The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

SIFF 2008: The Wrap-Up

Written by: Mike Caccioppoli, Feature Film Critic

Image Well another festival has come to an end and after seeing over 70 films I can truly say that the 34th Seattle International Film Festival was an overwhelming success. You have to give the festival programmers credit for having a keen eye for quality films, especially since they have to view hundreds upon hundreds to end up with the nearly 200 features that show at the festival.

The Golden Space Needle Awards were announced on the last day of the festival and while this fest is “non-competitive,” the audience still gets to vote after every film. The following is a list of this year’s winners as well as my picks for the best of the festival. Here’s hoping that the 35th Seattle International Film Festival turns out as good as this year!

Best Film Golden Space Needle Award:

Cherry Blossoms – Hanami, directed by Doris Dörrie (Germany)

The remaining top ten audience favorites (in order)
Frozen River, directed by Courtney Hunt (USA)
Fugitive Pieces, directed by Jeremy Podeswa (Canada)
Captain Abu Raed, directed by Amin Matalqa (Jordan)
The Drummer, directed by Kenneth Bi (Hong Kong)
Summer Heat, directed by Monique van de Ven (the Netherlands)
Letting Go of God, directed by Julia Sweeney (USA)
Late Bloomers, directed by Bettina Oberli (Switzerland)
Bliss, directed by Abdullah Oguz (Turkey)
Michou d’Auber, directed by Thomas Gilou (France)

Best Documentary Golden Space Needle Award:

The Wrecking Crew, directed by Denny Tedesco (USA)

The remaining top ten audience favorites (in order)

Great Speeches From a Dying World, directed by Linas Phillips (USA)
Man on Wire, directed by James Marsh (UK)
Accelerating America, directed by Timothy Hotchner (USA)
Creative Nature, directed by John Andres (USA)
Emmanuel Jal: War Child, directed by C. Karim Chrobog (USA)
Trouble the Water, directed by Carl Deal and Tia Lessin (USA)
Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane that Crashed in the Mountains, directed by Gonzalo Arijon (France)
Good Food, directed by Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin (USA)
They Killed Sister Dorothy, directed by Daniel Junge (USA)

Best Director Golden Space Needle Award:

Amin Matalqa, for Captain Abu Raed (Jordan)

The remaining top five audience favorites (in order)

Courtney Hunt, for Frozen River (USA)
Nina Paley, for
Sita Sings the Blues (USA)
Dorota Kedzierzawska, for
Time to Die (Poland)
Nic Balthazar, for
Ben X (Belgium)

Best Actor Golden Space Needle Award:

Alan Rickman, for Bottle Shock (USA)

The remaining top five audience favorites (in order)
Nadim Sawalha, for
Captain Abu Raed (Jordan)
Andrew Garfield, for
Boy A (UK)
Zdenerk Sverák, for
Empties (Czech Republic)
Greg Timmermans, for
Ben X (Belgium)

Best Actress Golden Space Needle Award:
Jessica Chastain, for
Jolene (USA)

The remaining top five audience favorites (in order)

Catinca Untaru, for The Fall (USA)
Melissa Leo, for
Frozen River (USA)
Danuta Szaflarska, for
Time to Die (Poland)
Melanie Diaz, for
American Son (USA)

Best Short Film Golden Space Needle Award:
Felix, directed by Andreas Utta (Germany)

The remaining top five audience favorites (in order)
Sleeping Betty, directed by Claude Cloutier (Canada)
Bailey-Boushay House: A Living History, directed by Terence Brown (USA)
Zoologic, directed by Nicole Mitchell (USA)
Spider, directed by Nash Edgerton (Australia)

Lena Sharpe Award:
Frozen River, director Courtney Hunt (USA)
This award is given to the film by a woman director that receives the most votes from the public.

My Picks:

Best Picture: Let The Right One In, director Tomas Alfredson (Sweden)

Best Director: Tomas Alfredson for Let The Right One In (Sweden)

Best Actor: Andrew Garfield for Boy A (UK)

Best Actress: Melissa Leo for Frozen River (USA)

Best Documentary: Bigger, Stronger, Faster, director Christopher Bell (USA)

Best U.S. Film: Frozen River, director Courtney Hunt

Best Screenplay: John Ajvide Lindqvist for Let The Right One In (Sweden)

Best Debut Performance: Catinca Untaru for The Fall (USA/UK/India)