Will This be the Year You Get STIFF?
Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival lasts just until May 12, so you have to jump on it if you haven’t been yet. Their indie venues are the Grand Illusion, Central Cinema, Varsity, University Heights Center, and Wing-It Productions. The programming is distinctly eclectic, offering everything from low-budget, high-concept features to rough-hewn documentaries, and from disturbing animated shorts to a Student Film Block (16 student films for just $5, May 10, from 7 to 11 p.m.).
There’s still much more to come, including Saturday morning cartoons and Bloody Marys at the Grand Illusion (2 to 4 p.m., which is still morning for movie people). Before that, on Friday night, I can’t let you go without suggesting Jake & Jasper, in which Jasper is a ferret. I did not have a chance to watch a screener, but it is from Canada and stars a ferret, and if those two things are wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Tuesday night brought the real-life “I built a zoo” documentary ZOOMAN, which chronicles the efforts of 54-year-old Buddy to run a “backyard” zoo (lions, tiger, bears, hyenas, and much more) in Upper Michigan, with the help of his 27-year-old fiancée. Ostensibly about the power of a dream’s pull, the film also shows a relationship disintegrating under financial stress, as Buddy’s zoo has outgrown his earning power. It’s an unflinching portrait, full of people you don’t see on TV, and indie cred. Without STIFF, I’d have probably never seen it.