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Rounding up the Usual Suspects
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SIFF's capsule summary: "Seattle's most exclusive film club. See movies that no other audience (anywhere!) can watch."
SIFF link: Secret Festival #3

The whole point of the Secret Festival is that people who see them sign a pledge not to discuss the films with anyone except others who have signed the pledge. So I'm not telling what film showed.

5 Fair Although I'm not allowed to reveal what the film was, I can say whether I liked it. As a selection for Secret, I thought it was a good choice, but I wasn't all that impressed with the film.

Overall, I rate the film fair.

Languages: Secret.

Rating: Secret.

Screening: 7 pm, SIFF Cinema at the Egyptian.
Audience: mostly full crowd, 575 seats (450 main, 125 balcony).

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements:

  • SIFF 2019 trailer — I only recognize a few of the films featured in this one, so far.
  • Thank you, volunteers — Time for applause.
  • in-person announcement — Beth Barrett introduced the film, with a stronger than usual request to honor the secrecy pledge.
  • Guess the cinematic dish clip — This series of guess-the-film clips are pretty good, but they could use more of them to be less repetitious.

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SIFF's capsule summary: "One of America's favorite character actresses, Regina Hall has found much of her success in the most difficult of onscreen endeavors—making people laugh. An actor, activist, spokesperson, and journalist, her body of work is as broad as it is deep in a career that spans nearly three decades. From her career-launching performance in the Scary Movie franchise to her recent dramatic work in such films as Support the Girls and The Hate U Give, her versatility and commitment as an actress is renowned and cherished by all who collaborate with her." (180 minutes)
SIFF link: A Tribute to Regina Hall

This event began with a montage of clips from Regina Hall films. It included a film I saw at SIFF back before I started going to more than a few films per festival, Love and Basketball (2000).

Next, she was presented the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. It's a pretty cool trophy, and she looked quite pleased with it.

The main event, for us at least, was a conversation with Regina Hall about her life and career, moderated by editor Jacqueline Coley from Rotten Tomatoes. Regina Hall did one of the better appearances (top quarter) SIFF has had in their featured afternoon event, and did it without much guidance from the moderator. I wish I had recorded it, but I knew it would be longer than the typical post-film Q-and-A, and my arm would have tired out from holding my phone-camera.

After an intermission, Hall's 2018 film Support the Girls, directed by Andrew Bujalski, was scheduled, but "J" and I heard that it was already available by streaming, so we ducked out to see Carmen and Lola instead, with a detour through the SIFF Lounge.

8 Very Good This was a very good personal appearance. I hope we get to see the film before too long; it looks like fun, got quite a few good reviews, and Bujalski's feature debut, Funny Ha Ha, was excellent.

Event: 2 pm, SIFF Cinema at the Egyptian.
Audience: maybe 60% full, 575 seats (450 main, 125 balcony).

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements:

  • SIFF promotion — "SIFF brings communities together."
  • SIFF membership promotion — "SIFF members make it possible."
  • SIFF 2019 promotion — "Cinematic dish" is the theme.
  • Thank you, volunteers — Time for applause.
  • In-person people — The main event.

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This morning, "J" and I went to the Egyptian for SIFF's Secret Festival #3. I can't tell what it was, but it was a pretty good selection for Secret, but kind of a so-so movie.

Next, I went to brunch with "D", "P", D's friend "K", and K's friend "J", instead of joining the usual brunch crowd, because it would have been a long walk in a short break. (P is a frequent participant in social gatherings with the usual brunch group, but rarely attends the usual Sunday brunch.) I've met K on occasion, but although J was a SIFF regular for years, he's lived in the San Francisco area for a while, and I hadn't met him before. It was pleasant getting acquainted with some new people. The food was good, but the portion was pretty small.

I rejoined J for "A Tribute to Regina Hall" at the Egyptian. She was a very good guest, and it was unfortunate to see that the event was not as well attended as some of the tribute appearances. That may be partially because her appearance was scheduled with her film from last year, Support the Girls, which is apparently already available by streaming. Because we can stream the film later, and would have a very tight connection to the next film, J and I skipped the film. But we enjoyed the personal appearance.

Saving Support the Girls for later turned a very tight connection into a very leisurely connection, so we went to the SIFF Lounge for a while. When we arrived, there was an olive oil tasting going on at the back of the room, a supplement to the film Virgin & Extra: the Land of the Olive Oil, which had shown at the Uptown while we were at the Egyptian. Having not seen the movie, I didn't think the olive oil tasting would mean much, so I didn't participate. It was nice getting some relaxation time at the Lounge.

Our final film for the day was Carmen and Lola, a Spanish drama about two girls in a very traditional Roma community. (Curiously, the subtitles used the word "Gypsy", which I understand is regarded by Roma as a pejorative.) Carmen is 16, and getting engaged to a boy. Lola is 17, and not at all interested in boys; she's interested in Carmen, recognizing that Carmen is also a lesbian before Carmen figures it out herself. It was excellent.

In the evening, I visited my parents briefly, and gave "T" a ride home from his usual Sunday hangout.

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