle:  

Beyond the Fest: SIFF films that will (hopefully) open soon

The Babadook

With over 400 films playing the 40th Seattle International Film Festival, there was NO WAY I was going to be able to watch and write about what got me into those theater seats before the festival was over—or, more importantly, before they screened for the last time during it.

Here’s a quick list of films that I recommend tracking down for viewing. Fingers crossed they will ALL show up at Seattle theaters soon! 

The Babadook {tentative release date: October 2014}
Holycrap, you guys. HOLYCRAP. I was not prepared for how awesome this Australian horror film would be. I mean, how scary can another spin on The Boogeyman actually be, right? The answer, though, is REALLY F’ING SCARY. The basics: grieving mom, out-of-control son, creepy book, unleashed creature, possession, and some really amazing imagery. The Babadook is a non-stop ball of tension from beginning to end, the acting is freaking amazing, the creature F/X are great. I can’t even express how surprised I was by this movie, and how utterly terrified I was while watching it. Bonus: The Babadook pop-up book featured in the film is so goddamn cool! I hear the filmmakers are considering a kickstarter to produce it for real, and I am prepared to throw my money at them as soon as they do.

Fight Church
Bryan Storkel brings us another tale of the secret lives of Christians, but instead of showing us pastors who gamble, this film dives into pastors who moonlight on the mixed martial arts/cage fighting circuit. Wait, what? Let’s just say it’s a lot scary than Holy Rollers—particularly when you realize these guys are teaching their beliefs about beating the crap out of other guys being a “spiritual” thing to their kids, and even moreso when it extends beyond the arena to the gun range.

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Best of SIFF 2014 series {6/12-6/19}

Dior & I

If for some reason over the past month you’ve missed the TIG SIFF team's extensive coverage, overlooked the 'round-the-block queues at some of our fine local movie houses, and/or remained oblivious to the palpable cinematic energy felt throughout the 206 and surrounding area codes, you've been at least vaguely aware that our local cinema megathon was going on at some point between opening night mid-May and closing night Sunday.

On Thursday SIFF Cinema kicks off a ‘best-of’ series that whittles down the gargantuan festival lineup to 18 programs (17 features and a shorts package) of festival award winners and audience favorites, all screening at the Uptown and Film Center through Sunday, with a few multi-screening engagements through next week. Perfect opportunity to see what all the buzz was about if you missed out on SIFFing altogether for some reason, or if the insane schedule made you pick a certain film over something else you really wanted to see, or if the #SIFForty SIFFatigue got to you early and just caused you to give up.

Or maybe none of those scenarios applies and you're just interested in checking out some good films. In any case, you're in luck, because there are some genuinely fine cinema experiences to be had. Here’s the lowdown on the lineup.

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Happy 12th imaginary birthday to us!

TIG PARTY! Photo by Steve Louie
{Photo: Steve Louie}

We're elated to raise a coffee mug {or cupcake} to toast Three Imaginary Girls' 12th IMAGINARY BIRTHDAY today!

It's hard to believe that it's been two years since we marked our 10th anniversary, which makes it even harder to comprehend that it's been 12 years since Three Imaginary Girls hit the internet-o-sphere.

On June 10, 2002, Dana and I pulled near-all-nighters for weeks and weeks leading up to the launch of this little web-zine… a place where we and our friends could write as many and any words we wanted about local and touring bands that made us giddy.  

In the days, weeks, and years that followed, we were lucky enough to find co-conspirators and readers who shared our enthusiasm as many more sleepless nights followed with many more stories shared and recaps of all the new imaginary favorites {songs, people, bands, films, mixtapes, coffee, etc.}.

Since then, the site has grown more than we ever could have imagined.  We have more than 25,000 articles in the imaginary archive and have listed over 35,000 shows on our calendar {major hat tip to our dear calendar editor since the very beginning, Jason}. 

With this huge library of stories about the amazing songs, bands, films and miscellaneous things that make the world so wonderfully imaginary, we've realized that we need to find a more reliable, reader-friendly, dynamic, and cost-effective way to keep the site growing and going.

So, we're in the midst of converting the site to WordPress - a major undertaking that's emptied our bank account and left us in a pinch: We've recently hit a wall in setting TIG V4 up on our own.  We've asked around and the responses to the list of items that need to be fixed before we can launch all are the same:  "Yeah, you need a dev to figure that out."

That's where we could possibly use your help:

Are you a WordPress developer with some skillz you'd like to share in exchange for all the tig t-shirts and mugs we have in our stash, dozens of cupcakes delivered to your door, endless amounts of gushing about how great you are, and some cash?  Sound fun? Email me (at liz at threeimaginarygirls dot com) and let's chat!

Mmmmm imaginary cupcakesWould you like to help us cover the cost of a dev? After all, devs have rent to cover and weighty bills to pay too.  We're working on putting together an IndieGoGO or other like campaign to offer ways that you can join in the fun with some rewarding ways to donate. You can donate now {HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!} or email me for more details.

We are excited about the future of TIG and would love your help shaping it. We can't thank you enough for being so imaginary {and supportive and kind} over the last 12 years -- here's to 12 more. 

The day is beautiful and so are you!

CHEERS!

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SIFF Take: How to Train Your Dragon 2

It feels a bit unseemly to trumpet such a mainstream movie during this Festival of the Wonderfully Obscure, but How to Train Your Dragon 2 is absolutely wonderful and deserves trumpets. It opens 5 years after the events of the first film. Berk is now an idyllic, gravitationally precarious but architecturally impressive hamlet with a thriving population of dragons. The biggest issue is that Stoic wants Hiccup to be the next Chief, and Hiccup is ambivalent at best. This very quickly becomes not the biggest issue when a Very Bad Guy enters the picture, bent on enslaving all dragons.

All of the battles are exciting and suspenseful, and the dialog is snappy and funny, but this film is special because of the strength of the story. The plot isn’t merely a series of set-ups for set-piece battle scenes. It wrestles, sincerely and unironically, with issues including family, loyalty, duty, free will, and the pursuit of peace. Peace! Punchline of hippie skits and Miss America parodies. The movie declares peace an achievable concept, worth striving for. By the end, I wanted to stand and salute.

{How to Train Your Dragon screens one more time at SIFF on Sunday, 6/8, 10:30am at Pacific Place} 

SIFF 2014: Closing Weekend Highlights

The Great Museum

The end of this year’s cinema mega-thon is nigh, and if you've slacked on your SIFFage there's still time to do something about it. Here I present to you seven sure-fire hits that I personally guarantee will provide you some major cinematic enjoyment, all unspooling (digitally) over the next few days.

DON'T MISS:

The Great Museum
{screens June 7 at 2:30pm at the Uptown}
Absorbing year-in-the-life documentary following directors, preservationists, curators, and general staff of Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum during a major renovation and re-brand. The film offers fascinating visual treats aplenty – art and artifacts in various states of exhibition, decomposition, and restoration – with new (old) surprises constantly being unwrapped and unveiled.

La Mia Classe
{North American premiere. Screens June 7 at 8:30pm at the Uptown, and June 8 at 4:30pm at the Harvard}
A group of aspiring Rome-based immigrants take a mandatory Italian language class and encounter shared grief, social integration, and humanity. This is actually a movie about itself – the students are real, the teacher is an actor, and we see fourth-wall ruptures via shot setups and off-script developments that inform the third act. Do see it, and when you find yourself unsure of what’s fiction and what (if anything) is not, don’t worry: it’s all saying the same thing, and the point is a profound one. Director Daniele Gaglianone is scheduled to attend these SIFF screenings, and I wonder if Q&A sparks will fly here like they did in Venice.

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