Thursday, September 29, 2022

Orcas Island Film Festival: Oct 6 - 10 | Seattle Polish Film Festival at SIFF Cinema: Oct 14 - 23

The regional seasonal micro-festivals make a strong return this year, with two staples of the fall season arriving the second week of October. For it's 30th anniversary, the Seattle Polish Film Festival will once again be at the SIFF Cinema Uptown, after their brief pandemic related hiatus, the festival relaunched in 2021. North of Seattle, one of the region's most compelling cinephile events is scheduled to return to the pastoral setting of the San Juan Islands. As an example of festival programming featuring diverse and qualitative content, the current body of the Seattle International Film Festival could take a page or two from the Orcas Island Film Festival. While running only five days, and featuring less than one tenth of the films on offer during the three weeks of SIFF, the regional micro-festival is an exemplar representation of contemporary programming. In the unlikely setting of the rural beauty of the San Juan islands, chief programmer Carl Spence, has produced a small 29 film program to rival that of its Seattle goliath. One might marvel "How this Remote Spot in Puget Sound Attracts Such High-caliber Fare", yet it is all the work of co-founders, Jared Lovejoy and Donna Laslo, producer Marc Turtletaub, and of course the curatorial work of Spence. As the Seattle Times states, it is the case that "Orcas Island Film Festival: Small Fest, Big Movies" which draws largely from this year's Cannes Film Festival, alongside a number of the notable films from this year's Venice, Sundance, and Toronto festivals. Among the films on offer in Orcas, are Park Chan-Wook's Cannes award winning, "Decision to Leave", and fresh from Venice, Todd Field's Cate Blanchett-led classical music world drama of "TÁR". In a rare turn, Laura Poitras won the prestigious Golden Lion at this year's Venice Film Festival for her documentary on Nan Goldin, "All The Beauty And The Bloodshed", and best documentary winner at both Cannes and Sundance "All That Breathes", by Shaunak Sen will also be playing. Other award winners include this year's Cannes Palme d'Or winner "Triangle of Sadness" from the mind of Ruben Östlund, and Charlotte Wells' first feature winner at Cannes "Aftersun". The Golden Bear winner in Berlin this year by Carla Simón, "Alcarras" is presented alongside another of the big films from Venice, Martin McDonagh's bruised fraternal drama, "The Banshees of Inisherin". Japan's Hirokazu Kore-eda returns with another tale from society's fringes with, "Broker", Cannes Grand Prix winner, "Close" by Lukas Dhont, the Un Certain Regard-winner from Cannes, "Corsage" by Marie Kreutzer, and Mark Jenkin's highly anticipated genre film, "Envy's Men" are all featured. There's Colm Bairéad's Berlin award winning film "The Quiet Girl", and Romania's daring Cristian Mungiu is back with "R.M.N.", the breakout feature debut from Cannes by Lola Quivoron, "Rodeo", and João Pedro Rodrigues returns after a many year absence, with "Will-o-the-Wisp"