Chocolate popcorn at SIFF Cinema Downtown Alabastro Photography

Happy 50th birthday, SIFF!

Cinema lovers rejoice! Seattle International Film Festival Returns May 9-19.

Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)

For as long as I, and probably the majority of people in Seattle, can remember, Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) has been a much-loved annual tradition. It’s a festival that brings the world to screens across Seattle, and gathers cinema lovers of all kinds together for that unique shared experience of sitting in a darkened theater with hundreds of strangers to laugh, cry, gasp, and yes, eat popcorn, as we watch the magic of the movies unfold before us. How many movies? This year’s schedule offers 261 films from 84 countries and regions around the globe. Add in special screenings, parties, filmmaker talks and more, and we’ve got a full on festival. One of the largest in North America, in fact, traditionally attracting more than 150,000 attendees.

And these aren’t just any movies. SIFF’s team includes a whopping 29 programmers who collectively watched more than 6,000 (yes, six thousand—not a typo!) films to curate this year’s festival. Their knowledge and passion in various genres means you too will find something you’re sure to love, whether your tastes run to fantasy, documentaries, animation, or films from a specific part of the world. 63% of these films don’t currently have a U.S. distributor, meaning you aren’t going to find them elsewhere.

SIFF’s website is full of useful information to help you navigate all this goodness, including the basics of “How To Fest,” a helpful Film Finder, tool and inspiring picks from many of the programmers.

So come on out and join the #SIFFTY fun. It’s a great time to visit Seattle. And if you just can’t make it in May, I’m happy to tell you that SIFF has grown to be a year-round cultural force in Seattle, presenting films all year long on six screens at four SIFF locations, ranging from the state-of-the-art experience on the 97-foot curved screen of SIFF Cinema Downtown, to the intimacy of the 90-seat jewelbox of the SIFF Film Center.

Happy Anniversary SIFF, and see you at #SIFF2024! I’ll be in the chocolate popcorn line.

About the Author

Tracey Wickersham

Tracey Wickersham is the Senior Director of Cultural Tourism at Visit Seattle. A volunteer dj & host of a long running music program on KBCS 91.3 FM, she spent 6 years on the board of 4Culture, supporting arts, heritage, public art and historic preservation in King County. You'll often find her at the Tractor Tavern enjoying great bands, exploring one of the region's beautiful parks with her spunky blue heeler mix, or in one of Seattle's many live theater venues.

More Posts By Tracey Wickersham


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