Fresh faces in spotlight at sprawling Seattle fest


Living up to its name, Stuart Townsend's "Battle in Seattle" and its stars Charlize Theron and Martin Henderson will kick off the 34th Seattle International Film Festival on May 22 at Seattle Center's Marion Oliver McCaw Hall.

The sprawling fest, which will screen 418 films during the course of 25 days, runs through June 15. The closing-night gala, set for June 14, is Randall Miller's "Bottle Shock," set in California's wine country and starring Alan Rickman. It will screen at the Cinerama Theatre.

"This year's SIFF is fiercely independent with wide-ranging opportunities for people to explore new ways to look at the world through cinema," SIFF artistic director Carl Spence said. "Seventy percent of the films in the program are currently without U.S. distribution." Almost half of the features in the lineup come from first- or second-time directors.

The June 6 centerpiece gala will feature "The Great Buck Howard."

Other presentations include the world premiere of "Jolene," directed by SIFF co-founder Dan Ireland. (partialdiff)