Previews SIFF

SIFF 2019: Picks for Memorial Day Weekend

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and the current local forecast looks ideal for moviegoing. (I know, I know: wait around long enough and it’s sure to change). Nevertheless, SIFF has some great rain-or-shine offerings in store for film lovers on this long holiday weekend.

Looking for non-BBQ festivities? This weekend’s SIFF Saturday party pairing is a screening of Top End Wedding, a rom-com that finds an Australian couple returning to the the Indigenous bride’s hometown and searching through lush landscapes to find her missing mother. (SATURDAY, MAY 25, film at SIFF Cinema Uptown – 6:00 PM, party afterward at House Studios).

All weekend, SIFF hosts the 4th World Indigenous Media Lab, an annual training in which 15 Indigenous artists create visual stories from their perspective as well as hone their filmmaking skills through industry master classes. Complementing this program is a free screening of N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear, which will be followed by a panel discussion. FREE with an RSVP (Sunday May 26, 12:30 PM · Seattle Central Public Library).

Finally, Monday evening brings a sneak-peek event for Seattle filmmaker and The Stranger icon Charles Mudede’s work-in-progress Thin Skin. After the preview, the creative team will participate in an on-stage interview to discuss the process of turning a true story into a feature film. (MONDAY, MAY 27, 2019 – SIFF Cinema Egyptian – 6:30 PM)

Beyond those special events, there are tons of standalone screenings. Here are a few that we’re most looking forward to seeing this long weekend.

Enormous: the Gorge Story courtesy SIFF


Enormous: The Gorge Story. (USA | 2019 | 64 minutes | Nic Davis)

Usually around this time of year, Seattleites would be flocking in droves to spend a weekend at the Gorge for the Sasquatch music festival. With the festival discontinued, you can still get a peek at one of the state’s most stunningly picturesque concert venues with this documentary that explores the geologic and acoustic forces that make it so special. (CW: Dave Matthews and Hozier).

  • SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2019 – SIFF Cinema Uptown – 2:30 PM
  • TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2019 – Lincoln Square – 6:30 PM

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael. (USA | 2018 | 95 minutes | Rob Garver)

A documentary about a beloved (yet also devisive) film critic? Surviving the film festival rounds with an still  “100% fresh” rating on the dreaded  tomatometer? Sounds like some kind of miracle, doesn’t it? Rob Garver’s documentary on the monumental cultural icon, her legacy, and the changing environment has been at the top of my list since I saw it announced in this year’s SIFF lineups (and a welcome do-over for not being able to get into an overbooked screening last fall at Telluride).

  • SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2019 – AMC Pacific Place – 7:00 PM
  • WEDNESDAY, MAY 29, 2019 – SIFF Cinema Uptown – 3:30 PM
Wild Rose, courtesy SIFF


Wild Rose (United Kingdom | 2018 | 101 minutes | Tom Harper)

This movie I found intriguing from the moment I read its description. Rose-Lynn is a Scottish ex-con who moves to Nashville to pursue her dream of country music fame in Nashville. I’m also curious as to why SIFF put this movie in their largest theater for both of its screenings. That must mean it’s good.

  • FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2019 – SIFF Cinema Egyptian – 9:30 PM

Crystal Swan (Belarus | 2018 | 93 minutes | Darya Zhuk)

Apparently the only movies I want to see this weekend are about young women who move from Europe to the United States to pursue music careers. This movie is a comedy about a Belarusian woman who tries to get a US visa by befriending a rural family, but what she really wants is to become a house DJ in Chicago.

  • FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2019 – Lincoln Square (Bellevue) – 9:00 PM
  • FRIDAY, MAY 31, 2019 – SIFF Cinema Uptown – 8:30 PM
  • SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019 – SIFF Cinema Uptown – 2:30 PM
The Apollo, courtesy SIFF


The Apollo. (USA | 2019 | 101 minutes | Roger Ross Williams)

Harlem’s Apollo Theatre has been a flashpoint for some of the most astonishing music to come out of America in the last century, full stop.  Everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to James Brown to Motown’s finest have made legendary stands at the Apollo, so this can’t help but be captivating.

  • SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2019 – SIFF Cinema Egyptian – 6:45  PM
  • SUNDAY, MAY  26, 2019 – SIFF Cinema Egyptian – 1:30 PM
  • MONDAY, MAY  27, 2019 – Shoreline Community College – 3:30 PM

Botero. (Canada | 2018 | 84 minutes | Don Millar)

I’m fascinated by Colombian painter  Fernando Botero’s strange, distinctive, and decidedly galvanizing work, so I’m totally up for journeying into the man’s mind for an hour and a half. (Related: Chris’s interview with director Don Millar)

  • FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2019 – AMC Pacific Place – 6:30  PM
  • SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2019 – SIFF Cinema Uptown – 12:00 PM
Afterlife, courtesy IMDB


Afterlife. (Netherlands | 2019 | 93 minutes | Willem Bosch)

What would you do if you could choose to be reborn or reunite with loved ones? I’ve considered this question since I saw the trailer for Afterlife and I’m still not sure. This film looks quirky and sweet and it’s popular so snap up your tickets now.

  • WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 2019 – Ark Lodge Cinemas – 6:30  PM
  • SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2019 – AMC Pacific Place (on Standby)  – 11:00 AM
  • MONDAY, MAY 27 – SIFF Cinema Egyptian – 9:00 PM

Top End Wedding. (Australia | 2019 | 103 minutes | Wayne Blair (Batjala Mununjali Wakkawakka))

This charming romantic comedy is more about the relationship between the bride-to-be and her mother and culture than the groom. That’s why I love it and you will too. Feeling rooted to a place you’ve never been is a unique experience and it’s enchanting to watch the story unfold.

  • SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2019 – SIFF Cinema Uptown (with a party!)  – 6:00 PM
  • SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2019 – Shoreline Community College – 1:00  PM
  • MONDAY, MAY 27 – SIFF Cinema Egyptian – 3:45 PM

Keep track of the SunBreak’s ongoing SIFF coverage on our SIFF 2019 page, plus news, updates, and micro-reviews on Twitter @theSunBreak.