By Ray Pride



And the Golden Space Needle Audience Awards Are…

“The Dark Horse” wins Best Film & Best Actor (Cliff Curtis)

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” wins Best Director

“Romeo is Bleeding” wins Best Documentary; Nina Hoss (“Phoenix”) wins Best Actress

“Liza, The Fox-Fairy,” “The Great Alone,” and “Chatty Catties” Win Grand Jury Prize Awards for Best New Director, Documentary and New American Film


SEATTLE — June 7, 2015 — The Seattle International Film Festival, the largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States, today announced the winners of the 2015 Golden Space Needle Audience and Competition Awards. The awards were presented at a ceremony and breakfast held at the Space Needle. The 25-day festival, which began May 14, featured 450 films representing 92 countries, including 49 World Premieres (23 features, 26 shorts), 51 North American Premieres (33 features, 18 shorts), 18 US Premieres (7 features, 11 shorts), and 720 Festival screenings and events.Additionally, SIFF brought in more than 350 filmmakers, actors, and industry professionals as guests of the Festival.


Carl Spence, SIFF’s Artistic Director, says, “Our 41st Festival was another fantastic celebration of storytelling in all its forms. We presented everything from the storied cinematic past (archival screenings celebrating Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation and live read of the late Stewart Stern’sRebel Without a Cause), to the iconic (Kevin Bacon!), to the independent (Jason Schwartzman and his new comedy 7 Chinese Brothers). With a record 92 countries represented this year and sold-out shows every night, this year’s Festival was bigger than ever, but it also fittingly included a proper send-off of an iconic movie house, the Harvard Exit. It also highlighted Seattle’s great continuing movie houses including our own SIFF Cinema Egyptian and SIFF Cinema Uptown. And I love that we bookended the Festival this year with two stellar comedies, kicking off with our Opening Night film Spy (the number one movie in America this weekend) and finishing with our hilarious Closing Night indie The Overnight. Starting and ending with laughter while traveling the world in between is a great way to mark another whirlwind 25-day celebration of cinema.”


Adds Mary Bacarella, SIFF’s Managing Director, “This year’s Festival was one big celebration after another: There was the launch of our new Culinary Cinema program and its “Dinner and a Movie” events, the recreation of Studio 54 which took many of us way, way back, and the chance to see Sir Mix-A-Lot on stage at Neumos at the after-party for The Glamour & The Squalor. Connecting our incredible audiences to visiting filmmakers and guests at screenings, parties, and forums – and celebrating their work together – is what makes our Festival an unforgettable experience.”




SIFF celebrates its films and filmmakers with the Golden Space Needle Audience Awards. Selected by Festival audiences, awards are given in five categories: Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Short Film. This year, nearly 90,000 ballots were submitted.



The Dark Horse, directed by James Napier Robertson (New Zealand 2014)


First runner-up: Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter (USA 2015)

Second runner-up: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (USA 2015)

Third runner-up: Shaun the Sheep, directed by Richard Starzak, Mark Burton (UK 2015)

Fourth runner-up: Good Ol’ Boy, directed by Frank Lotito (USA 2015)



Romeo is Bleeding, directed by Jason Zeldes (USA 2015)


First runner-up: Paper Tigers, directed by James Redford (USA 2015)

Second runner-up: The Glamour & The Squalor, directed by Marq Evans (USA 2015)

Third runner-up: The Great Alone, directed by Greg Kohs (USA 2015)

Fourth runner-up: Frame by Frame, directed by Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach (Afghanistan 2014)



Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (USA 2015)
First runner-up: George Ovashvili, Corn Island (Georgia 2014)

Second runner-up: Peter Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanajuato (Netherlands 2015)

Third runner-up: Susanne Bier, A Second Chance (Denmark 2014)

Fourth runner-up: Ross Partridge, Lamb (USA 2015)



Cliff Curtis, The Dark Horse (New Zealand 2014)


First runner-up: Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes (UK 2015)

Second runner-up: Jason Segel, End of the Tour (USA 2014)

Third runner-up: Victor Andrés Trelles Turgeon, Henri Henri (Canada (Québec) 2014)

Fourth runner-up: Jacir Eid, Theeb (Jordan 2014)



Nina Hoss, Phoenix (Germany 2014)


First runner-up: Kalki Koechlin, Margarita, with a Straw (India 2014)

Second runner-up: Rebecka Josephson, My Skinny Sister (Sweden 2015)

Third runner-up: Regina Case, The Second Mother (Brazil 2015)

Fourth runner-up: Ghita Nørby, Key House Mirror (Denmark 2015)



Even the Walls, directed by Sarah Kuck, Saman Maydáni (USA 2015)


First runner-up: Submarine Sandwich, directed by PES (USA 2014)

Second runner-up: Stealth, directed by Bennett Lasseter (USA 2014)

Third runner-up: Personal Development, directed by Tom Sullivan (Ireland 2015)

Fourth runner-up: Bihttoš, directed by Elie-Máijá Tailfeathers (Canada 2014)



Frame by Frame, directed by Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach (Afghanistan 2014)


This award is given to the female director’s film that receives the most votes in public balloting at the Festival. Lena Sharpe was co-founder and managing director of Seattle’s Festival of Films by Women Directors and a KCTS-TV associate who died in a plane crash while on assignment. As a tribute to her efforts in bringing the work of women filmmakers to prominence, SIFF created this special award and asked Women in Film Seattle to bestow it.





SIFF announced three Competition Awards for Best New Director, Best Documentary, and Best New American Film (FIPRESCI). Winners in each juried competition received $2,500 in cash, while the New American Cinema competition winner was also awarded the FIPRESCI prize.  




Liza, the Fox-Fairy (Hungary 2015), directed by Károly Ujj-Mészáros

JURY STATEMENT: For its lively, inventive visual wit and offbeat look at romantic delusion involving a haunted Hungarian nurse, a long-suffering police sergeant, and the ghost of a ’50s Japanese pop singer, we have given this year’s New Directors Prize to Károly Ujj-Mészáros.



Corrections Class (Russia/Germany 2014), directed by Ivan I. Tverdovsky

JURY STATEMENT: For the director’s brave and unflinching handling of a young ensemble.


Festival programmers select 12 films remarkable for their original concept, striking style, and overall excellence. To be eligible, films must be a director’s first or second feature and without U.S. distribution at the time of their selection. The New Directors Jury is comprised of Brandon Harris (Filmmaker Magazine), Amy Nicholson (L.A. Weekly), and Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed).


2015 Entries:

A Blast (d: Syllas Tzoumerkas, Greece/Germany/Netherlands 2014, North American Premiere)

Bonifacio (d: Enzo Williams, Philippines 2014, North American Premiere)

Corrections Class (d: Ivan I. Tverdovsky, Russia/Germany 2014, North American Premiere)

Liza, the Fox-Fairy (d: Károly Ujj-Mészáros, Hungary 2015, North American Premiere)

Love, Theft and Other Entanglements (d: Muayad Alayan, Palestine 2015, North American Premiere)

A Matter of Interpretation (d: Kwang-kuk Lee, South Korea 2014, North American Premiere)

Morbayassa (d: Cheick Fantamady Camara, Guinea 2015, North American Premiere)

My Skinny Sister (d: Sanna Lenken, Sweden/Germany 2015, North American Premiere)

Short Skin (d: Duccio Chiarini, Italy 2014, North American Premiere)

Under Construction (d: Rubaiyat Hossain, Bangladesh 2015, World Premiere)

Vincent (d: Thomas Salvador, France 2014)

Waterline (d: Michal Otlowski, Poland 2014, North American Premiere)




The Great Alone (USA 2015), directed by Greg Kohs

JURY STATEMENT: Our Grand Jury Prize goes to a film that stopped all of us in our tracks.  One of the joys of the film festival experience is discovering a film that works so well on every level. This is an inspiring film about one man’s story that is both intimate and epic – we were knocked out by the filmmaker’s achievement in crafting a visually stunning, completely engrossing narrative about one extraordinary human being.



Romeo is Bleeding (USA 2015), directed by Jason Zeldes

JURY STATEMENT: For its strength in demonstrating the power of art to change lives.


Sergio Herman: F**king Perfect (Netherlands 2015), directed by Willemiek Kluijfhout

JURY STATEMENT: Which we found to be an exquisitely made film about a FUCKING PERFECT artist.


Unscripted and uncut, the world is a resource of unexpected, informative, and altogether exciting storytelling. Documentary filmmakers have, for years, brought these untold stories to life and introduced us to a vast number of fascinating topics we may have never known existed—let alone known were so fascinating. The Documentary Jury is comprised of Jannat Gargi (Vulcan Productions),Janet Pierson (SXSW), and Anne Rosellini (producer, Stray Dog, Winter’s Bone).


2015 Entries:

Cooking Up a Tribute (d: Luis González & Andrea Gómez, Spain 2015, North American Premiere)

Dreams Rewired (d: Martin Reinhart, Thomas Tode, & Manu Luksch, Austria 2015, North American Premiere)

The Glamour & The Squalor (d: Marq Evans, USA 2015, World Premiere)

The Great Alone (d: Greg Kohs, USA 2015, World Premiere)

In Utero (d: Kathleen Gyllenhaal, USA 2015, World Premiere)

License to Operate (d: James Lipetzky, USA 2015, World Premiere)

Mountain Spirits (d: Singing Chen & Kuo-Liang Chiang, Taiwan 2014, US Premiere)

Paper Tigers (d: James Redford, USA 2015, World Premiere)

Romeo Is Bleeding (d: Jason Zeldes, USA 2015)

Sergio Herman, F**KING PERFECT (d: Willemiek Kluijfhout, Netherlands 2015, North American Premiere)

War of Lies (d: Matthias Bittner, Germany 2014, US Premiere)




Chatty Catties (USA 2015), directed by Pablo Valencia

JURY STATEMENT: The FIPRESCI jury at the 41st edition of the Seattle International Film Festival bestows its International Critics’ Prize to a film that – with an enormous amount of risk-taking – innovatively expands stylistic and narrative boundaries. With a fresh view on intimate relationships, director Pablo Valencia creates an unexpected and utterly original emotional landscape in Chatty Catties.


Festival programmers select 9 films without U.S. distribution that are sure to delight audiences looking to explore the exciting vanguard of New American Cinema and compete for the FIPRESCI Award for Best New American Film. The New American Cinema Jury is comprised of members of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI): Pamela Cohn, André Roy, and Dennis West.


2015 Entries:

Chatty Catties (d: Pablo Valencia, USA 2015, World Premiere)

Circle (d: Aaron Hann & Mario Miscione, USA 2015, World Premiere)

Fourth Man Out (d: Andrew Nackman, USA 2015, World Premiere)

Front Cover (d: Ray Yeung, USA 2015, World Premiere)

Good Ol’ Boy (d: Frank Lotito, USA 2015, World Premiere)

Happy 40th (d: Madoka Raine, USA 2015, World Premiere)

Me Him Her (d: Max Landis, USA 2015, World Premiere)

A Rising Tide (d: Ben Hickernell, USA 2015, World Premiere)

Those People (d: Joey Kuhn, USA 2015, World Premiere)






Seoul Searching (USA/South Korea 2015), directed by Benson Lee

JURY STATEMENT: For its diverse and relatable characters, quality mix of emotion and comedy, and accurate and respectful representation of teens, the 2015 FutureWave Youth Jury Prize goes to Seoul Searching.



When Marnie Was There (Japan 2014), directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi

JURY STATEMENT: For its beautiful and detailed animation, realistic sound design, and original, bittersweet tale of mystery the Films4Families Jury awards When Marnie Was There.



In recognition of superior artistic and technical achievement.

Audio Input (USA), directed by Sho Schrock-Manabe

JURY STATEMENT: For its insightful and engaging portrait of podcasting, an audio art form, through a collage of interviews and images.



Minimum Max (USA), directed by Josh Ovalle



Each winner will be awarded a $1000 scholarship to the Prodigy Camp.

I’m Not Here (South Africa), directed by Jack Markovitz

Minimum Max (USA), directed by Josh Ovalle





All short films shown at the Festival are eligible for both the Golden Space Needle Audience Award and Jury Award. Jurors will choose winners in the Narrative, Animation, and Documentary categories. Each jury winner will receive $1,000 and winners in any of the three categories may also qualify to enter their respective films in the Short Film category of the Academy Awards®.





The Chicken (Croatia, Germany), directed by Una Gunjak

JURY STATEMENT: An expertly crafted narrative that explores life and death through the eyes of a young girl. With a film full of authentic performances, Iman Alibalic is extraordinary as the six-year-old protagonist who receives a live chicken from her father for her birthday, and soon realizes it’s meant for dinner. This is an emotional film with a production quality that continues to move the story along and underscore the realities of life in a war zone.



Hole (Canada), directed by Martin Edralin

JURY STATEMENT: Hole is a brave exploration of human sexuality and yearning for intimacy through the eyes of a lonely, forgotten, disabled man in the heart of Toronto. Ken Harrower delivers a captivating performance that transcends any labels or limitations and speaks to the need for human connection.





Bihttoš (Canada), directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers

JURY STATEMENT: For its ambitious approaches to visual storytelling and imaginative recounting of an exceptional family history.





The Mill at Calder’s End (USA), directed by Kevin McTurk

JURY STATEMENT: There exists a tendency to laud the new—new stories, new techniques, new talent. With the animation award, the jury is pleased to celebrate a film that is decidedly old-school, breathing life into a bygone style, iterating in a story tradition that is centuries old. For this fusion of the modern and classic, we are happy to award Kevin McTurk for The Mill at Calder’s End.


Short Film Juries 2015:


Live Action: Stefanie Malone (NFFTY), Bobby McHugh (World Famous), and Tracy Rector(Longhouse Media).


Documentary and Animation: Courtney Sheehan (Northwest Film Forum), Jason Sondhi (Vimeo curator), Alex Stonehill (Seattle Globalist).




Kevin Bacon was this year’s Tribute honoree, receiving SIFF’s Career Achievement in Acting Award. The Festival screened his films Footloose, Diner, and the upcoming release of Focus World’s Cop Cardirected by Jon Watts. Jason Schwartzman attended the Festival to talk about his body of work before a screening of 7 Chinese Brothers directed by Bob Byington and also appeared with the Closing Night film The Overnight. A tribute was also held for the late Stewart Stern, screenwriter of Rebel Without a Cause and an active member of the Seattle film community. Stern’s mentee, writer/director Ryan Piers Williams (X/Y, SIFF 2014), presented a live screenplay reading of Rebel Without a Cause featuring Raúl Castillo (HBO’s “Looking”) and America Ferrera along with members of Seattle’s extraordinary acting community.


The Festival also celebrated the 25th anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation with 12 restoration titles – eight screened during the 2015 Festival and four in partnership with STG and their Trader Joe’s Silent Movie Mondays at the Paramount in June. The selection included the North American premieres of two restored films: 1966’s Black Girl (La Noire de…) from “the father of African cinema” Ousmane Sembène and 1978’s Alyam, Alyam from Moroccan master Ahmed El Maanoui.


SIFF 2015 also presented popular recurring programs of films like African Pictures (made possible by a grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), Face the Music, Northwest Connections, and Catalyst – as well as launching a new section, Culinary Cinema. The program featured a selection of 11 extraordinary films related to food, drink, restaurants; seven guests (including chefs!); and six “Dinner and a Movie” events in partnership with top Seattle restaurants including Poppy, The Dunbar Room, Loulay, Manhattan, Bookstore Bar & Cafe and Vude.


This year, SIFF had the incredible opportunity to present films for one final year at the historic Harvard Exit on Capitol Hill – a Festival venue for 27 years –  before it closes as a movie theatre for good. The 2015 Festival gave Seattle and its film community a chance to celebrate its charm one last time with a “24-day celebratory wake” of screenings. Fittingly, an encore screening of Colin Hank’s All Things Must Pass (a documentary about the rise and fall of Tower Records) was the final show at the theatre.


Additional celebrities at SIFF this year included director Paul Feig for the Opening Night Gala film Spy; 1950s heartthrob Tab Hunter, subject of Tab Hunter Confidential; Pat Mills, director and star ofGuidance; Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, director of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl; Jason Zeldes, director ofRomeo is Bleeding; director Brett Haley and actor Sam Elliott of I’ll See You in My Dreams; director Erika Frankel and chefs Georges Perrier and Nicholas Elmi of King Georges; Kris Swanberg, director of Unexpected; Jemaine Clement, star of People, Places, Things; Kiki Alvarez, SIFF’s first visiting director from Cuba with his film Venice; Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks coach and executive producer of License to Operate; Cliff Curtis, star of The Dark Horse; James Redford, director of Paper Tigers; Mark Christopher, director of 54: The Director’s Cut; actor Hiroyuki Sanada of Mr. Holmes; actor Stephen Tobolowsky, subject of the documentary The Primary Instinct; Colin Hanks, director of All Things Must Pass; Serge Bromberg, director of Saved From the Flames; director Marq Evans and subject Marco Collins of The Glamour & The Squalor; Michael Almereyda of Experimenter; director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera of Pixar’s Inside Out; comedian Tig Notaro of the doc Tig, Leslye Headland, director of Sleeping With Other People; director Greg Kohs and subjects Lance Mackey and sled dog Amp of The Great Alone; Bob Byington, director of 7 Chinese Brothers; and actors Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche and director Patrick Brice of Closing Night Gala film The Overnight.


About SIFF


Founded in 1976, SIFF creates experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world with the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education. Recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States, reaching more than 150,000 annually. The 25-day festival is renowned for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming, presenting over 450 features, short films, and documentaries from over 80 countries each year. SIFF Cinema exhibits premiere theatrical engagements, repertory, classic, and revival film showings 365 days a year on five screens at the SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Cinema Egyptian, and SIFF Film Center, reaching more than 150,000 attendees annually. SIFF Education offers educational programs for all audiences serving more than 13,000 students and youth in the community with free programs each year.


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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon