Movie Buff Checklist: Best of SIFF 2011

Photo: Paper Birds; by Marino Scandurra

Attention movie junkies, this year’s festival stand-outs will be shown all weekend.

Even though the Seattle International Film Festival lasts nearly a month — showings this year ran May 19-June 12 — it’s virtually impossible to catch all the shows you want. With hundreds of titles to choose from, there are only so many long lunches and sick days you can take before your boss gets suspicious.

Luckily, the Best of 2011 SIFF will be featured at SIFF Cinema in the Seattle Center June 17-19. This mix of Jury Award winners, Golden Space Needle Award winners and audience favorites is an eclectic encapsulation of the festival’s myriad off-the-wall movies, documentaries and short films.

Photo: Being Elmo; courtesy of SIFF

Among the award-winning titles included in this weekend’s lineup are: Gandu, a gritty “anti-Bollywood” adventure that earned the Grand Jury Prize — SIFF 2011 New Director’s Competition; the kid-friendly documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, which walked away with a SIFF 2011 Lena Sharpe Award for Persistent Vision; and Paper Birds, a heartwarming Spanish period piece that received Best Film honors from the SIFF 2011 Golden Space Needle Audience Awards.

Photo: Paper Birds; courtesy Marino Scandurra

Crowd-pleasers to catch this weekend include: Old Goats, a hilarious comedy from Seattle director Taylor Guterson; Tilt, a poignant coming-of-age set in Communist Bulgaria; How to Die in Oregon, a tear-jerking documentary that profiles the state’s assisted suicide legislation; and King of Devil’s Island, a striking Norwegian drama about rough conditions in a juvenile detention center. Eight of the most popular short films from SIFF 2011 will also be shown.

Those who wish to attend may choose from evening ($11) or matinee ($8) performances (SIFF Members may receive discounted prices if they purchase tickets in advance). Students may also attend any show for $6. Please check each film for specific show times.