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Renton to host Seattle International Film Festival in May

Mayor Denis Law, left, with Meeghan Black, Deborah Person and Brad Brotherton. Black and Brotherton co-chair the SIFF-Renton Host Committee and Person is SIFF’s managing director.  - Dean A. Radford/Renton Reporter
Mayor Denis Law, left, with Meeghan Black, Deborah Person and Brad Brotherton. Black and Brotherton co-chair the SIFF-Renton Host Committee and Person is SIFF’s managing director.
— image credit: Dean A. Radford/Renton Reporter

The Seattle International Film Festival, the largest film festival in the United States, this year will bring its acclaimed movies to Renton for the first time ever.

SIFF will screen the movies over seven nights, starting May 20 with a special Opening Night Screening at the IKEA Performing Arts Center at Renton High School.

A gala reception will follow at the Renton Pavilion Event Center.

The City of Renton and the Renton Community Marketing Campaign have been working with SIFF for months to add Renton as a venue. Already, SIFF has screenings in Kirkland and Everett.

“Renton is honored to become part of the longest-running, largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States,” said Mayor Denis Law. “The Renton Community Marketing Campaign is partnering with SIFF to help build on Renton’s economic momentum, help bring visitors and business to Renton and Renton’s hotels, and to promote arts and culture, as well as cultural understanding.”

Law added that “hosting SIFF in Renton will allow us to showcase our thriving arts and culture scene.”

Also helping to spearhead the arrangements is the SIFF-Renton Host Committee, co-chaired by Brad Brotherton, president of Brotherton Cadillac Buick GMC, and Meeghan Black of Renton, host of KING 5’s “Evening Magazine.”

The committee also will help develop sponsorship opportunities for SIFF-Renton.

Deborah Person, SIFF’s managing director, told the committee members at their first meeting Monday that SIFF was particularly drawn to Renton because of its diversity.

“SIFF is extremely pleased to bring festival programming to communities throughout the region and continue to broaden the festival experience to those in and outside Seattle borders,” Person said in a press release.

The partnership with SIFF almost didn’t happen. The screen at the IKEA Performing Arts Center – at 12 feet wide and 9 feet high – was too small for SIFF’s needs.

So, Brotherton stepped in with a $13,000 sponsorship for a new screen that’s 14 feet 6 inches high and 33 feet wide. At that size, the screen will just about fill the stage, said Barbara Fujita, the manager of the performing arts center.

“I think it’s awesome,” she said of the new screen.

The center also will have to make some changes to the control booth to accommodate the film projector, she said.

Official SIFF dates and programming will be announced at a later date.

Volunteers are needed at any of SIFF's venues, including Renton.

Renton and the Renton FilmFrenzy have partnered for the past two years with SIFF and its Futurewave young filmmakers program. The Renton FilmFrenzy is a 50-hour filmmaking competition and the Fourth Annual Renton FilmFrenzy is Oct. 7-9.

Now in its 37th year, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States.

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