SIFF ’08: The first week of the festival

My first week of SIFF 2008
by masakaman

My first week of The 34th SIFF 2008 started with Battle in Seattle on 22nd of May, a movie drama based on the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle that took place between November 29 to December 3, 1999.

I lived in Belltown, a few blocks away from center of downtown Seattle. This was not just another news story I saw on TV. Part of protests ended with violent confrontation in front my apartment building on the night of December 3. Police forced protesters out from the main area of downtown and ended up at my block, historically known for buying drugs & prostitution, where the junkies are smoking crack 24×7. At Third and Bell, “crack park” as we called it is now another dog park but still not much has changed underneath of pretty images of “Welcome to Belltown” put up for the outsiders.

That night, both sides made a dead stop on Bell street between 4th and 3rd avenues: the police in armor with gas mask on one side and protesters on other end. While the police were securing the area, they checked all the windows in my building with flashlights. I felt uneasy when one of them lit up my room and looked at me through his clear helmet facecover. They continued warning the crowd to leave. At this point, I cannot tell who were the protesters and who were just bystanders but the tension between them is built up high. I watched contrast of the motionlessly standing police and crowd that was now getting agitated but still holding its ground. Quietly, gas was lobbed into the crowd but was quickly thrown back at the police. It was very surreal. A handful of people were captured while large portion of protesters started running away from the attack. Suddenly, someone who lived in my building threw a bottle that shattered in front of the police. A Half dozen police rushed through the building door, and it took them only few seconds to bust the door open. The kid was handcuffed and taken out from the building. It took the police no effort and the kid had no chance…

That was the scene I had through my living room window. Battle in Seattle has captured many elements of the 1999 WTO riots in Seattle, certainly shows a balanced view of what it was about to many of us. So, go find this movie; you got fucking see this one.

More information:

Here are my up coming film suggestion at SIFF 2008:

11:00 AM, May 31, Pacific Place

Savage Grace
9:30 PM, May 30, Egyptian
1:30 PM, June 1, Pacific Place

The Bluetooth Virgin
7:00 PM June 12, Harvard Exit
1:30 PM June 14, Harvard Exit

Good Food (Northwest Connections)
7:00pm, June 4, Egyptian Theatre
4:30pm, June 7, SIFF Cinema

The Secret of the Grain
6:00pm, June 10, Egyptian Theatre
3:30pm, June 12, Egyptian Theatre

Finished at SIFF, but may I recommend to you:


Still Life

Up the Yangtze

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Sita Sings the Blues

Bigger Stronger Faster


The Home Song Stories

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