This list has been extracted from a database I’m using to manage the SIFF workload I’ll be taking a crack at; the title of each film should link to a search-results page hosted at SIFF’s website, rather than directly to the SIFF information page for the film itself. I gotta say, over 200 films is a huge amount of film info to try to winnow through. This list is made up of 45 films, and doesn’t include the shorts and compilation presentations such as animation or what not. I’m unsure if I managed to find all of the local-interest and loaclly-produced films.

I’ve quoted when I have used copy directly from the Seattle Times
-produced SIFF guide. On the whole, my notes on each film are intended to convey my attitude to the film and my reasons for being interested in it.

This is a work in progress – I’m really just trying to share a tool was making for my own use with others that might find it helpful.

(For a short while I helped to typeset the weekly film guides for a publication in my hometown, and I would play a game. I would try to see if each film in the list would be described as a “touching coming of age story.” Try it here and see what happens!)

23 (Germany, 1998)
Action/Thriller (HK, Cops, Etc)

4p, June 7, Pacific Place

Hackers and computers! Paranoia! The dangers of the internet! Don’t forget to use secure passwords and change them every three months!

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (Hong Kong, 1978)
Action (HK, Cops, Etc)

7p, June 9, Harvard Exit

Described as the “most popular screen version” of the story of the Shaolin monks and their new fighting style – it’s unstoppable!

800 Bullets (Spain, 2002)

1:45p, June 13, Cinerama

9:30p, june 14, Cinerama

A “nasty, 12 -year-old boy” sneaks off in search of his grandfather, a former stuntman said to be performing at a “run-down theme park,” formerly the set of some Hollywood westerns.

American Splendor (US, 2003)

7p, June 4, Egyptian

9:30p, June 9, Pacific Place

This innovative film that won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2003 is based on the works and artistic techniques of comic-book author and irascible jazz critic Harvey Pekar.

Pekar appears in the film as does Paul Giamatti as Pekar in segments that dramatize Pekar’s life; much as Pekar works wth different artists to create the stories in his long-running, critically acclaimed comic book, also titled “American Splendor.”

Animatrix (US/Japan, 2003)

9:30p, May 31, Egyptian

All nine “Animatrix” shorts on the big screen. Just one showing! Considering that this screening takes place only two weeks after the extremely anticipated commercial premiere of the second “Matrix” film, this should be a HOT ticket.

Blind Shaft (China Hong kong Germany, 2003)
Action (HK, Cops, Etc)

9:30p, June 4, Pacific Place

40, June 7, Egyptian

A pair of Chinese con-men work the coal-mining hinterlands and make out like bandits – until trust is lost.

Blood Brothers (HK/China, 1973)

11:30a, June 7, Harvard Exit

“Based on actual events surrounding the assassination of a general” in late 19th century China. Two bandits become friends with a mercenary in the wake of their attempted robbery of him.

Bubba Ho-tep (US, 2002)

Mid, may 24, Egyptian

Bruce Campbell!


Jack, (Ossie Davis – no, really, Ossie Davis) believing himslf to be Jack Kennedy, teams up with an elderly Elvis Presley (a fellow resident of the nursing home) to put the hurt on an “evil Egyptian entity”.

I mean, how can you effin’ lose?

Bukowski: Born Into This (US, 2002)

9:30p, May 28, Broadway Performance Hall

4p, June 6, Egyptian

I first read Chales Bukowski while spending some time in the Monroe County Jail for firstly having imbibed too freely at too young an age and secondly having repeatedly ignored miscellaneous court summonses.

As a consequence, I associate Bukowski with drinking, jail, and willfully self-destructive and foolish behavior.

Just as you do.

Cabin Fever (US, 2002)

Mid, May 31,

9:30p, June 10, Harvard Exit

This independently produced horror film has been burnin’ up the lines among connoisseurs of the independently produced horror flick, with special comparison to the first couple Evil Dead flicks.

Probably not my cup o’ tea, but honestly, it’s time for some more isolated-cabin-in-the-woods lo-fi fearmongering, I have to agree.

Caesar (US/Germany/Italy/Netherlands, 2002)

6:30p, June 12, Egyptian

World Premiere

I’m genuinely surprised to see this film premiering here – such a topical film, and one that features the talents of Jeremy Sisto, Christopher Walken, and the final performance of Richard Harris, would normally be expected to get a red-carpet treatment in LA and NYC.

The film tells of the rise of – you guessed it – Julius Caesar. It’s part of the leading edge of a slew of classically-derived films, which included USA network’s miniseries “Helen of Troy” recently, not one but two biopics about Alexander the Great currently headed for production, and Wolfgang Petersen’s upcoming period blockbuster “Troy.”

To what do we owe this surge of interest in what have been called “the oldest dead white men?” Dude, haven’t you heard? It’s empire time! Pax Americanus on your ass, got it? Try to keep up, mm’kay?

(Well, there’s some other reasons too. The mid-nineties translations of Homer. The triumph of the Lord of the Rings films, unabashedly modeled on classical heroic narrative. A little film you may have heard of called “Gladiator”. Stuff like that.)

Le Cercle Rouge (France, 1970)
Action (HK, Cops, Etc)

4p, June 8, Harvard Exit

Dir. Jen-Pierre Meliville, “Le Samourai”, “Bob le Flambeur”

Extended version of this 1970s French film noir. An additional 40 minutes rejoins the film as originally released in the US.

A Chinese Odyssey 2002 (HK, 2002)

7p, June 9, Egyptian

11:30a, June 13, Cinerama

Is this a period film? It’s hard to tell from the description.

“A young emperor and his sister sneak out of the palace.” In the ‘real world’ they meet up with someone dubbed King Bully.

Cinerama Adventure (US, 2002)

7p, may 29, Egyptian

David Strohmaier, the leading film historian on the Cinerama format, had just completed this film at the time of the Cinerama Festival, which he was instrumental in assembling, here in Seattle earlier this year.

Strohmaier’s enthusiasm and knowledge for this fascinating subgenre in film history is infectious in person, and the story itself is simply fascinating.

Since the Cinerama is one of only two theaters on the West Coast capable of displaying the technologically-peculiar films (which require three projectors), and one of the directors of the seven films created for the system lives in Seattle, this is a must-see for me, at least.

Come Drink With Me (HK/China, 1966)
Action (HK, Cops, Etc)

9:30p, May 24, Harvard Exit

11:30a, May 26, Harvard Exit

Golden Swallow is saved by Fan Dabei after she’s felled by an evildoer under the command of gang leader Jade-faced Tiger. Love blossoms, yet the gang plagues the area. What shall the lovers do?

(Golden Swallow. Heh.)

Demonlover (France, 2002)
Action (HK, Cops, Etc)

7p, june 10, Cinerama

Thriller centering on the attempted purchase of “TokyoAnime,” a “3-D pornographic manga video game.”

Gimme summa dat. Actually, I’m more interested in the idea of a movie about hi-tech business acquisitions. Foolishness! Waste! Arrogance! Wealth! Brilliance1 Heartbreak!

Say, maybe THAT’s my script…

Dominoes (US, 2002)

9:30p, May 25, Egyptian

1:45p, June 13, Broadway Performance Hall

Locally produced – World premiere.

“Ten Seattleites spiral in and out of sex, love and relationships as they try to find meaning in all the usual – and not so usual – places.”

Is this set in a pizza joint? If so, who plays Julia Roberts?

Double Vision (Taiwan/HK/US, 2002)

Mid, June 7, Egyptian

9:30p, June 10, Cinerama

Winner of HK Academy Award 2003, Best Supporting Actress.

“‘Double Vision’ pairs a washed-up cop with an equally burnt-out FBI agent as they investigate brain altering black fungus, evil Taoist sects, supernatural forces, and a psychotic serial killer.”

The trailer’s effects were impressive. In English. Played up “demons” in the trailer. Cops on the trail of demons. There ya go.

Dream Cuisine (China/Japan, 2003)

6:30p, June 1, Broadway Performance Hall

4p, June 8, Broadway Performance Hall

A 78-year old Shangdong master chef wants to visit her childhood home in Shangdong province China from her longtime life in Japan in her dotage but hubby is opposed.

Longtime readers will understand my interest in the description of Shangdong cuisine – no sugar, no lard, no MSG. It intrigues me, as I am acutely aware of my lack of fundamentals in Chinese and Japanese cookery. I’ve eaten varieties of Asian cuisine since I was a child – being unable to reproduce it as easily as I can varieties of European cuisine frustrates me.

The Enbalmer (Italy, 2002)

7p, June 10, Egyptian

9:30p, June 15, Pacific Place

A gay dwarf taxidermist is key to a young man and woman’s developing relationship.

I covered the first US festival appearances of this flick for Cinescape, and it looks so strange I can’t help but be interested. Apparently very beautifully shot.

Ever Since The World Ended (Canada, 2002)

2p, May 28, Broadway Performance Hall

9:30p, May 29, Broadway Performance Hall

“Twelve years after the Kotto Plague reduces the population of the San Francisco Bay area to 186, local filmahers Calum Grant and Joshua Atesh Little interview survivors, document the empty San Francisco streets, and undertake a hazardous journey into the savage hinterlands of Marin County.”

What’s not to like?

G–Sale (US, 2002)

11:30a, may 25, Egyptian

Word Premiere. Locally produced.

“Bogwood, Wash., is the fictional suburban setting for this tale about the eccentric residents of the ‘Garage Sale Capitol of the USA’, who try to outmaneuver each other at each sale.”

The Good Old Naughty Days (France, 2002)

9:30p, May 29, Egyptian

A compilation of silent French porn from early in the century. “Every type of coupling known to man woman and dog.”

Is it prosecutable child porn if the child’s dead of old age? Film at 11.

The Great Wonder (US, 2003)

11:30a, May 26, Egyptian

World Premiere – Locally made.

The “Lost Boys” of Sudan, youthful refugees from a civil war, arrive in Seattle.

The Hebrew Hammer (US, 2003)

Mid, June 6, Egyptian

The film’s creators term it “Jewsploitation,” and the idea is to use European and American stereotypes of Jewishness to create a satirical, um, ubermensch, along the lines of the 1970’s classic “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” or Sweetback’s tamer descendant “Shaft.” Stars Adam Goldberg of “Saving Private Ryan” and “A Beautiful Mind.”

King of the Ants (US, 2002)
Action/Thriller (HK, Cops, Etc)

9:30p, June 13, Egyptian

11:30a, June 15, Cinerama

World Premiere

Stuart Gordon, director of “Reanimator”, leads an adaptation of a novel by Charlie Higson in which a housepainter accepts a repugnant job: dispose of a body.

Stuart Gordon is a cult-film legend. That is all.

Los Zafiros/The Sapphires: Music from the Edge of Time (US, 2003)

4p, May 23, Broadway Performance Hall

9:30p, May 25, Broadway Performance Hall

A documentary chronicling Los Zafiros, who combined Cuban music with American doo-wop. Success in Cuba and America is followed by the inevitable sad second act.

My Architect (US, 2002)

6:30p, May 24, Harvard Exit

4p, May 26, Pacific Place

In 1974, influential architect Louis Kahn was found dead and unidentified in Penn Station. As his family learned the story of his passing, the architect’s secret lives – lives, not life – came to light. This film, by the architect’s son, tells the story.

The Naked Proof (US, 2003)

6:30p, May 25, Egyptian

4p, June 13, Cinerama

World Premiere – Locally made.

“An engaging philosophical romantic comedy.” The cast includes the celebrated playwright August Wilson, (“The Piano Lesson”, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and many more important contemporary plays) as well as The Stranger’s Charles Mudede, a thoughtful local writer if ever there was one.

I’m developing a story for Tablet on this film, how it got made, and the director, Jamie Hook.

Nudity Required (US, 2003)

1:45p, May 25, Egyptian

7p, June 10, Broadway Performance Hall

World Premiere.

“Daydreaming” bowling alley employees in Bemerton opt for the production of a porn flick over continuing in the bowling alley line of work.


The One-Armed Swordsman (HK/China, 1967)
Action/Thriller (HK, Cops, Etc)

11:30a, May 25, Harvard Exit

This “revenge thriller” is decribed as “the key transitional film between the old-school wuxia
swordplay picture and what we now think of as the kung-fu movie.”

Thanks for clearing that up for us.

Overnight (US, 2003)

4p, June 12, Egyptian

6:30p, June 13, Egyptian

A documentary about “little-known filmmaker Troy Duffy,” the bar that Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein bought for Duffy, and the filmmaker’s project, “The Boondock Saints.”

Ping Pong (Japan, 2002)
Action/Thriller (HK, Cops, Etc)

1p, June 9, Pacific Place

9:30p, June 10, Egyptian

This film had the most intruiguing of the trailers at the press opening for the festival – featuring improbable and surreal special effects intercut with gritted-teeth intensity table-tennis action, the audience didn’t know what to make of it – especially because of the lack of subtitles.

Whether the exhibited film is subtitled or not, the trailer’s vigor and originality of vision intrigued me enough that I really hope to see this film.

P.T.U. (HK, 2002)
Action/Thriller (HK, Cops, Etc)

9:30p, June 13, Cinerama

4p, June 14, Cinerama

U.S. Premiere

Cops v. gangsters in Hong Kong. Mmm, tasty!

Return to the 36th Chamber (HK/China, 1980)
Action/Thriller (HK, Cops, Etc)

7p, June 10, Harvard Exit

A “quasi-sequel,” the program guide notes that this film popularized “martial arts comedy in 1980s Hong Kong cinema.”

So Close (HK, 2002)
Action/Thriller (HK, Cops, Etc)

7p, may 27, Egyptian

mid, may 30, Egyptian

I incorrectly described this film as missing from the program guide on May 7.

The film looked impossibly hot in the trailer. Cute girls, amazing fight scenes, crazy effects: the program guide’s summary of the silly plot in no way conveys the potential impact of the film.

Stoked: The Rose and Fall of Gator (US, 2003)

4:45p, June 9, Cinerama

Mark “Gator” Rogowski was an early pro skateboader. He’s in prison for the murder of “his friend, Jessica Bergsten.”

This documentary takes a look at what happened.

As a longtime punk rocker who well remembers the peculiar relationship of punk rock and skaters in the mid-eighties, I’m interested.

Surplus (Sweden, 2002)

7p, June 12, Broadway Performance Hall

1:45p, June 15, Broadway Performance Hall

The Swedes take a look at the ideas of Eugene’s John Zerzan, an author whose a controversial anti-consumerist philosophy and ideas have had a formative effect on the development of West Coast anti-globalization activists and protests.

Swordswoman of Huangjiang (HK/China, 1930)
Action/Thriller (HK, Cops, Etc)

1:45p, June 7, Egyptian

Long-time readers will not be surprised to hear that if I had to pick just one film to see at the festival, this would be it. A silent film shot in Hong Kong in 1930, it’s described as a precursor to HK sword-and -sorcery films.

The film will be accompanied by a live performance by Aono Jikken Ensemble.

I love my silent movies!

Tribal Journey: Celebrating our Ancestors (US, 2003)

4p, May 25, Egyptian

World Premiere.

A fleet of handmade canoes voyage from Vancouver Island and down the Pacific Coast of Washington State. The journey is a political and cultural statement on the part of the coastal Native peoples of the Pacific Northwest.

Under Another Sky (Algeria/France, 2002)

7p, June 2, Egyptian

A French-Algerian youth is deported to Algeria where his family bears “heavy secrets.”

All Algerians bear heavy secrets, and it’s a crime that the suffering of ths country – and the brilliance of it’s people – is so little known.

Vengeance (HK/China, 1970)
Action/Thriller (HK, Cops, Etc)

11:30a, June 1, Harvard Exit

Blood! Peckinpah’s films influenced Hong Kong, yes they did.

Wattstax: 2003 Special Edition (US, 1973/2003)

mid, may 23, Egyptian

The 1973 concert in Watts, featuring basically everyone who was recording for Stax records at the time, has long been recognized as both the source of one of the great rock films (that would be this one) and a crucial document of a slice of America’s zeitgeist.

The Weather Underground (US, 2003)

4p, May 23, Egyptian

9:30p, May 27, Broadway Performance Hall

What do you get when you combine college students and explosives?

Try this: an exploded townhouse, bank robberies, and assorted acts of revolutionary mayhem, to no lasting societal effect.

So what happened, anyway? I believe the film will set out to answer at least some of these questions.

Whale Rider (New Zealand/Germany, 2002)

6:30p, May 31, Egyptian

4:45p, June 4, Egyptian

This film sported the most commercially appealing trailer screened at the press launch on May 7, and won Best Film at the 2002 Toronto Film Festival and Audience Favorite at Sundance 2003.

A Maori chieftain’s granddaughter insists on inclusion in chiefly training, over his resistance. Hint: there are whales, an unbeleivably cute little girl stars, and – dude – it’s set in New Zealand.

I bet they already have property negotiations underway for plush toys and spinoff shows.