Long lines as SIFF winds to a close

If it's got buzz, it's got a line at the Seattle International Film Festival. The highly anticipated showing of "Bright Young Things" last Sunday drew a longer line than opening night of the new "Harry Potter" flick.

The SIFF staff seemed slightly overwhelmed by the crowd and began the show at the Cinerama by offering profound apologies for the hour-long wait most people experienced. Luckily, the weather stayed mild and only a light sprinkling of rain hit the line between 3 and 4 p.m.

The crowd, being mostly Seattle polite, contented itself with a lot of muttering, but stayed in queue as they shuffled through the doors.

The director, Stephen Fry, opened the film with his usual pithy remarks about Americans' loathing of smoking (Fry is a chain-smoker apparently baffled by the non-smoking signs confronting him each time he lands on this continent.) He also added a slight moan about jet lag. "I wish you'd move this city about 3,000 miles east," he added.

The majority of the crowd stuck around for the longer, and pricier "An Evening With Stephen Fry..." event, and even lined up (again!) in the lobby before shuffling back to their seats. The Seattle fans' devotion to a favorite British comedian (Fry appeared in "Blackadder" and "Jeeves and Wooster") clearly touched the actor, who commented several times on the warmth of Seattle audiences.

In contrast, an earlier showing of the French historical drama "Monsieur N" drew a less-than-capacity crowd. A small line built up before the show, but everyone was able to breeze in, find a seat and buy popcorn with plenty of time to spare before the screening started.

Passholders, those veterans of SIFF lines and multiple screenings, compared notes while waiting for "Bright Young Things." They reported that the best lines and crowd control remain outside the Capitol Hill venues (maybe more experience?), but Pacific Place wasn't bad and the cheap evening parking was great. The Cinerama got generally poor marks, due to earlier confusion that weekend about how many passholders could be allowed into the theater.

"Why can't they just tell us a half hour before the show that it's full?" moaned one man in a Panama hat. "Then we'd have time to make it to another theater." However, the same gentleman also admitted that he'd always preferred the Cinerama's screen over the other venues and tries to see as much there as possible.

And, despite minor frustrations, all the passholders were planning to keep coming back until this SIFF closes on Sunday, June 13.

Herzog sighting

If the words "Werner Herzog" appear anywhere in the description, I'll stand in line. The German director creates great films ("Aguirre, The Wrath Of God" and "Fitzcarraldo"), but I'm really a sucker for his off-screen dramatics. There's practically a whole genre of documentaries that could be titled "How Herzog Made This Film." Devoted to getting his shot, Herzog is willing to put up with an amazing amount of physical discomfort for himself and his crew.

"Incident at Loch Ness" documents Herzog's visit to the legendary lake with its own reputed sea monster. When the director goes monster hunting in Scotland, cinematographer John Bailey ("How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" and "The Anniversary Party") tagged along.

"Incident at Loch Ness" will have its world premiere at the festival on Thursday, June 10, 9:15 p.m., at the Egyptian. It repeats on Saturday, June 12, 3:45 p.m., also at the Egyptian.

Werner Herzog, who is expected to attend, has been invited to appear at "Hot Tracks," a discussion of soundtracks (June 12, 6:15 p.m., at the Broadway Performance Hall) that is part of SIFF's Filmmakers Forum.

Sold-out SIFF shows

The SIFF box office is reporting that advance tickets are gone for the following screenings during the festival's final week: "Tamala 2010" (June 9, Broadway Performance Hall, 6:45 p.m.), "Control Room" (June 9, Egyptian, 7:00 p.m.), "Garden State" (June 11, Cinerama, 6:45 p.m., and June 13, Pacific Place, 11:30 a.m.), "Love Me If You Dare" (June 11, Cinerama, 6:45 p.m.), "Max Rules" (June 12, Egyptian, 11:00 a.m., and June 13, Egyptian, 1:30 p.m.), and "Ghost in the Shell" (June 12, Cinerama, 9:00 p.m.).

Limited day-of-show tickets may be available at the venues.

Rosemary Jones write about arts and entertainment for the Capitol Hill Times. She plans on joining Popcorn Addicts Anonymous on June 14, and can be reached at healingpgs@aol.com.[[In-content Ad]]