It's movie festival time and these folks are film crazy

May 22, 2011

If you’re crazy about films, then this is the time of year when you’re over the moon. Over 25 days, the Seattle International Film Festival shows 450 movies at 20 venues in and around Seattle.
 
Among the ordinary festival-goer is a special type of film fan: those who don’t sleep, mow the lawn, or spend time with friends or family unless they’re with them at the movies.

These are the approximately 400 folks who have a full series pass, who may see around 100 films or so per festival.

A few tips if you wish to be this die-hard:

Eat a hearty breakfast. That will sustain you throughout a day devoted to watching six films.

Pack something healthy, like a granola bar or an apple. Otherwise, snacking on concession popcorn and candy is going to lead to putting on extra weight.

If you're going to pack food, pick something quiet -- avoid crinkly aluminum foil or noisy styrofoam. And avoid something that smells.

Build up your stamina. Watching a movie, according to one passionate filmgoer, is NOT a passive activity. "If you want to relax, take a nap," said the filmgoer.

 Wear comfortable shoes, especially if you plan on getting from one venue to the next quickly.

At 9:30 a.m. one recent weekday,Diane Bisset, who is retired, and Lynn Dissinger, a project manager, stood in line at Pacific Place ready to see three movies.
 
"We never talk about anything except movies," Bisset says.

And even though it's a day when it's actually sunny outside, she adds: "Yeah, I hate coming in when it's sunny. But this is the time we do movies!"

She says it's totally normal to see 100 films.

Doug Ing is is an artist who  ditches his home in Honolulu every year  so he can attend SIFF. He’s the guy always dressed in a Hawaiian shirt.
 
He’ll use his platinum pass to see more than 100 films. And it will become his own badge of honor.
 
it tends to get scratched up over time but I tend to think of it like a battle worn jeep.
 
Mary Bond is a stay-at-home mom.
 
"I saw 6 films last week. and I hope to see 8 films this week, and maybe 6 films next week. In the past when I’ve had a full-series pass I’ve seen 50, 55 films. I’d like to see more, maybe 75. but I don’t know if that’s too ambitious," she says.

She's asked if she's a "film nerd."
 
And she replies: "Oh yeah, I’d like to think I’m not as nerdy as some of the people here."
 
But she is nerdy. At her home in Seattle, she studies her detailed movie-schedule. Almost every hour is highlighted in  
 orange marker.
 
She sits at her kitchen table with her 14-year-old son Ira, who’s
inherited mom’s obsession. He mentions he's been watching "Metropolis" on his computer, which horrifies his mother.

Part of watching a movie is sharing the experience with others, in a theater, she tells him.

Which is precisely what Carl Spence, SIFF's artistic director believes.

"There’s energy you get from being around other people," says artistic director Carl Spence. "If it’s a comedy you may laugh more. You may find it more funny than if you see it by yourself. if it's something that’s moving or powerful, that has something meaningful, you may share in that cathartic experience together."
 
SIFF continues now through June 12.