SIFF returns to Renton with May 22 opening gala

'Lucky Them' stars Thomas Haden Church and Toni Colette.
— image credit: Courtesy image

It’s time once again to bring a little Hollywood glamour and glitz to Renton as the Seattle International Film Festival is once again bringing two weeks of movies to the IKEA Renton Performing Arts Center.

This is the fourth year the festival has hosted films in Renton.

Once again, things get started with the Opening Night Gala, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22 at the Renton Pavilion. This year, the opening night movie is “Lucky Them,” by Seattle-based director Megan Griffiths. The movie features Toni Colette as a world-weary rock journalist who teams up with a first-time documentarian, played by Thomas Haden Church, to find a legendary Seattle musician who vanished. Griffiths and writer Emily Wachtel are scheduled to attend.

A reception follows the screening. Tickets to the opening night gala at $25, $23 for SIFF members.

The festival continues with movies every day through May 28.

Friday night features the Swedish film “Love and Lemons,” a “culinary comedy” about an entrepreneur trying to balance her life and business. When she’s fired from her job, she and some friends open a new restaurant and concoct a plan to get a famous restaurant critic to take her on a date to her restaurant in hopes of a five-star review. The movie begins at 6 p.m.

Also playing Friday is “The Bit Player,” a Filipino movie about the life of an actress known for playing bit parts in soap operas. “The Bit Player” screens at 8:30 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday each bring a full afternoon of movies with four films each beginning at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Saturday’s opening film, “The Boy and the World” is a wordless Brazillian animated feature about a young boy who ventures from his country home into the metropolis in search of his father.

Ethiopia’s “Difret,” at 3 p.m., is based on the true story of a 14-year-old who was kidnapped, killed her attacker and is taken to court for the killing.

South Korea’s “Final Recipe,” about a teenager who uses his university savings to secretly enter a cooking competition in hopes of saving his grandfather’s restaurant, gets the evening started at 6 p.m.

Finally, Japanese cult director Sabu’s “Miss Zombie,” a satire of zombie lore and maternalism in which a family decides to keep a zombie as a domestic servant, closes out the day at 8:30 p.m.

Sunday begins with “Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang,” at Spanish Goonies-esque caper about two young brothers sent to a summer boarding school.

Next up is “The Nightengale,” a movie about a Chinese road trip through spectacular mountain villages in which grandfather travels toward his memories, while his granddaughter finds simple wonders she never knew existed. It plays at 3:30 p.m.

New Zealand’s “3 Mile Limit” starts at 6 p.m. Set in 1965, the the world is going bonkers over rock ’n’ roll. Unfortunately for Richard Davis, the New Zealand government, which controls the airwaves, want nothing to do with it, so he and his mates decide to do it themselves. Based on the unbelievable and inspiring true story of pirate radio Radio Hauraki.

The weekend comes to a close with the Hong Kong horror film “Rigor Mortis,”  about a washed-up horror film actor who moves into a decrepit housing estate with every intention of ending his life, but finds that the apartment complex is teeming with bloodthirsty vampires and other assorted supernatural beasties. “Rigor Mortis” plays at 8:30 p.m.

Monday brings “Fight Church” from the U.S.A., “Liar’s Dice” from India, “A Place in Heaven” from Israel and “It’s Only Make Believe” from Norway.

Tuesday’s movies are “Healing” from Australia and “Strictly Sacred: The Story of Girl Trouble” about the 30-year history of Tacoma’s legendary garage band.

On Wednesday, the festival closes with “West” from Germany and Sweden’s “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.”

All of the movies will screen at the IKEA Performing Arts Center at 400 S. 2nd St. in Renton.

Tickets are $11 for general admission, $10 for youth (20 and younger) and seniors (65 and older) and $6 for SIFF members. Weekday movies before 6 p.m. and weekend showings before 3 p.m. are $8 bargain matinees.

To purchase tickets or see full descriptions of the films being shown, visit www.siff.net.

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