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Originally published May 11, 2014 at 6:20 AM | Page modified May 14, 2014 at 4:24 PM

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How to navigate SIFF 2014

Tips for people planning to attend Seattle International Film Festival 2014 — including information on programming, tickets, lines, food and parking.

Seattle Times movie critic


The 2014 edition of Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) runs from May 15 to June 8 at various venues around the city. Wondering how to navigate it and its 539 hours of film? Read on ...

Wondering what movie to choose? Consider your current state of mind. SIFF has conveniently sorted its many offerings into 10 “moods”: “Love (Coast of Passion),” “Make Me Laugh (Bay of Merriment),” “Open My Eyes (Plains of Truth),” “Thrill Me (The Adrenaline Forest),” “Provoke Me (Thought Trails),” “Show Me the World (Uncharted Territory),” “Sci-Fi and Fact (Sea of Knowledge),” “To the Extreme (Cape of Outer Limits),” “Creative Streak (Originality Oasis)” and “Face the Music (The Melodic Sea).” You can browse film listings by category at

Wondering about tickets and festival passes? The main box office is at Pacific Place downtown (open noon to 7 p.m. daily until the festival’s end), but you don’t have to stand in line there; buy online at and print out your tickets at home. (Note, though, that there is a $1.25 per ticket service charge, up to $5 per order, on web/phone ticket purchases.) Or buy tickets to any screening at any festival venue (Uptown, SIFF Film Center, Harvard Exit, Pacific Place, Egyptian, Kirkland Performance Center, Lincoln Square, Renton Ikea Performing Arts Center), daily throughout the festival. Venue box offices open one hour before the day’s first screening.

Wondering about lines? Each SIFF screening will have three: a pass holder line (for those with passes hanging around their necks; you know who you are), a ticket-holders line (for those with tickets in hand) and a rush line. Standby tickets, for screenings that are sold out, go on sale 10 minutes before showtime, at full price (cash preferred). No matter which line you’re in, arriving at least 30 minutes early is a good idea, particularly if you’re picky about where you sit.

Wondering about food and drink? Though most SIFF venues serve standard cinema fare, some have a few extras (there’s beer at the Uptown, for example). Others, such as Pacific Place, have a wealth of restaurants just steps from the door. Outside food is officially not allowed, but those who are discreet can get away with it.

Wondering about parking and/or bus routes? Go to and click on “Festival Venues.” Lots of information there, including what may be SIFF’s least-known bargain: the Uptown offers validated parking at two nearby parking lots; show your ticket stub or pass at the Uptown box office and get a parking pass to put on your dashboard. Passes are limited to 60 per day, and are good for weekdays after 6 p.m. and all day Saturday/Sunday.

Wondering what the Secret Festival is? This fest-within-the-fest takes place every Sunday morning during SIFF, at the Egyptian. You must buy a Secret Festival pass ($50) to attend, and you must sign an Oath of Silence, vowing that you will never breathe a word about what you’ve seen. Programming at the Secret Festival might be a movie tied up in legal/copyright problems that can’t officially be shown; a movie promised for a prominent “premiere” elsewhere post-SIFF; a lost classic; a sneak peek. You might see something great; you might be disappointed. Who knows? I certainly don’t. Happy SIFF-ing!

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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