Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

This year’s 44th edition of the Seattle International Film Festival revealed today the complete lineup of 433 films, plus guests and events for the 25-day Festival that runs May 17 to June 10, 2018.   Opening night kicks off Thursday, May 17 with The Bookshop from acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Isabel Coixet (Learning to Drive, Elegy), distributed by Greenwich Entertainment. The film is set in a seaside village in England where a grieving widow (Emily Mortimer) pursues her lifelong dream of opening a bookshop. She introduces the townsfolk to the world’s best literature and stirs a cultural awakening, but her efforts are ruthlessly opposed by a powerful local (Patricia Clarkson) causing a reclusive resident (Bill Nighy) to join the fight to keep the bookshop open. The film is based on the bestselling novel by Penelope Fitzgerald.

The annual Centerpiece Gala, Sorry to Bother You, pulls no punches in its portrayal of racial dynamics in the workplace. This new film ushers in an utterly original and wildly creative new voice on the film scene from debut director and musician Boots Riley. Director Boots Riley is scheduled to attend the Seattle premiere to take place Saturday, June 2, at 5:30 PM, at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian.

The Seattle premiere of Ethan Hawke’s Blaze will also screen at the historic SIFF Cinema Egyptian as SIFF honors Mr. Hawke’s work with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. In addition to the award presentation and screening, the acclaimed actor is slated for an on-stage interview at the Friday, June 8 event.

Also scheduled is An Afternoon with Melanie Lynskey, where the Festival pays tribute to this celebrated actress. The iconic scene-stealing actress makes her way to SIFF on Sunday, May 27 for the Seattle premiere of Northwest Filmmaker Megan Griffiths’ film Sadie with an onstage discussion following the film.

Seattle favorite, Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, closes SIFF 2018 with a bang! Starring Joaquin Phoenix in a transformative performance as Portland cartoonist John Callahan who, after a car accident leaves him disabled, uses his sardonic humor and brutal honesty to battle with a lifetime of addiction.

“Sifting through over 4,000 film submissions each year, finding just 240 features is somewhat of a treasure hunt,” said SIFF Artistic Director Beth Barrett. “We’re looking for dynamic, diverse stories. This year, we’re overjoyed to share that over 43-percent of the feature films are female directed. We’re thrilled to jump into the 44th Festival and share these voices from around the globe with over 150,000 film enthusiasts in Seattle over the course of 25 days.”


Opening Night Gala
The Bookshop

Spanish director Isabel Coixet heads to the English coast circa 1959, where a headstrong widow (Emily Mortimer) opens a bookstore in a sleepy village and encounters both pride and prejudice from the provincial locals. Winner of Best Film, Director, and Screenplay at Spain’s Goya Awards.

(d: Isabel Coixet c: Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, Patricia Clarkson, Julie Christie, Hunter Tremayne, United Kingdom 2017, 110 min)

Centerpiece Gala
Sorry to Bother You

Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Armie Hammer star in the exhilarating directorial debut of musician Boots Riley, a biting and bonkers satire that follows a black telemarketer who discovers an unknown skill which gives him magical selling powers that shoot him up the corporate ladder.

(d: Boots Riley c: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, Jermaine Fowler, Armie Hammer, Omari Hardwick, David Cross, Danny Glover, USA 2018, 112 min)

Closing Night Gala
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

Joaquin Phoenix gives a transformative performance in Gus Van Sant’s sensitive and caustically funny portrait of Portland cartoonist John Callahan who, after a car accident leaves him disabled, uses his sardonic humor and brutal honesty to battle with a lifetime of addiction. The outstanding supporting cast includes Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, and musician Beth Ditto in her impressive film debut.

(d: Gus Van Sant c: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Beth Ditto, USA 2018, 113 min)


FILM: Sadie

Since making her debut at age 16 opposite a young Kate Winslet in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, the New Zealand-born Melanie Lynskey has become one of American cinema’s most reliable character actors. From Ever After: A Cinderella Story to Shattered Glass, The Informant! to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Hello I Must Be Going to I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, and TV work ranging from HBO’s “Togetherness” and “Animals” and Cartoon Network’s “Over the Garden Wall” to 12 years on CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” her passionate dedication to her craft has created a class of charismatic characters defined by their grace, sensitivity, quirkiness, and kindness. This afternoon, SIFF will welcome her to the stage for an interview featuring film clips from her career, followed by a screening of one of Lynskey’s latest films, Sadie, directed by Seattle-based Megan Griffiths (The Night Stalker, Lucky Them, Eden), with music by Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. There will also be an opportunity for audience questions following the screening.


A Tribute to Ethan Hawke
FILM: Blaze

A modern day renaissance artist, Ethan Hawke’s creative talent continues to flourish in several realms of expression. An actor, screenwriter, novelist, and filmmaker, his body of work is broad as it is deep in a career that now spans three decades. From portraying a rock-steady police sergeant and cowboy, to a sensitive teenage poet and young heartthrob, his versatility as an actor is renowned, cementing him as one of the great performers of this generation.

SIFF will present Ethan Hawke with the Seattle International Film Festival Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. A Q&A with Hawke will follow the screening of his new film, Blaze.

Past honorees of the SIFF Outstanding Achievement Awards include Anjelica Huston, Laura Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Viggo Mortensen, Kyle MacLachlan, Sir Ben Kingsley, Kevin Bacon, Edward Norton, Sissy Spacek, Joan Allen, Spike Lee, among others.


Saturday Film and Party

The Cake General, North American Premiere
SATURDAY, MAY 19, 5:30 PM – Party to follow screening

Based on a true story, the directorial debut of popular Swedish personalities Filip and Fredrik is an outrageous, unconventional comedy set in the 1980s about an eccentric resident of “the most boring town in Sweden” who decides to put his sleepy hamlet on the map by assembling the world’s longest layer cake.

(d: Filip Hammar, Fredrik Wikingsson c: Mikael Perssbrandt, Helena Bergström, Agnes Lindström Bolmgren, Tomas von Brömssen, Sweden 2018, 101 min)

Saturday Film and Party

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
SATURDAY, MAY 26, 6:00 PM – Party to follow screening

Oscar®-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom) presents the heartwarming life of Fred Rogers, whose cherished PBS series, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” used cardigans, puppets, and the Land of Make-Believe to imaginatively and compassionately inspire children, while not shying away from complicated issues.

(d: Morgan Neville f: Fred Rogers, USA 2018, 93 min)

Kirkland Opening Night

The Drummer and the Keeper
THURSDAY, MAY 31, 8:00 PM – Party to precede screening

When a drummer for an up-and-coming Dublin rock band is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he is forced to join a weekend mixed-ability soccer team and makes fast friends with a 17-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome in this poignant and charming bro-com between two odd and lonely souls.

(d: Nick Kelly c: Dermot Murphy, Jacob McCarthy, Peter Coonan, Ireland/USA 2017, 93 min)


Thursday, May 31 | 7:00 PM | The Triple Door

Seattle rock band My Goodness bring their expansive blues-inspired sound to The Triple Door for a live accompaniment to the 1911 Italian silent film, a macabre tour de force inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” featuring ground-breaking special effects and a cast of thousands.


Wednesday, May 23 | 6:30 PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
When originally released in 1986, this franchise-inspiring fantasy adventure about an immortal Scottish swordsman featured a handful of new songs from rock icons Queen. Now, Seattle’s own DJ NicFit reimagines the cult classic with a decades-spanning all-Queen playlist performed live on two turntables.

Wednesday, June 6 | 9:15 PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Ranging from industrial training videos to forsaken home movies, comedians Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher’s vast VHS library features the world’s largest collection of strange, outrageous, and profoundly stupid videos, the best (and worst) of which they have carefully curated and present along with live comedy commentary.

Saturday June, 9, 6:30 PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sunday, June 10, 12:30 PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Newcomer Elsie Fisher, in a star-making performance, perfectly captures the everyday humiliations and triumphs of a modern-day thirteen-year-old making her way through the last week of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year in the auspicious filmmaking debut of comedian Bo Burnham.


Official Competition

The Devil’s Doorway (d: Aislinn Clarke, United Kingdom 2018, World Premiere)

Garbage (d: Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee), India 2018, North American Premiere)

The Heiresses (d: Marcelo Martinessi, Paraguay/Uruguay/Germany/Brazil/Norway/France 2018, US Premiere)

Leave No Trace (d: Debra Granik, USA 2018)

Luna (d: Elsa Diringer, France 2017)

Pig (d: Mani Haghighi, Iran 2018, North American Premiere)

The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (d: Muayad Alayan, Palestine/Netherlands/Germany/Mexico 2018, North American Premiere)

Something Useful (d: Pelin Esmer, Turkey/France/Netherlands/Germany 2017, North American Premiere)

Team Hurricane (d. Annika Berg, Denmark 2017)

New Directors Competition

After the War (d: Annarita Zambrano, France/Italy/Belgium/Switzerland 2017)

Amateurs (d: Gabriela Pichler, Sweden 2018)

The Blessed (d: Sofia Djama, France/Belgium 2017)

The Charmer (d: Milad Alami, Denmark/Sweden 2017)

Dead Pigs (d: Cathy Yan, China/USA 2018)

Retablo (d: Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio L., Peru/Germany/Norway 2018, North American Premiere)

Sashinka (d: Kristina Wagenbauer, Canada (Québec) 2017, US Premiere)

Scary Mother (d: Ana Urushadze, Georgia/Estonia 2017)

Shuttle Life (d: Tan Seng Kiat, Malaysia 2017, US Premiere)

Supa Modo (d: Likarion Wainaina, Kenya/Germany 2018)

Ibero-American Competition

Champions (d: Javier Fesser, Spain 2018, North American Premiere)

Giant (d: Jon GaranÞo, Aitor Arregi, Spain 2017)

Gold Seekers (d: Juan Carlos Maneglia, Tana Schémbori, Paraguay 2017)

Killing Jesus (d: Laura Mora Ortega, Colombia/Argentina 2017)

Lots of Kids, A Monkey and a Castle (d: Gustavo Salmerón, Spain 2017)

Marilyn (d: Martiìn Rodriguez, Argentina/Chile 2018, North American Premiere)

Rush Hour (d: Luciana Kaplan, Mexico 2017)

Rust (d: Aly Muritiba, Brazil 2018)

Virus Tropical (d: Santiago Caicedo, Colombia/Ecuador 2017)

New American Cinema Competition

Jinn (d: Nijla Mu’min, USA 2018)

My Name Is Myeisha (d: Gus Krieger, USA 2018)

Noble Earth (d: Ursula Grisham, USA 2017, US Premiere)

Prospect (d: Zeek Earl, Chris Caldwell, USA/Canada 2018)

Sadie (d: Megan Griffiths, USA 2018)

Thunder Road (d: Jim Cummings, USA 2018)

Tyrel (d: Sebastián Silva, USA 2018)

Wild Nights With Emily (d: Madeleine Olnek, USA 2018)

Documentary Competition

Afghan Cycles (d: Sarah Menzies, USA/France/Afghanistan 2018, US Premiere)

Inventing Tomorrow (d: Laura Nix, USA 2018)

MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. (d: Stephen Loveridge, Sri Lanka/United Kingdom/USA 2018)

People’s Republic of Desire (d: Hao Wu, China 2018)

Queerama (d: Daisy Asquith, United Kingdom 2017)

The Return (d: Malene Choi, Denmark 2018)

Unarmed Verses (d: Charles Officer, Canada 2017, US Premiere)

Warrior Women (d: Elizabeth A. Castle, Christina D. King, USA 2018, US Premiere)


The African Storm (d: Sylvestre Amoussou, Benin/France 2017)

The Blessed (d: Sofia Djama, France/Belgium 2017)

Cook Off (d: Tomas L. Brickhill, Zimbabwe 2017, North American Premiere)

Ellen (d: Daryne Joshua, South Africa 2017, North American Premiere)

I Am Not a Witch (d: Rungano Nyoni, Zambia/France/United Kingdom 2017)

Looking for Oum Kulthum (d: Shirin Neshat, Germany/Austria/Italy/Lebanon/Qatar 2017)

Maki’la (d: Machérie Ekwa Bahango, Democratic Republic of Congo/France 2018, North American Premiere)

Razzia (d: Nabil Ayouch, France/Morocco/Belgium 2017)

Silas (d: Hawa Essuman, Anjali Nayar, Canada/South Africa/Kenya 2017)

Supa Modo (d: Likarion Wainaina, Kenya/Germany 2018)


Awards will be presented to:

Best New Talent Award: Mingming Yang for Girls Always Happy

Best First Film Award: Dead Pigs by Cathy Yan

Best Film Award: The Taste of Betel Nut

Angels Wear White (d: Vivian Qu, China/France 2017)

Dead Pigs (d: Cathy Yan, China/USA 2018)

Girls Always Happy (d: Mingming Yang, China 2018, North American Premiere)

Love Education (d: Sylvia Chang, Mainland China/Taiwan 2017)

People’s Republic of Desire (d: Hao Wu, China 2018)

The Silk and the Flame (d: Jordan Schiele, USA/China 2018, US Premiere)

Susu (d: Yixi Sun, China/United Kingdom 2017, US Premiere)

The Taste of Betel Nut (d: Jia Hu, Mainland China/Hong Kong 2017, North American Premiere)

The Widowed Witch (d: Chenglie Cai, China 2018, North American Premiere)

Wrath of Silence (d: Yukun Xin, China 2017, North American Premiere)


Brewmaster (d: Douglas Tirola, USA/Czech Republic 2018)

Constructing Albert (d: Laura Collado, Jim Loomis, Spain 2017)

Cuban Food Stories (d: Asori Soto, Cuba/USA 2018)

Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen (d: Rasmus Dinesen, Denmark 2017)

Schumann’s Bar Talks (d: Marieke Schroeder, Germany 2017)

Scotch – A Golden Dream (d: Andrew Peat, Taiwan 2017)

Soufra (d: Thomas Morgan, USA 2017)


Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (d: Steve Sullivan, United Kingdom 2018)

Blaze (d: Ethan Hawke, USA 2018)

Industrial Accident – The Story of Wax Trax! Records (d: Julia Nash, USA/Belgium/Canada/Germany 2018)

Looking for Oum Kulthum (d: Shirin Neshat, Germany/Austria/Italy/Lebanon/Qatar 2017)

Making the Grade (d: Ken Wardrop, Ireland 2017)

MATANGI / Maya / M.I.A (d: Stephen Loveridge, Sri Lanka/United Kingdom/USA 2018)

Nico, 1988 (d: Susanna Nicchiarelli, Italy/USA 2017)

Rubén Blades Is Not My Name ( d: Abner Benaim, Panama/Argentina/Colombia 2018)

Ryuichi Sakamoto:Coda (d: Stephen Nomura, Japan/USA 2017)


Afghan Cycles (d: Sarah Menzies, USA/France/Afghanistan 2018, US Premiere)

Automata (d: Van Alan, USA 2017)

The Faces of Zandra Rhodes (d: David Wiesehan, USA 2018, World Premiere)

The Most Dangerous Year (d: Vlada Knowlton, USA 2018, World Premiere)

Prospect (d: Zeek Earl, Chris Caldwell, USA/Canada 2018)

Return to Mount Kennedy (d: Eric Becker, USA 2018)

Sadie (d: Megan Griffiths, USA 2018)

FILMS in this article

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