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Originally published May 24, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 3, 2009 at 12:36 PM

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Local filmmakers share the SIFF spotlight this year

Films starring Melissa Leo ("True Adolescents") and Robin Williams ("World's Greatest Dad") are among the movies screening in the Northwest Connections program at Seattle International Film Festival.

Seattle Times movie critic

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Seattle International Film Festival is placing a special emphasis on local films this year: The Northwest Connections program includes 16 full-length films and 17 short films. Here are brief descriptions; for SIFF dates and more information, see www.siff.net.

Features

"Finding Bliss." Julie Davis' romantic comedy, filmed in Spokane and inspired by the director's own history, is the story of a filmmaker who secretly shoots her films in a porn studio.

"Humpday." Filmmaker Lynn Shelton's comedy about male friendship is a tale of two straight guys (Mark Duplass, Joshua Leonard) contemplating having sex with each other for a porn film.

"The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle." Seattle filmmaker David Russo wrote and directed this inventive comedy, in which a group of janitors discover a bizarre experiment.

"The Spy and the Sparrow." Bainbridge Island native Garrett Bennett's first feature since 2003's "A Relative Thing" is a shot-in-Seattle spy thriller making its world premiere at SIFF.

"True Adolescents." UW graduate Craig Johnson's first feature is the tale of a washed-up Seattle rocker (Mark Duplass, also in "Humpday") on an unexpected camping trip. Melissa Leo (an Oscar nominee for "Frozen River') co-stars.

"The Whole Truth." Seattle writer/director Colleen Patrick's first feature, making its world premiere, is a screwball comedy about an acting coach who helps criminals appeal to juries.

"World's Greatest Dad." Shot in Seattle and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, this dark comedy features Robin Williams as a poetry teacher coping with the aftermath of a freak accident.

"ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction." Local filmmaker Kevin Hamedani set his zombie-virus thriller in the idyllic town of Port Gamble, Wash.

Documentaries

"Back to the Garden: Flower Power Comes Full Circle." Kevin Tomlinson revisits a group of Eastern Washington flower children for this environmental documentary, making its world premiere.

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"Dancing Across Borders." Pacific Northwest Ballet corps dancer Sokvannara Sar, who began his career as a street dancer in Cambodia, is the subject of Anne H. Bass' film, also a world premiere.

"Icons Among Us." Screening as part of SIFF's Face the Music series and produced by Seattle's John Commerford, this is a portrait of 75 jazz musicians (including several locals), shown with archival footage.

"Independent America: Rising from Ruins." UW faculty member Hanson Hosein's film examines Hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orleans and how mom-and-pop businesses helped bring hope to the region.

"It Takes a Cult." Eric Johannsen, who was raised in the Israel Family (a.k.a. the Love Family) in Seattle, turns his camera on the commune and its eventual 300 members.

"Pirate for the Sea." Friday Harbor resident Farley Mowat is a primary source for this profile of British Columbian marine environmentalist Paul Watson.

"Sweet Crude." Local filmmaker Sandy Cioffi's exposé of the oil business in the Niger Delta screened at SIFF as a work-in-progress in 2007; now it's back as a completed film.

"Trimpin: The Sound of Invention." Peter Esmonde's documentary is a peek at the creative process of Seattle-based artist/musician/inventor Trimpin.

Shorts

The Northwest Connection shorts include "Arthur" directed by Laura Jean Cronin, "Bedtime Story" by Sarah Jane Lapp; "Black Coffee" by Bao Tran, "CC 2010" by Travis Senger, "The Chronicles of Cleo and Jack" by Karn Junkinsmith, "Dark Material" by Maile Martinez, "The Day My Parents Became Cool" by Steve Edmiston, "Endless Tunnel" by Tommy Thompson, "Fly Film Documentary" by Shannon Hart-Reed, "Her Meds" by Matt Cibelli, "It's In the P-I" by Bradley Hutchinson, "November" by Benjamin Dobyns, "One Night" by Laura Jean Cronin, "Safe Passage" by Shawn Telford, "Somewhere" by Salise Hughes, "Sophia + Anna" by Joy Andrews and "Thicker Than Water" by Sami Kubo.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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