How to celebrity-watch at SIFF
There will be a red carpet, followed by a screening of the film Jimi: All Is By My Side, featuring Outkast’s André Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix before he made it big. (Image: SIFF)

How to celebrity-watch at SIFF

This week an army of celebrities, directors, and producers will descend on Seattle for the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). With 276 feature films and truckloads of popcorn, SIFF is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year from May 15 through June 8. Films are shown at a variety of locations throughout Seattle and if you want to spot your favorite Hollywood celeb, you’ve got several options.

Go to the Opening Night Gala. There are still tickets available to the Opening Night Gala tomorrow, and you’re sure to see some big names there. There will be a red carpet, followed by a screening of the film Jimi: All Is By My Side, featuring Outkast’s André Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix before he made it big. The Director of the film, Academy Award-winner John Ridley, is scheduled to attend the gala. After the movie there will also be an after-party in the Red Carpet Lounge.

Tickets range from $50-$250. 

Have a beer near the gala. Of course, if you can’t afford tickets to the Opening Night Gala, you can always hang out near the venue, Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Lower Queen Anne. There are plenty of bars in the area with outside seating or window seats, and you should arrive early if you want to grab a table outside. (The red carpet starts at 5:30.) Not only will celebrities likely be passing by, but the weather is expected to be sunny and in the high seventies!

Hang out with Laura Dern. Whether you’re a fan of Jurassic Park or the HBO Series Enlightened, you can see (and maybe even talk to) Laura Dern during a special afternoon event on May 17 starting at 2:00. There will be a tribute to Dern, where she’ll be honored with the Seattle International Film Festival Award for Outstanding Achievement in acting, then a Q&A with her, followed by a screening of David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. There will also be a tribute reception after the film.

Tickets are still available and range from $35 to $150 if you want to attend the reception.

Check to see if directors will be attending certain showings. Many of the directors of SIFF films will make appearances at certain showings of their films. For example, if you’re a big fan of Dazed and Confused, you can catch Director Richard Linklater on May 31 at the opening of his new movie Boyhood starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. The SIFF website does a great job of listing whether or not directors will be attending their films.

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